Thursday, 30 July 2009
This podcast concludes my first judicial hearing.
Remember, I was expected to defend myself in front of a committee of 3 elders with no representation; it was me against them. The two witness called to testify against me were both elders, one of whom is my brother. Both of these witnesses used conversations I had had with them, trusting that they were going to help me. Instead, they convened a meeting of the elders, brought their testimonies together and formed a judicial committee. This was a breach of clergy privilege.*
Please pay careful attention to what can only be described as a personal bias on the part of one of the elders in the committee who was supposed to have been going on holiday with two of our friends.
Compare his questioning, coupled with the testimony of the two elders, with the statement made right at the end by the Chairman that the committee was not prejudiced or biased.
Also, notice how attending other churches is grounds for disfellowshipping. This is a direct contravention of Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights. Click here for more information;
Remember, anyone who does not accept all of the Governing Body's interpretation of scripture is liable to face a committee such as I did.
Ask yourself whether the Watch Tower Society allows it's members to enjoy the same level of freedom of thought and religion as it itself expects to be afforded.
Is there any wonder why some view the Watch Tower Society as a dangerous cult?
*Jehovah's Witness elders consistently use the excuse of "clergy privilege" to avoid having to testify in court against suspected Jehovah's Witness pedophiles. Please check www.silentlambs.org for further information."
Monday, 20 July 2009
In this edition of the podcast we start the first of my judicial hearings. This is part 1 of the first hearing.
I'll let the audio speak for itself, however, please notice who the two witnesses are and how apostasy is defined when I ask what the charge means in real terms.
Please feel free to copy and distribute these podcasts. If you've any comments, please leave them on the website;
Monday, 1 June 2009
If you cannot open the file , get it free on itunes. Click on the link below.
He also clearly states his position regarding the worship of Jesus.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
This is a phrase that a Jehovah's Witnesses will either hear said many times, or read in the publications.
When I attended an intensive study and teaching course serving as a "pioneer" (in the Door to Door work) ,the book which we used
had a whole chapter dedicated to the "Effective use of the NWT" .
This chapter from the "Illuminators" book asks on page100 ; "Why was the NWT needed in the first place?" One of the answers given was :- "The honest-hearted need help to comprehend correctly the Bible's teachings"
Also this statement is made..."The NWT is a completely new translation unfettered by Christendom's religious traditions"
And ....."It is especially appreciated since it was translated directly from Hebrew , Aramaic and Greek"
Let us examine these three quotes and determine whether they are accurate statements.
How have the "honest-hearted" managed without the NWT for the best part of 2000 years? Is it fair to claim that persons reading the Bible would not be able to understand what they were reading and would fail to see the Bible's "teachings" until circa 1960 A.D.?
These comments are of course to reinforce the notion that this "translation" is indispensable to serious Bible students and anyone who regards themselves as honest-hearted. And the "help" comes from reading the NWT as opposed to other Bibles. The NWT was produced by an anonymous group of people in the 1950's and 60's.
Some of these same people consider themselves to be God's "Channel of communication on earth" , so it would follow that their Bible would also be considered to have God's approval.
Let us look at one example to see if the "Bible's teachings" are adhered to and expounded clearly.
Please look at Hebrews 1:6 "But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: “And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.”- New World Translation.
What are the honest-hearted being told here about Jesus? They are being told that the Angels do "obeisance" to him.
However when we look at the footnote in their reference Bible for Heb. 1:6 we see that it is the Greek word used is proskuneo and should actually be rendered "let WORSHIP" as it appears in many other translations. In the 1961 NWT it IS rendered "worship" but in the next revision (1971) it was removed for reasons known to this anonymous group.
Are the the "honest hearted" being helped to "comprehend" Bible truth?
The Watchtower Society (WTS) do not want to encourage the worship of Jesus in any way, a fact born out by the blatant removal of the word worship from this verse. So is manipulating the way a verse is translated acceptable, when the verse conveys a thought that is alien to the belief system one holds? I would have thought not.
Let us look at the second statement."The NWT is a completely new translation unfettered by Christendom's religious traditions".
This may well be an accurate statement to make as the WTS often adopt a position which is contrary to "Christendom" even if it cannot be substantiated , such as Jesus dying on a stake not a cross. So we would expect this same criteria to be applied in their NWT.
Is it fair though to say that your translation is unfettered by any religious "entity" such as "Christendom" while at the same time being heavily influenced or "fettered" by your OWN doctrinal bias?
Here is a quote from the Watchtower which represents how this actually works in real terms.
Watchtower 1986 4/1 p. 31
"Approved association with Jehovah’s Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?
That there is a “faithful and discreet slave” upon earth today ‘entrusted with all of Jesus’ earthly interests,’ which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses."(end of quote)
Notice how the Bible's true "teachings" are actually qualified by those beliefs which are "unique" to Jehovah's Witnesses?
So what this means is that the doctrinal and belief system of JWs such as the "faithful Slave" dogma are ,according to them, the REAL message of the Bible as interpreted by the Governing Body. Is this not exactly what the wts are claiming the NWT is free from?
Now let us consider the third quote:- "It is especially appreciated since it was translated directly from Hebrew , Aramaic and Greek"
While it is true that the NWT is translated from these ancient languages this statement gives the impression that the NWT always uses the oldest and most accurate manuscripts available and again that there is little room for manipulation.
Here is the quote from the foreword from the 1951 NWT:-
"The original writings of the Christian Greek Scriptures, commonly called the New Testament, were inspired. No translation of these Sacred writings into another language, is inspired... The Greek text that we have used as a basis of our NW translation is the widely accepted Westcott and Hort text (1881) by reason of its admitted excellence.But we have also taken in to consideration other texts including that prepared by D. Eberhard Nestle and that compiled by the Spanish Jesuit scholar Jose Maria Bover and that by the other Jesuit scholar A. Merk..."
The New world translation does not always use the oldest and most accurate manuscripts. So the question must be asked did they actually follow the ancient Greek text established by "Christendom's scholars, as they claim? No they did not. They threw in another series of later peculiar documents which have nothing to do with scholarly textual criticism because they are not witnesses to the ancient Greek text. Some of these "sources" happen to have included the name "Jehovah" or YHWH. Also of note is the fact that two named Jesuit Scholars (a high order of the Catholic Church) worked on the original Greek manuscripts to produce a translation which the society have drawn from for the NWT. These people are part of the very entity they repudiate in the WTS publications. So these sources , i. e. the Catholic Church are viable when it suits their purposes and vehemently condemned at other times. Is this not somewhat hypocritical?
Does this sound like the NWT is "unfettered" by Christendom's teachings?
Have a look in the NWT footnotes and you will see the proliferation of the letter "J" , these are the instances where they have utilised "manuscripts" and "sources" ranging from the 1500's to 1981. Usually where the Greek word for "Lord"(Kyrios) or God (Theos) would appear, the name Jehovah has been inserted in their place , thus "restoring" the Divine name to it's "rightful" place in the Greek scriptures. This has been done 237 times in the new testament of the New World Translation.
The oldest available Greek manuscripts do not contain YHWH at all, other than the expression "hallelujah" which appears in Revelation 19:3.
However a striking example of the translators doctrinal bias , hypocrisy and hiding the true message of the Bible is found at 1Thessalonians 4:15,16. in the NWT.
" For this is what we tell you by Jehovah’s word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep [in death]; because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first."
In the above verses the Greek word Kyrios or Lord in English, appears 3 times in the oldest Greek manuscripts. (highlighted).
In verse 15 we see that the NWT translators have used the name Jehovah in place of lord in the phrase "Jehovah's word" when in the Greek manuscripts it is "kyrios" or Lord.
The "J" manuscript uses Jehovah here so that is the NWT translation basis for including it . The NWT translation committee proudly say they have restored the divine name to it's rightful place. Please look to the very next verse (16). The Greek word Kyrios is now rendered "Lord" instead of Jehovah. If you again check the footnote of the reference bible you will notice that the "J" source translation has indeed rendered the name Jehovah , just as in the preceding verse. And yet now the preferred manuscript is ABVg which uses "kyrios" or Lord.
So why have the NWT translation Committee decided that the Divine name "Jehovah" is now surplus to requirements?
The answer is doctrinal bias. Can the Watchtower teach that "Jehovah descends from heaven with an Archangel's voice"? Can they have a teaching as in verse 17 where the those caught up meet "Jehovah" in the "Air"? (again see reference Bible footnotes) What is the Bible actually saying?
There are two doctrinal issues which prevent them using the "J" rendering here.
1. They teach that Jesus is an Archangel and use this verse as a proof text.
2. They teach that Jehovah has never been on the earth so it cannot possibly be true that Jehovah comes down from heaven.
So here is an example of the Bible being very much in second place to the "teachings" of the WTS. Also of note is the sudden disregard for the name Jehovah when it clashes with doctrinal positions.
So is the New World Translation "the finest there is"?, helping "honest-hearted" ones find Bible truth?, and is it "unfettered" by religious "traditions"?
I was shocked when I discovered the many instances where the NWT is in fact doing the opposite of what it claims to do.
I was raised to believe that this was an honest piece of work , instead I found through personal study, many cases where the verses were changed to suit JW beliefs by omitting words , changing words, adding words and in some cases entire phrases.
I lost my confidence in this "translation" many years ago. But I found a new love for the Bible in other more reliable works such as the fine New International Version (N.I.V.) which I would recommend.
No translation is perfect of course and many do reflect the beliefs of the translators but in the case of the NWT what has been done is a bridge too far.( Revelation 22:19.)
This is the final part of our second visit from two local elders.
In this podcast you'll notice the huge emphasis Jehovah's Witnesses put on their need to have an organisation to follow, an organisation that will place upon them an enforced unity of belief.
The elders stress their belief that only the 144,000 get the Holy Spirit and that they alone represent Jesus on earth today.
We come back to the issue of the United Nations. One of the elders had previously stated that the United Nations was "just the Beast". In this podcast you'll notice that he denies saying this.
I press one of the elders as to whether he would ever have any affiliation with the UN, notice how he responds.
The elders completely dismiss myself, my wife and my childrens' futures because we are no longer associated with the Watch Tower Society. We're also told that God is not with us, again because we don't believe the teachings of men in Brooklyn. Closeness to God is absolutely linked to the Watch Tower Society in the eyes of these elders, and sadly this is typical of most Jehovah's Witnesses.
The discussion turns from being about the teachings of the organisation to being about our personal character and the sort of people we are and will become. Interestingly, it's tacitly admitted that the lifestyle of the organisation can make you feel bad about yourself.
Friday, 8 May 2009
"The Faithful Steward and it's Governing Body"
This study will set the tone for future-proofing the Watchtower Society Doctrine that their Governing Body is is the voice of "the faithful slave" mentioned in parable by Jesus in Matthew chapter 24.
I thought as I read the study article starting on page 20 that the most important thing about this piece is what is missing, what is not said.
The first paragraph sets the tone of what they are trying to convey.
"While giving the composite sign of the last days Jesus said, "who really is the faithful and discreet slave?""
I believe what they are doing with the opening paragraph is placing the authority and position of "the slave" within the context of the signs of the times thus attempting to validate it in a modern setting without mentioning specifically WHEN they, (the wts's Governing Body) were appointed as the voice or "channel" of this class.
They then say that Jesus would "reward" and appoint this slave over all his belongings. Again crucially no time frame is given for this event. In paragraph 6 it's stated that Jesus had already "appointed" the slave class back in 33 C.E.
So who is left to be "appointed" in 1919? It would seem they are trying to convey the thought that this has been an ongoing role and the Governing Body are merely the spokesmen and the latest incarnation of something that has always existed in the same way as they have consistently said that the slave class has always been around. This would help to explain why there is no mention of the year 1919 in the article. It makes it a much more seamless doctrine , with no ugly date-setting from the last century. It also removes the argument that Jesus would never have appointed them in 1919, "look at all the wrong things they taught and were involved in".
The change allows a floating doctrine that is not constrained by the parameters of time and past false teachings.
As the article progresses the usual warnings and spiritual "food" is of course served.
Look at paragraphs 6. under the heading " The slave appears".
" It came into existence in 33c.e." They use a legitimate Bible event and claim that was Jesus "starting off" the "slave Class" in Pentecost.
The stuff that's then discussed about who did the teaching is beside the point, the real question is do they have the modern right to be THE TEACHERS?
So how do they move through the gears and apply this on-going "class" to themselves in modern times?
Usually we would find a dogmatic statement like " Jesus appointed this faithful slave in 1919 after he arrived in kingdom power in 1914"
It is nowhere to be seen!!!
I firmly believe that since it is a provable fact that 1914 is being mentioned less and less in the WTS publications then it would follow that the year 1919 also will be devalued and mentioned less too, as the two dates are inextricably linked.
This article would be the perfect place to reinforce the 1919 dogma to the rank and file JW's in a private study article.
Of course there are no scriptures that support the assertion that Jesus arrived in 1919 and appointed the WTS Governing Body or President to such a position, but since when did the Bible get in the way of a good WTS doctrine?
The title of the article is "The Faithful Steward and it's Governing Body". This is quite a statement considering Jesus did mention a faithful steward but did NOT mention a "Governing Body". In fact many Witnesses may be surprised to know that this phrase does not even appear anywhere in the Christian Greek scriptures. So mixing these two phrases together shows a level of manipulation regarding what Jesus actually said and that The WTS also have an agenda to fulfill.
The Governing Body is well aware of the weakness of their chronology which begins with the year 607 B.C.E. and ends with 1914 C.E. The 2520 year formula is not even a Jehovah's Witness doctrine, it was introduced to C.T. Russell by his friend and associate Nelson Barbour ,a fact documented in the "Proclaimers" book. Nelson Barbour never became a "witness". Russel was so impressed he started teaching it and Jehovah's Witnesses have taught it as Biblical fact ever since. Incredible , but true.
The book "gentile times reconsidered" delivers a fatal blow to the significance the wts attach to 607 B.C.E., thus destroying the notion that 1914 was the year the kingdom was born. They know this. They have the manuscripts, sent in by the author Carl Olof Johnsson in the early 1980's.
This man was an Elder in the Organisation and spent decades researching their claim that 607 B.C.E. was the year Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II. He sent in his research to the Governing Body in Brooklyn , which showed all the evidence pointed to 587 B.C.E. ,and was eventually disfellowshipped for holding a different view on the matter.
I firmly believe they are moving away from these dates and the claims associated with them. Instead they are using something altogether more tangible.
Please look to paragraph 11 where they make the link between the opening statement in par. 1 and the claim that the "slave" "appeared" in 33 C.E.
This paragraph states that "Jesus words clearly indicate that there would still be a faithful and discreet slave class living on earth at the time of the end"
What words of Jesus? Matthew 24:45 " Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time?"
Where in this verse which they quote from is Jesus referring to a "class"?
Where does Jesus say "clearly" they would be "living on earth at the time of the end"?
These are suppositions that the WTS have to insert to validate the claims which are made in this paragraph.(11)
"As a group this remnant has been appointed over all of Christs belongings here on earth."
What would these "belongings" be?
This is the most important point which is in my opinion hidden in the rest of the flannel this article contains.
The "belongings" are the "kingdom's earthly subjects". Yes the 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses are proof that this slave has been appointed!!!
The belongings are also "the material facilities used in preaching the good news" Yes, all the Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, Branches, Printing operations and the worldwide Headquarters in Brooklyn N.Y. are PROOF THAT THEY WERE APPOINTED!!!
What more proof does an honest-hearted person need than that?
We exist so therefore we are what we say we are. Classic circular WTS reasoning. Who can argue that there are NOT 7 million JW's around the world and that all the of the "material facilities" exist?
This is a far easier position to substantiate and maintain than the 1919 "appointment" dogma considering 1919 has no scriptural , historical , archaeological ,not to mention rational thought behind it. It is becoming almost laughable to mention the date of 1919 in relation to their claim of God-given authority considering we are a decade into the 21st century, and slowly creeping up on the year 2014.
I now think that this is the new "Proof" of their authority. The rank and file Witnesses themselves aren't going to be hard to convince as most of them cite these reasons as to why they believe it's "the truth", so why not base your authority on it as well? It makes sense.
I asked my brother about the scriptural validity of the 1919 appointment and he said "well yes, it was around about then, but we don't want to be dogmatic about it".
It is a bit late to say that , or is it?
Friday, 1 May 2009
In this podcast we continue with our second visit from two of the local elders.
The discussion moves onto the Biblical definition of a false prophet. I also provide both elders with evidence relating to the Watch Tower Society's dishonesty regarding their links to Johannes Greber. Please notice how swiftly this information is dismissed and attention is turned on my character instead.
Listen out for one of the elders saying that Jehovah would allow people to die within the Organisation due to their teachings.
Stunningly, this same elder says that anomalies in the Society's publication is the same as there being anomalies in the Bible. For some reason he also recommends that we read the "God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins . this elder says , "You'll find enough there to disturb you".
Also, the overt use of emotional blackmail may surprise you. Emotions become raw. Listen out for the moment when one of the elders agrees that we're being treated like we're dirt on the bottom of someone's shoe.
Thanks for listening to these podcasts. We feel it's important that people hear the standards that the Watch Tower Society sets for itself and the standards that are set for "rank and file" Jehovah's Witnesses.
Please feel free to burn these podcasts onto CD and share them, if you'd like to add them to your website, please do so.
Friday, 24 April 2009
play the audio
My wife and I had already had a visit from two elders, one of whom promised that he'd return.
True to his word, he returned bringing another local elder with him, who happens to be my brother. This podcast is the first of 3 parts of their visit.
We discuss some of Jehovah's Witnesses unique beliefs
Is the 1914 doctrine found in scripture?
Does the existence of ministerial servants and elders mark one group out as being the "true religion"?
Have the Watchtower Society added to the gospel ? (Gal 1:8)
Is the "Gentile times" calculation an express Bible teaching?
All the podcasts can be found on iTunes
I'd love to hear your thoughts on these podcasts, please leave your comments on the website. Or email me.
Monday, 30 March 2009
PLAY THE AUDIO
This is the final part of our first visit from 2 of the local elders.
Despite previously stating that a person would not be considered an apostate for reading material critical of the Watch Tower Society's teachings, one of the elders now makes the grave comment that passing on such material does designate a person as an apostate.
I am commended for keeping my own counsel - the elder admits that I have not been guilty of discussing my concerns about the Organisation with anyone else. This is an important point to keep in mind as he later claims the opposite to be true.
The elder also contradicts himself as to whether Jehovah has been blessing individuals or groups since 33CE.
This is part 3 of the Death or Obedience Podcast. For the story behind this podcast, be sure to visit the website - deathorobedience.blogspot.com
In this edition we continue with our visit from 2 of the local elders.
Our discussion moves onto whether the Organisation is inspired by God or not. One of elders admits that it isn't, however, he fails to explain how God can be using it as his agent on earth.
My wife is put under pressure to talk about any books she may have read which criticise the teachings of the Watch Tower Society. It's pointed out by the elder, though, that reading such literature does not make one an apostate.
We also broach the life or death topic of organ transplants.
PLAY THE AUDIO
In this edition we continue with our visit from 2 of the local elders. We discuss at length the Watch Tower Society's self-assigned role as God's prophet. Notice, however, how one of the elders states that the Society has never claimed to be a prophet, but were merely running ahead of Jehovah.
Notice also the terms "negative Bible study" and the complete dismissal of the Watch Tower Society's relationship with the United Nations.
PLAY THE AUDIO
Jehovah's Witnesses are required to accept the entire range of teachings and unique beliefs as laid out in Watch Tower Society publications.
Failure to do so results in being cut off, excommunicated, leaving the Jehovah's Witness to face one of two choices;
Death or Obedience.
In this series of podcasts we reveal what actually happens when Jehovah's Witnesses start to have doubts as to the scriptural validity of these unique teachings.
My wife and I were approached by the local elders who wished to visit us to impart some 'scriptural encouragement'. Little did we realise that this visit would eventually lead to us being faced with the choice;
Death or Obedience.
In the coming weeks you will hear recorded conversation with Jehovah's Witness elders, culminating with the secretive 'Judicial Committee' hearings that Jehovah's Witnesses are threatened with if they continue to question Watch Tower teachings.
Some of what you will hear may disturb you. Some of what you hear may upset you. The purpose of this podcast is to educate people as to the level of control an average Jehovah's Witness will face from the body of elders.
In part 1 of this series, my wife and I are visited by 2 local elders to enquire as to our spiritual well-being. This is part 1 of this particular visit which will span 4 podcasts.
Listen out for their unwillingness to admit that any outwith the Watch Tower Society can be considered a Christian, that the Watch Tower Society is, by definition, a false prophet and in particular listen out for one of the elders admitting that their belief of 1914 is not based in scripture.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
The Ransom and the New Covenant are treated in a very legalistic way by the wtbts.
This is an example from the reasoning book under the heading of "The Ransom" in which
there is an argument used to back up the position of the majority of attendees who refuse to partake of the emblems on the night.
"Reasoning" p. 309 par. 2
John 10:16: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (These “other sheep” come under the loving care of Jesus Christ while the remnant of the “little flock” of Kingdom heirs is still on earth; thus the “other sheep” can be associated with the Kingdom heirs as part of the “one flock.” They all enjoy many of the same benefits from Jesus’ sacrifice, but not identically so, because they have different destinies.)
So the "little flock" are the only partakers, everyone is told at the Memorial. The rest are the "other sheep" who do not partake but strangely STILL get the benefit of Jesus sacrifice.
I have yet to see in God's word where this arrangement is explained, or have any Witness explain how association with "the remnant" gives a person salvation by proxy.
It seems incredible to me that the" Faithful Slave" devote SEVEN whole pages to their discussion of the ransom in this book WITHOUT mentioning the Last supper or ANY of the relevant scriptures that speak of partaking of the flesh and blood of Jesus, and absolutely NO MENTION of 1 Tim 2;5 which says that Jesus is our mediator (i. e. all mankind who accept the sacrifice). Also NO MENTION of the NEW COVENANT. They have reduced the whole subject to a discussion of the origins of sin, and why we need the Ransom , and crucially leave THE ONE PAGE OF THE INSTRUCTIONS that you need to finish the project.
Right at the end however is the rub.
What is required of us in order to benefit lastingly from Jesus perfect sacrifice?
John 3;36 "he that exercises faith in the son has everlasting life"
so far so good......Biblical ,accurate and simple.....
Next question from page 311 "Reasoning"
What effect should this provision have on how we use our lives?
Titus 2; 13,14 " Christ Jesus ......gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own , zealous for fine works" (Appreciation for this marvelous provision should move us to have a zealous share in those works that Christ assigned to his true followers)
VERY, VERY clever. A scripture that speaks of the Ransom AND works in the same context! Almost like one needs to show the works to benefit, rather than good works being a result of dedicating one's life to Jesus.
So that verse is really telling us that if we really appreciate what Jesus did then we will do the works that he assigned us to? Sounds suspiciously like the parable of the faithful slave that he also "assigned"or appointed to "work" for his interests.
The verse says that the people for himself (not Jehovah) would already be zealous for fine works. But what they want people to take from the verse is that it's those works which are really the key.... Yes the Watchtower works program: Meetings, field ministry, assemblies, pre. study.And "Jesus true followers"?....Jehovah's Witnesses today.They are the ones who have the knowledge and the appreciation and the works to go with it.
Surely the most appreciative act a person could do would be to accept the Ransom or New Covenant provision which the wts seem to think are two separate things.
The Bible makes it very plain what is required of ANY individual wishing to please God.
Pray to God through Jesus.(John 14:6-9)
Put faith in and believe in Jesus as one's only saviour (Titus 2:13)
Ask for your sins to be forgiven,(Matthew 6:9,10)
Show you want to be one of Jesus' brothers by sharing the Lord's meal when you get the chance.
(1 Corinthians 11:26)
The "Reasoning" book also has a section on "The Memorial" where we can get an idea of the Watchtower teachings on that subject.
The first point to be made is there's no basis in scripture to say that it should only be celebrated once year, as though to do so more often would be somehow showing a lack of respect or a devaluing of Jesus provision.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:26 . . ".For as often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives."
Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus arrived in 1914 so why do they still observe the Lord's evening meal?
Let us assume that we should properly observe it regardless of whether or not Jesus arrived in 1914. What should one do on such an occasion?
Most of the material deals with the subject in a fair and objective manner, explaining it's significance and who Jesus asked to partake.
Then this question is posed on page 267:-
Who is to partake of the bread and the wine?
Who partook when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal shortly before he died? Eleven faithful followers to whom Jesus said: “I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.” (Luke 22:29) They were all persons who were being invited to share with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom. (John 14:2, 3) All who partake of the bread and wine today should also be persons whom Christ brings into that ‘covenant for a kingdom.’
Again this is Biblical and sound so far.
Then this next section says on page 268:-
How many are there that partake? Jesus said that only a “little flock” would receive the heavenly Kingdom as their reward. (Luke 12:32) The full number would be 144,000. (Rev. 14:1-3) That group began to be selected in 33 C.E. Reasonably, there would be only a small number partaking now.
Jesus did indeed utter those words, but where in any of the gospels did Jesus make the statement that is presented after his words? Namely that the number of those who would inherit the Kingdom would be limited to 144,000 of persons who go to heaven?
It's nowhere to be found.
What about the apostle Paul who was quoted above, did he perhaps in the 14 books of the Bible he wrote make mention of the number being limited to 144,000 persons having the heavenly hope?
No he did not.
A question to ask one's self is; if you have the hope of living in a paradise earth, when did this secondary hope become available?
In the early days of the organisation which is now known as Jehovah's Witnesses EVERY person had the heavenly hope as the Bible describes. "Only from the year 1935 did the "other sheep" class have an earthly hope" would be what most Witnesses would say.
However this is actually NOT now what is the official doctrine.In 2007, the 1935 teaching was changed with a simple admission:
"Thus it appears that we can not set a specific date for when the calling of Christians to the heavenly hope ends." Watchtower 2007 May 1 p.31
So very simply put, if the heavenly hope didn't actually close in the year 1935 then where does that leave those who claim an earthly hope?
"Judge " Rutherford didn't even bother TRYING to give credibility to the year by means of scripture, for there are no scriptures to support the year in question. Instead he used the mention of a "great crowd" in Revelation to insist that these were the ones who would have the earthly hope. This in itself was a reversal in doctrine from the notion that the "great crowd" was a secondary heavenly class of less faithful ones.
Every time the book of Revelation mentions the "great crowd" it's in a heavenly setting, not on earth!
Revelation 19;1 even says "After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd IN HEAVEN." which the Revelation Climax book does not even try to explain.( page 272 Rev climax)
It's a stark thought, ask yourself when did your earthly hope become available?
Can it be backed up by scripture?
Why do you feel that you will be living forever in a paradise earth when the New Testament consistently speaks of "the Kingdom of the Heavens"?
What does Jesus say about your hope for eternal life?
He made the statement below a full year before the Lord's evening meal was first held knowing it would be the only hope for mankind.
(John 6:53) . . .Accordingly Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Here are some examples from the past of their views on understanding scripture relative to the wts organisation.
"Bible classes and and Bible studies are all to no purpose until the Lord, in due time , sent them the 'Bible keys' through the society" wt10/01/1909 p4482
"If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the bible topically arranged, with Bible proof texts given we might not improperly name the volumes- the Bible in an arranged form. That is to say ,they are not merely comments on the Bible , but they are practically the Bible itself...." wt9/15/1910p4685.
"A person would go into darkness after two years of reading the Bible alone; would be in the light reading the studies in the scriptures alone" wt9/15/1910.p4685
Now some more recent statements.
"Heavy research is not necessary.The Watchtower has done it for you.The most beneficial study you can do is to read the Watchtower or Awake! or a new book by the organisation." wt6/01/67 p338
"The Bible is a sealed book except to the organisation"Wt7/01/73p402
"Jehovah caused the Bible to be written in such a way that you need his human channel to understand it"WT 2/15/1981p.17
"Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that god is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible study we do."WT 12/01/81p 27.
"An individual must have The Watchtower to understand the Bible" 1983 yearbook p.21
"Our coming to know "the truth"- the entire body of Christian teachings that HAS BECOME PART OF THE BIBLE - and adhering to it are essential for our salvation." 15/12/2009 p.28,study edition.
And this is link is on the official web page of JW's right now.
(click on the link below)
Johann told his wife and children: “You must always read The Watchtower. It will help you to understand the Bible.”
These statements are not merely the views of the wts , but are rather enforced doctrine that if any JW was to disagree with would mean his removal from the congregation.
The import of these quotes is that the Bible is basically a book for the organisation's Governing Body to interpret. No individual can operate outside of these parameters.
A fair question to ask would be; how did God-fearing Christians manage to please God and attain salvation before the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society appeared in the late 19th century?
Is it really likely that no one was able to understand the Bible properly until C.T. Russell explained it to them through his books? As all of his books are now spiritually defunct,how could his views be the only way to salvation?If you believed his teachings nowadays you would be disfellowshipped.
What about the two billion professed Christians around the world today? Can all of these people who have 'just' the Bible be living in a spiritual vacuum, without any hope for salvation?
I think the most pertinent scriptures that come to mind are John 14;26 "But the helper, the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you."
and John 15;26 "When the helper arrives that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth, which proceeds from the Father, that one will bear witness about me"
Far from a publishing corporation or even an individual or group, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit , a helper and teacher would instruct people and witness about him.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
This is perhaps the most important doctrine of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society( WTS), although strangely most Jehovah's Witnesses are not aware of the acute significance of the teaching.The belief stems from the question Jesus himself posed in Matthew 24:45-47 “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.
This idea was first promoted in the early days of the wts organisation. The New World Translation (NWT) of the Bible was not yet in use, so the term used was "Faithful and wise servant"- which applied solely to C.T.Russell(president of the WTS) himself. This teaching continued for many years after his death in the year 1916. After J. F. Rutherford had been president for many years the doctrine was modified to the present format where all of the remnant of the "144,000" are in fact the "faithful slave" and are in turn represented by the small group of men at H.Q. in Brooklyn N.Y..
The basic import of this doctrine has not changed at all over the 130 years of the WTS's existence. The Idea is that The WTS is God's "channel of communication" on the earth and therefore the members of the JW faith are required to have unwavering confidence and faith in what the organisation teaches via the published material.The WTS teach that they were "appointed" as the faithful slave circa 1919 C.E.. Jesus apparently made an inspection of all of the Christian groups and decided that the WTS were the most worthy.
The Verses in Question.
There are a number of issues that should be of concern regarding this teaching , and perhaps the best place to start is with the Bible itself. Firstly is it reasonable to conclude that this parable has a real time prophetic application and that the benefactors of Jesus invisible inspection would in fact be placed in a position of absolute authority?
Benjamin Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott gives the definition of a parable - "it denotes a fictitious narrative , invented for the purpose of conveying truth in a less offensive or more engaging manner than that of direct assertion". So in other words a story....Why are there not a raft of prophecies(and modern day applications) concerning the many, many parables Jesus gave? Could it be that WTS only make application of the one's that suit their purposes, i.e. "the Dragnet" parable?
Can one derive from the Bible any mention of Jesus coming to inspect the worlds religions at a specific time and thereafter "appointing" one as "God's mouthpiece" to the exclusion of all others?
Also worth noting in the verses in question is the fact that it is Jesus himself who does the appointing ,not the slave who appoints himself or makes a claim to that effect.
These are all very valid questions but on close inspection of the context of the verses in question a more startling fact becomes apparent. Remember Jesus has just given his counsel regarding the "signs of the times" and the "end of the system of things". In fact Vs. 36-44 describe the very end of the system, where a comparison is drawn with the destruction of Noah's day and verse 42 shows that this is speaking of the very day of Jesus coming as opposed to a general period of time.
The whole import of Jesus words is of NOT knowing the day of his inspection , hence "keep on the watch" because the son of man will come "at an hour that you do not expect him".And the reward that the faithful ones would receive? ,being given all his belongings, i.e. their Kingdom inheritance.
We then come to the verses in question 45-47 where the "slave" doctrine originates. Is it reasonable to conclude that these verses apply to a time some 90 years ago?
Since the Master's arrival is at a time when the domestics or slaves do not expect , some within the household are warned against "beating" their fellow slaves because they feel the Master is delaying.This is further evidence that the actual meaning behind the parable is to counsel or warn Christ's brothers against both mistreatment of their fellow "slaves" and also that they must remain spiritually alert. Surely the counsel Jesus gave in all his parables were for all his followers for the whole period until the judgement day, which is why there is an element within most of his parables of warning and judgement regarding a Christian's life course. If this parable has already been fulfilled then the whole point Jesus was making in this parable is now moot, an historical curiosity.
Does the evidence support the claim?
When one has a scientific theory the only way that it becomes accepted scientific fact is when the available evidence proves it to be correct.Granted the Bible and spiritual matters cannot always be subjected to analysis in this way as some things are impossible to establish beyond doubt and are in areas which require faith. But in this case let us treat it as a theory to be established or cast aside. Let us suppose that there was a "slave" and the Jesus did appoint the WTS as such. Let us examine the notion by the WTS own criteria.
The nation of Israel were God's chosen people in much the same way as the "spiritual Israel" is today.Moses was the spokesperson and passed on laws , commands and directions to the nation from Jehovah. However when we examine literal Israel's direction we find that Divine wisdom is present, in such matters as sanitation, hygiene in connection with the treatment of dead bodies, etc.The nation themselves would have no idea why they did those things but God's wisdom would have been followed regardless. This is not to mention the ten commandments that Moses passed on to the people. Flawless, eternal, unchanging laws that have stood the test of time many thousands of years later.
Laws and Commands.
Do the "slave's" teachings hold up under the same scrutiny? Firstly the WTS has a long history of making decisions on medical matters and enforcing it as law within the WTS membership.If any JW dared to speak out and disagree or engage in the banned action they would be excluded from the group by disfellowshipping.
As an example the teaching that the medical practice of vaccination was a "crime, an outrage, and a delusion" on the grounds that blood was being misused. This is a striking example of the lack of even basic scientific knowledge. It became clear that the vaccinations in question contained animal matter, but NOT blood.Surely if Jehovah God were directing the WTS as they claim there would be a similar input from God to that of Israel? In other words advanced Divine knowledge that superseded any human reasoning on the matter in question. But instead what do we see? , the exact opposite. Wrong , very wrong teachings,that cost people's health and in some cases lives. Is this an isolated case though? No, unfortunately not. From 1967-1980 the WTS taught and enforced the ruling that human organ transplants were against God's laws as set forth in the scriptures. The argument used was that taking such a transplant was analogous to " cannibalism" and that since JW's do not accept blood( which is an organ) then it would follow that any other organ-transplant would be unacceptable to JW's. Classic WTS circular reasoning at it's best, or worst, tragically as many persons either died or suffered badly because of this intrusion into peoples lives. This policy was quietly reversed in a 1980 W.T. question from readers which stated that there was no Bible injunction which would prevent those whose conscience
allowed them to now accept an organ transplant. Again the question must be asked, does this appear to be an organisation being led by God's Spirit to pass on commands and laws from heaven? Where is the evidence of God's hand in the matter? Would God really cause death or harm to any of his servants by these erroneous and ill conceived teachings being given out via his "channel of communication"?
What I would also ask is How does the process of "truth" being conveyed to the Governing Body actually work? Do they pray and then receive direction from the Holy Spirit as to what to write? That sounds an awful lot like how the Bible was written UNDER INSPIRATION. Since the Governing Body say that they do not have any more Holy Spirit than anyone else why then do all Jehovah's Witnesses have to listen to them as they would "the voice of God". It just doesn't make any coherent, logical sense.
The above "doctrines" are two of the more serious "truths" that JW's have had to accept only for them to be scrapped later. There are of course many examples in a similar vein- "miracle wheat" , the "radio biola" device which could diagnose /cure the sick (both items for sale to the brothers in the publications), the 20 year tirade against the use of aluminium cookware on the grounds that it was thought to cause many death dealing ailments. All these things do not make a very good case for the WTS being appointed as God's "Faithful slave".
The above represents the more extreme and dangerous teachings which could threaten a persons life, but what about the idea that the "slave" is meant to feed his fellow domestics?
It is of course NOT implied in Jesus' words at all that the food is in fact "spiritual food", that is dispensed in the form of literature about the Bible , rather than the bible itself. And that at his "appointed time" a small group of men via international publishing corporation would then assume God-given authority over all JW's spiritual direction.
Let us look at a number of examples of the "food" being provided for JW consumption.
Claims and Dates
The last days began in- 1799. strike that-1874, before agreeing on 1914.( The current teaching is that the year 1914 is not linked by time to Armageddon's coming.)
The year 1914 will see Armageddon and the resurrection of JW anointed living on earth to heaven.
1918 will see the end of all the churches on earth.
The year 1925 will see Isaac ,David and Jacob resurrected to the earth.(a house was built for this purpose).
The end of this system will occur in 1975.
"It is unlikely we will see the the year 2000 before the end of this system". -statement in the publications.
These are just a few of the truly colossal amount of failed prophetic dates that the WTS have provided to the faithful for consumption. Not one of the above predictions materialised.
Even though the Bible says that interpretations belong God, this does not prevent the "slave" from offering such for spiritual consumption.Surely Jehovah would be able to cast light on his word if he was directing the WTS? Also ask yourself do the following examples show the "light getting brighter" when in some cases the "new light" can be the exact opposite of the former teaching?
Will those who perished at Sodom be resurrected? Between 1879 and 1989 the answer went back and forth between yes and no a staggering EIGHT times even changing from no to yes during one year- 1988!
Who is the alpha and the Omega? Between 1955 and 1988(current teaching) this was either Jehovah or Jesus , this changed four times.
Who is Michael? In 1917 in the "finished mystery" book he is rather absurdly said to be none other than the POPE! Nowadays of course it's taught that he is Jesus.
Where is heaven? In the book "reconciliation" It's confidently stated that it is in the "Pleides" constellation, a statement which was later withdrawn.
Who built the great pyramid at Giza and for what purpose? The WTS taught for approximately 50 years that it was built under Jesus direction and was a "witness in stone" to the 1914 teaching and supported the Bible record too. It was later stated that it was in fact Built by Satan and had nothing to do with God's purpose or the bible.
What do the "1600 furlongs" spoken of in revelation refer to? In 1917 it was taught this referred to the distance between the place where the book "the finished mystery" was written and the place where it was published in America, provided u travel by a certain Lackawanna railroad and then take the Hoboken ferry! Truly Amazing......Nowadays it's explained that it just means destruction in a big way.(Rev Climax bk.)
Who are the seven spirits or angels of Revelation? They are the seven volumes of the series "studies in the scriptures"(1917)
The above is only a small fraction of the many strange , clouded views, and interpretations that have been espoused over the 140 years or so of the WTS. Does the doctrine hold up under inspection, and is it sound evidentialy? Is it an explicit bible teaching, and did Jesus intend this parable to have a prophetic application?
However there are far more serious and damaging doctrines that witnesses HAVE to accept, such as the WTS views on who is part of the new covenant and who Jesus is mediator of. These teachings are against the very core of what being a Christian means. All of JW beliefs hinge on the mental acceptance that the WTS's authority is God given through the "slave" class. There have been many books written that deal with the whole subject in an excellent fashion, one such is "Captives of a concept" by Don Cameron, a very worthwhile read for all JW's and those who have left or have any connection with this Organisation.