Monday, 30 March 2009

Death or Obedience - The Podcast Part 4

This is part 4 of the Death or Obedience Podcast. For the story behind this podcast, be sure to visit the website -

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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.

Death or Obedience - The Podcast Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

This is part 3 of the Death or Obedience Podcast. For the story behind this podcast, be sure to visit the website -

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.

Death or Obedience - The Podcast Part 2

This is part 2 of the Death or Obedience Podcast. For the story behind this podcast, be sure to visit the website -

Part 1

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.

Death or Obedience - The Podcast

Part 1 - The Elders Come to Visit Part 1 of 4


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 Memorial, Ransom and New Covenant

The Memorial is an annual event when Jehovah's Witnesses give official thanks to Jesus for His Ransom Sacrifice, and thus their way to eternal life. We will look at the subject of the Ransom first.

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.

page 310

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.

Pages 266-69

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

The Watchtower view of the Bible

How do the modern concepts and teachings of the wts differ from the old ones of 100 years ago?

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)

Mennonites Search for Bible Truth

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

The Concept of the "Faithful and Discreet Slave"

The Doctrine of the "faithful and discreet slave"

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".

Spiritual direction.

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)

In conclusion.

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.