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.
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