The November Study Edition of The Watchtower just came out. One of our alert readers drew our attention to page 20, paragraph 17 which reads in part, “When “the Assyrian” attacks…the life-saving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.”
This article is yet another occurrence of a trend we’ve been experiencing this year, and actually for some time now, where we cherry-pick a prophetic application that is convenient to our organizational message, gleefully ignoring other relevant parts of the same prophecy what might contradict our claim. We did this in the February Study Edition when dealing with the prophecy in Zechariah chapter 14, and again in the July issue when dealing with the new understanding of the faithful slave.
Micah 5:1-15 is a complicated prophecy involving the Messiah. We ignore all but verses 5 and 6 in our application. (This prophecy is difficult to comprehend due to the somewhat stilted rendering it receives in the NWT. I would recommend you access the web site, bible.cc, and use the parallel translation reading feature to review the prophecy.)
Micah 5:5 reads: “…As for the Assyrian, when he comes into our land and when he treads upon our dwelling towers, we shall also have to raise up against him seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes of mankind.” Paragraph 16 explains that “the shepherds and dukes (or, “princes,” NEB) in this implausible army are the congregation elders.”
How do we know this? There is no scriptural evidence to support this interpretation. It appears we are expected to accept it as fact because it comes from those who claim to be God’s appointed channel of communication. However, the context seems to undermine this interpretation. The very next verse reads: “And they will actually shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in its entrances. And he will certainly bring about deliverance from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land and when he treads upon our territory.” (Micah 5:6)
To be clear, we are speaking of “the attack of ‘Gog of Magog,’ the attack of “the king of the north,” and the attack of “the kings of the earth.” (Ezek. 38:2, 10-13; Dan. 11:40, 44, 45; Rev. 17:14:19-19)” according to what paragraph 16 says. If our interpretation holds, then the congregation elders will deliver Jehovah’s people from these attacking kings using a weapon, the sword. What sword? According to paragraph 16, “Yes, among ‘the weapons of their warfare,’ you will find “the sword of the spirit,” God’s Word.”
So the congregation elders will deliver God’s people from the attack of the combined military forces of the world by using the Bible.
That may sound strange to you—it certainly does to me—but let’s skip over that for now and ask, how will this scriptural direction come to the seven shepherds and eight dukes. According to paragraph 17—quoted in our opening paragraph—it will come from the organization. In other words, the Governing Body will be directed by God to tell the elders what to do, and in turn, the elders will tell us.
Therefore—and this is the key point—we had better stay in the Organization and remain loyal to the Governing Body because our very survival depends upon them.
How do we know this is true? Doesn’t the leadership of every religious body say the same thing about themselves? Is this what Jehovah tells us in his word?
Well, Amos 3:7 does say, “For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.” Well, that seems clear enough. Now we just have to identify who the prophets are. Let’s not be too quick to say the Governing Body. Let’s examine the Scriptures first.
In the time of Jehoshaphat, there was a similar overwhelming force coming against Jehovah’s people. They gathered together and prayed and Jehovah answered their prayer. His spirit caused Jahaziel to prophecy and he told the people to go out and face this invading army. Strategically, a foolish thing to do. It was obviously designed to be a test of faith; one they passed. It is interesting that Jahaziel wasn’t the high priest. In fact, he wasn’t a priest at all. However, it appears he was known as a prophet, because the next day, the king tells the gathered crowd to “put faith in Jehovah” and to “put faith in his prophets”. Now Jehovah could have chosen someone with better credentials like the high priest, but he chose a simple Levite instead. No reason is given. However, if Jahaziel had had a long record of prophetic failings, would Jehovah have chosen him? Not likely!
According to Deut. 18:20, “…the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak…that prophet must die.” So the fact that Jahaziel wasn’t dead speaks well for his reliability as a prophet of God.
Given the atrocious track record of our Organization’s prophetic interpretations, would it be logical and loving for Jehovah to use them to deliver a life or death message? Consider his own words:
(Deuteronomy 18:21, 22) . . .And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” 22 when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’
For the past century, the Organization had repeatedly spoken words which ‘did not occur or come true’. According to the Bible, they spoke presumptuously. We should not get frightened of them.
A statement such as what is made in paragraph 17 is intended to accomplish just that: To make us afraid to disregard the authority of the Governing Body. This is an old tactic. Jehovah warned us about it over 3,500 years ago. When Jehovah has had a life and death message to deliver to his people, he has always used a means that leaves no doubt as to the authenticity of the message or the credibility of the messenger.
Now the point made in paragraph 17 that the direction may “appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint” is well taken. Often Jehovah’s messengers have delivered direction that appears foolish from a human point of view. (Building an ark in the middle of nowhere, positioning a defenseless people with their backs to the Red Sea, or sending 300 men to fight a combined army, to name only a few.) It seems the one constant is that his direction always requires a leap of faith. However, he always makes sure we know it is His direction and not someone else’s. It would be hard to do that using the Governing Body given that they’ve rarely been right about any prophetic interpretation.
So who are his prophets? I don’t know, but I’m sure that when the time comes, we all will—and without any doubt.
I find it interesting that the angel of Revelation tells John, that his brothers are prophets about 7 times…however in times of Israel besides the well know prophets (4 + 12) there were others numbering into thousands…
[…] is an updated post of one released back in August, 2013 when this issue of The Watchtower was first […]
Oh, my, you capped it off well there, dear brother. “Give up falsehood and the age-old pattern of following men. Follow the Christ without fear and in the freedom of the children of God” 2 Cor. 11:3,4,20, Romans 14:8.
That is the crux of the matter. NO earthly house holds our Father in Heaven; worship in spirit and truth.
1 Cor 2:14 – But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
Thank you brother Meleti I would like to know something about you personally (if it’s Ok ) How do you see your self? – As one of JWs? From some of your comments I read, it seems that you hold an office – Do you presently hold an appointment in the organisation? If so – would you mind telling me what it is? and How long you served? How long have you been a dedicate baptised brother? I live in Australia and I’m just naturally curious about the person I’m communicating with. Please If in any way uncomfortable with any… Read more »
I would love to tell you all about myself. If our organization provided the type of freedom which the Christ granted to us, I would be able to. Alas, that is not the case. As to the Scriptures you have asked me to comment on, I particularly like the idea of “oneness of spirit” from Eph. 4:2 followed by the idea of “one body, one Lord, one Faith, one baptism and one God and Father of all”. I find it hard to equate this with the concept of the two-body system we have of the anointed and the other sheep,… Read more »
This is just another boring dogma of congregation WTism Apollos
A brother, [Got to start a new thread as columns are getting too narrow] Thanks for your further reply. Let’s consider all our options here and not confuse the issues: There is the issue of authority inside the congregation. There is the issue of authority outside of the congregation. There is the issue of truthful doctrine. To me you seem to be blending all the issues together. In your comment to sw & Meleti you said “In the end all authority allowed or permitted by God is working to accomplish God’s purpose in one way or another. “ This is… Read more »
Apollos, this is just more circular insanity of WTism, its time to move on!
Hello my brother Apollos I don’t know why or how (so soon) but I feel a real sense of brotherly affection towards you, and I thought I should tell you so. In this response I will try to be as brief as I can, and do my best to attempt to answer some of the questions you pose. First of all let me say that as Christians guided as we are by God’s spirit we do not look at things like physical men do. We consider things from a much higher perspective as spiritual men. To physical men this higher… Read more »
A brother I am not looking for imperfection in people. But I fail to see what that has to do with looking for truth in God’s Word. Again we need to separate the issues. As far as I am concerned anyone inside or outside the organization is free to believe whatever they choose. That of course includes those in authority. What I do not accept is the right for another human to demand that I believe that which is false. I have come to appreciate that surrendering my power of scriptural reason to others can become a barrier to a… Read more »
Dear brother apollos. Thank you for your comments. First of all let me assure you that I have not deliberately avoided your question. Nor would I ever do so – I consider doing so dishonest. I this response entirely to your question. Do you believe Rutherford was appointed as the Faithful Slave in 1919. Answer – No – I don’t believe this premise (although I prefer the word accept) . You may be surprised to learn that I have not accepted this whole premise of a faithful and discreet slave (as we have understood it) for well over a decade.… Read more »
Brother There is surely a big difference between not risking stumbling our brother or sister over dietary issues, and withholding Christian truth. You and I evidently agree that certain teachings are without foundation. I will go so far as to say that certain teachings are falsifiable in scripture. You choose to express these as teachings that you simply might not accept. But it amounts to the same thing. It seems that the fundamental difference between us is our perception of how damaging these teachings might be. That was the essence of your first comment on the site I believe. I… Read more »
What’s a new thread?
To A Brother, Alas, you have managed to avoid a clear and direct answer to my question. You counsel submission, but do not specify to whom. “Submission requires humility a Godly quality resistance is Satanic.” A general statement, and as is often the case with generalities, both true and false. For instance, to whom are you counseling I submit? To God, to Christ, or to men? Jesus told us to resist the wicked one, so all resistance is not satanic and all submission is not Godly. “SINCE THE LORD MADE THEM ACCOUNTABLE TO HIM. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE… Read more »
A suggestion here might be, while I understand your frustration, Meleti, I also understand A Brother who’s in typical transition and who, like us, awaits the return of our Lord. Try not to misunderstand. While reading him I didn’t need him to quote scripture. We’ve read them all in context and out of context. True he missed clarification and context from your perspective, but as moderator of another site, I often read what others write whose attitude is misunderstood. Speaking face to face we have opportunity of clarification. However, venting written dialogue such as we all read A Brother, it’s… Read more »
Thank you brother smolderingwick for your reasonable approach but please do not stereotype me as a brother in a typical transition although I do await the return of the lord. Thank you also for acknowledging that my statements were related to scriptures and since I was speaking to brothers, I naturally assumed for the sake of expediency to paraphrase them in my comments. I don’t quite understand your illustration entirely but I think you are trying to say that when one has a lot to say and little space to do it in one may leave out certain details which… Read more »
“Brother Meletic is not the spiritual man I thought he might be and I’m not saying this to insult him Only to say that I over estimated his spiritual stature.” Let us agree not to engage in judgments of one another, either of our spiritual nature or of our motivations. Now your comments are very long. I am not being critical in saying that. I say it only because addressing the many issues and questions you raise can be a challenge in this format. A long and involved comment requires a longer and more involved response. That response will raise… Read more »
Brother Meleti Thank you for you response and I will try to reduce the size of my comments, Lets see if I can address your points one by one. 1. I don’t know and cannot say with certainty if the governing body has been appointed by God – No -all I know is that a governing body was present and had oversight of the work of Jehovah’s witnesses when I was brought the good news. The governing body should be obeyed yes —- Now you add even if they are wrong My response with the condition you imposed hypothetically speaking… Read more »
To A Brother, I understand your desire to address every issue I raised, but as I stated in the previous comment, I would rather stick with one at a time and resolve it one way or the other. Then of course we can move on to others if we deem the important enough for ongoing discussion. I appreciate your opinion and respect your right before God to make the choice you feel is right. It seems to me that we have to differing opinions and in the end we may simply have to agree to disagree. You have stated yours… Read more »
Dear Brother Meleti – I would like to ask you a few questions if you would be so kind to allow me? I will wait until you’re ready if you don’t have time presently. Tank you
That would be fine.
Let’s start a new discussion thread though, because we’ve narrowed the columns down to the minimum on this one.
We have imperfect men (the GB) telling us: All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not. And we have GOD’S inspired word telling us: “For the undeserved kindness of God which brings salvation to all sorts of men has been manifested, 12 instructing us to repudiate ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things,” – Titus 2:11-12 There seems to be a direct conflict in the two!! I wonder… Read more »
The discussion has degenerated into a lot of negativity – why? – HOW HAVE YOU BEEN PERSONALLY DAMAGED MY BROTHER? I MEAN PERSONALLY DAMAGED – There is no direct conflict my brother (if you really are my brother) You need to stop and reason things through spiritually – If you possess the maturity to do so through the use of your perceptive powers trained by our grand instructor to distinguish right from wrong. Heb 5:14 – Isa 30:20 The GB are imperfect men and so are all other men – I don’t know of anyone who is perfect? Do you?… Read more »
A brother, Using this reasoning a Catholic is bound to be loyal to the pope, and there is no wrong in doing so since we can just view him as an imperfect man trying to take the lead. At what point do we distinguish truth from falsehood? Meleti’s article isn’t an attack on any person or persons. It is simply evaluating a teaching in the clear light of scripture. If somebody misrepresents the relationship that the scriptures say that we can have with God, then evidently it CAN be personally damaging if we believe it. There are indeed specific commands… Read more »
Sorry, thought your comments were directed to Meleti on his most recent article. Hence my comment about “relationship with God”. That might not have made complete sense in this context. But the point I was trying to make still stands. Apollos
Your line of reasoning has been used for centuries you bolster support for and loyalty to church leadership. Take out Governing Body and insert Pope or Church Leadership and hand this to a Catholic or a Baptist and your words work just as well. Answer me this: What is the criteria you would use to tell a Catholic he doesn’t have to obey the Pope? What is his basis for a Baptist or Mormon to refuse to obey the direction from his Church leadership? Once you’ve defined that criteria, explain how is doesn’t apply to us as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s… Read more »
Brothers by your responses it seems to me that you have taken what I said and ignored some, misunderstood other and attributed to me a whole lot of conclusions and motives I did not intend to make. Is this proper? When Jesus was on earth many questions where posed to him. Remember the question on the seven resurrected husbands so whose wife is she? Jesus did not go into lengthy discussion in order to prove his point of truth. He only had to state one scripture just one scripture properly and correctly explained to prove the point. The supremacy of… Read more »
A brother, I am sorry you feel the way you do about our discussion. You may not intend it, but the use of capitalization though whole sentences online is considered to be shouting. I do not feel the need to shout at people on this matter. We can simply stick to the scriptural discussion and if at any point you or I do not wish to continue then we have that option. Here is a simple point of reason which I feel you ought to able to relate to given your Catholic background. In our publications we have frequently heralded… Read more »
My dear brother Apollos. Thank you for your very kind message I greatly appreciate it. I offer my sincere apology for the use of capitalised sentences, if it means one is shouting I was not aware of this, I was only using it as a means for emphasis, Very sorry for that and thank you for pointing this out to me. Dear brother Appolos I have not read your other comments yet, I will try, and I have no reason doubt your sincerity. I understand the point you are making about how in our publications we have praised those who… Read more »
Excellent reply Meleti !!!
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Having now read the entire November 15 Watchtower I can now find words to express an opinion. While initially shocked upon seeing how obvious the ruse, I am not surprised in the direction they’re taking. In September we begin studying the July 15 Watchtower, unhinging the anointed remnant from Governing Body of eight men declaring themselves sole appointees of Christ to ‘Faithful and Discreet Slave’ status. While that might sound insensitive on my part, it’s not without the parallel announcement by Pope Francis of the eight cardinals he has appointed from around the world as his… Read more »
“…about 100 years after our urgent proclamation began that Christ arrived invisibly in Kingdom power.”
Even there, you’re being too generous. 100 years ago they thought Jesus was already invisibly present.
Sounds quite cultish.
Other Quotes from the November 15, 2013 Watchtower _____________________________________________________________ “God’s promised new world is near, and our salvation is nearer than we may think.” (w13 11/15 p.7) “Our way of life will thus reveal that we are staying awake spiritually and that we really believe that the end of this wicked system of things is imminent.” (w13 11/15 p.7) “If we are busy helping others to gain accurate knowledge about God, the time remaining before the coming of Jehovah’s judgment will pass more quickly. Soon—even suddenly—time will run out. When it does, how glad we will be that we kept… Read more »
I add the following to Beenmislead’s list:
“Is it later than you think?” Cover of the Awake magazine, October 8, 1968
“Is it later than you think?” Title of the Special talk, 2012.
My use of humour above is more in frustration really.. As Anderestimme says JWs are just expected to believe what is in the publications no matter how fanciful, no questions asked. But this is not just a worrying trend, its been the expectation, particularly since the days of Rutherford.
Oh but I DO remember that magazine! And I still remember the fellow chasing me down the street waving it in the air asking if I could tell him more! Turns out he was a Vietnam draft-dodger looking for a better answer for why the world had gone mad. How little we knew just how mad it would yet get since 1975!
Or, how about this quote, “BeenMisled”: Paragraph 17, from the Nov. 15th, 2013 Watchtower issue, “At that time, the life-saving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not. (4) Now is the time for any who may be putting their trust in secular education, material things, or human institutions to adjust their thinking. The elders must stand ready to help any who may now be wavering in their… Read more »
Unfortunately, no. It doesn’t apply. The belief is that as God’s appointed channel of communication, when they speak, God is speaking, so Acts 5:29 doesn’t apply.
If you allow me please Why does Act 5: 29 cease to apply based on the paragraph you quoted? The paragraph as I read it merely says that: 1. We receive life giving direction – Any and all direction based on the scriptures qualifies as life saving – no matter who utters it – This is true 2. That at times scriptural direction does not appear practical – Particularly when examined from a purely human stand point. – This is very true 3. That in view of the time in which we live if anyone is thinking to put his… Read more »
The worrying trend I see is that the world-wide brotherhood is expected to simply believe what’s in the publications based on nothing more than the authority of the organization. No caveats are included to the effect these are simply the best-guess interpretations of imperfect humans, subject to revision. My guess is that they are worried that if they do that, it will encourage all manner of speculation on ‘better’ interpretations with the resulting deluge of letters to HQ. Uppity underlings who write in their irksome ideas when their time would be better spent racking up hours in service are more… Read more »
Brothers, I do agree that some of the things we as an organization have published are silly to the point of embarrassment. There is a reason that our “rich, spiritual heritage” in the form of publications predating 1950 is not made available to us. Many things we would like to forget and most we do not want the rank and file to be aware of. The temptation to mock such silliness is strong, but let us not descend to their level. We do not want to alienate sincere but cautious truth seekers with off-putting rhetoric, do we? I hope I’m… Read more »
True Meleti. There is a reason that we cannot access prior to 1950. It truly is incredible and bewildering to see some of the statements made in the magazines then. However the same thing is happening today. What is troubling is to see how the WT takes faith strengthening accounts like this and uses them to advance their agenda to be faithful to them and not to Jehovah. We are to trust in Jehovah’s saving power. Not the GB’s saving power. They have none.
You are quite right Meleti sorry.
Though at times the urge to mock them is strong, they really don’t need any help to humiliate themselves. They have done an excellent job of that already.
The sad part of this is the way that Jehovah’s name is mocked by their falsehoods.
Very true, Chris. It is so sad that Jehovah’s name and the way of the truth can be spoken of abusively on account of such teachings. (2 Pe 2:2) Coincidentally, I came across this in my Bible reading: (Matthew 23:21) “and he that swears by the temple is swearing by it and by him that is inhabiting it” In this chapter, Jesus engages in a denunciation of the religious leaders of his day. Yet, he makes it clear here that Jehovah was still inhabiting the temple. Of course, a new temple was even then being prepared in which he would… Read more »
Here is another example of a now abandoned Fred Franz ‘fairytale’. Again from the same book I referenced above. On pages 335-6, paragraphs 4 and 5 In late 1941, Rutherford is dying at Beth Sarim. Franz, Knorr and Covington are summoned from HQ by Rutherford to his bedside in San Diego, for his final instructions to them. Rutherford died on January 8, 1942. Now I quote the first part of paragraph 5: “As viewed from our present time (1961), it appears that there the Elijah work passed, to be succeeded by the Elisha work. It was as when Elijah and… Read more »
Still reeling in shock. Don’t know why I expected something more intelligent from those leading us but now it all seems so silly I can barely fathom an answer. Everything silly we’ve ever accused Christendom of has come back to haunt us. How can any intelligent Bible student be invited to take us seriously? How are we to conduct ourselves as Christians with such a clandestine message to bear?
Does anyone who comments on this website take this stuff seriously anymore? Chris uses an apt word- ‘fairytale’.( I guess actually 2 words!).These ‘types and antitypes’ or ‘prophetic’ comparisons beween ancient and modern have been the habit of WT writers over the more than 130 years of its existence. Russell, Rutherford and Fred Franz all did it and whoever is writing the latest stuff is doing it as well. Here’s an example: “Let your name be sanctified”, a book written by Fred Franz, published in 1961, on page 315, paragraph 52 it says: “Three and a half years from A.D… Read more »
It would not surprise me if they try and manipulate these numbers to describe say, the 8 members of the GB and maybe 7 District Overseers, or something along those lines. The fairytale they are writing is going to get very interesting in the months ahead. I am waiting to see who the 7 Dwarves will be played by. Who really is Snow White? What prophetic significance does the poisonous apple have? And who is the the Big Bad Wolf going to be….hang on, I’m getting confused 😉
Well looking at their 130 year old track record with a 100% rate of failed predictions, I guess its obvious about trusting in these dudes, in fact its dangerous, the worst sin…
Explain what you mean as to track record. The bible itself is accurate and that is what they use or are you on this 1975 date which was not the organizations fault. Speak the facts please with clear evidence.
Hello anonymous While I don’t agree with vascagase 100 percent, I must respond to your claim regarding dates and specifically that of 1975. If you say it was not the organization’s fault, I have to disagree. There is ample evidence both in the WT and in talks and the KM showing that 1975 was a marked year. If you wish I can list the articles for you. If the GB claims to be the FADS then they carry a heavy responsibility to be careful in their wording; to be prudent. There is an ample amount of scriptural evidence showing that… Read more »
OK :”1918″ millions now living will never die.. Fulfillment….They all died!..”1925″ Return of ancient worthies e.g. Abraham, David ect….The didn’t show up.. “This generation” Who is writing this insanity and why?….There are so many…Hezekiah 1 if you would please show what you have found in the wt literature…thanks
Here are a few references showing what the WT thought of 1975. I have tried to copy directly from WT publications so as to get the meaning accurate. *** jv chap. 8 p. 104 Declaring the Good News Without Letup (1942-1975) *** “Say, What Does This 1975 Mean?” The Witnesses had long shared the belief that the Thousand Year Reign of Christ would follow after 6,000 years of human history. But when would 6,000 years of human existence end? The book Life Everlasting—In Freedom of the Sons of God, released at a series of district conventions held in 1966, pointed… Read more »