[A Review of the November 15, 2014 Watchtower article on page 8]
“You must be holy.”—Lev. 11:45
This promised to be an easy review covering a non-controversial subject. It has turned out to be anything but. Any honest, astute Bible student is going to encounter a head-scratching moment right in the introductory paragraphs of this week’s Watchtower study.
“Aaron represents Jesus Christ and Aaron’s sons represent Jesus’ anointed followers….The washing of Aaron’s sons prefigured the cleansing of those selected to be members of the heavenly priesthood.” – Pars. 3, 4
What the article is introducing here is a series of typical/antitypical relationships. Our latest issue of The Watchtower will explain what that is.
The Watchtower of September 15, 1950, gave a definition of a “type” and an “antitype.” It explained that a type is a person, an event, or an object that represents someone or something greater in the future. An antitype is the person, event, or object that the type represents. A type was also called a shadow, and an antitype was called a reality. (w15 3/15 Simplified Edition, p. 17)
If the first thing you look for after reading these two paragraphs are the supporting scriptures, you will be disappointed. There are none. An obedient Beroean mentality will then move you to investigate further. Using your copy of the WT Library program on CDROM, you would likely run a search on “Aaron”, scanning all occurrences for any reference to a link between him and Jesus. Finding none, you may feel troubled and conflicted, for you will still have fresh in your mind the words of Governing Body member David Splane delivered at last October’s annual meeting of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
“We need to exercise great care when applying accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures as prophetic patterns or types if these accounts are not applied in the Scriptures themselves.” Wasn’t that a beautiful statement? We agree with it.” He then admonished us not to use them “where the scriptures themselves do not clearly identify them as such. We simply cannot go beyond what is written.”
Is the Governing Body going “beyond what is written” by applying a type or prophetic pattern which is “not applied in the Scriptures themselves”?
In an effort to be fair, you may at this point recall that Hebrews 10:1 calls the Law a shadow of things to come. So even though this type or prophetic pattern isn’t expressly stated in the Bible, it may be implied since Aaron’s role as High Priest is included as a feature of the Law, and we all know that Jesus is the High Priest appointed by Jehovah to make atonement for our sins.
Would this validate the application of High Priest Aaron as a type corresponding to the antitype of High Priest Jesus?
The March, 2015 issue of The Watchtower has this answer to that question:
However, even when the Bible shows that a person is a type, we should not assume that every detail or event in that person’s life represents something greater in the future. For example, Paul explains that Melchizedek represents Jesus. Yet, Paul does not mention the time that Melchizedek brought out bread and wine for Abraham after he defeated four kings. So there is no Scriptural reason to search for a hidden meaning in that event. (w15 3/15 Simplified Edition, p. 17)
Being obedient to this counsel, we realize that even though the office of High Priest is a specific type supported in Scripture, “we should not assume that every detail or event in [the life of the first man to hold that office] represents something greater in the future.” Therefore, even if there is a correspondence to Aaron, we would be violating the latest direction of the Governing Body be teaching that Aaron’s sons correspond to anything and that the ceremonial washing of Aaron and his sons has prophetic significance.
Does the problem end there? Is it only a matter of the Governing Body approving an article that directly violates its own directive? Alas, no. It would appear that this prophetic pattern, this typical/antitypical relationship contradicts God’s written word as well.
It is an interesting coincidence that the “Questions from Readers” in the March, 2015 issue of The Watchtower references Melchizedek. The book of Hebrews repeatedly refers to Melchizedek as the High Priest that prophetically corresponds to Jesus as God’s High Priest. (See Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11, 17.) Why is this? Melchizedek wasn’t born in the line of Aaron, he wasn’t a Levite, he wasn’t even a Jew! Does he correspond as High Priest to Jesus in one way, while Aaron does in another?
“If, then, perfection were really through the Levitical priesthood, (for with it as a feature the people were given the Law,) what further need would there be for another priest to arise according to the manner of Mel·chiz′e·dek and not said to be according to the manner of Aaron?” (Heb 7:11)
This one verse answers all our questions. Aaron was the beginning of the Levitical priesthood, which was a feature of the Law. Yet Paul acknowledges that there was need of a High Priest who was “not…according to the manner of Aaron”; someone who was beyond the law feature of the Levitical priesthood. The apostle here explicitly excludes High Priest Aaron and all his successors as a corresponding shadow of the reality that is High Priest Jesus Christ. He says repeatedly that the form of Jesus’ High Priesthood is according to the manner (or type) of Melchizedek.
In an article about being holy, why would we overlook a valid scriptural type like Melchizedek who was a holy man with no stain on his character? Aaron could also be called a holy man, though there were stains on his character. (Ex 32:21-24; Nu 12:1-3) Still, he is not a Scriptural type for Jesus. So why bypass the Scriptural type in Melchizedek for the fabricated one of Aaron?
The answer to this question becomes apparent when we reach paragraph 9 of the article and learn the true theme of this study. While the title may be about being holy, the real purpose is yet another call for obedience to the Governing Body.
With this, the reason for the fabricated type is evident. Melchizedek had no children. Aaron did. His children can therefore be used to prefigure the authority which the Governing Body invests in itself. Not directly, mind you. The children of Aaron are said to represent the anointed, but the voice of the anointed is the Governing Body.
Aaron was High Priest. Jesus is High Priest. We are to obey High Priest Jesus. Aaron’s sons became high priests, replacing him. The antitypical sons of Aaron replaced him as High Priest. Whatever honor and obedience was accorded to Aaron would now be accorded to his sons. It follows that the antitypical sons of Aaron, embodied in the Governing Body, are to be given similar honor and obedience now that Jesus is gone to heaven.
Paragraph 9 contains the statements of three brothers who have served with the Governing Body for many years. (Incidentally, this is a good example of an “Appeal to Authority” Fallacy.) The third of these is quoted as saying: “Loving what Jehovah loves and hating what he hates, as well as constantly seeking his guidance and doing what pleases him, means obedience to his organization and to those he is using to advance his purpose for the earth.”
Most of our brothers, one fears, will fail to recognize these statements as nothing more than the opinions of men well invested in the hierarchical authority structure of the Organization. Though anecdotal, their accounts will be taken as evidence that obedience to the Governing Body is what pleases Jehovah. Are we to obey men because some unnamed brothers say we should? Where in the Bible do we find the proof to back up their statements?
We need look no further this very WT Study article to prove the kind of obedience these men are urging upon us would in fact displease our Heavenly Father.
Would Jehovah ever give us a catch-22 situation? One where you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t? Obviously not. However, the Organization just has. We are directed to reject false types and antitypes as going beyond the things written. Yet, in this study, we are expected to accept them, and to publicly proclaim them through our comments.
Holy Obedience to God’s Law on Blood
This study devotes about a third of its material to reinforcing the requirement to obey the Governing Body’s injunction against blood transfusions.
Whether or not someone chooses to accept or reject any medical procedure, including blood transfusions, should be a matter of personal conscience. Before you jump in to disagree, please read Jehovah’s Witnesses and the “No Blood” Doctrine.
Many Christian religions carry bloodguilt for inducing their members to participate in warfare in the name of God. Smaller sectarian groups have condemned the use of life-saving medicines and discouraged their followers with threats of shunning for engaging the services of a medical professional. They believe they are doing God’s will, but their commands are based on faulty interpretations of Scripture. Are we guilty of the same? Are we guilty of the shedding of innocent blood by enforcing a command of men as if it were a doctrine of divine origin. (Mk 7:7 NWT)
An Obvious Flaw in Reasoning
An example of our flawed reasoning on blood can be found in paragraph 14. It states: “Do you grasp the reason why God considers blood to be sacred? He essentially views blood as equivalent to life.”
Do you see the flaw in this reasoning? Let us illustrate it with something Jesus said: “Blind ones! Which, in fact, is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?” (Mt 23:19) It was the altar that sanctified (made sacred) the gift, not the other way round. Likewise, if we are to apply the reasoning from The Watchtower article, it is the sacredness of life that makes the blood sacred, not the other way round. Therefore, how can we uphold the sanctify or sacredness of life, if we sacrifice it to preserve the sanctity of blood. It is the Scriptural equivalent of the tail wagging the dog.
Are We Missing What Is Missing?
Let us overlook for just a moment the fact there is no support for the “Aaron’s sons = anointed Christians” parallel. Let’s pretend it is Scriptural. Very well. What does that mean? Were the Israelites ever commanded to give obedience to Aaron’s sons on a par with Jehovah? In fact, the High Priest never ruled Israel in the time of the Judges nor in the time of the Kings. When was it that the High Priest, the sons of Aaron, ruled the nation? Was it not during the time of Christ, when the Sanhedrin was the highest court in the land? It was then that they assumed the ultimate authority over the people for themselves. It was the High Priest, a son of Aaron, who sat in judgment over Jesus, was it not?
The Governing Body claims to be the faithful and discrete slave. Was the faithful slave commissioned by Jesus to rule over his flock? Feed them, Yes! Like a servant waiting on table. But command them? Distinguish for them between right from wrong? Where in the Bible is such authority conferred upon men?
The word used at Hebrews 13:17 which we translate “obey” in the NWT is better rendered as “be persuaded by”. (See w07 4/1 p. 28, par. 8)
What we as Jehovah’s Witnesses are missing is that there is no provision in the Bible for a ruling class in the Christian congregation. In fact, who was it that first put forward the idea that humans could rule, deciding for themselves what is good and what is bad?
The Pharisees, scribes, and priests (sons of Aaron) during the time of Jesus were the ones telling the people what was good and what was bad; doing so in the name of God. Jesus rebuked them. At first, Christians did not do this, but then they began to go apostate and started to set themselves up as an authority on par with Jehovah. Eventually their laws and their doctrines took precedence over God’s. They began to do as they liked without regard for the consequences.
The disavowal of false types and antitypes or prophetic parallels was made in October of 2014. This study issue was published over a month later. True, the article may have been written some time before. One would imagine that the Governing Body also deliberated on the “new understanding” disavowing unscriptural types and antitypes some time before the annual meeting. Whatever the case, the Governing Body had over a month to fix the article, but did not. It could even have fixed the electronic copy after publication. It wouldn’t be the first time this has been done. But it did not.
Of even greater significance is the fact that the application of Aaron as a foreshadow of Christ directly contradicts what Hebrews 7:11 states. Is it for man to decide what is right and what is wrong? If he does, are we free from guilt if we obey him over God?
It seems that things are becoming increasingly more untenable for those of us who prize truth over conformity and obedience to God over the comfort of community and approval of men. How far this will go is anyone’s guess.
Seems to me like a real effort is being made to shore up our faulty understanding of the faithful and discreet slave parable with fallacious scriptural applications. The whole time the article was being discussed I just sat there thinking “Isn’t this exactly what they told us NOT do to at the General Meeting?” Inventing connections within the Bible solves nothing. It’s like changing a tire in hopes that you’ll fix the engine (I was never strong with illustrations)
There is some interesting commentary on the Leviticus 8:1-13 passage in Unger’s Commentary on the OT (pp. 156-57): The Consecration. 8:1-13 (See Exod. 29:1-46.) Since access to God is the subject of the first half of Leviticus (chaps. 1-16), and that access is based upon the offerings reflecting the person and work of Christ in redemption (chaps. 1-7), resulting in the priesthood of the believer, the latter subject is now introduced in its typical connotations (chaps. 8-9). Aaron appears throughout as foreshadowing Christ, while his sons speak of individual believers of this age. Their priesthhod was dependent upon their relation… Read more »
Thanks for sharing this, Bobcat. Is shows that not only are we breaking our own rule about creating types and antitypes not found in the Bible, but we are not even being original. We’re just imitating what we love to disdain as false religion.
I figured out why they are using it!
*** re chap. 25 p. 161 par. 3 Reviving the Two Witnesses ***
The apostle Paul explains that the curtain of the tabernacle, separating the Most Holy from the Holy compartment, pictures Jesus’ flesh. When Jesus sacrificed his life, this curtain was rent in two, showing that Jesus’ flesh was no longer a barrier to his entry into Jehovah’s presence in heaven. On the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, his anointed underpriests who died faithful would, in due course, also pass into the heavens. (Matthew 27:50, 51; Hebrews 9:3; 10:19, 20)
Aaron = H Priest
Aaron’s sons = “under priests”
Headwashing = Selecting them as “under priests”
The veil being torn spoken of in Matthew = allowing the “under priests, who are only allowed in the Holies, to enter the Holies of Holies.
Here a link to article which shows that there is some Aaron has some similarity with Jesus but only for the priest role. Article explains clearly why Paul correctly cncludes that Jesus is Priest (and King) according to Mechizedek.
Thanks for the link Menrov. Interesting read.
As a side point, note how the article refers to the writer of Hebrews as “the author Hebrews.” I used to raise the eyebrows of the other elders by referring to “the anonymous writer of Hebrews.” No one challenged me on it, but they didn’t seem to like it. It didn’t support the party line.
Hi Bobcat, indeed, I noticed that as well, although in my post I still automatically referred to Paul as the writer.
I will try to find some more info on this as I am not that familiar with the discussions around the author of Hebrews.
I was waiting for this watchtower study since last Friday. When I read it I couldn’t believe how the GB can manipulate the information just to obtain more control over sincere JWs. How grateful is to see that there is people like you Melety looking for the real truth and taking their time to share it with us. I wish this forum can be translated by somebody in Spanish, so I can share it with my family in South America.
I concur. Aaron himself does not picture Jesus. The activity he performed on Atonement however, does. Thanks for clearing that up.( in the multitude of counsellors, there is wisdom)
Aaron’s prefiguring Jesus appears to be restricted to what Aaron did on the Day of Atonement, (Yom Kippur), and that day only. He alone entered the Most Holy, (which pictures heaven itself), and sprinkled the blood at the base of the Ark. His sons never entered beyond the curtain, so how could they prefigure the anointed? Nadab and Abihu were killed while being intoxicated on duty. Is the FDS implying that some of the anointed, (including themselves), may be spiritual drunkards? Jesus is a High Priest according to the manner of Melchizedek.
PFFF.PFFFFFFF. What an article again 😉 It just continues to amaze me how they can have no clue about the contradictions they are bringing forth. It just leads me to believe that anyone who saw a glimmer of hope with the talk from Splane was just fooling themselves. They can’t even stick to their rule of anti-types with really obvious violations of it, how then would they ever stick to the rule to undo one of the biggest misrepresentations of scripture…
Actually, as per my upper post, the apostle Paul mentions that during the day of Atonement, the high priest entering the most holy pictures Jesus entering the most holy of the heavens. So, in a limited way, it appears that at least on one occasion this type/antitype applies. Consequently, we cannot say that Splane’s words are 100% false. Sorry.
Agree with that yobec its the GB being a picture of aarons sons i think thats gone beyond whats written .
I believe we cannot ignore Paul’s words at Hebrews 7:11 in which he excludes Aaron as a type of Jesus. Paul makes the point that it is the high priest that enters into the most holy. So it is the high priest, i.e. the office of the high priest, that typifies Jesus. After Aaron there were many high priests right down to high priest Caiaphas in Jesus’ day. If Aaron, the man, prefigures Jesus because he was high priest, then so does every other high priest in Aaron’s line including Caiaphas. There is no reason to restrict the type to… Read more »
Thats right its the office .the tent the whole ritual that pictured .jesus sacrifice hebrews 9 v9 thanks meleti . Kev
I just realized that there is yet another aspect that disqualifies Aaron as a type. He and his sons did not serve as high priest for all Israel, but only that segment that lived during and following Moses’ day. Therefore, the line of Aaron and that office of high priest only served for a part of Israel. Who would be high priest for Aaron, since he also is in need of the sin atoning sacrifice made by the high priest upon entering the holy of holies? And what about all of Aaron’s forefathers who were also part of Israel up… Read more »
I would say that Christ is pictured in a limited way, not by Aaron, but by certain specific roles of the office of high priest, such as his entering the most holy on atonement day. But Jesus’ office of high priest is peculiar – too peculiar to confidently draw parallels with the Levitical high priesthood on matters not explicitly identified as parallels in scripture. It is therefore not wise to make Jesus an unqualified anti-type of Aaron in view of what Hebrews 7:11 says.
If you think Heb 13:17 has been mistranslated in the NWT, you should do a little research on Heb 13:7. The change is in the verb tenses.
Oh thanks bobcat .it seems that as remembering implies its in the past tense .and perhaps would be better translated who have taken the lead .speaking of faithful men . Who have finished thier life course …rather like the message at hebrews 11 . .its so good to listen to those who are serious bible students . I didnt know that one cheers kev c
I like the point that Kev c made. Nadab and Abihu came to sticky end after acting presumptiously. I think if the governing body are equating themselves with the sons of Aaron then they had better be very very careful!!
Disappointed the watchtower seem to love that verse hebrews 13 v 17 but as meleti said the true meaning has been hidden if you look in the greek if you compare the context at verse 7 we find those words again taking the lead. But adds. Who have spoken the word of god to you. We get the idea here. Principally we are persauded by those taking the lead because they speak gods word to us. So as you said its relative. I don’t believe we are under any obligation to obey these people when they make their own rules.… Read more »
The key is always in the context, isn’t it Kev?
Meleti, I agree context is the key. The Governing Body made a mistake on this one.
Infact a true bible teacher.is always concerned about teaching others to be obedient to christ not themselves. For we are preaching not ourselves but christ jesus as lord and ourselves as your slaves for jesus sake. 2 corinthians 4 v5. You won’t find that verse qouted very often in the watchtower. Kev
I’ve always been troubled by the verse in Hebrews 13:17 because of the spin that has been put on it. i.e ‘obey without question’. However if taken in the context of other verses that tell us to obey others it becomes clear that this is relative obedience. In the same way that a wife is obedient to and in subjection to her husband, or that we are to be obedient to the superior authorities. as soon as that authority is seen to be going against God or his word then me must ‘obey God as ruler rather than men’.
Great assessment Meleti. If Aaron, as helper or support to Moses, represents Jesus, then who represents Moses? Exo 7:1 So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. Deu 34:10 No prophet ever again arose in Israel like Moses, who knew the Lord face to face. Wasn’t it Moses who said that after him another prophet would come?, Deu 18:15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you – from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him.… Read more »
In the study yesterday, they analyzed the image of the brothers preaching in the Middle East, presumably. One brother was on the look-out. There was a man peering around the corner at the end of the lane. All very clandestine and made to give us the idea of how we preach fearlessly under persecution because of the hope Witnesses have in the resurrection. Truth be told, we do not preach in most Muslim lands, nor in Muslim dominated territories. The good news of the kingdom is not being preached by us in all the inhabited earth if we count the… Read more »
I thought Holy Ones are the Saints are the Anointed. So, this article is actually only for the very few among the JW population?
Yeah good point menrov your right the holy ones are the anointed one and the same This is the entangled maze they get themselves into with this two tiered system .who makes these decisions as to what in the NT applies to the great crowd and what doesnt . Weve got brothers striving to be holy when they are not even classed as the holy ones ..and brothers claiming to be christians when they are not even in christ . Kev
I can accept that aarons priesthood pictured jesus christs. But his sons representing the governing body is what they are really saying. That’s stretching it. They don’t mean Nadab and Abihu do they. The intoxicating liquor can have the affect of making one forget what we have previously said. Leviticus 10. Sorry. 2 peter 3 v 3. Kev c
Meleti, It must be very difficult for you to comb through the Watchtower to find their contradictions and misrepresentations, considering that at one time we never questioned anything the Watchtower said. I have no doubt this is valuable information for those confused by the words in this article and for those honestly searching for the Truth, as God is seeking out those who are lost and leading them to Jesus for salvation. Surely this must make it all worthwhile for your hard work. Even if it opens the eyes of only one person, the angels in heaven rejoice. Peace and… Read more »
Thank you so much for your kind words. You are right that it does take considerable time. I reworked this article a half dozen times to try to get the right tone, and have to thank both Alex and Apollos for their insight and direction.
I feel it is the other way around: I have to thank Meleti for once again helping ME. He asked me to review the article and double check his claims with scripture. I tried to build a case for Jesus as the greater Aaron but I was not able to refute Heb 7:11 with Scripture. It really reminds me why I liked this blog in the first place. Because of the high standards Meleti has for truth. The truth lover rejoices upon learning they are wrong. The Elders in your congregation would persecute you if you show them error. Jesus… Read more »
Paul mentions that Melchizedek’s priesthood was precisely greater than that of Aaron and this was evidenced by his blessing of Abraham. Paul’s reasoning was that since he, that is Abraham contained within his loins, the genes that would one day become Aaron, it demonstrated the superiority of his priesthood over Aaron’s. And so it was with Jesus, his priesthood was superior to Aaron’s. Mind you, there is a case to be made with regards to Aaron and the Day of Atonement. Paul says that in this instance, the high priest entering the Most Holy, pictured Christ entering Jehovah’s presence. So… Read more »
Well you said it Paul says that in this instance, the high priest entering the Most Holy, pictured Christ entering Jehovah’s presence…that means EVERY SUCCEEDING priest after Aaron. not just Aaron only pictured messiah, Paul was addressing the Jewish feast called yom kippur the Day of Atonement.That was the context in using the priestly function or role of atonement in his discourse….nothing to be confused here brother.
we must also remember melchizedek which in hebrew means “my king (is) righteous(ness)”; was both king and priest.. just as Jesus would be. Aaron was only a priest. and like you said very well brother : Paul’s reasoning was that since he, that is Abraham contained within his loins, the genes that would one day become Aaron, it demonstrated the superiority of his priesthood over Aaron’s. And so it was with Jesus, his priesthood was superior to Aaron’s.
It’s funny how only a little over a year ago I would never have taken time to do research to determine if what I’m being taught was true. Now I carefully examine everything. It’s funny how we often come to similar conclusions.