Covering Chapter 5 Paragraphs 1-9 of God’s Kingdom Rules
When I speak to friends about the erroneous teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I rarely get a Scriptural counter argument. What I get are challenges such as “Do you think you know more than the faithful slave?” or “Do you think Jehovah is using you to reveal truth?” or “Shouldn’t you wait on Jehovah to correct things in the Organization?”
Behind all these questions, and others like them, is the underlying premise that God doesn’t reveal truth to us personally, but only through some human channel or medium. (We know the Devil uses mediums to speak to humans, but does Christ?) At least that seems to be the conclusion if we are to accept this position, which is adopted consistently by Jehovah’s Witnesses when confronted with attacks on their own doctrines.
The ubiquity of this defense makes the statement in this week’s Congregation Bible Study particularly ironic:
“After his death, how would he continue to teach faithful people about God’s Kingdom? He assured his apostles: “The spirit of the truth . . . will guide you into all the truth.” * (John 16:13) We may think of the holy spirit as a patient guide. The spirit is Jesus’ means of teaching his followers whatever they need to know about God’s Kingdom—right when they need to know it.” – par. 3
From this, one might conclude that the accepted teaching among Jehovah’s Witnesses is in line with John 16:13, namely, that the spirit works in all of us to lead us to understand the Bible. This is not the case. The current doctrine is that since 1919 the spirit of Jehovah has been directing a select group of men at headquarters—the faithful and discreet slave—to tell us what we need to know when we need to know it.
So, while the statement made in paragraph 3 is accurate biblically, the application made is that the Governing Body is the one being guided by God’s spirit, not the individual Witness. This allows Witnesses to look at any teaching as coming from God. When that teaching is modified, abandoned outright, or reversed back to a previous understanding, the Witness will look at the change as the work of the spirit and the old understanding as the attempt of imperfect men to understand God’s word. In other words, “the old” is the work of honest-hearted, but misguided men, and “the new” is the work of God’s spirit. When “the new” is changed, it becomes “the new old” and is attributed to imperfect men, while the “the new new” takes its place as the leading of the spirit. This process can seemingly be repeated ad infinitum without causing any disquiet in the minds of the rank and file.
Here’s the analogy the study makes in its opening paragraphs to convince us that this is the process Jesus is using to guide us by holy spirit.
“IMAGINE that an experienced guide is leading you on a tour of a wondrous and beautiful city. The city is new to you and to those with you, so you hang on to the guide’s every word. At times, you and your fellow tourists wonder excitedly about some of the city’s features that you have not yet seen. When you ask your guide about such things, however, he withholds his comments until key moments, often just when a certain sight is coming into view. In time, you grow ever more impressed with his wisdom, for he tells you what you need to know right when you need to know it.” – par. 1
“True Christians are in a situation similar to that of the tourists. We are eagerly learning about the most wondrous of cities, “the city having real foundations,” the Kingdom of God. (Heb. 11:10) When Jesus was on earth, he personally guided his followers, leading them to a deeper knowledge of that Kingdom. Did he answer all their questions and tell them everything about that Kingdom at once? No. He said: “I still have many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now.” (John 16:12) As the wisest of guides, Jesus never burdened his disciples with knowledge that they were not prepared to handle.” –par. 2
According to paragraph 3, Jesus, by means of the spirit, is like this tourist guide. With this illustration and application fresh in mind, the reader is told of some mistaken teachings and asked:
“Do mistaken ideas such as these cast doubt on whether Jesus was guiding those faithful ones by means of holy spirit?” – par. 5
The answer with an explanation that sounds both logical and reasonable is:
“Not at all! Think again of our opening illustration. Would the premature ideas and eager questions of the tourists cast doubt on the reliability of their guide? Hardly! Similarly, although God’s people sometimes try to work out details of Jehovah’s purpose before it is time for the holy spirit to guide them to such truths, it is clear that Jesus is leading them. Thus, faithful ones prove willing to be corrected and humbly adjust their views.” – par. 6
Those who’ve had their mental powers dulled (2Co 3:14) will not notice the inconsistency between the illustration and its application.
In the illustration, the tourists had their own speculations and ideas, but anyone present listening to them would know immediately that the source of the information was not the tour guide, because they could all hear the guide’s words directly. Additionally, the guide never tells them one thing, then changes his tune and tells them another. Thus, they can have complete trust in the guide.
In the real world application, the tourists pass their ideas off as coming from the guide. When they change them, they claim they were wrong due to human imperfection, but the new instructions are the ones that come from the guide. When a few years go by and they are forced to change once more, they again blame the error on human imperfection and say that the newest instructions are truth revealed to them by the guide. This cycle has been going on for well over 100 years.
A more accurate illustration would be that of a tour group where everyone is issued headphones. The guide speaks, but an interpreter translates his words into a microphone that transmits to all in the group. This interpreter listens to the guide, but also injects his own ideas. However, he is forced to change them whenever they don’t fit with the city features being described. He makes flimsy excuses for the error, but reassures everyone that what he is now saying is what the guide said. The only way for the other tourists to avoid being continually misinformed is for them to remove their headsets and listen directly to the guide. However, they are told they don’t speak his language and so could not understand him even if they tried. Some venture to do so anyway, and are shocked to learn the guide is communicating in a language they understand. The interpreter sees these ones who are now trying to get others to take off their headsets and has them evicted from the group for disrupting the unity of the group.
If you do not believe this is an apt illustration; if you do not believe the interpreter is willfully misinforming the tour group, then consider the evidence to be found in the very next paragraph of this study.
“In the years following 1919, God’s people were blessed with more and more flashes of spiritual light.” – par. 7
Spiritual light comes from the holy spirit. It comes from the “tour guide”, Jesus Christ. If what we call “light” turns out to be wrong, not a product of the spirit, then the light is actually darkness.
“If in reality the light that is in you is darkness, how great that darkness is!” (Mt 6:23)
Judge for yourself if the principle “flashes of light” from 1919 to 1925 were from God or men.[i]
- Around 1925, we would see the end of Christendom.
- The earthly paradise would be established about that time.
- The earthly resurrection would also commence then.
- The Zionist belief in the reestablishment of Palestine would occur.
- The millennium (1000 year reign of Christ) would begin.
So when the Governing Body approves a statement like, “In the years following 1919, God’s people were blessed with more and more flashes of spiritual light”, are they woefully misinformed; or are they intentionally misleading the flock? If you feel it is unintentional, then you are left to conclude the interpreter of the “guide’s” words is appallingly inept—an indiscreet slave who doesn’t verify his sources of information before feeding the flock.
This misinformation continues with the next sentence in paragraph 7.
“In 1925, a landmark article appeared in The Watch Tower, entitled “Birth of the Nation.” It laid out convincing Scriptural evidence that the Messianic Kingdom had been born in 1914, fulfilling the prophetic picture of God’s heavenly woman giving birth, as recorded in Revelation chapter 12.” – par. 7
How many of our brothers will look up the aforementioned article to find this “convincing Scriptural evidence”? Why are these “landmark articles” not part of the Watchtower Library program online or the CDROM? See for yourself what it says by downloading the March 1, 1925 Watch Tower and reading the rather lengthy article. What you will find is nothing approaching evidence, convincing or otherwise. It is filled with speculation and interpretative antitypes, some of them self-contradictory (see par. 66 re: the flood disgorged by the Devil).
“The article further showed that the persecution and trouble that came upon Jehovah’s people during those war years were clear signs that Satan had been hurled down from heaven, “having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.” – par. 7
One wonders if the author even bothered to read the “landmark article” he refers to, because it claims there was no persecution “during the war years”.
“Be it noted here that from 1874 until 1918 there was little, if any, persecution of those of Zion.” – par. 19
“Again we emphasize the fact that from 1874 to 1918 there was scarcely any persecution of the Church.” – par. 63
The study closes on a particularly jarring note:
“How important is the Kingdom? In 1928, The Watch Tower began to stress that the Kingdom was more important than personal salvation by means of the ransom.” – par. 8
Denying the ransom is an act of apostasy. It amounts to denying that Christ came in the flesh, since the main only reason he appeared in the flesh, i.e., as a human, was to offer himself up in ransom for our sins. (2 John 7) Thus, minimizing its importance comes dangerously close to the same apostate thinking.
Consider this: The Kingdom lasts 1000 years. At the end of the 1000 years, the Kingdom ends with Christ surrendering all authority back to God, because the work of the Kingdom has been accomplished. What is that work? The reconciliation of humankind back into the family of God. In a word: SALVATION!
Saying that the Kingdom is more important than salvation is like saying the drug is more important than the disease it is designed to cure. The purpose of the kingdom is the salvation of humankind. Even the sanctification of Jehovah’s name is not achieved apart from human salvation, but as a result of it. This mock humility of the Organization that “it is not about us, but all about Jehovah”, actually dishonors the name of the God they purport to exalt.