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.
[i] For a fuller account of the often-ridiculous false teachings stemming from that period, see this article.
Thank you for this article. So many great points. It’s funny because they have set up a perfect arrangement where if you question something they CURRENTLY teach, you are an apostate, because that means you are questioning God himself. But if you ask why previous teachings were wrong, it’s because they are imperfect…if they are imperfect, then why is questioning them the same as questioning GOd? And around and round we go…. It’s so sad that those that realize these things can’t share it with others. If you do, you are an apostate and they won’t engage or listen at… Read more »
We just discussed the chapter yesterday and while in session, I asked our 2 elders (my friends who are open-minded) where in the paragraph is the scriptural proof that the Bible Students were guided by Christ in publishing erroneous ideas.
Nobody wanted to answer. They just smiled and pointed at each other who to answer first. 🙂
On the tour guide illustration my comment was to point out that while Jesus and holy spirit might be there to lead us, to conclude that that they would mislead us would be an unforgivable blasphemy. Only human speculation can mislead us. It is also important to end our comments at that point since we want to give the ones hearing the opportunity to draw their own conclusions. It’s the only loving thing to do. I did it for all my Bible studies so why shouldn’t I do it for my brothers and sisters? May the love of Christ help… Read more »
Oh great..now I can’t get the weirdness of this illustration out of my head as I am doing my personal study. Thanks Meleti! Seriously though, I often daydream about what would happen if Adam and Eve didn’t disobey God. Would someone eventually disobey anyway (say Cain, because everyone likes to bag Cain) and we would be in the same situation anyways? Or what if everyone stays obedient down to this day and we are still in a gorgeous paradise. If thats the case then wouldn’t Kingdom rule be a necessary thing? Whether salvation is needed or not I have get… Read more »
Good point, indeed, some kind of government is needed. But that is already in place, right? Jesus is already sitting on his throne. The kingdom does not depend on the people talking about it. It is something that is arranged in heaven. Jesus said to make disciples and teach them all that Jesus taught. This means one should first focus on the Teacher and make people trust that teacher. Why else would they become disciples of Jesus, which was that task given? Therefore one can read about all the things Jesus did when on earth, his miracles, his love for… Read more »
Hi Menrov, how about our most famous scripture? Matthew 24:14 “And this good news of the KINGDOM will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”
So yes the kingdom is arranged in heaven but it does depend on people talking about it. Actually the stones will cry out if nobody did but there’s 8 million people happily talking about God’s Kingdom today so no stone action any time soon!
Hi Candace :-), I guess the core question is: what is this good news or gospel of the kingdom exactly. Have a look at Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were in force until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it. You see, it is not 8 million who are talking about (their interpretation of) the gospel, but it was already proclaimed after John the Baptist. And people were at that time urged to enter it. How could they enter it if 1) it was… Read more »
That question sure made me think, Menrov :’) Was Jesus was warning the Jews about the the end as in the ‘great tribulation’ that happened in 70A.D but also about our time as well? The governing body officially announced that the good news has been preached to the entire inhabited earth. And thanks to JW.org anyone with an internet connection can have access to life saving knowledge at their finger tips. So sometimes I wonder, why isn’t the end here yet? I admit to being confused by this just a bit. Maybe the good news hasn’t been preached to all… Read more »
Candace, the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has nothing to do with the timing of the end. The end only comes when the full number of the children of God is reached, the brothers of Christ. Revelation 6:10,11
“Good point, indeed, some kind of government is needed.”
Did the first couple need a government?
Was there ever a mention of it prior to Adams act of disobedience?
How did the idea go over with Jehovah/Yahweh when Israel wanted a king?
And finally, …where did Christ say the law would be written for >his< people?
Just saying, …
We cannot begin to answer such valid questions as you raise until first we get the idea of God as universal sovereign out of our heads. That idea causes us to view ever arrangement through the lens of rulership. A king with his subjects. While the kingdom is a temporary measure designed to take us back to God, that is, to a reconciliation with God as 1 Corinthians 15:28 shows, it will be done away with to be replaced with what Adam had. This reconciliation isn’t to reconcile us back to God as his subjects. Adam was God’s son, so… Read more »
How did we get to the idea that God ISN’T the universal sovereign? Of course he is, being creator and source of life to everything. He gets to make whatever laws (physical or anything else) he fancies and we would have no say about it what so ever. Good thing for us, God IS love so he does everything kindly, mercifully and in our best interests at heart. But I get what you are saying, Jehovah doesn’t want to rule over us oppressively like a slave to a master, he wants to treat us like his children (once we are… Read more »
Candace, I admire your tenacity and love for our father. One thing that always had me wondering was the decades of going to the memorial each year and sitting dumbly as we “watched” some bread and wine rotate around.
There is another site related to this one.. (you may already be aware of). It is beroeans.study and has some thought provoking articles, could I suggest you look for the one titled “Adopted!”.
JWs have class systems and Rutherfords 1935 idea has no scriptural basis.
With kindness, David
The article you attached is revealing!
Amazing Article! It is Instructive and has provided me relief! (1Thessalonians 5:21-22) The Message (MSG) “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” They Lead but do not Follow. What of the many qualified teachers of God’s people who have written in to offer correction and Rebuke of their shaky teachings?! Also, are they trying to introduce the idea that Christians can be spirit led? Maybe because of the Memorial numbers? I… Read more »
Meleti, with your modification of the tour guide example, you made it a really good one! I’m looking forward to make a good use of it in discussions with some JWs soon. In the beginning, when we started studying this kingdom book, I was really unhappy. However, if you have fellow JWs you would like to help wake up, this book may be a valuable tool. It is full of strong yet unfounded claims. The examples are skewed. Main doctrines are poorly covered with scriptures. It’s full of self-righteousness. With a little help, a sincere JW may start seeing this.… Read more »
I really do feel your comment about waking some up could be happening tyhik. A long time friend, an old elder I have known for 40 yrs who originally helped my wife and I into the organization (whoopsie… I nearly said “the truth) phoned me out of the blue very concerned as he had recently heard I am no longer going to meetings or out witnessing. Anyway he probed and prodded as he wanted to know why etc. When he got the point that I wasn’t willing to discuss it over the phone he said: “you know the purpilish coloured… Read more »
Hi there Bro. Dajo. I think there’s an inherent risk of publishing this purple book because not all the brothers would appreciate and welcome ALL the food being fed to the flock especially those that have already raised eyebrows.
For example, on the admission that 1874 and related dates leading up to 1914 were erroneously thought and published, have we seen other direct and written admissions of faulty assumptions made just right after 1914? If none, then why only now?
Meliti, your version of the illustration is excellent.When we study well, will are guided by Holy Spirit, as long as our motive is right and we wish to seek the truth of God’s word. It is not complicated. What does this demonstrate ? Fulfillment of Daniel 9:4 – in that “many will rove about and the true knowledge will become abundant. There was a time, even it is often a while back, when the GB seemed to be keen on roving about and dispensing true knowledge. But if someone reaches wrong conclusions they become dogma, what happens next? It becomes… Read more »
Thanks Meleti, i appreciate in modifying the illustration of the tour guide to an interpreter relaying messages for the tour guide, that was more fitting. Also tying in Salvation as a theme which gets lost in the JW message. In paragraph 5 , they somewhat admit to some mistakes , that’s fine , let’s give them Credit for being honest about it. And para 7, says “Light has flashed up for the righteous and rejoicing for those upright in heart.” – Psalm 97:11, NWT So who’s to blame for their errors since 1919? Jesus I guess as his the head!… Read more »
These quotes are disgraceful and wicked! Has any other Leader of a religious organization denied that he operated under the Same SPIRIT that guided the Apostles and Raised our Lord Jesus Christ by our God?? Does any author of any of the 66 books make such an Outrageous claim??!! So by What spirit then??? They don’t cast down demons like Jesus did in his ministry so where did these Other “spirits” that Rutherford communicated with …go? Our Master Jesus Says: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then… Read more »
yes, I think it’s one thing to have your speculations and another to ask those that are perceiving everything coming from the Watchtower publications as if coming From Christ, to present those speculations as though there truths. It will always come back to bite! But I wonder also where his head was!
Exactly Bro. Lazarus, you took the words out of my mouth. Publishing mere ideas or speculations (even before they were guided by the Spirit) that are perceived to be guided by the holy spirit or the Christ is nothing short of blasphemous if not very presumptuous I think.
Ideas like these should just stay behind closed doors and never published to mislead others. Writers should have provided a disclaimer at least to warn their readers.
Ok…so what evidence would you need to be satisfied that God’s spirit is acting in the organisation? No one is performing miracles or voices booming out of heaven these days. But how does the work of preaching the good news to the entire earth sound, something that has never happened before and no other group has been able to achieve? The massive growth in people coming into the truth in every country, which is still happening today in the developing countries? I think its important not to focus on the mistakes or the negative things that has happened in the… Read more »
Let us assume for the moment that we alone are fulfilling Matthew 24:14 and let us assume also that we are experiencing phenomenal growth. Can you point to a Scripture in the Bible that says that true Christians would be identified by such things? If not, then are you not imposing human criteria as the basis for determining God’s blessing? Now let us address your criteria. One third of the world claims to be Christian. That means that one third of the world believes in Christ as the savior. So who is responsible for that “massive growth”? Who has preached… Read more »
What one hallmark will true Christians be identified? I guess not the preaching or teaching. It’s in John 13: 34, 35. 🙂
Here’s the evidence I would have to see in answer to your question … for those taking the lead to treat the individual sheep as Jesus treated individual sheep, and in the way that he instructed his followers to do. It’s not about numbers. It never was. And it’s not about “the truth” in the way you use the expression, because like other religions JWs teach a lot of things that are not true. When the interests of the organization conflict with the interests of an individual, even well meaning elders will put the organization first. That is what they… Read more »
And rereading my comment I realize there is a lot of unspoken subtext. Some people may wonder what sort of thing I’m talking about. Why shouldn’t the care of the individual come second place to those of the greater number? Although I don’t want to get into specific examples (which I could) my point is simply that Jesus cared about people, not organizations. That attitude is NOT reflected in the policies of JWs. Like many organizations before them, they see a greater good in protecting the entity itself rather than demonstrate love in the way that Jesus demonstrated it. That’s… Read more »
Always concise and to the point , without salvation would there be any to populate the Kingdom ,where there will be “peace on earth and good will towards men”