A scene from the viewpoint of a Jehovah’s Witness:
Armageddon is now past, and by the grace of God you’ve survived into Earth’s new paradise. But as new scrolls are opened and a clearer picture emerges of life in the New World, you learn, either by a direct judgment or a slow realization, that you have not yet been declared righteous so as to inherit everlasting life. You are astonished to learn that you were found to be unworthy of this gift of undeserved kindness as you had expected. Instead, your lot and judgment is to work toward “coming to life at the end of the 1000 years.” (Rev 20:5)
In this circumstance, you find yourself on equal or nearly equal footing with the unrighteous, such as those who lived before Jesus and never came to know his promise of salvation by being declared righteous by undeserved kindness. You find yourself as just one of many peoples who together now have the opportunity to know and exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but over the next thousand years. Granted, you might be ahead of others in faith and understanding, but you must wait the same amount of time until the end of the 1000 years to receive “eternal life.”
As you go about your daily work of building a New World Society, you become aware that the role of priests and princes is being carried out by a class of Christians that did receive the reward, those of the first resurrection.
“Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
You are questioned as to why it was that you thought you were a member of a “great crowd of other sheep” that were excluded from the covenant for a kingdom. You had a publisher’s record card in your congregation file with a check box for O.S., “other sheep.” You ask why you are no better off in standing than those who died before the ransom sacrifice, or unbelieving sons of Abraham—both Jews and Arabs—or people from the pagan nations?
These Kingdom princes direct you to examine John chapter 10 where Jesus says in verse 16: “And I have other sheep, which are not of the fold.” And you reply to them, “There I am.”
But these princes point out the second half, “…those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd. 17This is why the Father loves me, because I surrender my life, so that I may receive it again.” (John 10:16, 17)
You are helped to realize that you did not become part of the “one flock, once shepherd” who received the free gift of everlasting life, because you rejected your membership in the “covenant for a kingdom.” When Jesus spoke those words, he was speaking to Jews while he was a Jew and was given the assignment to go only to the lost sheep of Israel. After his death, those “other sheep,” non-Jews or Gentiles, did become “one flock” under “one shepherd” as part of the anointed Christian Congregation. They, and all other Christians who partook of the emblems. Those who became part of the International Bible Students Association (IBSA), as well as those who became known as “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in 1931, continued to partake; but the majority of witnesses stopped partaking in 1935. What had changed? What sudden obstacle to the “covenant for a Kingdom” sprung up in 1926?
With the failure of World War I to end in Armageddon, Rutherford increasingly put emphasis on 1925, beginning door-to-door preaching with the new Golden Age magazine in 1919. Fervor for the New Order reached a high point where 90,000 were partaking of the memorial emblems in 1925, with an expectation of immediate passage through the great tribulation. This was a growth rate that would soon exceed 144,000, a literal limit in Rutherford’s view. By this date, Fred W Franz had become Rutherford’s research and doctrinal aide. With the failure of all the predictions surrounding the 1925 expectation, a disheartened atmosphere developed. Rutherford’s followers were more skeptical. These were called a class lacking true belief in their anointing, and through the type/antitype analysis that Franz favored, they came to be called the Jonadab class, after the model of King Jehu and his associate Jonadab, a Kenite and non-Israelite .
The Jonadabs did not qualify for baptism or for even attending the memorial until after 1934. By that time, the pathway to Kingdom covenant was closed off. A new fork in the road to the kingdom had been set in place that would lead to out-right rejection of Jesus simple command to accept undeserved kindness belonging to his brothers, the anointed. Even though the word Christian implies anointing by spirit (Christ = the anointed one), these skeptics were set aside as observers, not participants in the new covenant.
“But they said: “We will not drink wine, because Je·hona·dab the son of Rechab, our forefather, gave us this command, ‘Neither you nor your sons must ever drink wine.” (Jeremiah 35:6)
By mid-1934, the doctrine was laid down that this class could present themselves for water baptism as friends of God, but they did not receive a spirit of inheritance as sons of God. They would stand apart from a closed class of 144,000 anointed, ignoring the Bible view of the “great crowd” as declared righteous to live in the tabernacle of God.
You protest, saying, “But I was part of the ‘great crowd.’”
Again your reading of scripture is adjusted by princes, because they point out that the great crowd was not formed as a class until after they came out of the great tribulation ( Rev 7:14), and then they found themselves declared righteous and were seated in the temple before the throne of God.” The “great crowd” is seen, not in the temple courtyards, but in its inner-most chamber, “the divine habitation.”
“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.” (Re 7:15 ESV)
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)
The free gift of being declared righteous and joining the great crowd inside God’s tabernacle is offered to all mankind by the preaching of the Good News of salvation by Christ’s ransom. It is undeserved kindness or grace for the very reason that we are unworthy. Nothing on their part, aside from faith in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice in our behalf, is required. Yes, sinners are unworthy, but they are made worthy not by works, but by the grace of God. That is the point of propitiation. Undeserved kindness is by its nature not applied to worthy ones, but the un-worthy.
Therefore, if we explain that we did not partake of the emblems of the covenant because we considered ourselves to be unworthy, then we show that we have rejected what was offered, specifically, the free gift of God. This results in a great irony, for we are essentially telling Jehovah that “I am unworthy to be counted as unworthy.”
No measure of service activity or faithfulness to an organization makes a difference to our outcome. If we reject the kingdom covenant and membership in its spirit-anointed class—something never done before 1935—then we do not apply the value of the ransom sacrifice to ourselves.
Partaking of the emblems is more than observing a command to “take and eat” or “take and drink.” It is a communion with the Lord, and Paul speaks of it being done on the Lord’s day, not the Passover.
As a summary of reasons as to who is worthy to partake, we have considered the following points in Scripture:
- The “other sheep” of John 10:16 are Christian gentiles who joined with Christian Israelites to make up “one flock” under one shepherd by the ransom sacrifice and the pouring out of holy spirit (anointing) on the people of the nations. They are worthy as “one flock” to be in the new covenant and partake.
- The post-Armageddon “great crowd” of Rev 7:14 are declared righteous by accepting undeserved kindness or grace through their belief in the sin-atoning value of Christ’s blood and sacrificed body. They were found worthy to be declared righteous because in faith they followed the commands to “take eat” and “take drink.”
- The “great crowd” are placed in the center area of the temple, not in its courtyards. God spreads his tent out over them, and they dwell in his place of habitation. Thus under Kingdom Rulership they will act as administrators and princes, as the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to cover the extents of the earth.
- This group, which receives everlasting life, is worthy, not in their own right, but by their faith in the new covenant.
- By their partaking of the emblems, they confirm their communion with Jesus as brothers and as spirit-anointed “sons of God.”
“To that very end we always pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling and with his power perform completely all the good that he pleases and every work of faith. 12 This is so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in union with him, according to the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12)
The substance of the 2017 Memorial talk, like the invitation campaign that precedes it, is focused on causing one to believe an “earthly hope” is offered as the way to Paradise.
The scriptures lay out that Christians serve with Christ in his Kingdom rule to bring the earth and mankind back into harmony with Jehovah’s purposes. Whether they do this from the heavens or upon the earth will be revealed in God’s due time.
The only option offered by Christ now is the kingdom covenant, to rule with him as a brother. The “rest of the dead” will eventually receive their opportunity too, but for now, Christians have but one hope, the Kingdom covenant hope.
[…] Paragraph 9 then makes more of this interpretation of Ezekiel suggesting that the “unity described in Ezekiel is clearly evident each year as the anointed remnant and the other sheep gather to observe the Memorial of Christ’s death!” Really? Most congregations do not have a member claiming to be ‘anointed’. In those that do have such a member in reality it can cause disunity because of the ‘celebrity status’ bestowed on the ‘anointed’ one as this can lead to others claiming ‘anointing’ to receive the same status. Of course, now there are also those of us who through prayer… Read more »
Hi, it was said “Paul speaks of it being done on the Lord’s day, not the Passover.”
What does that mean? When? How often? Can I do it privately on my own alone?
Awesome discussion. We believe that the Great Company class make up the individuals that ran the race for the mark of the prize of the high calling that fail to make their calling and election sure but don’t do into second death. We believe this to be an mercy class. Since many are called to run for the 144,000 but not all make it. So they fall into the Great Company class. They will eventually be over comers but will fail to make their calling and election sure.
Do you have any scriptures to support this? In particular those that fall short of the 144,000 will be the Great Company Class? Thanks! 🙂
“”The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20 Of course. It mainly comes through reasoning. We know that since Jesus’ day the Holy Spirit has been inviting people to the divine nature to be of the bride of Christ. Only during this Gospel Age are we invited. Not during the Jewish Age not the Millennial Age. We also know that there will be billions in earth! But during the Gospel Age we know that there is only one calling and that is the heavenly calling (Eph 4:4). Those who are not begotten of… Read more »
you say “we beleive…” a couple of times? I am curious as to who the “we” is.
Your comment is fast moving, I would like to try to understand it however I am having trouble sorting it out… could be me!
I understand. It’s a lot. It’s not a thing like “here’s a scripture bam.” ? It’s a doctrine from the start of the Bible unto the end.
The “we” is Bible Students. We believe in what was taught by the Early Watchtower. We study the Studies in the Scriptures and the Zion’s Watch Tower
Wow! So do you mean you stick to some of the earlier stuff? Are you saying you stay with a set of beliefs between some “start date” and an “end date”.
I’m fascinated by this concept. Can you put it in a nutshell?
If you can’t it’s ok. Do you meet with a like minded group, and how many.
thank you, I enjoy reading your comments.
Dajo. Yes we stick to the earlier stuff. Yes I meet with an ecclesia here and we have conventions all over the USA and world. We still publish the Studies in the Scriptures. We still read the (Zion’s Watch Tower). We don’t believe what Rutherford wrote. Our Watch Towers start from 1879-1916. We still use the Chart of the Ages. But we can update teachings too. The best thing about it is that there is no leader or Governing Body. There is no headquarters. Each ecclesia is autonomous (self governed)!! We vote in elders and we each are free to… Read more »
Hello John, I have a number of difficulties with what you wrote above. Part of the difficulty is that, while you are a Bible Student, your doctrinal view echoes much of WT theology, which I would presume we both have issues with. The other difficulty is that, after extensive study and research, I don’t believe that anyone is going to heaven. I have commented at length on this, such as on the Bible Study Forum under “Salvation”. You noted, “during the Gospel Age we know that there is only one calling and that is the heavenly calling (Eph 4:4)”. Ephesians… Read more »
Thank you once again Robert for your logical and clear words…. I like how you think and agree whole heartedly with your sound thinking… The earth indeed belongs to humankind, it was given to us by our heavenly father, the heavens belong to spirit creatures. How arrogant indeed to think that humans converted into spirit creatures could advice the God who created us?? Since leaving the WT following the ARC in 2015 I have been constantly patted on the head so to speak …. ‘poor dear doesn’t get it yet’ because I cannot accept that we are going to heaven….… Read more »
Thank you for the kind words, Karen. The thing that got me started on all this is an article called “Where is the Great Crowd serving God?” It was written in the 1980’s when there was a dissident faction at Bethel. If you do a google search on this you may find the web site that has a summary of it, or Meleti may have a copy I sent him. Or, if you can give me an email address I could send it to you directly. Basically it shows that the word “naos” in Greek, which means the inner sanctuary… Read more »
I have researched 1 Corinthians 15 quite closely. Here are my comments: http://beroeans.study/2017/02/24/salvation-part-4-all-in-the-family/#comment-359 Your mention of types and anti-types is unconvincing. This is a Bible Student/WT theory that WT themselves have now (rightly) rejected as unsupported in scripture. The concept of types and anti-types should be recognized for what it is: the exercise of human reasoning and wishful thinking, to wish some doctrine or theory to be true merely because that is what you want, rather than having scriptures and sound reasoning to back it up. You evidently say above that there are Christians that don’t go to heaven, but… Read more »
Hi Robert I would appreciate a scriptural reason of why Jesus words at John 14:2 do not refer to his followers going to heaven, plus also why Jesus said that a lesser one in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the baptist.
Hello Colette, I certainly wouldn’t claim to have an answer for everything, but I will do my best. Here are the verses of John 14 in context, from the Berean Study Bible: “2 In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where… Read more »
Hello Colette, You asked, “why Jesus said that a lesser one in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist”. Here is the account as shown in Matthew 11:11 (BSB) and my thoughts on this. “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” We must ask, who could possibly be worthy to baptize the son of God? He must have been a man of faith, honor, integrity, courage to speak out, and yet a… Read more »
I was going back to see if I had missed any comments on this article and I ran into your comments on 1Cor. 15.
Wow, we have a very small study group, but this could have been written by one of us!
We have come to the very same conclusion.
You did a great job explaining the verses but this teaching of “going” to heaven is strongly entrenched.
I just wanted you to know your not alone in your understanding and I hope you get this reply.
Thanks, S.M. Who is your study group? Are you referring to this forum or to people you associate with? I find that one of the strongest arguments against the “heavenly hope” doctrine is the indefensible assumption that humans would be taken to heaven to help rule the world with Christ. The scriptures tell us about God saying, “Who as a man of counsel has taught me, or who has given something to me so that I ought to repay him”? When did Jesus ever ask for advice from his apostles? God and Christ do not NEED our help to rule… Read more »
Hey Robert, Completely agree with your comments. We have roughly five that meet together weekly. Not so much but better than being alone. Several years ago someone close to me started implying tactfully about heaven and I was angry at them and very resistant. Since they were close I thought I should investigate it further in hopes of helping them. The more I dug the more I saw they were right. I even found a paper done on the Apostolic fathers showing the earliest fathers did not believe in an otherworldly heavenly hope. It wasn’t until the 2nd and 3rd… Read more »
The irony of all that is that WT almost understands it. They say the new heavens is a new ruling arrangement, and the new earth is a new righteous human society. They are not wrong when they say that. But then they fall back on the doctrines of Christendom to cling to the idea that “anointed” ones are going to heaven to rule with Christ, and perpetuate a two-class system of salvation, and worse still go around saying that the “great crowd” have no mediator, are not children of God but only His “friends” and so on. One thing that… Read more »
You are so right about WT. In 2Peter 3 they understand this concept that satan’s system of things are being destroyed and a new system of things will be replacing it. As witnesses we were always saying “in the new system I will be…”. What does that term “system of things” mean? They will give you an answer that is very close to correct but then when these same heaven(s) is mentioned elsewhere it automatically becomes an otherworldly place. Sometimes I wonder if the GB know some of this but it would destroy their two class system and in their… Read more »
Thank you Robert for your response. I am sure if I asked nicely Meleti would be happy to forward my email address to you as I would be most interested in reading this article.
Thank you again enjoy reading your comments.
You ask an excellent question. If everyone with God’s approval goes to heaven, what is the earth needed for any more? But the scriptues say that the earth was NOT made for nothing but to be inhabited. Those two ideas cannot both be true. It also begs the question, if righteous mankind’s destiny is in heaven, why bother making the earth in the first place? God went to an awful lot of trouble during creation if the earth is merely a “disposable planet”. It makes it sound like the creative work of God is a total waste of time. To… Read more »
Hello John, I understand your view on debates. So many ex-JW sites where debates take place end up being venues for arguments and hostility, which I view as unnecessary. To me, a doctrinal position ought to be solely supported by scripture, and if it can’t be, that is the end of the matter. I feel that it should be like a mathematical proof. No one gets hostile or argues whether 2+2=4. Either it’s true or it’s false, or else there is not enough information to make a determination. I find your writing style hard to follow, so my apologies if… Read more »
Dear Amitafal, last year was my family’s first year of awakening. We still were going through alot of readjusting. I’m a forth gen born in. The idea of partaking was terrifying. My daughter was sure it would be the unforgivable sin. I prayed alot. We made an event of it. First we realized the meal took place the day before the passover. We watched a movie that read all of the book of John. We got some oil lamps and ate outside. We had lamb, bitter greens and unleavened bread for dinner. We prayed and partook. It was a special… Read more »
Thanks Rufus, interesting take on looking forward and contemplating where ones in the future, asking why? They got it wrong, as they were following the instructions of the Organisation. Well interesting, note a little snippet from the Jw.org in 1987. The Watchtower of June 15, 1987, noted that the previous year, in 1986, “It was appreciated that both the remnant and the “great crowd” must figuratively partake of Jesus’ flesh and blood by accepting his sacrifice in order to be in harmony with him.—John 6:53-56. So, How do both, the remnant and the great crowd, figuratively partake of Jesus’ flesh… Read more »
Thank you for your work Rufus. I see what you are saying to a point, but still struggle with the thought of partaking bread and wine. Maybe that’s because of JW indoctrination for over 20yrs? This year I don’t feel I can attend the memorial with the JWs but still not sure what to do. In some ways I think the Catholics are correct in partaking more than once a year, but it feels strange to now partake and how? At home on my own ? With awakened friends? Please don’t think I’m being awkward here, just something I can’t… Read more »
HI Amitafal, Jesus said, where 2 or three are gather in my name, I will be there. In other words, if you gather with people who really are gathered in Jesus’s name, I guess it would be fine to eat and drink. In my view (see discussion on this topic on DTT), it is not a once a year event but can be done every time when you gather.
Rufus, this is an interesting viewpoint. I went to catholic mass as a child, but as a non catholic was forbidden to partake of the bread/wine, which I longed to do. Became a JW at 20. Now 30 years later, at last, I am pleased to show my faith in Jesus shed blood. You are right, the ‘other sheep’ are excluding themselves from the kingdom arrangement by not partaking. It was such a simple command, and what excuse can you give if you were right there and passed it on. I have read that Satanists celebrate their black mass in… Read more »
Hello Rufus; enjoyed the scenario of ‘surprise!’ Armageddon is now past, and by the grace of God you’ve survived into Earth’s new paradise. But as new scrolls are opened and a clearer picture emerges of life in the New World, you learn, either by a direct judgment or a slow realization, that you have not yet been declared righteous so as to inherit everlasting life. You are astonished to learn that you were found to be unworthy of this gift of undeserved kindness as you had expected. Instead, your lot and judgment is to work toward “coming to life at… Read more »