Stop the presses! The Organization has just admitted that the Other Sheep doctrine is unscriptural.
Okay, to be fair, they don’t know they’ve admitted this yet, but they have.
To understand what they’ve done, we have to understand the basis for the doctrine. It began as a “revealed truth” published in two 1934 Watchtower articles titled “His Kindness” printed in the August 1 and 15 issues. The foundation of the teaching is that the Other Sheep of John 10:16 represent an antitypical fulfillment of the six cities of refuge established under the law of Moses. (For a consideration in detail of those articles, see Going Beyond What Is Written.) Since those articles were published, there has been no further clarification. In other words, no additional proof—scriptural or otherwise—has been put forward to support the doctrine of the Other Sheep as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The other sheep are the antitype to the Israelite cities of refuge.
There are two ways you can do this for yourself. The first is by entering “other sheep” (with quotes) into the WT Library search engine and scan the 2,233 hits you get in the Watchtower listing going back to 1950. (As far as it goes.) It takes time, but I did it and it was illuminating in a backhanded way, because you will find no scriptural explanation as to why the Governing Body believes the “other sheep” of John 10:16 refers to a non-anointed class of Christian who are not God’s children.
Next, you can go to the Watchtower Index 1930-1985 and look under the “Discussion” topic which is always where articles explaining a doctrine are referenced. (There is no Discussion topic for “Other Sheep” in the 1986 to 2016 index.) You will find only two articles discussing the doctrine, but neither provides any scriptural proof whatsoever. An even greater curiosity is that the key 1934 and 1935 articles that gave birth to the doctrine are not referenced here, even though they fall within the scope of this index.
Therefore, the sole basis for this doctrinal teaching continues to be the belief that the Other Sheep are part of an antitypical fulfillment corresponding to the ancient type presented by the Israelite cities of refuge. That doctrinal basis has never been denied by the Governing Body—until now.
It could be argued that they denied that belief in the March 15, 2015 “Questions from Readers”, but that article contained a loophole:
“Where the Scriptures teach that an individual, an event, or an object is typical of something else, we accept it as such. Otherwise, we ought to be reluctant to assign an antitypical application to a certain person or account if there is no specific Scriptural basis for doing so.”
The boldfaced portion indicates they left some wiggle room for themselves which was missing from the 2014 annual meeting talk delivered by Governing Body member David Splane. Being reluctant to do something isn’t the same thing as being prohibited from doing it. I might be reluctant to slap a person, but if I needed to do so to revive them, I would not let my reluctance stand in my way.
However, and probably unwittingly, that loophole has now been closed. From a Box in the November Watchtower (Study Edition), we learn this:
“Because the Scriptures are silent regarding any antitypical significance of the cities of refuge, this article and the next one emphasize instead the lessons Christians can learn from this arrangement.”
Oh dear. I’m sure the writer and the reviewers of this article had no idea they were cutting the legs out from under this central doctrine of JW.org. But there you have it. Hard evidence that there is no basis for the Other Sheep teaching. “The Scriptures are silent regarding any antitypical significance to the cities of refuge.”
- In 1934, the other sheep were revealed as a distinct class of Christian with an earthly hope based on an antitypical application of the cities of refuge in Israel.
- No other scriptural explanation has ever been published to replace this understanding.
- We now know that the cities of refuge have no antitypical significance in Scripture.
Conclusion: The JW doctrine of the Other Sheep is dead! This doctrine teaches that the vast majority of Christians—all but 144,000—are God’s friends, but not His children. They are not spirit anointed; they do not have Jesus as their mediator; they are not born again; they are not in the New Covenant; and they must not partake of the memorial emblems.
Well, no longer.
We can now accept what we should have believed all along: The other sheep refers to non-Jewish Christians—gentiles like myself—who were first brought into the flock when Peter baptized Cornelius. That is clearly the message when we compare John 10:16 with Ephesians 2:11-22.
I’m curious to see what information may come up if I search “the antitype to the Israelite cities of refuge.”
Has anyone explored this?
I hadn’t until you asked. Typing “cities of refuge” gives us references in the 1930-1985 Watchtower index. Under “Discussion”, the 1934 WT article that gave rise to the “Other Sheep” doctrine can be found. Typing “cities refuge antitypical” shows the 1955 Watchtower with this: *** w55 12/1 p. 719 par. 10 Avoidance Inside the Cities of Refuge *** What is the antitypical city of refuge today? As the typical refuge cities were cities of the temple servants, including the high priest of Jehovah, the antitypical city must be Jehovah’s provision for protecting us from death for violating the divine covenant… Read more »
Hermano meleti. Una solicitud si es posible;no tengo ese índice de la watchtower de publicaciones tan antiguo…nunca me interesé en tenerlo;pero viendo que tu lo utilizas tanto me gustaría saber si lo puedes facilitar de alguna manera….Gracias
You can download the historical watchtowers from this location: http://archive.org/download/WatchtowerLibrary/magazines/w/
Puedes conseguir las atalayas antiguas de este sitio arriba.
Here is more: http://archive.org/download/WatchtowerLibrary
I always thought that Scripture meant something other than what the GB always said! LOL!! A careful reading of the Bible, oops, we’re not supposed to be reading the Bible without the guidance of the GB and it’s minions…would reveal that Yeshua was talking about two groups…Israel and the Gentiles. The natural sheep and the other sheep…the sheep of the nations. Why does the GB ALWAYS make everything so difficult? IJS
Welcome Rynda. The answer to your question is they make it complicated, because if it were simple, you wouldn’t need them. Trouble is, it is simple. Meant to be understood by babes. So they also have to convince you that it is complicated.
Hahaha that’s right meleti , I was thinking the very same thing a few a days ago , in fact a lot of bible is self explanatory , granted there are things that are difficult to understand , but there’s also a lot of things that are easily grasped,by a sincere bible student , this reminds me of a line from father ted ” the great thing about catholocism is its that vague no one understands what its all about ” hahaha , the witnesses seem the same to me ,
The GB is the modern mediator between God and his Witnesses, the broker for genuinely understanding (I am coughing) the Scriptures.
I know I’m going off the point here , but what type of question is it , when the elders ask you “have you identified the faithful and discreet slave ” ? Answer , I thought it was jesus that was supposed to do that not me !
It seems they are in a downward spiral. They don’t seem to realize what they are admitting to.
Yes. In clouds, blinded with no frame of reference, a pilot can very literally be in a downward spiral and not know it. If he trusts his instruments, he can save himself, but there have been times where pilots trusted the feelings, their gut, and ignored their instruments. The result, a crash, or near crash once they cleared the clouds. Seems the Governing Body is flying by the seat of the pants and not trusting the navigation that comes from the Lord. They are bound to crash when the airspace runs out.
Meleti…Con mucho gusto querido amigo y hermano.brazos abiertos para todos
Muchos gracias hermano! 🙂
I think your reading into this watchtower article to much all they are saying is that the city of refuge has no prophetic application. No anti type they will continue with there understanding of the other sheep. It does not take way anything brother, all it does is take way the application of it the other sheep that’s all. It does not destroy their understanding to the other sheep.
I agree that it does not destroy their understanding of the other sheep. Their understanding is not based on Scripture, and never has been. It is based on the teaching of men, and since they put faith in these men, their word is as good as God’s word to the average Jehovah’s Witness. However, they live under the illusion that their understanding of the other sheep is based on Scripture. I doubt if one in the thousand even knows the original foundation for this doctrine. However, for those who truly love God’s word, and yet have been deceived all their… Read more »
Only time will tell if they give up on this ridiculous interpretation.
I remember my son, years ago asking me , dad who do you think the other sheep of John 10 v16 are ? Answer , oh thats easy son they are the gentile christians and became one flock with the jewish christians , when you read the bible that seems to be the most common sense logical answer anyway , here we go now , JESUS and I “HAVE” other sheep , disciples ,,,,,,, yeah but these are not coming in to existence till the 1930s are they , ? JESUS and they will become one flock , disciples ,,,,,,,,,,… Read more »
Hola a todos… es asombroso como puedo amar a personas que nunca he visto en mi vida.Todos tan sabios y tan espirituales y con tanto amor por Jesús y nuestro padre jehova. Muchas gracias a todos por sus comentarios,aquí sí que me alimento de platos con Muchas carnes jejeje. Meleti no hagas eso otra vez casi me haces saltar de la emoción por tu anuncio,pensé que la organización era consciente del cambio… Muchas gracias querido hermano y amigo .espero algún día perder estrechar tu mano.con amor desde bogota Colombia
Vivía en Bogotá durante seis años, en la década de los setenta. Me encantó la ciudad y me encantaría volver un día. Si lo hago, te buscaré.
I have found that the more convoluted a religion gets the more it pulls itself away from the simple truths of God’s Word. How do men come up with all of these ‘new truths’ and keep a straight face. I’ve been going to JW meetings since the 50s and made and kept many friends there. When I begain Pioneering in the early 60s I kept my own belief as pure and simple as I could. I partake of the emblems, not because I think I will be a Prince or a Judge, but because our Lord Jesus Christ instructs us… Read more »
The doctrinal merry-go-round of the governing body reminds me of the man in Amos 5 who fled the lion and was confronted by the bear, then hiding from the bear in a house he gets bit by a serpent. The GB create a problem with a false doctrine, and trying to abandon it they just get themselves in more trouble as you have clearly shown. Sins always catch up with us. Some men’s sins catch up with them quickly, others take decades to catch up with them (1 Tim 5). Their sins are finally catching up with them. And how… Read more »
The January 1st, 2007 Watchtower explains that they are not sure where their understanding of the Great Crowd came from. Since it mentions the year 1935 for when this came to light, I gather they would include the other sheep teaching in this understanding. They think it may have come from the resurrected anointed, communicating with them, even though they are not sure when the anointed began to be resurrected. The article would suggest that they are not relying on any antitipical interpretation. Even so, the bottom line is, they don’t know how they come to their understanding. Here’s the… Read more »
“Can we [the GB] be more precise?” I’d say so. How about going back one more year to 1934: KNOW JEHOVAH chap. 9 p. 177 par. 35 ***Marking Foreheads of Those to Be Spared *** Consistently, then, in 1934, or three years after the release of the book Vindication (Volume I), the magazine The Watchtower published in its issue of August 15, 1934, the article entitled “His Kindness.” In this it clearly set forth, on pages 249, 250, that even the “other sheep” of the present time must be made up of those who have dedicated themselves to God through… Read more »
I started to get excited and then I had a thought. Meleti you stated “The Organization has just admitted that the Other Sheep doctrine is unscriptural. Okay, to be fair, they don’t know they’ve admitted this yet” The sad thing is neither will most JWs. I don’t think many know or really paid attention that the other sheep was dealing with an antitype, until I came on this site. I don’t remember being taught this unless I just didn’t pay it any attention because it didn’t make sense, however for most JW s this is going to go right over… Read more »
That’s interesting. Although I was aware of Rutherford’s original article, I was not aware that they haven’t published anything else to support the understanding of the “other sheep”. If talking to JWs about this it’s worth remembering that the “great crowd” doctrine is actually distinct from the “other sheep” doctrine. Back in the days when I thought I knew what I was talking about I would point out that the two terms were not interchangeable. “Other sheep” were supposed to be all the righteous who’ve ever lived with the earthly hope, and the “great crowd” would be JWs who survive… Read more »
The reference from wt CD-ROM is w95 4/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers .
The question is on the technical difference.
Good reference point to show.
Interestingly looking at the updates from questions from readers, they have known since 2002 at the latest that the teaching cannot be supported scripturally.
Interestingly, under Russel and Rutherford, nearly all living humans should live on the earth and be ruled after first 1914 and later after 1925, from heaven by the 144000 and the great crowd. The great crowd should be like police officers preventing people from doing wrong (Studies in the Scriptures big 7).
This reasoning I believe is right in line with Ephesians 3:6 and Romans 1:14. I suppose the next reasonable question is, what of so many who are faithful who all along should have been partaking but have not? Is their lot on the earth with the Princes and others? Just a thought
Every year at the Memorial of our Lord’s death and ransom sacrifice in our individual behalf, each participant in the observance is given individual opportunity to obey the instructions of Jesus to be included in the New Covenant by accepting its terms: Matthew 26:26-27 New International Version (NIV) “26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it,… Read more »
Q: If apostles had been JWs, how many of them would have partaken when Jesus gave them the cup?
A: No one. Because none of them was yet spirit anointed.
This was the main issue that led to me being dissed, I informed them that I would be obeying jesus command to partake of the bread and wine , thy set up a meeting , and tried to convince me otherwise . They said I wasn’t doing enough on the ministry , they said I would be stumbling the brothers, they then asked if I accepted the GB as the faithful slave , when I didn’t give them a satisfactory answer , they then dissed me for apostasy , that was fine , I don’t want to be part of… Read more »
So they disfellowshipped you because you refused to make an affirmation of faith in the Governing Body. That now constitutes apostasy. Interesting…
Sorry brothers , I do hope I haven’t misled you at all here , when I said I didn’t give them a satisfactory answer to the question , do you recognise the faithful slave ? I did give them an answer but it wasn’t the one they wanted to hear , what I did say , and I quote , ” that I probably have a different view of that verse than you ” they took that as apostasy , and a rejection of the authority of the GB of JWs , however what I really meant was I’m not… Read more »
In the Australia hearings, Geoffrey Jackson of the GB himself would not confirm that the GB was the FDS. It seems when put to the test, the GB does not have the courage of their own convictions. So, if they themselves don’t accept the GB as the FDS, how could anyone else be expected to do so, and therefore on what grounds could you be expelled? Such blatant hypocrisy.
The basis on which I became a JW prior to 1985 was baptism upon affirmative answers to: *** w58 8/1 p. 478 par. 22 Baptism *** (1) Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah God as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ? (2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under… Read more »
What of the scripture at 1 Cor. 11: (27-33)Therefore, whoever eats the loaf or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty respecting the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 First let a man approve himself after scrutiny,+ and only then let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup. 29 For the one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and quite a few are sleeping in death.*+ 31 But if we would discern what… Read more »
Welcome, PraytoJahDaily. You ask a valid question. The Organization has used this passage to dissuade Jehovah’s Witnesses from partaking, suggesting that unless you got the “special calling” you are unworthy and are drinking judgment against yourself. However, we have to consider the historical context. In writing these words to the Corinthians, Paul was writing to anointed Christians. All such were partakers. There was no non-anointed class in the first century, even by JW theology. So he couldn’t be suggesting that some were not worthy to partake. The context indicates that some were not in a sober state or were engaging… Read more »
Meleti , you just took the words right out of my mouth , yet again , that’s the point Paul was making , hello praytojahdaily, the scripture says , that those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ , eat and drink a judgement against themselves ,1 corinthians 11v 29 , its obviouly an important point so, what does it mean to discern the body of Christ ? And do you feel that Jws are discerning the body of Christ today ?
Meleti, you wrote, ” In writing these words to the Corinthians, Paul was writing to anointed Christians. All such were partakers. There was no non-anointed class in the first century, even by JW theology.” This view is indeed part and parcel of JW theology, but I believe it is incorrect. Paul was writing to Christians, who were adopted as God’s sons. But not all Christians were necessarily anointed. Just as in the nation of Israel, anointing was performed on a select few, to become kings or priests under the Law. In the Christian arrangement, many are called to be God’s… Read more »
I won’t disagree with you out of hand, Robert. I am in the process of researching this. Having said that, if the destiny of the children of God is to serve as kings and priests, then those who “don’t make the cut” are not denied salvation. There are two resurrections, and the resurrection of the unrighteous is a resurrection of those who have not been declared righteous by God. This could include the very worst of humanity to the very best, from our point of view.
Again, I’m not putting this out there as fact. It’s a work in progress.
I have felt that this (WT) viewpoint has it backwards. It’s not that children of God have a destiny to rule, but that those who rule will be children of God. Other children of God that do not rule are such, not because they ‘didn’t make the cut’ but merely because not every last child of God will rule. Our Father simply doesn’t need EVERYONE to rule. It would be as if there were a country in which every last, single man were the king of that country. It’s not needed, and just doesn’t make any sense. So many religions… Read more »
Hi Robert, I think we may be arguing the cross purposes. Your reasoning counters the WT doctrine, but no one here is arguing for that understanding to the best of my knowledge. I do not believe that the children of God will live in heaven, abandoning the earth forever. I do believe that all the children of God were called out up to the presence of Christ are destined to rule with him for a thousand years.. The purpose of their rule is to reconcile creation as defined at Romans 8:18-23 back in the family of God. Eventually all humans… Read more »
Hi PraytoJahDaily! I think you raise an interesting question: Which is the greatest danger, which has the worst consequences? 1) To partake ‘unworthily’ 2) To not partake at all It is interesting that 1 Cor 11:32 says “when we are judged, we are disciplined by Jehovah,*+ so that we may not become condemned with the world.” It seems to me that even after being judged for partaking unworthily, we are disciplined by Jehovah, not condemned with the world (including those in the world who never partook at all). So really what is the absolute worst case senario of partaking unworthily?… Read more »
I have not been able to verify this, but I’m told that those Satan worshipers who practice a black mass will pass the emblems and refuse to drink the wine and eat the bread. They are pointedly rejecting the symbols of what Christ offered us through his death. How unsettling to realize that Jehovah’s Witnesses are performing the same practice that Satan worshipers perform.
Somewhere I read a comment from some Christian group critical of WT. They were saying, ‘the Memorial is an annual ritual of JWs in which they reject the body and blood of Christ’. That alone is bad enough, but to think that rejection puts them in the same company as Satanists … whew! That’s a lot to take in, and a severe rebuke of WT if true.
Hi Meleti, I would like to add the following points to prepare our minds and hearts for the discussions that will arise. The teaching of the “Great Crowd” is based on 4 fundamental elements. 1. Where do they stand in the temple? (See Revelation 7:15) Naos means the inner sanctuary as based on the 1st May WT 2002 Question from readers. This means that the “Great Crowd” location needs to be revisited. On the understanding of the Spiritual temple (see w72 12/1 pp. 709-716 “The One True Temple at Which to Worship”, w96 7/1 pp. 14-19 Jehovah’s Great Spiritual Temple and… Read more »
Well this will get confusing in a hurry. The Q from Readers answer in May 2002 establishes that John saw the “Great Crowd” in the na-os of the Temple, specifically the Holy of Holies. It then concludes in two more paragraphs by contradicting the points just made: *** w02 5/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers *** Members of the great crowd exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. They are spiritually clean, having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Hence, they are declared righteous with a view to becoming friends of God and of… Read more »
Rufus, Points 1-4 in that article deal with using the wrong temple I.e. Herod’ s. It says that it should be Solomon’s temple or the tabernacle. They acknowledge that the court of gentiles does not apply. Please see the 1972 and 1996 wt discussions on the great spiritual temple. After that comes point 5 which clearly states that what naos means. The clear conclusion is that this great crowd must be in heaven. The following two paragraphs that you have given above contradicts the conclusion based on scripture! They answer the original question by taking a position that contradicts their… Read more »
They get away with it because (a) the rank and file are spiritually lazy, or (b) they are afraid to speak up.
“In many ways, they are like proselytes in Israel…” Really? Which ways in particular? WT don’t need to bother with specifics, let alone scriptual proof!