In my last post, I spoke about how ill-conceived some of (most of?) the doctrines of JW.org truly are. By happenstance, I stumbled on another one dealing with the Organization’s interpretation of Matthew 11:11 which states:
“Truly I say to you, among those born of women, there has not been raised up anyone greater than John the Baptist, but a lesser person in the Kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is.” (Mt 11:11)
Now, various scholars have attempted to explain what Jesus was referring to, but the purpose of this post is not to join in that attempt. My concern is only to determine whether the Organization’s interpretation is scripturally valid. One doesn’t need to know what he meant to know what he didn’t mean. If an interpretation of this verse can be shown to conflict with other scriptural passages, then we can eliminate that interpretation as false.
Here is the Organization’s interpretation of Matthew 11:11:
w08 1/15 p. 21 par. 5, 7 Counted Worthy to Receive a Kingdom
5 Interestingly, immediately before speaking of those who would ‘seize’ the Kingdom of the heavens, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is.” (Matt. 11:11) Why was that? Because the hope of being part of the Kingdom arrangement was not fully opened up to faithful ones until holy spirit was poured out at Pentecost 33 C.E. By that time, John the Baptist had died.—Acts 2:1-4.
7 Regarding Abraham’s faith, God’s Word states: “[Abraham] put faith in Jehovah; and he proceeded to count it to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:5, 6) True, no human is absolutely righteous. (Jas. 3:2) Nevertheless, because of Abraham’s outstanding faith, Jehovah dealt with him as if he were righteous and even called him his friend. (Isa. 41:8) Those who make up the spiritual seed of Abraham along with Jesus have also been declared righteous, and this brings them even greater blessings than Abraham received.
In summary, the Governing Body teaches us that anyone, no matter how faithful, who died before Jesus died could not become one of the anointed who will share with Christ in the kingdom of the heavens. In other words, they will not be numbered among those who will become both kings and priests. (Re 5:10) I was brought up believing that men like Job, Moses, Abraham, Daniel, and John the Baptist would enjoy an earthly resurrection as part of the other sheep. But they would not be part of the 144,000. They would be restored to life, still in their imperfect state as sinners, but have the opportunity to work toward perfection at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ.
This entire doctrine is based on the Organization’s interpretation of Matthew 11:11 and the belief that the ransom cannot be applied retroactively so that those faithful men and women of old might also enjoy the spirit adoption as children of God. Is this premise valid? Is it scriptural?
Not according to what God’s word says, and unwittingly, the Organization acknowledges this. This is yet more evidence of their apparent inability to think things through and mess with established JW dogma.
I give you The Watchtower of October 15, 2014, which says:
w14 10/15 p. 15 par. 9 You Will Become “a Kingdom of Priests”
These anointed ones would become “joint heirs with Christ” and have the opportunity of becoming “a kingdom of priests.” This was a privilege that the nation of Israel under the Law could have had. Concerning the “joint heirs with Christ,” the apostle Peter stated: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession…”
The article is quoting from Exodus where God told Moses to tell the Israelites:
“Now if you will strictly obey my voice and keep my covenant, you will certainly become my special property out of all peoples, for the whole earth belongs to me. You will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”” (Ex 19:5, 6)
The 2014 Watchtower article admits that the Israelites could have had this privilege! What privilege? That of becoming “anointed ones” who “would become ‘joint heirs with Christ’ and have the opportunity of becoming ‘a kingdom of priests'”. For that to be so, the opportunity could not have depended on dying only after Jesus died? Those words were spoken—that promise of God was given—to people who lived and died some 1,500 years before Christ, yet God cannot lie.
Either the Israelites were in the covenant for a kingdom or they were not. Exodus clearly shows there were, and the fact that they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain as a nation doesn’t preclude God from holding to his promise for those few who remained faithful and kept their part of the covenant. And what if the nation as a whole had kept their end of the bargain? One could try to dismiss this as hypothetical, but was God’s promise hypothetical? Was Jehovah saying, “I can’t really keep this promise because all these people will die before my Son pays the ransom; but no matter, they’re not going to keep it anyway, so I’m off the hook”?
Jehovah made a promise he was fully committed to keeping should they have held up their end of the agreement. That means—and the 2014 Watchtower admits this hypothetical scenario—that it would have been possible for God to include the pre-Christian servants in the Kingdom of God along with anointed Christians who died after Jesus paid the ransom. So the Organization’s teaching that faithful pre-Christian servants could not be part of the Kingdom of the heavens is unscriptural and the 2014 article unwittingly admits to that fact.
How could men who are “God’s channel of communication” and the “Slave” the Jesus is using to direct his people have missed that fact for decades and still do to this day? Would that not reflect very badly on Jehovah God, the Great Communicator? (w01 7/1 p. 9 par. 9)
Hmmm, I appreciate your reasoning however I’m not sure I agree with the conclusions you’ve reached For various reasons. One such is that Rev.14:13 would appear to indicate otherwise. those who have died in union with Christ “from this time forward” are pronounced happy. Why does the angel state this if those from the past are also to be included in the heavenly calling. As for Israel, did they not prove to be a kingdom of earthly priests and kings, as Jehovah’s special property – I fail to understand how they could possibly be included in a heavenly covenant only… Read more »
Good question, Dani. First, we need the correct rendering of Rev. 14:13 which means we must eliminate the “union with” phrase. That gives us: “Blessed are the dead—those who die in the Lord from this moment on.” (Re 14:13 BSB) Now this isn’t intended as an exclusion. For example, by the time this was written, possibly 96 C.E., all of the apostles save John had died, yet they also died in Christ. So while those dying in Christ from “that moment on” would be blessed, it doesn’t exclude those who died in Christ from blessings. What about those who didn’t… Read more »
Soy yo otra vez hermano Eric…de Colombia ;me alegra saludarlos a todos.hasta ahora pude comprar teléfono después de un robo que me hicieron.sin embargo no he dejado de leer tus artículos…gracias por tanto estimulo.quisiera saber si por Colombia ya ha habido quien despierte del sueño profundo para reynirnos.hermano Eric me gustaría hacerte una petición
Proverbs 14:15 The naive person believes every word, But the shrewd one ponders each step
Well done Eric I love it when you use scriptural reasoning.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. (Walter Scott). A internet E mailscam at the present time is for some to pretend to be your bank, telling you about dsome problem, and then persuading you to contact them on the phone number they have provided. What happens after that usually leads to a serious depletion of your bank balance. Many inexperienced elderly ones fall for it. When we rely on the caller for answers we get fooled. Those that weave the web, are not the ones we should expect to answer the questions. Of… Read more »
Hey. Just thinking…perhaps the GB has never considered Hebrews 2:6-9 and how it might contribute to a proper understanding of Jesus words at Matt 11:11: “But a certain witness has given proof somewhere, saying: “What is man that you keep him in mind, or [the] son of man that you take care of him? You made him [Adam] a little lower than angels; with glory and honor you crowned him, and appointed him over the works of your hands. All things you subjected under his feet [as it says in Gen 1:26-28 & Ps 8:5,6].” For in that he subjected… Read more »
It amazes me that the many WT articles are a tangled web of deceit with various contradictions. I wonder if this is just ignorance or blindness of the writers to logic and reasoning or just willful deceit.. I really do believe that the latter for the GB. I’ve always struggled with the teaching that the faithful saints of old could not benefit from the ransom because they were pre Jesus. It just didn’t make sense to me and left me feeling that Jehovah was not a fair God. I’m so thankful for my awakening through Meleti and others who provide… Read more »
We feel for you, Dawn Ann. It is hideous how the Organization exercises its control by threat of disfellowshipping. This is not of the Christ. It has another origin.
Very sorry to hear that Dawn. It certainly creates a lot of internal turmoil. But, following Christ brings peace regardless of the surroundings circumstances that can often be painful. Rejoice in truth and do your best to imitate the love of Christ. No one can accurately find fault with that kind of ministry! And it may bring comfort to others including your husband. As regards the GB, there certainly is a lot of debate as to their complicity. They could be just plain wicked, planning to deceive (less likely)…or just plain blind but thinking they see (possible) or mostly blind… Read more »
This type of thinking, or thought process is what we have been indoctrinated with. The Watchtower 6/1/1967 pg. 338 said: “But in Jehovah’s organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to do that very thing, to help you who do not have so much time for this, these preparing the good material in The Watchtower and other publications of the Society. But you do not study enough? Take this suggestion: Often the very best and most beneficial studying you do is that… Read more »
Well said Justin, and great quotes.
I’m going to put them in my folder of quotes that continue to immunise me against any attempts to persuade me to return to the dulling of my senses.
Well put, Justin!
Thanks for this information. I remember on several occasions before waking up trying to make the pieces fit with their interpretation on this especially if the nation as a majority had accepted Jesus as the Messiah but it never would quite fit together in my mind. But I always had figured it was just my problem for not being able to see it. Once I started to wake up though it became apparent that even one false interpretation creates a web of problems since the scriptures are so joined together. Earlier this year I found this article that I think… Read more »
That’s a coincidence, BB, because when I started reading Meleti’s article I thought he was going to use the Watchtower article that you mention. I remember that article and the comments on the ransom ‘being as good as paid’ to back up the idea of being declared righteous. If as Paul said, God was forgiving sins from the past, then we who put faith in God and Jesus in the past or in present are covered by the same guarantee, to the same degree, with the same reward. It’s only human interpretation that confuses things to create a tier system… Read more »
How on earth did we not see through yet another lie?! I would always quote Romans 6:7, which all translations effectively say, “when we die we are acquitted of our sins”. This never tied in with the thought that if any died before Jesus, they would be resurrected and have a thousand years to work towards perfection, and those of us alive now, if we died we also had to wait a thousand years to be perfect? I have to say some doctrines have been so deeply intrenched in me it is still hard to grasp that there may not… Read more »
I feel the same way about grasping the idea of there maybe not being a heavenly and earthly hope. I really want to live forever on a perfect earth with a perfect body. It’s hard to give up that dream!
I guess we’re in the same boat, trusting that our Father and his Son will take us carefully to our destination and that it will be lovely.
At least our minds are free while we wait and see!
Well said Eric. The way I see it, in heaven among the family of God there are levels of authority. Even a holy, perfect spirit with the least authority in God’s family is greater than the most righteous of imperfect humans. I believe that explanation is what Jesus intended, so as to show how great the reward of what seeking FIRST the kingdom of the heavens would be… the goal that all should put before themselves. Of course, the Witnesses ignore such statements as: Matt 8:11: “But I tell YOU that many from eastern parts and western parts will come… Read more »