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)