Please take a look at this illustration. Is anything missing?
This illustration was taken from page 29 of the April 15, 2013 issue of The Watchtower. However, I’ve altered it, making one change. If you have friends or family members who are staunch Jehovah’s Witnesses, you might find it interesting to show them this picture and ask them if they think it is an accurate rendering?
I believe it is safe to say that most Witnesses will pick up on the fact that the Governing Body is missing.
If some rogue staffer in the Publishing Desk at headquarters had substituted this graphic for the real one, and got it published in either the printed and/or the online edition of The Watchtower back in 2013, how long do you think it would have taken for the discrepancy to have been discovered and rectified? Of course, that would never have happened, because everything that goes out in any of the publications is reviewed dozens of times before it is released. Members of the Governing Body personally proofread the study articles. Nevertheless, let’s say for argument’s sake that this illustration somehow made it past all the checks. Does anyone doubt that most of the eight million Witnesses reading the magazine around the world would have noticed and questioned the omission?
Here’s what actually went out.
Now show this second illustration to your staunch Witness friends and family and ask them if it is okay. Most, I’m sure, will say this illustration is accurate. I say that because five years ago, when this illustration was considered in the weekly Watchtower Study, there was not even a peep to be heard from the eight million Witnesses around the world.
In the five years since its publication there has been no hue and cry raised, nor has the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses suggested that anything was missing or left out. If the Governing Body had been left out, you can be sure that the oversight would have been immediately corrected in both the online and print editions.
Do you see the problem? Perhaps you ask, “What problem? Everything seems to be exactly as it should be.”
Back in 2012, the Governing Body declared itself to be the Faithful and Discreet Slave of Matthew 24:45-47. Prior to that, the entire body of anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses were considered to be the Faithful Slave, with the Governing Body taking point on their behalf to direct the worldwide Organization. Here is a chart from the December 15, 1971 issue of The Watchtower that, like the one above, showed the authority structure under that previous arrangement.
Now do you see what’s missing from the most recent chart?
What happened to Jesus Christ? Jehovah is depicted. The upper and middle management of the organization is also represented. Even the rank and file are shown. But the head of the Christian congregation; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the one in whom Jehovah has invested all authority in heaven and earth—he’s nowhere to be seen!?
What happened between 1971 and 2013? Was there new light from Jehovah? Did He tell the Governing Body that Jesus wasn’t really that important anymore in His organizational arrangement? Is the purpose of the new authority structure to inform us that it is now the Governing Body that is really key to our salvation? That would appear to be the case as this reference indicates:
(w12 3/15 p. 20 par. 2 Rejoicing in Our Hope)
The other sheep should never forget that their salvation depends on their active support of Christ’s anointed “brothers” still on earth. (Matt. 25:34-40)
So, any other non-JW Christian on earth who puts faith in Jesus and obeys him as Lord has no hope for salvation, because “their salvation depends on their active support of Christ’s anointed “brothers” still on earth.” (I’m not really sure why this article puts “brothers” in quotes? Are they his brothers, or aren’t they?) In any case, the question is, how are they to actively support these ones?
In 2009, this direction was given:
w09 10/15 p. 15 par. 14 “You Are My Friends”
One way is to obey the direction provided by the faithful and discreet slave class, which consists of Jesus’ spirit-anointed brothers still alive on earth.
In 2012, the “faithful and discreet slave class” became the Governing Body. So, the salvation of humankind depends on actively supporting the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And Jesus? Where does he fit into this arrangement?
The omission of Jesus from this authority structure was no mere oversight? If that were the case, then the mistake would have been acknowledged and corrected? Jehovah God invested all authority in heaven and earth in Jesus Christ. Jehovah had divested himself of this authority and granted it to Jesus. So, showing Jehovah in this chart, but eliminating Jesus, is an affront to the Almighty God himself. Like Korah, who attempted to circumvent Jehovah’s appointment of Moses and put himself in the place of God’s anointed one, the Governing Body has replaced Jesus, the Greater Moses, and drawn themselves into God’s arrangement.
Am I making too much of a single incident? One incorrectly drawn illustration? I would agree if that were the sum total of it all, but alas, this is but a symptom of a much deeper and extremely serious malady. In a way, I feel like those physicians must have felt when they first discovered that the cause of malaria was infection from mosquito bites. Prior to that, it was believed that malaria was caused by bad air, which is where the word comes from in Latin. Doctors were able to witness the horrific effects of the disease, but until they understood its cause, their efforts at curing it were seriously hampered. They could treat the symptoms, but not the cause.
For years I have been trying to help my brothers and sisters see what is wrong with the Organization by pointing to such things as the hypocrisy of the 10-year membership in the United Nations that was concealed from the brotherhood while the Governing Body was denouncing other religions for compromising their political neutrality. I have also pointed to the abysmal policies that the Organization has in dealing with child sexual abuse. Their stiff-necked resistance to changing these policies so as to protect the “little ones” is appalling. However, my primary focus for the past eight years has been to use the Bible to show that the fundamental doctrines of the Organization are unscriptural. By the Organization’s own standard, false doctrines equate to false religion.
I now see that I have been trying to treat the symptoms, but ignoring the root cause of the problem affecting the Organization and my Witness brethren.
The Basis for Judgment
To be fair, what I’m about to say goes beyond JW.org. False worship has been the bane of civilization since the time of Cain. (See Matthew 23:33-36) It all stems from one root cause. There is essentially only one basis for judgment, from which all the other wicked things derive.
Please turn to John 3:18 where we read:
“He that exercises faith in him [Jesus] is not to be judged. He that does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.”
(By the way, almost every other Bible translation renders the phrase “exercise faith” as “believe in”.)
Now, is that not clear? Is it not perfectly clear that the basis for being adversely judged by God is to “not believe in the name of the only-begotten son of God”?
You will notice that Jesus makes no mention of Jehovah’s name here. Only his own. He was talking to Jews at the time. They believed in Jehovah God. It was Jesus they had a problem with.
Except for a tiny few, the Jews did not believe in the name of Jesus. The situation with the nation of Israel—or as Witnesses like to call it, God’s earthly organization—is so similar to that of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the parallels are chilling.
|The First Century Jewish Organization||The Modern Judeo-Christian Organization|
|In all the world, only Jews worshipped Jehovah God.||Witnesses believe that they alone in the entire world worship Jehovah God.|
|Back then, all other religions were pagan.||Witnesses view all other Christians as steeped in paganism.|
|Jehovah God established true worship in Israel in 1513 B.C.E. through Moses.||Witnesses believe that the greater Moses, Jesus, returned in 1914, and five years later, in 1919,
re-established true worship by appointing the Governing Body as his Faithful and Discreet slave.
|Jews believed they alone were saved. All others were accursed.||Jehovah’s Witnesses believe all other religions and their followers will be destroyed.|
|Jews looked down on and would not associate with anyone not a Jew, even their distant cousins, the Samaritans.||Witnesses consider all others to be worldly and avoid association. Even weak Witnesses who no longer go to meetings are to be avoided.|
|Jews had a governing body that interpreted the Scriptures for them.||The JW Governing Body are considered to be the Guardians Of Doctrine.|
|The Jewish leaders had an extensive Oral Law that superseded the written law code.||The law of the Governing Body overrules Bible law; eg., 95% of the JW judicial system has no basis in Scripture.|
|The Jewish leaders had the right to expel any who dissented.||Disagreeing with the JW Governing Body results in expulsion.|
|The Jewish Governing Body expelled anyone who acknowledged the Christ. (John 9:23)||Witnesses do the same as we’re about to demonstrate.|
Notice that it was not belief in Jesus that counted but rather belief in his name. What does that mean? He goes on to define it in the very next verse:
John 3:19-21 reads:
“Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved. But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God.”
The light Jesus is referring to is himself. John 1:9-11 says:
“The true light that gives light to every sort of man was about to come into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not know him. He came to his own home, but his own people did not accept him.” (John 1:9-11)
This means that believing in the name of Jesus means coming to the light. As we stated in the first video of this series, it’s all binary. Here, we see good and evil depicted as light and darkness. The Pharisees, Sadducees and other Jewish leaders pretended to be righteous, but the light that Jesus shown revealed the vile works they were hiding. They hated him for that. They killed him for that. Then they persecuted all who spoke in his name.
This is key! If we see a religion acting like the scribes and Pharisees by persecuting and trying to silence those who spread the light of the Christ, we can know that they dwell in darkness.
Not Everyone Saying “Lord! Lord!”
Let us be clear. It is not enough for someone to say that they believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said that “many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’” He will then say to these ones, “I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!” (Mt 7:22, 23)
Believing in the name of Jesus means submitting to his authority. It means obeying him as the only leader of the Christian congregation. There can be no other viable leader. Anyone who sets himself up to govern or lead the congregation does so in opposition to Jesus. Yet in religion after religion, men have done this very thing—put themselves in the place of Jesus and begun ruling as kings over the flock. (Mt 23:10; 2 Th 2:4; 1 Co 4:8)
At this point, a Jehovah’s Witness will argue that they do believe in Jesus, and currently are even studying a book on his life in the mid-week meeting. This is a red-herring argument and here’s why I say that.
From my own life, I lost two long-time friends when I argued that we don’t give Jesus enough attention and that based on the Bible, we should be focusing on him over Jehovah. They disagreed. But what action did they take? They shunned me and contacted mutual friends to slander me as an apostate.
On the Beroean Pickets website, there is a recent experience from a long-time elder and pioneer named Jim who was disfellowshipped in large part for speaking about Jesus too much. The elders accused him of sounding like an evangelist (the word means, ‘proclaimer of the good news’) and of promoting a sect. How is it possible for the Christian congregation to disfellowship a man for preaching about the Christ? How can you take Christ out of Christian?
Indeed, how is it possible for a person to hold in his mind the belief that he is a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ while at the same time shunning someone for speaking about Jesus Christ more than he does about Jehovah God?
To answer that, let us consider the other main reason for which our brother Jim was disfellowshipped. They accused him of apostasy for teaching that we are saved by grace (undeserved kindness) rather than works?
Again, a witness will likely find this shocking and say, “Surely not. That must be an exaggeration. You are distorting the facts. After all, our publications teach that we are saved by faith, not by works.”
Indeed they do, while at the very same time, they don’t. Consider this excerpt from The Watchtower of July 15, 2011 from page 28 under the subtitle “Entering into God’s Rest Today”
Few Christians today would insist on observing some aspect of the Mosaic Law in order to obtain salvation. Paul’s inspired words to the Ephesians are perfectly clear: “By this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been saved through faith; and this not owing to you, it is God’s gift. No, it is not owing to works, in order that no man should have ground for boasting.” (Eph. 2:8, 9) What, then, does it mean for Christians to enter into God’s rest? Jehovah set aside the seventh day—his rest day—in order to bring his purpose respecting the earth to a glorious fulfillment. We can enter into Jehovah’s rest or join him in his rest—by obediently working in harmony with his advancing purpose as it is revealed to us through his organization.
Here, in a single paragraph, they affirm that the Bible clearly says we are saved not by works, but by a free gift of God; but then, within the same paragraph—in italics no less—they affirm the very opposite: that our salvation depends on works, specifically, working obediently in harmony with the Organization.
When the evildoer hanging on the stake beside Jesus asked for forgiveness, on what basis did Jesus forgive him? Clearly not works. The man was about to die, nailed to a piece of wood. There was no opportunity for good works of any kind. So, why was he forgiven? It was the free gift of God’s grace. Yet this gift is not given to all, otherwise there could be no adverse judgment. What then was the basis for granting the gift of God’s grace or undeserved kindness? There were two evildoers, but only one was forgiven. What did he do that the other didn’t?
He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
By this simple statement he publicly acknowledged that Jesus is the King. He believed in the name of the Son of God. At the last, he submitted to the authority of the only-begotten Son of God.
“Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.” (Mt 10:32, 33)
The Jewish leaders expelled from the synagogue anyone who acknowledged Jesus as Lord. They disowned him. Would shunning someone for speaking too much about the Christ not amount to the same thing today?
If you consider yourself to be a staunch Jehovah’s Witness and are still having trouble accepting this line of reasoning, then why not try a little experiment of your own: The next time you are in a car group out in field service, try speaking about Jesus instead of Jehovah. Any time in the course of conversation when you would normally invoke Jehovah’s name, replace it with Jesus. Even better say, “our Lord Jesus” – a term that appears over 100 times in the Bible. I can assure you from personal experience that you will stop the conversation in its tracks. Your fellow Witnesses won’t know what to make of this unexpected departure from proper “theocratic language”; what Orwell called “good speak”.
If you’re still not convinced that we have lost the balance that existed in the first century congregation, do a count of the number of times the name of Jesus occurs in the New World Translation. I got 945. Now how many times does Jehovah appear in the 5,000+ manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures? Zero. Is that because it was removed by superstitious scribes? Or could it be that the One who inspired the Bible and has the power to preserve it accurately is trying to tell us something? Maybe, look to my son? Maybe, think of me as your Father?
Whatever the case, who are we to change the Bible’s focus from the name of the Christ?
The artist that drew the 1971 illustration depicting the authority structure in the congregation included Jesus Christ because it was the most natural thing for him to do at the time. The artist that put together the 2013 illustration, excluded Jesus, because again it was the most natural thing for him to do. I do not believe this omission was done intentionally. It was the unwittingly result of a slow, steady campaign to marginalize the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
How did this come about?
One of the reasons for this is the Witness teaching that Jesus is just an angel. He is considered to be the Archangel Michael. The prophet Daniel describes Michael as being “one of the foremost princes”. (Da 10:13) So, if Michael is Jesus then Jesus is one of the foremost angelic princes. He has peers, equals. He is “one of the foremost angels”.
We do not worship angels, so the idea of worshiping Jesus is anathema to a Jehovah’s Witness. Verses in the Bible which speak of worshiping Jesus have been altered in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) to use a softer term: “do obeisance”. (This essentially means the same thing, but it is a somewhat archaic term and so if you were to ask a Witness to describe precisely what it means, he would be hard-pressed to do so.)
By this means, Witnesses have been induced to focus all their offers of praise and glory on Jehovah God. They feel uncomfortable giving any kind of honor or glory to anyone except Him.
Of course, considering Jesus to be an angel forces Witnesses to gloss over the full implication of John 1:18 where Jesus is referred to as the “only-begotten god”, a term used only 21 times in the Watchtower over the past 70 years. Basically, you’ll read it once every three years, and even then, it is usually just because they’ve quoted directly from John 1:18. The publishers much prefer the less inconvenient term for their theology, “only-begotten son”, which they reference on average once a month over the same 70-year time period.
Exactly how do they get around calling Jesus, a god? They merely consider this verse to mean that Jesus is a “mighty one.” Since angels, and even humans, are referred to as “mighty ones” in the Bible, do you buy into this explanation of what John meant when he described Jesus as “the only-begotten god”? (Ps 103:21; Ge 10:8)
If Witnesses studied verse-by-verse Bible commentaries, they would see that the preaching work of the apostles focused on declaring the name of Christ, and not that of Jehovah; but they prefer to cherry-pick verses that support established doctrine.
While Witnesses do not study the Bible verse-by-verse, they do study The Watchtower paragraph-by-paragraph. For example, in the issue being studied during this month of December, 2018, Jehovah’s name appears 220 times while Jesus is only mentioned 54. However, that only partially explains the downgrading of importance that Jesus’ name has undergone in the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As you look through the 54 occurrences of his name in this particular issue – and the same can be said for pretty much every issue currently published – you will find that reference to him is largely as a teacher and a role model.
Making Known Jehovah’s Name
The final argument that Witnesses will make to explain their focus on Jehovah over Jesus is that Jesus himself said that he came to make known God’s name, so we must do the same. Unlike other Christian religions that hide the name of God, Witnesses proclaim it! To support this, they cite Jesus’ words:
“I have made your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.” (John 17:26)
However, the context here indicates that he was speaking about his disciples, not the world at large. He didn’t wander around Jerusalem telling everyone what God’s name actually was. Jesus only preached to Jews, and they knew God’s name and could pronounce it accurately to boot. So, proclaiming “the name” itself—something Jehovah’s Witnesses do—was not what he was speaking about.
What does it mean to make God’s name known and how should we go about it? Witnesses have decided on their own the best way to go about this. They have taken on the name, making themselves God’s representatives before the world. Thus, their actions are now associated with God’s divine name. As the child sexual abuse scandal grows—the Netherlands police just raided some congregations and the branch office for documents—the name of Jehovah will get dragged down into the mud.
Presumptuously, Witnesses have decided how they will make God’s name known. They have ignored the method Jehovah himself instituted for declaring his name.
“I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them, I used to watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me; and I have protected them, and not one of them is destroyed except the son of destruction, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given your word to them, but the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:11-14)
Let’s break this down. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said that his disciples would be “witnesses of him” in all the earth—not of Jehovah. Twice Jesus says that Jehovah gave him His name. Therefore, bearing witness of Jesus is also bearing witness of Jehovah’s name, because Jesus has his name. Those who have God’s word in them are one with Jesus and are hated by the world. Why? Because they are bearing the name of Jesus which is also the name of God? They are bearing the light that is the Christ. Further, those who bear the light, shine in the darkness in which evil men hide. As a consequence, the light bearers are persecuted—shunned.
Now think about this: What does the name “Jehovah” mean? According to The Watchtower it means, “He Causes to Become.”[i]
Since Jehovah has given his name to Jesus, this meaning now applies to our Lord. This fits, because John 5:22 says that he, not Jehovah, judges the world. Additionally, the Father have given the Son all authority in heaven and on earth according to Matthew 28:18. So who has the authority over us? Jehovah? No, Jesus, because God gave it to him. Further, the fulfillment of all God’s promises—all things that are ‘caused to become’—are accomplished through Jesus.
(2 Corinthians 1:20) “For no matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him. Therefore also through him is the “Amen” [said] to God for glory through us.”
Do you see that in all this, Jesus is the key? Acceptance or rejection of him, his name, his role, is the basis for a life-or-death judgment.
So, our focus can’t be on Jehovah’s name. Jehovah himself points to Jesus as our focus.
Jehovah’s Witnesses boast about being freed from Babylonish teachings such as the Trinity, Hellfire, and the immortality of the human soul. They boast about a loving worldwide brotherhood. They boast that no other religion is doing the preaching of the good news around the earth. But Jesus says nothing about the judgment being based on any of these things. The judgment is based on believing in the name of Jesus.
The Legacy of J. F. Rutherford
How did this pervasive marginalizing of our Lord and King start? How did we get to the point where we will persecute and shun those who speak up in the name of Jesus?
It appears that we have to go back to the 1930s. First, J.F. Rutherford disbanded the editorial committee set up by Russell in his will. With that restraint gone, things changed rapidly.
Rutherford taught that the holy spirit was no longer being used to guide Christians into the truth as Jesus said it would at John 16:13.
Preservation, Rutherford, 1932, p.193-194.
By his spirit, the holy spirit, Jehovah God guides or leads his people up to a certain point of time, and thus he did until the time when “the comforter” was taken away, which would necessarily occur when Jesus, the Head of his organization, came to the temple and gathered unto himself those whom he found faithful when he, as the great Judge, began his judgment, in 1918.
With the coming of the Lord to his temple and the gathering together unto himself of the chosen ones (2 Thess. 2:1) the holy spirit would there cease to function as a paraclete or advocate for the church. -ibid., p. 46.
So instead of the holy spirit, Rutherford thought angels were communicating the Lord’s direction.
Vindication, Rutherford, 1932, Vol. 3, p. 250.
These angels are invisible to human eyes and are there to carry out the orders of the Lord. No doubt they first hear the instruction which the Lord issues to his remnant and then these invisible messengers pass such instruction on to the remnant. The facts show that the angels of the Lord with him at his temple have been thus rendering service unto the remnant since 1919.
The remnant do not hear audible sounds, because such is not necessary. Jehovah has provided his own good way to convey thought to the minds of his anointed ones. To all on the outside of the organization of Jehovah his is a secret organization. ibid., p. 64
It was at this time (1931) that the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was chosen, thus focusing on God’s name and not that of the Son of God. Then, three years later, a class of Christian was created using the application of unscriptural antitypes to teach that there were other sheep who were not in the new covenant and did not have Jesus as their mediator. This secondary class of Christian was taught that the Christian Scriptures were not directed at them. They became immediately subservient to the ruling class of the anointed ones. Thus, the distancing of millions of Christians from their Lord had begun. What a coup for Satan!
Notice all this happened after Rutherford rejected the holy spirit.
“But whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever but is guilty of everlasting sin.”” (Mr 3:29)
Having rejected the holy spirit, he then attributed to angels the change in the message they were preaching of the Good News which now included a secondary hope for Christians called the Other Sheep.
“However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed.” (Ga 1:8)
And thus, we arrive at the present day when millions of alleged Christians are trained to reject the new covenant and the hope of the first resurrection. These Christians have been taught to publicly refuse to partake of the emblems which represent the life-saving flesh and blood of our Lord.
The Stone that Shatters
Just how bad is this? Well, let’s summarize:
- The doctrine of the Other Sheep comes from a time when the Governing Body rejected the holy spirit as the means God uses to direct us to truth.
- They claimed that angels were guiding them.
- The Other Sheep are instructed to reject the emblems of Christ’s life-saving flesh and blood.
- The Governing Body has declared itself to be the faithful and discreet slave bypassing a judgment only Jesus can make upon his return. (Mt 24:45-47)
- The Governing Body graphically eliminates Jesus, and shows themselves as God’s channel of communication.
- The salvation of the Other Sheep depends on obedience to the Governing Body.
- All who emphasize Jesus and shed light on the teachings of the Governing Body are persecuted.
The similarities between these men and the Jewish governing body of Peter’s day is sobering. Speaking to those men, Peter once said:
“This is ‘the stone that was treated by you builders as of no account that has become the chief cornerstone.’ Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (Acts 4:11, 12)
Peter tells us that salvation is possible only by the name of Jesus. In the same breath he condemns the governing body of his day referring to them as the builders rejected the chief cornerstone. He is referencing something he heard Jesus say about himself.
(Mt 21:42-44) “Jesus said to them: “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone that the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This has come from Jehovah, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? This is why I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits. Also, the person falling on this stone will be shattered. As for anyone on whom it falls, it will crush him.”
The cornerstone is a large stone used in masonry construction. It is the first stone set on the foundation and is used to align all the other stones. The congregation has been likened to a building and a temple. (Ephesians 2:21) It is a holy edifice that is founded on Jesus Christ. Jehovah God is never referred to as the cornerstone of the Christian congregation.
If we do not accept the fullness of Jesus’ role – if we do not believe in the name of Jesus as Jehovah intended us to – then we are rejecting the cornerstone. If we do not build on that stone, then either we will stumble on it and be shattered, or it will fall on us and we’ll be crushed and pulverized.
Under Russell, despite his ill-advised foray into prophetic chronology, the International Association of Bible Students was building on the chief cornerstone. Rutherford, having rejected the guidance of the holy spirit, changed all that. Now he was building on the Name of Jehovah. Like the Jews of Jesus’ day who believed they served Jehovah God, but rejected the Son of God, Rutherford was rejecting the cornerstone God laid. Building on any other foundation except the Christ is doomed to fail.
The problem with false doctrinal teachings, the hypocrisy of the 10-year UN affiliation, the scandal involving the mishandling of child sexual abuse cases—all of these things are serious, but they are symptoms of and caused by the greater sin: that of rejecting the chief cornerstone by not believing in the name of the only-begotten Son of God, not accepting his light, not obeying him in every way. He is the King. The King must be obeyed.
A Word of Caution
We must not fall into the trap of believing that just by using Jesus’ name more, we are saved. Most other Christian denominations rarely refer to God by name, but speak of Jesus constantly. Are they better off than Witnesses? Recall that Jesus said that many will appeal to him on the basis of his name, yet he will deny ever knowing them. (Mt 7:22, 23) Like the evildoer who was forgiven, believing in the name of the Christ means running to the light. It means recognizing him as our Lord and King. Therefore, any religion that puts men in the place of Christ does not really believe in his name.
It’s one thing for men to teach you. A teacher imparts information which you can accept or reject. A teacher does not rule over you and tell you what to believe and what to discard, nor does he tell you how you must live and punish you if you deviate from his word. I believe there is such a thing as true worship and false worship. However, I do not believe there can be true religion, because by definition, religion requires men to rule over the flock. Thus, it requires that there be human leaders, and that violates Matthew 23:10. I know that there are many who cannot imagine how we can worship outside of the confines of a regimented and organized religious structure. They believe that will only result in chaos. To such ones, I say, ‘Do you not think the Lord of all the earth is capable of ruling over his congregation without there being middle management?’ Give him a chance to prove it, and stop running to men to tell you what to do and how to live.
If we are to help our brothers back to the path leading to salvation, we must focus on the preaching of the Good News about the Christ. Focus on Jesus! He is our only Lord, King, and Leader.
That’s all we can do. We can sow the fine seed and water it, but only God will make it grow. We should not despair if it doesn’t, because we are not responsible for the type of soil on which the seed falls.
“But sanctify the Christ as Lord in YOUR hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of YOU a reason for the hope in YOU, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
[i] NWT p. 1735 A4 The Divine Name in the Hebrew Scriptures
What is the meaning of the name Jehovah? In Hebrew, the name Jehovah comes from a verb that means “to become,” and a number of scholars feel that it reflects the causative form of that Hebrew verb. Thus, the understanding of the New World Bible Translation Committee is that God’s name means “He Causes to Become.” Scholars hold varying views, so we cannot be dogmatic about this meaning. However, this definition well fits Jehovah’s role as the Creator of all things and the Fulfiller of his purpose. He not only caused the physical universe and intelligent beings to exist, but as events unfold, he continues to cause his will and purpose to be realized.