[by Vintage, based on an article by Eric Wilson]
This is a script for Deaf and Interpreters to use in making YouTube videos. Watchtower twists the truth about God and his Son Jesus. Jesus is the mediator between God and man. The Governing Body steals that position of mediator from Jesus. Sign language videos can be a great help in freeing the deaf from the control of false teachings. Any article on this site may be used freely and free of charge as the foundation for a sign language video. I have produced a resumé script from one of Eric’s earlier articles to facilitate the production of a sign language video. (See below)
Please make videos of this script in the sign languages of your country. This script can be translated into many languages by clicking the translation software at the bottom of this webpage. Look for the row of colorful flags, click, and choose a language. Expose Watchtower!
NOTE: The Deaf or Interpreter who makes this video should sign the Bible texts himself or herself. Do NOT use any video clips from Jehovah’s Witnesses NWT sign language Bible. Don’t use any Watchtower video footage in making a video of this script. All Watchtower sign language video material is protected by copyright. The exception to this rule is the “fair use” law.
Video script for Deaf: Identifying the Faithful Slave – Part 2 Introduction:
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religion has eight men that they call their Governing Body. The Governing Body manages a multinational billion-dollar corporation with branch offices, land holdings, buildings and equipment all over the globe. That corporation is called the Watchtower, Bible, and Tract Society, or WTBTS. The Governing body uses thousands of volunteers in a huge number of countries. Missionaries, special pioneers, traveling overseers, and workers at branch offices receive money from the Watchtower corporation.
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that, a long time ago, after Jesus died, there was a governing body that ruled over the first century Christian congregation. But, is that really true? No! There is nothing in Scripture that says the Apostles and older men in the city of Jerusalem managed a multinational corporate empire with land holdings, buildings, and financial assets held in multiple currencies. God did not give Christians a Governing Body in the first century.
So what then do we mean by a first century governing body?
Today, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses teaches something that isn’t true. The Governing Body teaches that a long time ago, after Jesus died, the early Christians in the first century had a governing body. But that is not true. It is false. The early Christians did not have a governing body. If there were a first century governing body, then that would mean that we should have a Governing Body also ruling over us today. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Governing Body today teaches that they are the counterpart to a governing body that existed long ago, in the first century. The Governing Body says it has the right to decide which men are elders in the congregation. They tell Jehovah’s Witnesses what each scripture means. They say that every Jehovah’s Witness must believe what they teach. They make laws that are not found in the Bible. They make committee meetings. And, they make punishments for Christians who disobey the laws that the Governing Body makes. The Governing Body disfellowships any Jehovah’s Witness who does not obey them. The Governing Body says God communicates with Christian people through them, the Governing Body.
But, there was not a governing body in the first century. Back then, there was no Christian governing body that did these things. So, we should not have a Governing Body ruling over us today either. There is no example in the Bible giving the Governing Body the right to rule over us today.
Was there such a first century governing body?
Example 1, Today: Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body oversees the worldwide preaching work, appoints branch and traveling overseers, dispatches missionaries and special pioneers and provides for their financial needs. All these, in turn, report directly back to the Governing Body.
Example 1, First Century: There is no record of branch offices in any of the countries reported on in the Greek Scriptures. However, there were missionaries. Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Mark, Luke are all noted examples of historic significance. Were these men dispatched by Jerusalem? No. Did Jerusalem support them financially from funds received from all the congregations of the ancient world? No. Did they report back to Jerusalem upon their return? No.
Example 2, Today: All congregations are controlled through traveling representatives and branch offices that report back to the Governing Body. Finances are controlled by the Governing Body and its representatives. Likewise the purchase of land for Kingdom halls as well as their design and construction is all controlled in this manner by the Governing Body through its representatives at the branch and in the Regional Building Committee. Every congregation in the world makes regular statistical reports to the Governing Body and all the elders serving in these congregation are not appointed by the congregations themselves. Today, the Governing Body appoints elders through its branch offices.
Example 2, First Century: There is absolutely no parallel for any of the foregoing in the first century. Buildings and lands for meeting places are not mentioned. It appears that congregations met in the homes of local members. Reports were not made on a regular basis, but following the custom of the time, news was carried by travelers, so Christians journeying to one place or another made reports to the local congregation of the work going on wherever they had been. However, this was incidental and not part of some organized controlling administration.
Example 3, Today: The Governing Body makes laws and judges. Where something isn’t clearly stated in Scripture, each Christian should use his conscience. But the Governing Body makes new laws and rules about these things. The Governing Body has decided how it may be appropriate for brothers to avoid military service. For example, the Governing Body approved the practice of bribing officials in Mexico to get a Military Service Card. The Governing Body has ruled what makes grounds for divorce. The Governing Body has made many rules and procedures to enforce its laws. The three-man judicial committee, the appeal process, the closed meetings that keep out even observers the accused has requested are all examples of the authority that the Governing Body claims to have received from God.
Example 3, First Century: There was only one time in the Bible when the older men and apostles made rules. When that happened, it was a notable exception, and we will learn about that in just a minute. But other than that exception, the older men and apostles did not make laws about anything in the ancient world. All new rules and laws were the product of individuals acting or writing under inspiration. Jehovah has always used individuals to communicate with his people. Jehovah has not used committees to communicate with his people. In the local congregations of the first century, divinely inspired direction came from men and women who acted as prophets. Divinely inspired direction did not from some centralized authority.
The exception that proves the rule.
Now we will learn about that exception. There was one time that a divinely inspired direction came from a group of men, not from an individual person. Read the following scriptures to find out how this happened.
The sole basis for the teaching that there was a first century governing body centered in Jerusalem arises from a dispute over the issue of circumcision.
(Acts 15:1, 2) 15 And certain men came down from Ju·de′a and began to teach the brothers: “Unless YOU get circumcised according to the custom of Moses, YOU cannot be saved.” 2 But when there had occurred no little dissension and disputing by Paul and Bar′na·bas with them, they arranged for Paul and Bar′na·bas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and older men in Jerusalem regarding this dispute.
(Acts 15:6) . . .And the apostles and the older men gathered together to see about this affair.
(Acts 15:12) At that the entire multitude became silent, and they began to listen to Bar′na·bas and Paul relate the many signs and portents that God did through them among the nations.
(Acts 15:30) Accordingly, when these men were let go, they went down to Antioch, and they gathered the multitude together and handed them the letter.
(Acts 15:24, 25) . . .Since we have heard that some from among us have caused YOU trouble with speeches, trying to subvert YOUR souls, although we did not give them any instructions, 25 we have come to a unanimous accord and have favored choosing men to send to YOU together with our loved ones, Bar′na·bas and Paul,…
It looks like the apostles and older men had this meeting in Jerusalem because there was a big problem about circumcision among Christians in Jerusalem. The apostles and older men had to decide about circumcision. The problem would not go away until all the Christians in Jerusalem could agree on this issue. It does not seem that the apostles and older men went to this meeting in Jerusalem because they had been appointed by Jesus to rule over the worldwide first century congregation. Rather, they seem to have all gone to Jerusalem because the source of the circumcision problem was in Jerusalem.
Viewing the whole picture.
Paul had a special appointment as an apostle to the nations. Paul was appointed as an apostle directly by Jesus Christ. If there had been a governing body in Jerusalem, would not Paul have talked with that governing body? But he doesn’t say that he talked to any governing body in Jerusalem. Rather, Paul says,
(Galatians 1:18, 19) . . .Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to visit Ce′phas, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. 19 But I saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.
Most of the evidence shows that Jesus dealt with the congregations himself directly during the first century.
A lesson from ancient Israel.
A long time before Jesus lived on earth, Jehovah first took the nation of Israel for his own nation. Jehovah gave Israel a leader named Moises. God gave Moises great power and authority. And God gave Moises the job of freeing his people from Egypt and leading them to the promised land. But Moses did not get to enter the promised land himself. So, Moses commissioned Joshua to lead his people into the promised land. After that work was finished and Joshua died, something interesting happened.
(Judges 17:6) . . .In those days there was no king in Israel. As for everybody, what was right in his own eyes he was accustomed to do.
Simply put, there was no human ruler over the nation of Israel. The head of each household had the law code. They had a form of worship and of conduct that was laid out in writing by the hand of God. True, there were judges, but their role was not to govern but to resolve disputes. They also served to lead the people in times of war and conflict. But there was no human King or governing body over Israel because Jehovah was their King.
Later, Jesus was the greater Moses. In the first century, when Jehovah again took a nation for himself, it was natural that God would follow the same pattern of divine government. The greater Moses, Jesus, freed his people from spiritual captivity. When Jesus left, he commissioned twelve apostles to continue the work. Those twelve apostles died. Then, directly from heaven, Jesus ruled over the worldwide Christian congregation. The Christian congregation was not governed by a centralized human authority.
The situation today.
What about today? Does the fact that there was no first century governing body mean there should be none today? If they got along without a governing body back then, why can’t we get along without one now? Does the modern Christian congregation today need a group of men directing it? If so, how much authority should be invested in that body of men?
We shall attempt to answer those questions in our next post.
A Surprising Revelation.
Brother Frederick Franz told some of these same things to the fifty-ninth class of Gilead during their graduation on September 7, 1975. Frederick Franz gave that talk just before the formation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ modern-day governing body on January 1, 1976. You can hear Frederick Franz’ talk on youtube.com. But, the good things Frederick Franz said in his talk were ignored, and they were never repeated in any of the Watchtower publications.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. It is a resumé based upon the article on this site titled, “Identifying the Faithful Slave – Part 2”. This resumé of Eric’s article is made especially for Deaf and Interpreters to use. Please make a video from this script so other deaf people can watch it and understand it. Out of love, help all people get away from Watchtower.
Thank you for reading.