This is a recent Morning Worship video on JW.org that nicely demonstrates to the world which god Jehovah’s Witnesses worship. Their god is the one they submit to; the one they obey. This Morning Worship talk, innocently titled, “Jesus’ Yoke Is Kindly,” was delivered by Kenneth Flodin:
Let’s repeat that: “The Governing Body could be likened to the voice of Jesus, the head of the congregation. So, when we willingly submit to the faithful slave [another term for the Governing Body], we are ultimately submitting to Jesus’ authority and direction.”
When I heard that, I immediately….well, not immediately….I had to pick my chin up off the floor first, but right after that, I thought of something Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. Here it is:
Let no one lead you astray in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god. (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 NWT)
Am I suggesting that by giving the Governing Body the voice of our Lord Jesus, Kenneth Flodin is revealing that the Governing Body is the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, a god?!
Why don’t we let the Governing Body answer that question for us?
In an article titled “Identifying ‘the Man of Lawlessness’” in the February 1, 1990, Watchtower we are told:
It is vital that we identify this man of lawlessness. Why? Because he is intent on undermining our good standing with God and our hope of eternal life. How? By getting us to abandon the truth and to believe falsehoods in its place, thus diverting us from worshiping God “with spirit and truth.”
Inspired by God’s spirit, the apostle Paul wrote: “Let no one seduce you in any manner, because [Jehovah’s day of destruction of this wicked system] will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed.” (w90 2/1 p. 10 pars. 2, 3)
Jehovah’s day of destruction was predicted to come in 1914, then the Governing Body under Rutherford predicted it would come in 1925, then the Governing Body under Nathan Knorr and Fred Franz predicted it would come around 1975! Just a little food for thought. Continuing with the Watchtower’s identification of the Man of Lawlessness, we have this:
4 Who originated and supports this man of lawlessness? Paul answers: “The lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10) So Satan is the father and sustainer of the man of lawlessness. And just as Satan is opposed to Jehovah, His purposes, and His people, so is the man of lawlessness, whether he realizes it or not.
5 Those who go along with the man of lawlessness will suffer the same fate as he does—destruction: “The lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with . . . and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) That time for the destruction of the man of lawlessness and his supporters (“those who are perishing”) will come shortly “at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction.”—2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.
(w90 2/1 pp. 10-11 pars. 4-5)
Okay, now that is very sobering, isn’t it? Everlasting destruction comes upon not only the Man of Lawlessness, but also upon those who support him, because they did not come to know God and they did not come to obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.
This is no simple academic discussion. Getting this wrong could very well cost you your life. So who is this guy, this Man of Lawlessness, this son of Destruction? He can’t be a simple human because Paul indicates he was already at work in the first century and that he would continue until done away with by Jesus at the “manifestation of his presence.” The Watchtower explains that “the expression “man of lawlessness” must stand for a body, or class, of people.” (w90 2/1 p. 11 par. 7)
Hmm…”a body,”…”a class, of people.”
So, who is this lawless “body of people” according to the Watchtower which is published by a Governing Body of people? The Watchtower article continues:
Who are they? The evidence shows that they are the body of proud, ambitious clergymen of Christendom, who over the centuries have set themselves up as a law unto themselves. This can be seen by the fact that there are thousands of different religions and sects in Christendom, each with its clergy, yet each conflicting with the others in some aspect of doctrine or practice. This divided state is a clear evidence that they do not follow God’s law. They cannot be from God….What all these religions have in common is that they do not hold fast to the Bible’s teachings, having violated the rule: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” (w90 2/1 p. 11 par. 8)
So, the Organization claims that the Man of Lawlessness corresponds to the proud, ambitious clergymen of Christendom. Why? Because these religious leaders are “a law unto themselves.” Their various religions have one thing in common: “They do not hold fast to the Bible’s teachings.” They go beyond the things that are written.
Personally, I agree with this assessment. Perhaps you don’t, but to me it fits. The only problem I have with it is in its scope. It appears that the Governing Body with its army of circuit overseers and its legions of appointed elders, does not consider themselves to be a “body of proud, ambitious clergymen.” But what is a clergy man and what is a clergy class?
According to the dictionary it is “the body of all people ordained for religious duties.” Another similar definition is: “The group of religious officials (as priests, ministers, or rabbis) [one would easily add pastors, deacons, and yes, elders] specifically prepared and authorized to conduct religious services.”
Witnesses claim they do not have a clergy. They claim that all baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses are ordained ministers. That would include women, wouldn’t it? Women are ordained ministers, yet they cannot pray or preach in the congregation as men do. And come on, are we expected to believe that the average congregation publisher is the same as a congregation elder?
The power and control that elders, circuit overseers, and the Governing Body have over the lives of all witnesses demonstrates that saying there is no clergy class, doesn’t make it so. In fact, saying there is no JW clergy is a big, fat lie. If anything, Witness clergymen, i.e., congregation elders, have far more power than the average minister or priest in other Christian denominations. If you are an Anglican, Catholic, or Baptist, can your local priest or minister cut you off socially from all your family and friends around the world like Witness elders can? Pinochio’s nose is growing.
But what about the other criteria the Watchtower shares with us to prove that the clergy of other Christian denominations is the Man of Lawlessness? The Watchtower claims that teaching false doctrines and going beyond what is written makes the religious leaders of those churches into the Man of Lawlessness.
Even today, the Governing Body is quick to condemn others for the sin of “going beyond what is written.”
In fact, they do so yet again in the July Watchtower Study Edition of this year, in Article 31.
At times, we might reason that the direction Jehovah gives us is not sufficient. We might even be tempted to “go beyond the things that are written.” (1 Cor. 4:6) The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were guilty of this sin. By adding man-made rules to the Law, they imposed a heavy burden on the common people. (Matt. 23:4) Jehovah gives us clear direction through his Word and through his organization. We have no reason to add to the instruction he provides. (Prov. 3:5-7) Therefore, we do not go beyond what is written in the Bible or make rules for fellow believers about personal matters. (July 2023 Watchtower, Article 31, paragraph 11)
I do agree that we shouldn’t add man-made rules to the law of God. I do agree that we shouldn’t burden our brothers with such rules. I do agree that doing so is going beyond what is written. But the irony is that such instruction is coming from the very men who are the source of all the man-made rules that make up the written and oral law of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jesus once had this to say about the scribes and the Pharisees, but I’m going to read you his words and substitute “The Governing Body” to see if it still fits.
“The Governing Body have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say. They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger.” (Matthew 23:2-4)
1 Corinthians 11:5, 13 tells us that women can pray and prophecy (preach God’s word) in the congregation, but the Governing Body goes beyond what is written and says, “No they can’t.”
The Bible tells a woman to dress modestly, but the Governing Body tells her what she can and cannot wear when she is out preaching or attending meetings. (No, pantsuits, please!) Jesus had a beard, but the Governing Body tells men they cannot have a beard and serve in the congregation. Jesus said nothing about denying yourself a higher education, but the Governing Body preaches that seeking to expand your knowledge in college or university sets a bad example. The Bible tells a parent to provide for his family, and tells children to honor their parents, but the Governing Body says that if a child or parent resigns his or her congregation membership, they are to be totally and utterly shunned. I could go on, but you can see the similarity between these men and the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
Holding the organization up to its own standard for identifying the man of lawlessness doesn’t bode well for the Governing Body and its army of elders. Nevertheless, our measuring rod should be the Bible itself, not the Watchtower magazine, so let’s take another look at what Paul says to the Thessalonians.
He says that the Man of Lawlessness “sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god” (2 Thessalonians 2:4
What is Paul referring to by the expression, “the temple of God”? Paul himself explains:
“Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17)
“Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. In Him the whole building is fitted together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together into a dwelling place for God in His Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:20b-22 BSB)
So, if the children of God are “the temple of God,” what does it mean to “sit down in that temple and show oneself to be a god?
What is a god in this context? Biblically, a god does not have to be a supernatural being. Jesus referred to Psalm 82:6 when he said:
“Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said: “You are gods”’? If he called ‘gods’ those against whom the word of God came—and yet the scripture cannot be nullified— do you say to me whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” (John 10:34-36)
Those rulers were called gods because they had the power of life and death. They passed judgment. They issued commands. They expected to be obeyed. And they had the power to punish those who disobeyed their commands and ignored their judgments.
Based on this definition, Jesus is a god, just as John tells us:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (John 1:1)
A god has authority. Jesus revealed about himself following his resurrection that “all authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
As a god entrusted by the Father with all authority, he also has the power to judge people; to reward with life, or condemn with death.
“For the Father judges no one at all, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Most truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes the One who sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.” (John 5:22-24)
Now what happens if a man or a group of men begin to act like a god? What if they expect you to obey their rules even if their rules conflict with what Jesus tells you to do? Would Jesus, the Son of God, just give them a free pass? Not according to this Psalm.
“Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:12 NIV)
The phrase “kiss his son” refers to the way in which a king was honored. One bowed before a king. The word in Greek for “worship” is proskuneó. It means “to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior.” So, we must submit to, or worship, the son if we do not want God’s anger to flare up against us so that we perish –not submit to the Governing Body or submit to the Governing Body.
But the man of lawlessness does not submit to the Son. He tries to replace the son of God and promote himself instead. He becomes an antichrist, that is a substitute for Christ.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. As substitutes for Christ, we beg: “Become reconciled to God.”” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NWT)
No other Bible version besides the New World Translation talks about substituting for Christ—i.e., replacing Christ. Neither the word nor the concept of “substituting” appears in the interlinear. Typical is the way the NASB renders the verse:
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NASB)
This is how the members of the Governing Body see themselves, as substitutes for Christ, speaking with the voice of Jesus as Kenneth Flodin admitted in his Morning Worship talk.
That is why they have no problem making rules for Jehovah’s Witnesses as their god. As the July 2023 Watchtower claims, Witnesses should follow the “clear direction Jehovah gives…through his organization.
There is nothing written that says we should follow the direction or rules of an organization. The Bible doesn’t speak of an organization. The phrase “Jehovah’s Organization” does not appear in the word of God. Nor, for that matter, does the concept appear in Scripture of a Christian organization speaking with the voice of God or the voice of his Son.
Jesus is a god. Yes indeed. And all authority has been entrusted to him by God Almighty, our heavenly Father. For any human or body of humans to claim that they speak with the voice of Jesus is blasphemy. To expect people to obey you claiming that you speak for God, that you speak with the voice of Jesus who is called “the word of God,” is to put yourself on God’s level. You are showing yourself to be “a god.”
What happens when a man speaks with the voice of a god? Good things or bad things? What do you think?
No need to speculate. That Bible tells us what happens.
Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they sent a delegation to make peace with him because their cities were dependent upon Herod’s country for food. The delegates won the support of Blastus, Herod’s personal assistant, and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. (Acts 12:20-23 NLT)
This is a warning for all who think that they can rule as a god in place of Jehovah’s appointed Son. But notice that before he was struck down, the people were praising King Herod with a great ovation. No man can do this, proclaim himself to be a god either overtly or by his conduct, unless he has the support of a people. So the people are to blame as well for putting their trust in men instead of God. They may do this unknowingly, but that doesn’t absolve them of guilt. Let’s reread Paul’s warning on the matter:
“This takes into account that it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you. But you who suffer tribulation will be given relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength,” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 NWT)
So Jesus righteously condemns the supporters of the Man of Lawlessness to eternal destruction because they “do not know God” and “do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.”
The fact that they do not know God doesn’t mean they are not Christians. Not at all. Quite the contrary in fact. Remember, the Man of Lawlessness sits down in the temple of God, which is the body of Christ, the Christian congregation. Just as the original temple in Jerusalem was perverted from a place of pure worship into a “dwelling place of demons,” so the spiritual temple of God has been converted into a place “full of unclean spirits.” (Revelation 18:2)
So while claiming to know God, these so-called Christians do not know him at all. They lack true love.
If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:4-6 NLT)
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. (1 John 4:12 NLT)
The proof that these followers and supporters of the Man of Lawlessness do not know God is that they make tribulation on the true children of God. They persecute true Christians. They do this thinking they are serving God and doing his will. When a true Christian rejects the false teachings of the Governing Body, Jehovah’s Witnesses, in obedience to their god, the Governing Body, shun them. This is persecuting the children of God who will not follow men, but who only follow our Lord Jesus. These Jehovah’s Witnesses have been seduced by the Man of Lawlessness because they do not understand the love of God, nor do they love truth.
“They exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation [self-appointed men] rather than the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)
They think they have “the truth,” but you cannot have truth unless you love truth. If you do not love truth, you are easy pickings for anyone with a tall tale to tell.
“The lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10)
These followers of the Man of Lawlessness even boast proudly of belonging to him. If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, then you have surely sung song 62. But have you ever thought to apply it to the one who sets himself up within the congregation as a god, demanding you obey him and claiming to speak with the voice of Jesus?
To whom do you belong?
Which god do you now obey?
Your master is he to whom you bow.
He is your god; you serve him now.
You cannot serve two gods;
Both masters can never share
The love of your heart in its ev’ry part.
To neither you would be fair.
2. To whom do you belong?
Which god will you now obey?
For one god is false and one is true,
So make your choice; it’s up to you.
If you are a child of God, part of the body of Christ, the true temple of God, then you belong to Christ.
“So let no one boast in men; for all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things now here or things to come, all things belong to you; in turn you belong to Christ; Christ, in turn, belongs to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)
If you are a true child of God, you do not belong to the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor for that matter, to the Catholic church, the Lutheran Church, the Mormon Church, or any other Christian denomination. You belong to Christ, and he belongs to God and here’s a stunning truth—as a child of God, “all things belong to you”! So why would you want to belong to any church, organization, or man-made religion? Seriously, why? You don’t need an organization or a church to worship God. In fact, religion gets in the way of worshipping in spirit and truth.
Jehovah is the God of love. John tells us that “whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) So, if you are willing to obey the voice of men over the voice of God, or the voice of his Son who is called, “the Word of God,” then you do not have love. How can you? Can you worship another god other than Jehovah and still have the love of which John speaks? Are there two gods who are love? Jehovah and a group of men? Nonsense. And the evidence of that is overwhelming.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been induced into shunning their friends and family members who strive to imitate the God of love. The man of lawlessness creates an anti-love theology designed to instill fear and obedience in his followers. As Paul said, “The lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan.” The spirit leading him is not from Jehovah nor Jesus, but the opposer, Satan, resulting in “every unrighteous deception upon those who are perishing.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) It is easy to identify him, because he stands in stark contrast to the God of love who teaches us to pray for our enemies and for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:43-48)
It is time for us to act upon this knowledge now that the Man of Lawlessness within the JW community has exposed himself.
“Therefore, it is said: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and the Christ will shine upon you.”” (Ephesians 5:14)
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