By now, you will have heard all the news surrounding the so-called new light released at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Watch Tower, Bible and Tract Society which is always held in October. I’m not going to do a rehash of what so many have already published about the Annual Meeting. In fact, I would have preferred to ignore it entirely, but that wouldn’t be the loving thing to do, now would it? You see, there are just too many good people still trapped within the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These are Christians who have been indoctrinated into thinking that to serve Jehovah God is to serve the Organization, which, as we’re about to show, means serving the Governing Body.
What we’ll see in our breakdown of this year’s Annual Meeting is some very well-crafted manipulation. The men working behind the scenes are skilled at creating a façade of holiness and a pretence of righteousness that hides what is really going on these days within the Organization that I once thought or believed was the only true religion on Earth. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’re as inept as they may seem. No, they’re very good at what they do which is deceiving the minds of willing believers. Remember Paul’s warning to the Corinthians:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. It is therefore nothing extraordinary if his ministers also keep disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NWT)
Satan is very intelligent and has become exceptionally proficient at crafting lies and deception. He knows that if you see him coming, you won’t be taken in by his con. So, he comes in the disguise of a messenger that brings you light by which to see. But his light is darkness, as Jesus said.
Satan’s ministers also imitate him by claiming they are providing light to Christians. They pretend to be righteous men, dressing themselves in robes of respectability and holiness. Remember that “con” stands for confidence, because con men first have to win your trust, before they can persuade you to believe in their lies. They do this by weaving some threads of truth into their fabric of lies. This is what we are seeing as never before in this year’s presentation of “new light” at the Annual Meeting.
Since the 2023 Annual Meeting runs for three hours, we’re going to break it down into a series of videos to make it easier to digest.
But before we get underway, let’s first take a hard look at a rebuke Paul gave to the Corinthians:
“Since you are so “reasonable,” you gladly put up with the unreasonable ones. In fact, you put up with whoever enslaves you, whoever devours your possessions, whoever grabs what you have, whoever exalts himself over you, and whoever strikes you in the face.” (2 Corinthians 11:19, 20 NWT)
Is there any group in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses who does this? Who enslaves, who devours, who grabs, who exalts, and who strikes or punishes? Let’s keep this in mind as we examine the evidence presented to us.
The meeting begins with a motivational musical prelude introduced by GB member, Kenneth Cook. The second of three songs in the prelude is Song 146, “You Did It for Me”. I don’t recall ever hearing that song before. It is one of the new songs added to the “Sing to Jehovah” songbook. It is not a song of praise to Jehovah, as the title of the song book says. It is really a song of praise to the Governing Body, implying that service to Jesus can only be rendered by serving those men. The song is based on the parable of the sheep and goats but relies entirely on the JW interpretation of that parable which claims that it applies to the Other Sheep, not to anointed Christians.
If you are not aware that the JW teaching of the Other Sheep is completely unscriptural, you might want to inform yourself before proceeding. Use this QR Code to view the Bible evidence presented in my video, “Identifying True Worship, Part 8: The Other Sheep doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses”:
Or, you can use this QR code to read the transcript for that video on the Beroean Pickets web site. There is an auto-translation feature on the web site that will render the text into a wide variety of languages:
I’ve gone into a lot more detail on this subject in my book “Shutting the Door to the Kingdom of God: How Watch Tower Stole Salvation from Jehovah’s Witnesses”. It is now available as an ebook or in print on Amazon. It has been translated into many languages thanks to the volunteer efforts of other sincere Christians who want to help their brothers and sisters still trapped in the Organization to see the reality of what they have mistakenly referred to as “being in The Truth”.
Song 146 “You Did It for Me” is based on Matthew 25:34-40 which are verses taken from the parable of the Sheep and Goats.
The Governing Body needs this parable of the sheep and goats because without it they’d have nothing upon which to base their false interpretation of who the Other Sheep are. Remember, a good con man weaves his lies with some threads of truth, but the fabric they’ve created—their Other Sheep doctrine—is wearing very thin these days.
I would recommend you read the entire parable which runs from verses 31 to 46 of Matthew 25. For purposes of exposing the Governing Body’s misuse of it, let’s focus on two things: 1) The criteria Jesus uses to determine who the sheep are, and 2) the reward given to the sheep.
According to Matthew 25:35, 36, the sheep are people who saw Jesus in need and provided for him in one of six ways:
- I became hungry and you gave me something to eat.
- I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.
- I was a stranger and you received me hospitably.
- I was naked and you clothed me.
- I fell sick and you looked after me.
- I was in prison and you visited me.
What we see here are six exemplary acts of mercy to someone suffering or in need of help. This is what Jehovah wants from his followers, not sacrificial works. Remember, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees saying, “Go, then, and learn what this means: ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’ . . .” (Matthew 9:13)
The other thing we need to focus on is the reward that the sheep get for acting mercifully. Jesus promises them that they will “inherit the Kingdom prepared for [them] from the founding of the world. (Matthew 25:34)
That Jesus is referring to his anointed brothers as sheep in this parable seems evident by his choice of words, specifically, “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world“. Where else in the Bible do we find that phrase, “the founding of the world”? We find it in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where he refers to anointed Christians who are the children of God.
“…he chose us in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love. For he foreordained us to the adoption through Jesus Christ as sons to himself…” (Ephesians 1:4, 5)
God foreordained Christians to become his adopted children from the founding of the world of humankind. This is the reward that the sheep of Jesus’ parable get. So the sheep become adopted children of God. Doesn’t that mean they are Christ’s brothers?
The Kingdom, which the sheep inherit, is the same kingdom Jesus inherits just as Paul tells us at Romans 8:17.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17 NIV)
The sheep are Jesus brothers, and so they are co-heirs with Jesus, or Christ, as Paul explains. If that isn’t clear, then think about what it means to inherit a kingdom. Let’s take as an example the kingdom of Engand. The Queen of England recently died. Who inherited her kingdom? It was her son, Charles. Did the citizens of England inherit her kingdom? Of course not. They are just subjects of the kingdom, not heirs to it.
So, if the sheep inherit the Kingdom of God, they must be children of God. That is clearly stated in Scripture. It cannot be denied. It can only be ignored, and that is what the Governing Body hopes you will do, ignore that fact. We’ll see evidence of that attempt to get you to ignore what the reward given to the sheep actually represents when we listen to the words of Song 146. We’ll do that in just a moment, but first, observe how the Governing Body, using the power of music and moving visuals, exploits Jesus’ words from the parable to enslave sincere Christians.
According to this song, Jesus is going to repay all the effort these willing volunteers give to the Governing Body by resurrecting them with the same condition and hope as the unrighteous have. What is that hope according to the teaching of the Governing Body? They claim that the Other Sheep are resurrected as sinners. They are still imperfect. They do not get everlasting life until they work for it over the course of a thousand years. Incidentally, that is exactly what those making up the resurrection of the unrighteous get. There is no difference. So Jesus rewards them with the same status as the unrighteous get? Imperfection and the need to work toward perfection by the end of the thousand years? Does that make sense to you? Does that honor our Father as a just and righteous God? Or does that teaching dishonor our Lord Jesus as God’s appointed judge?
But let’s listen to more of this song. I’ve placed yellow captions to highlight the gross misapplication of Jesus’ words.
The Other Sheep is a term found only at John 10:16, and most notably for our discussion today, Jesus doesn’t use it in his parable of the sheep and goats. But that doesn’t do for the Governing Body. They need to perpetuate the lie J. F. Rutherford created back in 1934 when he formed the JW Other Sheep laity class. After all, every religion has and needs a laity class to serve the clergy class, doesn’t it?
But of course, the JW clergy, the leaders of the Organization, can’t do this without claiming divine backing, can they?
Notice how in the next clip from this song, they replace Jesus’ reward given to the sheep with the Governing Body’s version of what their other sheep class can expect if they continually serve them. Here’s where we see how they try to get their followers to ignore the reward Jesus offers the sheep and accept a counterfeit one.
The Governing Body has convinced thousands to serve them as a volunteer task force to gain salvation. In Canada, Bethel workers must take a vow of poverty so that the branch doesn’t have to pay into the Canada Pension Plan. They turn millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses into their indentured servants claiming that their eternal life depends on their obedience to them.
This song is the culmination of a doctrine that has been formed over decades transforming the parable of the sheep and goats into a ploy by which Jehovah’s Witnesses have been indoctrinated into believing that their salvation only comes through serving the Organization and its leaders. A Watchtower from 2012 bears this out:
“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)” (w12 3/15 p. 20 par. 2 Rejoicing in Our Hope)
Notice again their reference to Matthew 25:34-40, the very same verses that Song 146 is based on. However, Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats isn’t about servitude, it’s all about mercy. It isn’t about winning your way to salvation by slaving for a clergy class, but by showing love to the needy. Does it look like the Governing Body is in need of acts of mercy in the way that Jesus taught? They are well fed, well clothed, and well housed, don’t you think?. Is that what Jesus was telling us to look for in his sheep and goats parable?
At the start we looked at Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians. Don’t the videos and words of this song resonate with you as you again read Paul’s words?
“…you put up with whoever enslaves you, whoever devours your possessions, whoever grabs what you have, whoever exalts himself over you, and whoever strikes you in the face.” (2 Corinthians 11:19, 20)
Earlier, I said we were going to focus on two things, but now I see there is a third element to this parable that completely undermines what Witnesses are being taught through Song 146, “You Did It for Me”.
The following verses show that the righteous don’t know who the brothers of Christ are!
“Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’” (Matthew 25:37-39)
This doesn’t fit with what song 146 protrays. In that song, it is very clear who the brothers of Christ are supposed to be. They are the ones telling the sheep, “Hey, I’m one of the anointed, because I partake of the emblems at the annual Memorial while the rest of you must sit there and observe.” But the song really isn’t even focusing on the 20 or so thousand JW partakers. It is very specifically focusing on an extremely select group of “anointed ones” who now proclaim themselves to be the faithful and discreet slave.
When I left the Organization, I realized that there is a scriptural requirement placed upon all Christians to partake of the bread and wine that symbolize the life-saving provision of Christ’s body and blood. Does that make me one of Christ’s brothers? I like to think so. That is my hope at least. But I’m mindful of this warning given to us all by our Lord Jesus about those who claim to be his brothers.
“Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 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?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
We won’t know with undeniable finality who are Christ’s brothers and who are not until “that day”. So we have to continue to do God’s will. Even if we prophesy, expel demons, and perform powerful works all in Christ’s name, we have no guarantee as these verses point out. What counts is doing the will of our heavenly Father.
Is it God’s will that any Christian should proclaim himself to be Christ’s anointed brother, and demand that others serve him as such? Is it God’s will that there be a clergy class demanding obedience to their interpretation of Scripture?
The parable of the sheep and goats is a parable about life and death. The sheep get eternal life; the goats get everlasting destruction. Both the sheep and goats recognize Jesus as their Lord, so this parable applies to his disciples, to Christians from all the nations of the world.
We all want to live, don’t we? We all want the reward given to the sheep, I’m sure. The goats, the “workers of lawlessness” also wanted that reward. They expected that reward. They pointed to many powerful works as their proof, but Jesus did not know them.
Once we are made aware that we’ve been deceived into wasting our time, resources, and monetary donations in the service of goats, we may wonder how can we avoid ever falling into that trap again. We may become hardened and afraid of giving aid to anyone in need. We may lose the divine quality of mercy. The devil doesn’t care. Support those who are his ministers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, or support no one at all—it’s all the same to him. Either way he wins.
But Jesus doesn’t leave us in the lurch. He gives us a way to recognize false teachers, voracious wolves dressed as sheep. He says:
“By their fruits you will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? Likewise, every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit. A good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. Every tree not producing fine fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.” (Matthew 7:16-20)
Even someone like me, who knows next to nothing about agriculture, can tell if a tree is good or rotten by the fruit it produces.
In the remaining videos of this series, we’ll look at the fruit being produced by the Organization under its current Governing Body to see if it measures up to what Jesus would qualify as “fine fruit”.
Our next video will analyze how the Governing Body excuses their repeated doctrinal changes as “new light from Jehovah.”
God gave us Jesus as the light of the world. (John 8:12) The god of this system of things transforms himself into a messenger of light. The Governing Body claims to be the channel for new light from God, but which god? You’ll have a chance to answer that question for yourself after we review the next talk symposium from the Annual Meeting in our next video.
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