This part 7 was supposed to be the final video in our series on the October 2023 annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, but I’ve had to divide it into two parts. The final video, part 8, will be released next week.
Since October of 2023, Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world have been introduced to a slightly kinder, gentler version of the Organization.
For instance, after controlling men’s personal grooming choices since the days of J.F. Rutherford, Jehovah’s Witnesses can now sport a beard. The Governing Body now acknowledges that there never was any restriction in the Bible against men wearing a beard. Go figure!
Also, the century-old requirement to report time in the preaching work as well as the number of publications placed has been lifted because they have decided to openly admit that there never was any scriptural requirement to do so. It only took them a hundred years or so to figure that out.
Perhaps the most significant change of all is that even a disfellowshipped person can be saved after the great tribulation begins. Witnesses are taught that the great tribulation starts with an attack upon false religion by the governments of the world. It was believed that once that event began, it would be too late for anyone to be saved who was not already an approved member of the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But now, ta da, even if you are a disfellowshipped person, you can still hop back on board the rapidly moving chariot which is JW.org when the governments launch their attack on false religion.
That means that when the evidence is incontrovertible that Jehovah’s Witnesses were right all along, that they are the one true religion on earth, all of us who left thinking they were part of false religion, part of Babylon the Great, will see how very wrong we are, repent and be saved.
But the Bible doesn’t say that, does it? Let’s have a look at what it actually says about how to be saved when false religion gets her final punishment.
The New World Translation puts it this way:
“And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”” (Revelation 18:4)
I like the way the New Living Translation renders it:
“Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her.” (Revelation 18:4-8 NLT)
It doesn’t say to “get out” or “come away” and then join another religious denomination to be saved. Let’s accept, for a moment, that the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is correct in its claim that “evidence shows that Babylon the Great represents the worldwide empire of false religion…” (w94 4/15 p. 18 par. 24)
That being the case, when Jesus says “get out of her, my people,” he is calling to his people, individuals who are currently in Babylon the Great, who are members of false religion. They don’t become his people after they “come away” from false religion. They are already his people. How can that be? Well, didn’t he tell the Samaritan woman that no longer would God be worshipped in the formal way the Jews did in their temple in Jerusalem, nor would He be worshipped in the holy mountain where the Samaritans went to perform their religious practices? No, Jesus said that His Father is looking for people who want worship him in spirit and in truth.
Let’s read that one more time to get the full grasp of it.
“Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation begins with the Jews. Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.”” (John 4:20-24)
You see the problem? Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that when Jesus refers to “my people” he’s referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses. They claim that not only must you leave false religion to be saved, but you have to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only then will Jesus call you “my people.”
But, based on what Jesus told the Samaritan woman, salvation isn’t about belonging to a religion but rather about worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth.
If a religion teaches falsehoods, then those who join it and support it are not worshipping God “in truth,” are they?
If you have been viewing the content of this channel, you’ll know that we’ve proven from Scripture that all the teachings unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses are false. What is particularly harmful is their teaching of the “other sheep” class that has created a secondary, but false salvation hope. How sad it is to see millions of Witnesses every year obeying men but disobeying Jesus by refusing the lifesaving body and blood of our Lord symbolized by the bread and wine.
So, if you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses clinging to this false hope, and worse, going from door to door promoting this teaching to others, are you not knowingly promoting falsehood. What does the Bible say about that?
Reading from the New World Translation, Revelation 22:15 says that outside of God’s kingdom “are…those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying.’” (Revelation 22:15)
The New Living Translation renders that last sin as “all who love to live a lie.”
If you are a loyal member of the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ll find it difficult to accept the idea that the religion you self-righteously refer to as “The Truth” could be considered just one more member of Babylon the Great, but let’s be honest here: Based on the Governing Body’s own criteria, any religion that teaches falsehoods is part of Babylon the Great.
But then you might argue about the Governing Body that “they’re just imperfect men. They can make mistakes, but look, aren’t these changes evidence that they’re willing to correct their mistakes? And isn’t Jehovah a God of love who is quick to forgive? And isn’t He willing to forgive any sin, no matter how serious or grave it may be?”
I would answer you, “Yes, to all of that but there is one condition for forgiveness that they are not meeting.”
But there is one sin that our God does not forgive. One sin that is unforgivable.
Jesus Christ told us about this when he said that “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.” (Matthew 12:31, 32 BSB)
When the harlot of Revelation, Babylon the Great, false religion is punished, is it because they has committed the unforgivable sin, the sin against the holy spirit?
Would people who are part of Babylon the Great, who support false teachings, who “love to lie a lie,” also be guilty of sinning against the holy spirit?
Just what is the unforgivable sin?
One of the clearest and simplest answers to that question I’ve ever found is this one:
“Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” is conscious and hardened opposition to the truth, “because the Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6). Conscious and hardened resistance to the truth leads man away from humility and repentance, and without repentance, there can be no forgiveness. That is why the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven since one who does not acknowledge his sin does not seek to have it forgiven. – Serafim Alexivich Slobodskoy
God is quick to forgive, but you have to ask for it.
I’ve come to see that making a sincere apology is all but impossible for some people. Expressions like: “I’m sorry,” “I was wrong,” “I apologize,” or “Please forgive me,” never escape their lips.
Have you noticed that too?
There is abundant empirical evidence from countless, and I mean, countless sources that the teachings they’ve reversed or altered in the 2023 annual meeting, not to mention changes made in decades past, have resulted in significant harm, real pain, emotional distress, and human suffering to such an extreme that it has resulted in a horrible number of suicides. Yet, what is their response to the millions who have blindly trusted them with their eternal lives?
As we’ve just learned, the sin against the holy spirit is called the unforgiveable sin. It is unforgivable because when a person won’t apologize, it means he doesn’t see any need to apologize because he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong.
The members of the Governing Body frequently express their love for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but those are just words. How can you truly love people if your teachings have caused so much harm—even death—yet you refuse to recognize you have sinned, and so you refuse to ask for forgiveness from those you have hurt and from the God you claim to worship and obey?
We’ve just heard Jeffrey Winder speaking on behalf of the Governing Body that they have no need to apologize for the mistakes they’ve made in the past concerning misinterpretations of Scripture; misinterpretations, I might add, that frequently have resulted in serious harm, even suicide, to those who took them as gospel. Yet, that same Governing Body teaches that there is a great responsibility for Christians to apologize as an essential part of being peacemakers. The follow excerpts from the Watchtower magazine make this point:
Humbly acknowledge your limitations and admit your mistakes. (1 John 1:8) After all, whom do you respect more? A boss who admits when he is wrong or one who does not apologize? (w15 11/15 p. 10 par. 9)
Pride is a barrier; the proud person finds it difficult or impossible to apologize, even when he knows he has been in the wrong. (w61 6/15 p. 355)
So, then, do we really need to apologize? Yes, we do. We owe it to ourselves and others to do so. An apology can help to ease the pain caused by imperfection, and it can heal strained relationships. Each apology we make is a lesson in humility and trains us to become more sensitive to the feelings of others. As a result, fellow believers, marriage mates, and others will view us as those who deserve their affection and trust. (w96 9/15 p. 24)
To write and teach such fine reasoned instruction, and then to do the very opposite is the very definition of hypocrisy. That is what the Pharisees were judged to be by Jesus Christ.
Perhaps an award is called for:
But what about us? Do we consider ourselves to be like the wheat Jesus spoke about in the parable of the wheat and the weeds? (Matthew 13:25-30; 36-43) Both are planted in the same field and grow together until the harvest. When he explained the meaning of the parable, Jesus said that the stalks of wheat are scattered among the weeds until they are gathered by the harvesters, the angels. The weeds, however, are bundled together and burned up in the fire. It is interesting that the weeds are bound together, but the wheat is not. Could the bundling refer to the fact that the weeds are gathered into religious organizations and burned up?
This brings to mind a prophecy from the writings of Jeremiah that foreshadows the unique, singular nature of true Christians coming out of a large and unapproved group.
““Return, you renegade sons,” declares Jehovah. “For I have become your true master; and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and they will feed you with knowledge and insight.” (Jeremiah 3:14, 15)
And then there’s what high priest Caiaphas was forced to prophecy referring to the gathering of the scattered children of God.
“He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die…to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.” (John 11:51, 52 NLT)
Likewise, Peter refers to the scattered wheat-like nature of Christians:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen….” (1 Peter 1:1, 2 NASB 1995)
In these scriptures, the wheat would correspond to the people God is calling to be his chosen ones, just as we read in Revelation 18:4. Let’s take one more look at that verse:
“Then I heard another voice from heaven shout, “My people, you must escape from Babylon. Don’t take part in her sins and share her punishment.”” (Revelation 18:4 CEV)
If you consider yourself to be wheat, if you believe you belong to Jesus, then the choice before you is clear: “Get out of her, my people!”
But you may be worrying about where you will go? No one wants to be alone, right? In fact, the Bible encourages us to gather together with the children of God as the body of Christ. The purpose of assembling together is to build each other up in faith.
“And we should think toward stirring up one another to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves as is the custom with some, but encouraging one another, and so much more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25 Berean Literal Bible)
But please don’t buy into the scam that those verses are promoting the idea of religion! What defines religion? Is it not a formalized way to worship a god, any god, real or imaginary? And who defines and enforces that formalized worship? Who makes the rules? Is it not the leaders of the religion?
Catholics have the Pope, cardinals, bishops and priests. Anglicans have the Archbishop of Canterbury. Mormons have the First Presidency composed of three men, and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Jehovah’s Witnesses have their Governing Body, currently numbering nine men. I could go on, but you get the point, don’t you? There is always some man interpreting God’s word for you.
If you want to belong to any given religion, what is the first thing you have to do?
You have to be willing to obey its leaders. Of course, all those religious leaders make the same claim: By obeying them, you are worshipping and obeying God. But that’s not true, because if God tells you something through his Word that differs from what those human leaders tell you, you have to choose between God and men.
Is it possible for humans to avoid the snare of manmade religions and still worship the True God as their Father? If you say “No,” then you would be making God out to be a liar, because Jesus told us that his Father is seeking those who will worship in spirit and in truth. These ones, who are scattered about the world, living in it like alien residents, belong only to Christ. They take no pride in belonging to a religion. They do not “love to live a lie” (Revelation 22:15).
They concur with Paul who admonished the wayward Corinthians saying:
So don’t boast about following a particular human leader [or belonging to a particular religion]. For everything belongs to you—whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NLT)
Do you see any room whatsoever in that statement for human leaders to insert themselves? I sure don’t.
Now maybe that sounds too good to be true. How can you have Jesus as your leader without someone else there, some human, to tell you what to do? How can you, a simple man or woman, possibly understand the word of God and belong to Jesus without someone higher up, more learned, more educated, telling you what to believe?
This, my friend, is where faith comes in. You have to take a leap of faith. When you do, you will receive the promised holy spirit, and that spirit will open your mind and heart and guide you to the truth. That’s not just a saying or a cliche. It happens. This is what the Apostle John wrote to warn us about those who would lead us astray with manmade doctrines.
I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. (1 John 2:26, 27 NLT)
I can’t prove his words to you. No one can. They have to be experienced. You have to take that leap of faith we just spoke of. You have to trust before you have the evidence. And you have to do so humbly. When Paul says that we should not boast in any particular human leader, he didn’t mean it was alright to exclude yourself. Not only do we not boast in men nor do we follow men, but we don’t boast in ourselves, nor make ourselves into a leader. We selflessly follow God by following the one leader he has appointed over us, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
I would encourage you to watch an interview on our new Beroean Voices YouTube channel. I’ll leave a link to it at the end of this video. I interview Gunter in Germany, a fellow exJW elder and third generation Witness, who expresses how it felt after he left the Organization and embraced the true faith and was “caught by Jesus.”
Remember Paul’s words. As a child of God, “everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:22, 23 NLT)
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philippians 4:23 NLT)