Sunday, October 9, 2011

Analyzing The Watchtower's View Of Apostasy

Because of my love for Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s), it’s easy for me to maintain a positive tone and show kindness toward them on this blog. Also, I do not promote blogs or websites which slander, show maliciousness, bitterness or have an ax to grind - so to speak - with JW’s or the Watchtower organization. Even so, while keeping things positive and trying to help JW’s, I cannot overlook things which I believe must be addressed, even though it may seem negative to some. I must take an honest and open approach in the articles I write, yet show love and kindness while not watering down or avoiding what may seem to be controversial to a loyal JW. I always prayerfully consider these things before I write on this blog or speak to others about the organization.

I have spent a lot of time praying and thinking about this particular article before posting it on this site. My goal is to be honest yet not gloss over the facts. Please do not mistake my candor as anger or bitterness. I write these things in Christian love.

That being said, I would like to share a few thoughts with you regarding the July 15, 2011 Watchtower study article which begins on page 15. The article is entitled, “Will You Heed Jehovah’s Clear Warnings?” This was the Watchtower study topic for Sunday 9/11/2011 which focused on apostasy and apostates.

Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language defines apostasy as, “The abandoning of a religious faith.”

The same dictionary defines an apostate as, “Someone who abandons his religious faith for another.”

Merriam-Webster online gives two definitions of apostasy.

1 : renunciation of a religious faith
2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty

These definitions sound accurate and reasonable to me. After all, this is the definition of the words from what most would consider an authority on the English language.

It seems though, that the Watchtower has a definition of apostasy which applies only to it’s own organization or members. For example, if someone leaves another Christian Church and becomes a JW, from the Watchtower’s point of view this is not considered an apostasy. Why? Because they left a “false religion” and came to the “truth.” Yet, the true definition of the word according to Webster makes this an apostasy because they abandoned one religious faith for another. But as far as the Watchtower is concerned, one can only apostatize from the JW organization because they are the only “true Christians” in the world.

The Watchtower’s book, Reasoning From The Scriptures page 34, defines apostasy this way:
Apostasy is abandoning or deserting the worship and service of God, actually a rebellion against Jehovah God. Some apostates profess to know and serve God but reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible but reject Jehovah’s organization.

The Reasoning book later comments on page 35 in bold heading:
"Not only do they abandon the true faith but they then “beat” their former associates, using public criticism and other methods to hinder their work; the efforts of such apostates are devoted to tearing down, not building up”

According to the Watchtower organization I am considered an apostate. Under normal circumstances if we were considering the actual definition (Webster’s definition) of an apostate this would not offend me at all. However, the Watchtower organization demonizes apostates to the point that the majority of rank and file witnesses are literally afraid of anyone labeled an apostate.

This being the case, out of sheer curiosity I decided to tune in to the local Kingdom Hall meeting during this particular study. Most Kingdom Halls have a provision for those who are ill, infirm or otherwise can’t make it to the meeting, to be able to call in on the phone and listen or even participate.

Since I am well aware of the Watchtower’s view of apostates, it came as no surprise to see this study article describe apostates as it did, using such terms as:

1) False teachers
2) Ravenous wolves
3) Corruptive
4) Deceptive
5) Mentally diseased
6) Disloyal
7) Twisted
8) Malicious slanderers
9) Meddlers

What really grabbed my attention were some of the comments of the friends during this study. As I listened, I began to write down the words being used by the congregation to describe apostates. Some of these words were repeated several times, so I decided to put them on a spreadsheet and let it alphabetize them while removing any duplicated words or phrases. Here is a partial alphabetized list of the words the friends used during the Watchtower study describing apostates.

1) Bitter
2) Cunning
3) Dangerous
4) Dark
5) Disgusting
6) Distorted
7) Filthy
8) Godless
9) Haters of Jehovah
10) Immoral
11) Miserable
12) Nasty
13) Oppressors
14) Satanic
15) Sick
16) Slanderers
17) Unkind
18) Unloving
19) Venomous
20) Wolves in sheep’s clothing

Again, this is only a partial list of the words used by those commenting during the Watchtower study. Is it just me, or is this considered slander toward those of us who have decided to leave the organization due to teachings and policies we believe to be unscriptural?

There have been many articles and comments about apostasy and apostates in the pages of the Watchtower over the years, but take a look at the following paragraph.

The Watchtower 10/1/93 page19 paragraph 15 says this:
“Apostates are included among those who show their hatred of Jehovah by revolting against him. Apostasy is, in reality, a rebellion against Jehovah. Some apostates profess to know and serve God, but they reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible, but they reject Jehovah’s organization and actively try to hinder its work. When they deliberately choose such badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of their makeup, then a Christian must hate (in the Biblical sense of the word) those who have inseparably attached themselves to the badness. True Christians share Jehovah’s feelings toward such apostates; they are not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they “feel a loathing” toward those who have made themselves God’s enemies, but they leave it to Jehovah to execute vengeance.”

Does this quote or the comments above sound like they came from a Christian organization? Is this what Jesus taught? By saying and promoting these things, is the Watchtower following the command Jesus gave to love your enemy? Please notice what our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-48 during His sermon on the mount,

You heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you; 45 that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. 46 For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary thing are you doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing? 48 You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (New World Translation (NWT) Emphasis mine)

While I may not agree with some of the Watchtower’s theology, I do not persecute my JW brethren, neither do I slander them or consider them my enemy. I love them and I continue to pray for them. This same love for the JW congregation is shared among my “apostate” friends who have other websites which are designed, not to tear down the brothers and sisters, but to help JW’s should they decide to leave the organization. Like me, these particular “apostates” have left not because they are immoral or rebellious, but because they have awakened to the fact that the organization is not “the truth” which they thought at first. We are living up to the light that we have and we DO NOT believe salvation comes through an organization. In John 14:6 Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NWT Emphasis mine)

Jesus is the truth, not an organization! I believe we should be part of a corporate group of Christian fellowship. (Hebrews 10:24-25) I also believe we should try to find a group or Church that teaches the closest thing to Bible truth we can find. (John 4:23-24) If we are part of an organization or Church which is preaching the Gospel and we find another which preaches the Gospel and in addition, other valuable truths which my organization or Church isn't teaching, wouldn’t it be wise to go where there is more Bible truth? Would Jehovah and Jesus condemn us for not being part of the Watchtower if we believe in our heart of hearts there is another Church or organization that has more Bible truth than the JW‘s? Are people condemned which are not part of the Watchtower organization?

Please consider this. Right after Jesus and his disciples went into Capernaum, He was counseling them that if anyone welcomes a little child in His (Jesus’) name, they are welcoming Jesus. In turn, by welcoming Jesus, they are welcoming His Father. Immediately following this, notice what happens in Mark 9:38-40:

John said to him: “Teacher, we saw a certain man expelling demons by the use of your name and we tried to prevent him, because he was not accompanying us.” 39 But Jesus said: “Do not try to prevent him, for there is no one that will do a powerful work on the basis of my name that will quickly be able to revile me; 40 for he that is not against us is for us.” (NWT)

Luke 9:49-50 reports the same account: “In response John said: “Instructor, we saw a certain man expelling demons by the use of your name and we tried to prevent him, because he is not following with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him: “Do not YOU men try to prevent [him], for he that is not against YOU is for YOU. (NWT)

Stop and think for a moment what is being said here. The disciples actually tried to stop this man who was not part of their “organization” - if you will - from doing a good thing and expelling demons in the name of our Lord Jesus. Did this mean that he did not have the approval of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ? Absolutely not! We know this because Jesus rebuked His disciples by telling them “Do not try to prevent him.” Then He basically told them that they were on the same team - so to speak - because this man was not against them but for them.

In the same sense, I am not against the JW organization as far as the good they are doing. I have said, and will continue to say, that the organization has a place in ministering to people for the good. JW’s have helped many people to leave the dregs of society and have taught people how to live clean and moral lives by following Biblical principles. This is certainly a good thing! Also as I have written in the header of this blog, JW’s do have some valuable truths, i.e. the dead are conscious of nothing, the earth will be restored to a paradise, hell is not an eternal burning fire.

However, one of several areas where I have a major problem with the Watchtower leadership is how they treat those of us who have decided to leave because we may disagree with some of the doctrines. If it’s made known that someone disagrees with the Watchtower on any point of doctrine, he will be talked to by the Elders. If he tells them he cannot accept what the Watchtower says, he will be disfellowshipped being completely cut off from association with the congregation whether family or friends.

It seems to me that if the organization is going to have their own definition of apostasy, they should establish levels of apostasy. But the Watchtower does not allow for this. One must treat apostates as if they are the filthiest of the filthy by cutting them off completely simply because of being labeled an apostate by the organization. If a JW does not cut off the apostate completely, the JW has the fearful reality that he or she will be labeled an apostate as well. Of course there are those that have left the organization whom the list above may describe in some way. There are also many who are bitter and will say terrible things about the JW’s. But to make a blanket statement that these words describe all apostates without any kind of disclaimer, makes the leadership in the organization false teachers, corruptive, deceptive, disloyal, malicious slanderers and meddlers to use the Watchtower's own words as applied to apostates.

Using the descriptive words of the congregation provided in the list above this would make the organization bitter, cunning, distorted, oppressors, slanderers, unkind and unloving.

Might I submit to you that many who have left and will leave the organization angry and bitter may not be that way if the organization would let them leave with their dignity. They likely would not feel this way if they were still able to communicate at least with their immediate family.

There are many like me that have tremendous love for Jehovah God and His Son Jesus, who have come to realize that our relationship with the Father and His Son is personal. Contrary to what the Watchtower teaches, our relationship with Jehovah is not based on our affiliation with the Watchtower organization. It is based solely our personal relationship with Jehovah and Jesus. Salvation does not come with a religious denomination or through an organization as the Watchtower teaches. Salvation comes from believing in the shed blood of Jesus, repenting of our sins and having faith that Jesus is the risen Christ who is now serving in heaven as our High Priest. Having this faith means that we will live up to the light that we have.

As for me and my personal friends that have been labeled apostates by the Watchtower, we continue to serve Jehovah and our Lord Jesus even though we are not part of the Watchtower organization. We truly love the JW brothers and sisters. That's why we provide websites such as this one. These sites are designed to help JW's deal with the unjust, unloving way the Watchtower deals with those who must leave due to doctrinal differences. James said, “Therefore, if one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him.” (James 4:17 NWT)

It would have been a sin for us if we would have remained in the organization.

Mark M.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Did The 10 Commandments Exist Before Sinai?

What do you think? Did the Ten Commandments exist before Sinai? Over the years as a Jehovah’s Witness I asked this question many times. I asked not only publishers, both brothers and sisters, but also many “mature” brothers in the organization which included elders throughout our circuit and district, 5 circuit overseers and several substitute circuit overseers. The answer I always received was, “No.” Then they would usually go on to explain that the Ten Commandments did not exist until Moses brought them down from Mount Sinai.

Let’s take just a few moments to examine this subject while keeping in mind that there are many more points that can be made in this regard. Is it true that the Ten Commandments came about some 2500 years after Adam was created as the Watchtower teaches? To answer this question we must consider what the Apostle Paul states in Romans 4:15b, “Where there is no law, neither is there any transgression.” (New World Translation, NWT)

Let me begin by using an illustration:

Suppose you are driving on a highway where no state or federal speed limit exists. If you are traveling at a speed of 80mph, can you be given a ticket for speeding? What about 90mph? How about 100mph?… The answer is no! You cannot be given a ticket for speeding where there is no law stating a maximum speed or the speed limit. In other words, where there is no law, there is no transgression. A law has to exist in order to be transgressing or “breaking” the law.

When we read the Scriptures and go back in time to the days of Cain and Abel. (Genesis 4) We need to ask ourselves, was it wrong or sin for Cain to kill Abel? Well, was it? Yes it was! Please read Genesis 4:10-12. When Jehovah said to Cain in verse 10, “Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10), the word blood is literally “bloods” in the plural form. This means that Cain was held responsible not only for killing Abel, but for killing all of his potential progeny or offspring as well. Now the question that needs to be asked is, how could it be wrong for Cain to kill Abel if there was no Commandment stating, “You must not murder”? (Exodus 20:13 NWT) In other words, how could Jehovah hold Cain responsible for Abel’s death if this Commandment did not exist until Sinai? Keep in mind that we already established from Scripture that, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression.” (Romans 4:15) So it seems clear that there had to have been a law or Commandment for Cain to be held accountable for killing his brother.

What about Joseph? Would it have been wrong for Joseph to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife? (Genesis 39:7-9) Please notice what Joseph said in Genesis 39:9, “how could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” Notice that Joseph called this act of adultery a sin. How could this be a sin if the seventh Commandment “You must not commit adultery” did not exist until Sinai? (Exodus 20:14)

Now, let’s go back to the Garden of Eden to a time even before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. After dialoguing with Eve about the trees in the Garden, the serpent said to Eve regarding the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “You positively will not die.” (Genesis 3:4) Today, we know that this was a lie. Let me ask you, was it a sin for Satan to lie? How could it be if there was no Commandment saying, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16, NKJV)

If the 10 Commandments did not exist before Sinai, then none of the sins mentioned above were sins. Why? Because based on Holy Scripture, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression.” This means that even though the 10 Commandments were not yet in writing, they must have existed. If the Ten Commandments did not exist, then Jehovah could not and would not hold these people (including Satan) accountable for breaking them because they would not have been sinning.

The fact is, many of the Ten Commandments were broken in the Garden of Eden. Not only by eating the forbidden fruit, but also by what led up to the eating of it. Here are some examples:

1)   We already established that the serpent lied when he told Eve she would not die. In doing so he broke the 9th Commandment. (Genesis 3:4, Exodus 20:16)

2)   It’s clear that Eve coveted the fruit. (Genesis 3:6) In coveting she broke the 10th Commandment. (Exodus 20:17) It seems likely that she also coveted the possibility of being like God. When one covets, this also breaks the 2nd Commandment about idolatry (Exodus 20:4-6) because in Colossians 3:5 the Apostle Paul said that covetousness is idolatry. In turn, breaking these 2 Commandments also breaks the 1st Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) Isn’t it true that coveting and idolatry is putting other things or even people before Jehovah, making them as gods? This can be the case with money, possessions or anything we put before our God Jehovah. Adam evidently loved Eve more than he loved Jehovah because he chose to eat the fruit and die rather than to obey his God. I also believe that Satan had the same issue of coveting, prior to the fall of man. Please read Isaiah 14:12-14.

3)   Satan convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. When she and Adam ate the fruit, Satan, Adam, and Eve in effect murdered mankind, including Jesus! (Genesis 3:15, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:3) This broke the 6th Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) John 8:44 says of Satan, “That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.” (NWT Emphasis added)

4)   Adam and Eve also broke the 5th Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12 Emphasis added) Were they showing honor to their Heavenly Father Jehovah when they directly disobeyed Him? Notice how this Commandment reads. It says, “Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days may prove long upon the ground that Jehovah your God is giving you.” This Commandment is so true, because if Adam and eve had honored Jehovah by not eating the fruit, they would still be alive today!

5)   Adam and Eve broke the 7th Commandment, “You must not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14) When they followed Satan instead of Jehovah, was this not Spiritual adultery? (Hosea 2:16, 19, 20, Hosea 3:1-5, James 4:4)

6)   They also broke the 8th Commandment, “You must not steal.” (Exodus 20:15) When they took of the fruit which Jehovah told them not to Adam and Eve took or “stole” what did not belong to them. (Genesis 2:15-17)

7)   Satan broke the 3rd Commandment, “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way.” As the angels of heaven looked onto this earth, (1 Corinthians 4:9) Jehovah’s name was brought into question by Satan when he accused the supreme lawgiver Jehovah of holding back from Adam and Eve the ability of knowing good and bad and being like God. (Genesis 3:5) This also insinuates that Adam and Eve felt that they did not need their creator for eternal life. In essence Satan was saying to Eve, “you yourself can be God, you don‘t need Jehovah.” When you consider the gravity of the accusation and the action taken by Adam and Eve, Wouldn’t this be treating Jehovah’s name in a worthless way?

Lastly, as to whether or not Adam and Eve broke the Sabbath which is the 4th Commandment, the Bible does not say. However, just as the marital arrangement is Holy, so too the Sabbath is Holy. One cannot deny that both marriage and the Sabbath were created prior to sin. (Genesis 2:2, & 2:24) This also proves that the Sabbath existed before there ever was a Jew. So it’s very clear in Scripture that the Sabbath existed before Sinai as well. (Exodus 16:22-30, Exodus 20:11)

Hopefully this article has helped you, the reader, to understand why I believe the 10 Commandments existed before Sinai. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them. :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will Adam and Eve Be Resurrected?

Will Adam and Eve Be Resurrected?

This is an interesting question to ask a Jehovah’s Witness (JW). The line of reasoning used by the Watchtower Society is as follows: Since Adam and Eve sinned in perfection they have no chance of being resurrected. The Watchtower 1/15/1960 page 53 third paragraph says,

Since the supreme Judge never makes a mistake, there is no need for him to take under review any judgment that he has passed. His judgments are final. That means the people who perished in the flood of Noah’s day will never be resurrected to stand trial again. The same is true with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as Adam and Eve. All had their judgment day before the great Judge of the universe and all were sentenced to destruction. They will never have a conscious existence again. ”

All of my life I have heard the above reasoning and it always made sense to me. I also have to agree that Jehovah does not make mistakes in judgment. However, as I have continued to read and study the Bible my understanding has changed a bit regarding Adam and Eve. Is it true that there is no hope for them and that they will not be resurrected? Is it possible that they cannot be forgiven? Please consider the following:

The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve were created, Adam first, then Eve. (Genesis 2:18, & 2:21-22, and 1 Timothy 2:13) Also the Bible teaches that it was to Adam that the command was given, “But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” (Genesis 2:17 New World Translation or NWT) This means that if Adam and Eve had never eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, and had only eaten from the other trees of the garden including the tree of life, they would still be alive to this day and we would not be born into sin as we are today. Thus far I believe that the Watchtower and most Christians would be in agreement.

As a JW when I studied with non-JW’s I was asked many times, why didn’t Adam and Eve die the very day that they ate the fruit as God said they would? I was taught to respond with the following answers. First I would say, “Adam and Eve did die Spiritually that day”. (I still believe that is true.) Then I would say, “In the Bible we are told that a day to Jehovah is as 1000 years to man,” and I would show them the Scripture in 2 Peter 3:8 which says, “However, let this one fact not be escaping YOUR notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (NWT) Next I would show them that Adam lived to be 930 years old, (Genesis 5:5) and I would reason based on 2 Peter 3:8 and Genesis 5:5, that Adam’s dying before he reached 1000 years old, from Jehovah’s perspective Adam died in the very day he ate from the fruit. To this day this sounds reasonable to me. However, I believe there is much more to it than this.

For many, this answer was only partially satisfying. Quite a few still wanted to know just why did Adam and Eve live so long after sinning, when they were clearly told, “for in the day you eat from it you will positively die” (Genesis 2:17) I believe that in searching for the answer to this question we will also find the answer to the title question of this article, namely, “Will Adam and Eve Be Resurrected?”

Please follow this carefully. When both Adam and Eve had sinned they realized that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (Genesis 3:7) During a conversation with God, neither Adam nor Eve wanted to take responsibility for their sin. (Genesis 3:12-13) As a result of their sin, they must suffer the consequences which ultimately is death. In Genesis 3:15 God said to the serpent: “And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (NWT) This is the first prophecy in Scripture. The beautiful thing about this is that God provides a way out of the inherited sin from Adam. This verse applies to every person who shows faith in the shed blood of Jesus. I believe this includes Adam and Eve. How can we be sure of this? Notice what happens next. God tells Adam and Eve of the immediate and long term consequences of their sin which would affect every living thing on earth. (Genesis 3:16-19)

Now we have come to an important part of this situation. Genesis 3:21 says: “And Jehovah God proceeded to make long garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them.” Think about it for a moment. Adam and Eve were not physically naked at this time, as they had already covered themselves with fig leaves in Genesis 3:7. My question to you is, where did God get the long garments of skin from and why did God clothe them? The only logical answer is that the skin must have come from an animal. Likely a lamb. (Genesis 4:2, John 1:29) In other words, an animal (or animals, one for Adam and one for Eve) had to die or be sacrificed in order to make garments of skin. What was the purpose of an animal sacrifice? To atone for sins. (Leviticus 17:11 & Hebrews 9:22) In this way the animal sacrifices covered -- so to speak-- Adam and Eve the same as it did all of God's servants who sacrificed animals for their sins until Jesus came to officially pay the price with His blood! The skins of the lambs physically covered their bodies and the lambs blood spiritually covered their sins. For the first time in the history of the earth one of God’s creatures had to die. Our loving God chose to apply the literal lamb’s blood which temporarily covered Adam and Eve’s sins until Jesus, the Lamb of God came and shed His blood which would blot out their sin permanently! (Acts 3:19 & John 1:29)

When the Patriarchs and Prophets of old performed these sacrifices they were in essence showing their faith in God and their faith in the power of the blood of the coming Jesus. They were exercising faith and demonstrating that they believed that Jehovah accepted the blood of the animals as forgiveness for their sins. The only reasonable Biblical explanation as to why Adam and Eve did not literally die that very day is because Jehovah substituted the life of those lambs in the place of Adam and Eve! This kept Adam and Eve from having to give their lives that very day. We must understand that Jehovah’s justice must be met. This is the whole purpose of the Sanctuary service which points directly to Jesus as the Lamb of God! (Exodus 25:8 & Exodus Chapters 26-27) Something or someone had to die! Blood had to be shed so that Adam and Eve could live long enough to procreate. (Genesis 1:28) That is why the animals used for the skin must have been the temporary sacrifice which was made on the day they sinned. The sacrificial system was a way to cover sins until Jesus came and died for all. Without a doubt, Adam and Eve from this point knew about animal sacrifices for forgiveness. Otherwise, how would Abel have known that God wanted the firstlings of his flock? (Genesis 4:2-4) The answer is, Adam and Eve passed this structure of worship on to their progeny.

The Sanctuary service is a tremendous study in itself. I may cover more on this at a later time. However, the point of this article is, it seems clear that the Bible teaches that Adam and Eve will be, or at least have the potential to be resurrected into God‘s Kingdom. If Jesus came to buy back what Adam lost, then why would Jesus’ blood not cover Adam? Yes, Adam was a perfect man, but so was Jesus! Is Jesus’ blood lacking anything? Would Jesus’ blood not cover Adam and Eve if they were truly repentant? Adam not only suffered the immediate consequences of sin, but he died just as God said he would. Did Adam die the second death? Not according to the Bible because the second death occurs after the 1000 year reign. (Revelation 20:13-14)

Here are a few Scriptures that should be considered in this regard. The infamous Scripture of John 3:16 says: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life”. (NWT) Emphasis mine.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 says: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—[this is] what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times“. (NWT) Emphasis mine.

John 17:1-2 Says: “Jesus spoke these things, and, raising his eyes to heaven, he said: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you, 2 according as you have given him authority over all flesh, that, as regards the whole [number] whom you have given him, he may give them everlasting life.” (NWT) Emphasis mine.

For the Watchtower to say that Adam and Eve will not be resurrected is to assume that they were never sorry for their sin. It also sells short the love of God and the power of the ransom sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus! When Adam and Eve were ousted from the Garden of Eden and had to cultivate the land in the sweat of their faces, when they felt the physical pain caused by sin and saw the weeds, thorns and thistles growing among their beautiful surroundings, when they looked past the flaming sword and the Cherubs guarding the entrance to the beautiful Garden and saw that the tree of life was unattainable, when they witnessed the sacrifice of the lamb and saw the life blood pouring out because of what they had done, when their son Abel was murdered by his brother Cain, at one of these points if not all of them I have to believe that there was remorse and even repentance for what they had done.

Will Adam and Eve be resurrected? I believe that the evidence shows they will. I suppose when we get to the Kingdom we will find out for sure. :-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is The Watchtower Organization God’s Channel Of Truth?

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Incorporated is the publishing agency owned and operated by the Jehovah’s Witness (JW) organization. They publish Bibles, books, tracts and brochures. They also publish the Watchtower and Awake magazines. JW’s are taught that the Watchtower (Both the organization and the magazine) is God’s means of interpreting the Bible and making it understandable for people. JW’s are also taught that the Watchtower is Jehovah God’s sole “channel” of truth and that it has been from the time of it’s first being published in 1879. This is not only what the organization teaches but this is what the vast majority of JW’s sincerely believe. However, it’s interesting what an honest examination of past Watchtower teachings will reveal. One must look at the history of the organization to really gain an understanding as to whether or not the Watchtower is or ever was, “God‘s channel of truth.”

  It’s unfortunate that the majority of JW’s will never look into the old Watchtower publications (Pre-1950) to get the actual truth of what used to be taught and how some of the doctrines were developed. For example, where did the doctrine teaching that 1914 started the time of Christ‘s presence come from, and how was the year 1914 chosen? How did they come up with 607 B.C.E. as the destruction of Jerusalem when all historical evidence proves that this occurred in 587-586 B.C.E? Where did they get the doctrine that Jesus’ return is invisible instead of literal and visible as the Bible teaches? (Acts 1:11, Revelation 1:7.)

(Also see, “Is Jesus' Return Visible or Invisible?” within this blog.)

 The answers to these questions are very interesting. Over the years, (even as recently as 2010) the Watchtower has had many, many changes of doctrine, particularly prior to the year 1950. JW’s call the old publications “old light” as opposed to “new light” or “brighter light” which is what they say the organization is teaching today. They base this statement on Proverbs 4:18 which says; “But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established” (NWT) While I do believe the light of truth gets brighter as time goes on, I have never seen in the Bible where truth changes. In other words, if you have truth, the light getting brighter does not negate what you knew before, but it adds to it. It actually sheds more light or more understanding upon the subject. The problem with the Watchtower is that they have abandoned many of their teachings all together and are teaching things now that are diametrically opposed to what they taught originally, yet they are still calling it “truth!”

 An example of this can be seen in the Watchtower’s Revelation book entitled, “Revelation - It’s Grand Climax At Hand!” Following is a quote from chapter 6 page 31 paragraph 17 of this Revelation book:

“In his parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus foretold the time of darkness that would exist while Christendom reigned supreme. Nevertheless, through all the centuries of apostasy, there would exist individual wheatlike Christians, genuine anointed ones. (Matthew 13:24-29, 36-43) Thus, when the Lord’s day dawned in October 1914, there were still true Christians on earth. (Revelation 1:10) It appears that Jehovah came to his spiritual temple for judgment about three and a half years later, in 1918, accompanied by Jesus as his “messenger of the covenant.” (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 13:47-50) It was time for the Master to reject finally the false Christians and to appoint ‘the faithful and discreet slave over all his belongings.’—Matthew 7:22, 23; 24:45-47.”

In laymen’s terms this is saying that Jehovah and Jesus examined all Christian denominations for a period of three and one half years beginning in October 1914 and concluding in the Spring of 1918. During this period of “Judgment” they found only Jehovah’s Witnesses (then known as the Bible Students) doing God’s will. So at this time, Jehovah and Jesus - being pleased with what they saw in the organization - appointed the “faithful and discreet slave” over all “true” Christians.

As a side point, It’s interesting to note that today this “slave class” is known to JW’s as the remaining ones of the anointed remnant or the 144,000. These (144,000) are the only ones that have a “heavenly hope” according to the Watchtower. The Watchtower magazine shows that this group numbered 9986 in 2008, 10,857 in 2009 and 11,202 in 2010. Surprisingly, this number has been growing each year over the past decade, while according to Watchtower doctrine it should be shrinking each year. (See Watchtower 1/15/2000 Page 13 Paragraph 18) This remnant “faithful and discreet slave” has absolutely no input as to the beliefs and policies of the Watchtower organization. The organization is controlled entirely by the Watchtower’s governing body (7 men at the time of this writing January 2011) while allowing no input from the remnant of the 144,000 or anyone else. I may talk more about this in another discussion.

Please consider the following. What did Jehovah and Jesus observe when they examined all of Christendom in 1918? What set the Bible students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known, apart from the rest of “false religion”? Especially when you consider that the following points were taught as “truth” by the Watchtower organization in 1918:

1) Jesus’ parousia (or invisible presence as taught by the Watchtower) began in 1874

2) Tobacco use was permitted

3) Originally, the year 1914 was derived from measuring the great pyramid in Egypt (See Watchtower publication The Divine Plan of the Ages pages 82-83)

4) Jesus died on a cross

5) Serving in the military was permitted as a conscientious objector

6) It was okay to celebrate Birthdays

7) All righteous go to heaven

8) It was okay to celebrate Christmas and Easter

9) Jesus was worshiped

10) 666 was the Papacy

11) All Christians were the faithful and discrete slave, not just 144,000

12) Blood transfusions were permitted

13) Jubilee for mankind begins at the beginning of the 1000-year reign of Jesus and lasts through the 1000 years.

14) Voting was not wrong

15) The Flag salute was not wrong

These are but a few of the doctrines formerly taught by the organization though the list is much longer. A reasonable question for the Jehovah’s Witness is, how could Jehovah accept the worship of these Christians and appoint them over all of His belongings in 1918? What makes this a pertinent question is the fact that if you are a JW and you make known that you believe any of these things today, you will be disfellowshipped, (Completely shunned) for believing them unless you keep these thoughts to yourself.

The fact is, if the founder of the JW organization Charles Taze Russell were alive today, he wouldn’t even recognize the organization that Jehovah’s Witnesses say in their own publications was and still is the only religion accepted by Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, otherwise known to JW’s as “the truth”.

Has Jehovah changed? Malachi 3:6 says “For I am Jehovah; I have not changed.” Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.” You and I both know that Jehovah has NEVER approved of or accepted false worship nor will He ever!

The Watchtower’s Revelation book page 209 paragraph 10 says: “By the 1870’s anointed Christians began to make determined efforts to disassociate themselves from the whorish ways of Babylon the Great. They abandoned false doctrines that Christendom had brought in from paganism and boldly used the Bible in preaching that the times of the Gentiles would end in 1914. The chief instrument of Babylon the Great, the clergy of Christendom, opposed these stirrings of restoration of true worship."

How could this be called “true worship” when you consider the aforementioned list which was still being taught in 1919 and especially when you compare it to what is taught now? The fact is, in the early 20th century before 1914 it was taught that the world would end and all Christians would be taken to heaven in October of 1914! (See Proclaimers book chapter 6 pages 61-62 under headings “Great Expectations” and “Brother Russell, Were You Not Disappointed?”) Obviously this “truth” did not turn out to be the truth after all. The doctrine that all righteous would go to heaven for the 1000 year reign of Christ didn’t change until the mid 1940’s. This was also when the doctrine of only 144,000 going to heaven and the no-blood doctrine was introduced. Fortunately the organization rid themselves of the use of tobacco in the 1970’s.

It’s interesting to note that the Watchtower had a few of these things in the list right in the early 20th century but left those truths during J.F. Rutherford’s Regime and never recovered them. (For more information on the false teachings of J.F. Rutherford just read his books in the Kingdom hall library. See a red book entitled Salvation pages 311-313)

If you have a copy of the Watchtower CD library then I’m sure you have noticed that it only goes back to 1950 for the Watchtower magazine and 1970 for the Awake magazine. This is by design! There are too many embarrassing changes which the governing body would rather not address. They have a tendency to sweep their mistakes under the rug, so to speak. If the Watchtower has had the truth through the years, then why the secrecy?

If you know someone in a very high position and can get a behind the scenes tour of the Brooklyn Bethel branch writing department as I have had on numerous occasions, then you may be able to see the CD that is available for the writing department, and the writing department only, which has every publication of the organization from 1879 to present. This is guarded very well. Why is this not available to you? Because the governing body knows that this would raise many unanswerable questions from the rank and file witnesses if they had these old publications at their disposal.

As of 2004 most congregations had started to purge some of the old C.T. Russell and J. F. Rutherford publications from their libraries at the governing body’s request through the Circuit overseer. A few of these books may still be in your Kingdom hall library. If so, I encourage you to read through them. Prayerfully examine the history of the organization and see what you find. If the organization is the truth, then you have nothing to fear. If you find that it’s not, then my prayer is you will be willing to make whatever changes are necessary.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Does the Bible Really Teach? (Part 1)

Since the year 1943 Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) have had a methodical way of teaching non-JW’s about what they believe. The method used is to invite one to a “Bible” study, then introduce them to a book published by the Watchtower organization. These books are usually well written. Much thought goes into how they are worded, how questions are asked and how the questions should be answered. The method of study is to read a paragraph from the book, then read the question at the bottom of the page corresponding to the paragraph. At this point the student should find the answer in the paragraph that was just read and repeat either word for word, or in his/her own words what the paragraph is saying. It is the responsibility of the JW conducting the study to make sure that the answer given agrees completely with what the Watchtower is teaching at the time of the study.

Over the years these books have been revised and re-published several times, sometimes with doctrinal changes and other times to give a fresh look or title to the study publication. These study books were as follows:

1943 - The Truth Shall Make You Free
1946 - Let God Be True
1952 - Let God Be True (Revised)
1958 - From Paradise Lost To Paradise Regained
1968 - The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life
1982 - You Can Live Forever In Paradise On Earth
1995 - Knowledge That Leads To Everlasting Life
2005 - What Does The Bible Really Teach?

I have examined all of these books and while there is some truth to be found in reading them, there are (and I am being conservative when I say this) dozens and dozens of problems with some of the theology expressed in these books. At this time I will not go into what was taught in the past by the Watchtower, but I will now present a careful examination of one of the doctrines currently taught by the Watchtower which cannot (If read in context) be supported by the Bible.

In the most recent study publication produced by the Watchtower entitled, What Does The Bible Really Teach, (Bible teach book) after quoting Revelation 20:12 from the New World Translation (NWT) which says: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.”

Following this, the Bible teach book on page 214 paragraph 3 says:
According to the apostle John’s vision, “scrolls were opened,” and “the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.” Are these scrolls the record of people’s past deeds? No, the judgment will not focus on what people did before they died. How do we know that? The Bible says: “He who has died has been acquitted from his sin.” (Romans 6:7) Those resurrected thus come to life with a clean slate, so to speak. The scrolls must therefore represent God’s further requirements. To live forever, both Armageddon survivors and resurrected ones will have to obey God’s commandments, including whatever new requirements Jehovah might reveal during the thousand years. Thus, individuals will be judged on the basis of what they do during Judgment Day.”

Quoting from Revelation 20:12 the Bible teach book Speaks of the scrolls that will be opened. The question is asked, “Are these scrolls the record of people’s past deeds?” Then the statement is made, "No, the judgment will not focus on what people did before they died. How do we know that? The Bible says: “He who has died has been acquitted from his sin.” (Romans 6:7)

Please consider the following:

Romans 6:7 is taken completely out of context! Notice what the preceding verses say beginning with Romans 6:1. (Copied and pasted from the NWT) "Consequently, what shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, that undeserved kindness may abound? 2 Never may that happen! Seeing that we died with reference to sin, how shall we keep on living any longer in it? 3 Or do YOU not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, we also should likewise walk in a newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall certainly also be [united with him in the likeness] of his resurrection; 6 because we know that our old personality was impaled with [him], that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin. 7 For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin."

Please notice that the subject matter here is not speaking of literally dying and being acquitted from sin at death. The subject in its context is dying to self. In other words, you die to your former sins through faith in the literal death and resurrection of Jesus. Our water baptism symbolizes our death and burial of the old sinful person in going under the water. Coming up from under the baptism water represents a resurrection as a new person. All past sins are cleansed and forgiven. Thus as verse 6 says: “our old personality was impaled with Him, that our sinful body might be made inactive, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” This means that through the power of Jesus’ blood we can be forgiven when we ask in His name.

Now for verse 7: “For he who has died has been acquitted from his sin.” This is saying that he who has died to his old personality or old sinful ways, has been acquitted from his sin. We come out of the baptism water as if we were a new person because of Jesus!

The Bible teach book next says: "The scrolls must therefore represent God’s further requirements." Where in the Bible do we even see an allusion to there being “further requirements” before or after Armageddon? The Watchtower and JW’s use the phrase “new scrolls.” Yet, the term “new scrolls” cannot be found anywhere in Scripture, not even in the NWT. They use the word “new” to fit their doctrine. (See Watchtower 6/15/1985 page 18 paragraph 21. See also Knowledge That Leads To Everlasting Life page 185 paragraph 13 and Revelation Climax page 300 paragraph 15)

The Teach book continues: “To live forever, both Armageddon survivors and resurrected ones will have to obey God’s commandments” AMEN! However, this does not mean what it says. JW’s will tell you they keep the Commandments of God. Unfortunately JW’s only keep 9 of God’s 10 Commandments. (Please see my letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses within my blog)

The Teach book statement continues: “including whatever new requirements Jehovah might reveal during the thousand years. Thus, individuals will be judged on the basis of what they do during Judgment Day.” So again, according to this, we will have different rules in the new world than we have now. My understanding is that Jehovah is preparing us now for the new world with all of His righteous requirements which are written in the Bible. Jehovah does not change! (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8) Also, notice that the Teach book says we will be judged on the basis of what we do during Judgment Day. The Watchtower applies the time of this judgment to the 1000 year reign of Christ. Please notice what the NWT says in John 5:28-29: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”

The word judgment used here in the NWT is not what the original Greek text says. The Greek word used here is krisis which is pronounced kree’-sis. This word is literally translated, condemnation or damnation. So if we were to replace the NWT word judgment with the literal word that was used in the Greek, the text in John 5:29 would read: “those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of condemnation.” Or, it would read: “those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of damnation.” Does this sound like a "second chance" is to be had by anyone that dies before Armageddon who is blatantly or unrepentantly disobeying God?

According to the Watchtower teaching, if I am an unrepentant sinner and I die before Armageddon, I will have another chance to get it right during the 1000 years. Because remember, they said that when I die my slate has been wiped clean. Please allow me to illustrate just how unfair and unscriptural this teaching is:
Suppose you and I were both alive on the day of the battle of Armageddon as the JW’s teach it. You and I are guilty of the same sin whatever it may be. Yet, I just happen to die tragically just 5 minutes before Armageddon strikes. You however, are alive just 5 minutes later when Armageddon strikes. Under the JW theology I will be resurrected and be forgiven of all my sins. I will be given another chance to get it right, so to speak because I have died before the end came and have, as the Teach book says, “a clean slate.” Why? Because according to the JW‘s view of Romans 6:7 I have been acquitted from my sins. But you will be destroyed eternally by God simply because you had outlived me by 5 minutes and did not repent (or become a JW) before Armageddon had struck. Does this sound like a just and fair God? Does this sound like the God of the Bible? Is this what the Bible really teaches?

Might I submit that we are ALL judged by Jesus based on the knowledge and the understanding we have or have been exposed to. We are held accountable to that knowledge in the life we are living now. If we die before Jesus’ return, we will be judged as either righteous or unrighteous based upon the life we were living at the time of our death. We are Judged individually according to our deeds in this life, not that which is to come. (Revelation 2:22-23) For those in the first resurrection death has no authority. (Revelation 20:6) Those who are judged as wicked or evil will be resurrected after the 1000 years because Revelation 20:5 says of the second resurrection: “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” Remember that death has no authority over those in the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:6) Of course the JW’s apply this to the 144,000 which are not even mentioned in the context of Revelation 20. (This will be addressed in another article)

Why will the unrighteous dead be resurrected after the 1000 years? Because Philippians 2:10-11 NWT says: “so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, 11 and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” For this to happen those in the grave who have not recognized Jesus as Lord must be resurrected. The first resurrection will have already taken place at Jesus’ second coming. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) But keep in mind that the second resurrection occurs after the 1000 years. (Revelation 20:5)
This means that the resurrected unrighteous will confess that Jesus is Lord as New Jerusalem is coming down from Heaven. At that time - after their confession that Jesus is Lord - fire and sulfur will destroy them. This is the second death. When these are destroyed the second death will have occurred. Satan and his demons will also be completely destroyed at this time. From the second death there is no resurrection. (Revelation 21:7-10)

As Christians we need to be in the first resurrection not the second! There is no second chance! We are being judged in this life. There is much more that could be said about this subject, but my prayer is that this will help you to decipher the truth of God's Word in this matter.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses


Dear Brothers,

I am writing this letter after much prayer, Bible study and consideration of what Jehovah requires of us as Christians. I ask that you please consider this letter prayerfully and read the cited and quoted scriptures in their context. This subject has weighed very heavily on me for many years. In confidence, I have spoken to several elders and circuit overseers about this subject only to receive no satisfying answer. I have read every publication on this subject that is on the Watchtower CD ROM. I must tell you that at present I am inactive. However, my love for Jehovah and doing His will is stronger than ever before in my life.

My concern is regarding the 10 Commandments of Jehovah God. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, if we were to unrepentantly break 9 of the 10 Commandments we would rightfully be disfellowshiped. The question I have is, why do we as Jehovah’s Witnesses keep only 9 of the 10 Commandments? Again, please prayerfully consider the following before answering.

First, while I know the organization’s view of the creative days, when we examine the creation account we see that the Bible is very specific that these days were 24 hours because of each day of creation it is said “There came to be evening and there came to be morning.” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31)

Secondly, by the end of this 6 day period of creating the universe Genesis 2:2,3 says: “And by the seventh day God came to the completion of his work that he had made, and he proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had made. 3 And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred, because on it he has been resting from all his work that God has created for the purpose of making.” One point that we must keep in mind is, there are two institutions that Jehovah made Holy before sin. They are marriage and the Sabbath. Also, Jehovah Himself kept the Sabbath and He made it Holy. Notice that it wasn’t the rest that He made Holy but it was the day itself. Very specifically, the seventh day, which is the Sabbath day.

I have read the explanation given in the footnotes and appendix 3C of the New World Translation reference Bible about the verb “proceeded” and the reality is, you cannot be dogmatic about the tense of these verses as it says in the appendix this “could be” rendered as incomplete or continuous action, or action in progress. Might I suggest that it also “could be” the other way, that is, completed action? Because, Jehovah rested on the seventh day. According to the Bible Jehovah kept the literal seventh day Sabbath. The Scriptures are very clear on this subject. There is absolutely nothing in these verses that indicates that this period of time is more than a 24 hour day. Yet, the Watchtower teaches that Jehovah’s Sabbath is thousands of years long and that He is still resting and has been resting since creation. (See Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2 Page 833)

However, that is not what the Bible teaches. In fact in John 5:17 Jesus said, “My Father has kept working until now and I keep working.” Notice this Scripture says that Jehovah “has kept working”. This also supports completed action on Jehovah’s part regarding the Sabbath. How could Jehovah be keeping the Sabbath, yet be working at the same time? This is impossible! According to the Bible, Jehovah keeps the seventh day Sabbath as He expects us to keep it because He made it Holy. Please keep in mind it was Jehovah that made the day Holy.

Another Bible fact is that the Sabbath was kept before Moses went up to Sinai. (Exodus 16:22-30) We have to remember that the Israelites were held captive as slaves for over 400 years under the Pagan influence of Egypt. During the time they were there, 10 generations in the Jewish system, they had forgotten how to keep Jehovah’s Laws. That is why Jehovah gave them the manna instructions, which included the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath that Jehovah instituted in the garden of Eden. This was to remind them that their Creator and Deliverer was Jehovah, the one who created the Sabbath rest in the beginning. The Sabbath was something they could not keep while enslaved. (See Exodus 5:5 footnote * NWT Reference Bible) Exodus 16:28-30 says: Consequently Jehovah said to Moses: “How long must YOU people refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 Mark the fact that Jehovah has given YOU the sabbath. That is why he is giving YOU on the sixth day the bread of two days. Keep sitting each one in his own place. Let nobody go out from his locality on the seventh day.” 30 And the people proceeded to observe the sabbath on the seventh day." (Emphasis added)

Notice that verse 29 says, “Jehovah has given you the Sabbath”. It does NOT say Jehovah is giving you the Sabbath. The word given is past tense, so it’s clear that this commandment was already in effect and had been “given“ in the past. Also, keep in mind that Jehovah God kept the Sabbath day at the end of the creation week. (Genesis 2:2) That’s why when He gave the fourth Commandment He pointed back to the creation week as a reminder. (Exodus 20:11)

Also significant is the fact that the Ten Commandments are the only part of the Bible that Jehovah Himself wrote. He did not write them on parchment or papyrus but He wrote them in stone! If you’ve heard the old adage “Nothing is carved in stone,” Well, it’s NOT true! Jehovah’s Moral Law was carved in stone, “tablets of stone written on by God’s finger.” (Exodus 31:18) Jehovah did not leave these important Commandments for man to write on paper, but He Himself carved them in stone while vocalizing them! (Exodus 20:1-17, 32:16, Deuteronomy 9:10) That makes them permanent and unchangeable! Not only that, but when Moses shattered the tablets, (Exodus 32:19) Jehovah told Moses to go back up to Mount Sinai. Only this time Jehovah told Moses, “carve out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones.” Moses did this so that Jehovah could write the Ten Commandments again. (Exodus 34:1, 2, 4)

While all of the Ten Commandments are of vital importance, please take note of the following facts about the fourth Commandment:

1) It is the only Commandment that begins with the word “Remember”. (Exodus 20:8)

2) It is the longest and most descriptive of all of the Commandments. (Exodus 20:8-11)

3) Jehovah Himself kept the Sabbath BEFORE sin. (Genesis 2:2-3) Does He need Rest?

4) It's the only one of the Commandments that points back to creation and that has it's beginning before sin. (Exodus 20:11)

5) It's the only Commandment that identifies Jehovah as the Creator of all things. (Ex. 20:11)

6) It's the only Commandment which Jehovah made sacred (Holy) and blessed. (Ex. 20:11)

Reasoning from the Scriptures insists that there is no differentiation between the 10 Commandments (The moral Law) and the Mosaic law (The ceremonial law). (Reasoning book Page 347 paragraph 3 through page 349 paragraph 1) How can this be said when Jehovah Himself separates them? Just look at the Bible evidence that follows.

(A) Exodus 40:20,21; “After that he took the Testimony and put it into the Ark and placed the poles on the Ark and put the cover above upon the Ark. 21 Then he brought the Ark into the tabernacle and put the curtain of the screen in place and shut off approach to the ark of the testimony, just as Jehovah had commanded Moses.” The Testimony, of course, is the 10 Commandments which were put into the Ark of the Covenant and kept in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle.

(B) 1 Kings 8:9 “There was nothing in the Ark but the two stone tablets which Moses had deposited there in Ho´reb.”

(C) Deuteronomy 31:24-26; “And it came about that as soon as Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book until their completion, 25 Moses began to command the Levites, the carriers of the ark of Jehovah’s covenant, saying: 26 “Taking this book of the law, YOU must place it at the side of the ark of the covenant of Jehovah YOUR God, and it must serve as a witness there against you.” (Emphasis added)

So it’s very clear in the Bible that Moses wrote the law or the handwritten document, which he would “Place at the side of the Ark” but Jehovah wrote the 10 Commandments, which were placed IN the Ark. In addition, notice that it was the “handwritten document” which Deuteronomy says; “must serve as a witness there against you.” This is NOT speaking of the 10 Commandments. These laws are clearly separated by Jehovah, so why does the organization insist that they are together and were nailed to the torture stake? Even in Revelation we see the Ark of the Covenant mentioned in John’s Temple vision. Revelation 11:19 says, “And the temple [sanctuary] of God that is in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple [sanctuary]. And there occurred lightnings and voices and thunders and an earthquake and a great hail.” (Emphasis added)

(D) Many Brothers in the organization try to use Hebrews chapter 9 to say we no longer keep the Commandments under the new covenant. However, when reading Hebrews 9:15-22 one must reference Exodus 24:7 and see the footnote in the New World Translation Reference Bible to see that Jesus’ blood does NOT negate the 10 Commandments written by Jehovah but negates ONLY the Mosaic law which was written by Moses. In Exodus 24:7 the footnote says: “Ex 24:7* “Book of the covenant.” This doubtless contained the legislation set out in Exodus 20:22-23:33.”

Now, if you read Exodus 20:22-23:33, you will find that this DOES NOT include the 10 Commandments but it includes ONLY the handwritten document that Moses wrote which is now done away with. So using Hebrews 9:15-22 to teach that the 10 Commandments were destroyed with the old covenant and are no longer valid for Christians is clearly misapplication of Scripture. This reasoning also applies to Colossians 2:13-16 which says: "Furthermore, though YOU were dead in YOUR trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of YOUR flesh, [God] made YOU alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses 14 and blotted out the handwritten document against us, which consisted of decrees and which was in opposition to us; and He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake. 15 Stripping the governments and the authorities bare, he exhibited them in open public as conquered, leading them in a triumphal procession by means of it. 16 Therefore let no man judge YOU in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath; 17 for those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ. (Emphasis added)

Notice verse 14 says, “and blotted out the handwritten document against us, which consisted of decrees and which was in opposition to us; and He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.” The Bible tells us that Jehovah wrote the 10 Commandments with His finger, (Exodus 31:18) but the handwritten document was written by Moses. (Deuteronomy 31:24) The Mosaic law was in opposition to us, not the Commandments. So it was the Mosaic law that was nailed to the torture stake and NOT the 10 Commandments. Notice too that Colossians 2:16 says “Therefore let no man judge YOU in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath.” This verse says a sabbath not THE Sabbath. Noteworthy is the fact that the word Sabbath occurs in the Bible 156 times. 149 times it refers to the seventh day Sabbath, this Scripture in Colossians is NOT one of those times. This verse is speaking of the ceremonial sabbaths related to the Mosaic law and not the seventh day Sabbath found in the10 Commandments.

It’s very clear when reading the Bible that the 10 Commandments are NOT against us because they show us the very character of Jehovah, which is love. The first 4 Commandments are all about showing love for Jehovah God, the latter 6 Commandments are all about showing love for fellow man. This is exactly what Jesus was saying when He gave the 2 greatest Commandments. (Matthew 22:36, Mark 12:30-31 and Luke 10:27) He was summing up the 10 Commandments in just 2. Jesus did not cancel the Sabbath nor did He even indicate He was doing so when He did this. The Sabbath was included in the 10 Commandments and it is still included in the 2 greatest Commandments which Jesus gave. Also, the 10 are not a shadow of anything, but the Mosaic law is. The Mosaic law and it’s ceremonies were a shadow of what Jesus was to do for mankind.

The Reasoning book refers to Galatians 4:9-11 to try to show that the Sabbath is no longer kept by Christians. However the Sabbath is NOT even mentioned in these verses. If the Sabbath is destroyed then this must mean that the other Commandments are also no longer valid. If this is the case then we can worship other gods, worship idols, steal, commit adultery, etc. In Galatians 4:9 Paul asks, “But now that YOU have come to know God, or rather now that YOU have come to be known by God, how is it that YOU are turning back again to the weak and beggarly elementary things and want to slave for them over again? The Greek word for “elementary things” in this passage and in Colossians 2:8, 20 is stoicheion, which literally means, “under the bondage of the elements of the world.”

I ask you, does keeping the 10 Commandments put one under the bondage of the elements of the world? Does keeping the 10 Commandments mean slaving? To put it another way, is it bondage to not commit adultery or to not lie, not steal, not worship other gods or not honor your father and mother? As I asked at the outset of this letter, why does the organization not have a problem keeping 9 of the 10 Commandments yet when it comes to the very Commandment that will give us rest and communion with Jehovah, we are told it’s not necessary nor is it valid?

Another text that the Watchtower seems to take out of context is found in 2 Corinthians 3:7-11. This passage is not saying that the Commandments were done away with but if you read it in context it says that the glory of Moses face was to be done away with, or in other words the glory of Moses’ ministration of the law was to be done away with. Please read 2 Corinthians 3:3-9 carefully. The subject is not the doing away with the law or it’s establishment, but rather, the change of the location of the law from “tablets of stone” to the “tablets, on hearts.” Under Moses’ ministration the law was on stones. Under the Holy Spirit’s ministration through Christ, the law is written upon the heart. (Hebrews 8:10) To illustrate, a rule posted on a school bulletin board becomes effective only when it enters a student’s heart. Likewise, Christ’s ministration of the law is effective because He transfers the law to the heart of the Christian. Then, keeping the law becomes a delight and a joyful way of living because the Christian has true love for both Jehovah and fellow man.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man.” The Apostle John in Revelation 14:12 said: “Here is where it means endurance for the holy ones, those who observe the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Notice the following texts from the Bible contrasting Moses Law to Jehovah‘s Law:

Moses’ Law
1) Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22)

2) Called “law…consisting in decrees” (Ephesians 2:15)

3) Was “written in the book of Moses” (2 Chronicles 35:12)

4) Placed “at the side of the ark” (Deuteronomy 31:26)

5) Nailed “to the torture stake” (Colossians 2:14)

6) Added “to make transgression manifest” (Galatians 3:19)

7) Was “in opposition to us” Colossians 2:14)

8) Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16)

9) Fleshly (Hebrews 7:16)

10) “Made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19)

Jehovah’s Law
1) Called “the Law of Jehovah” (Isaiah 5:24)

2) Called “the Kingly Law” (James 2:8)

3) Was written by Jehovah on stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16)

4) Placed in the ark (Exodus 40:20)

5) Stands forever (Luke 16:17)

6) Points out sin (Romans 7:7; 3:20)

7) Is “not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)

8) Judges everyone (James 2:10-12)

9) Is spiritual (Romans 7:14)

10) Is perfect (Psalm 19:7)

Very significant is the fact that when Jesus died on Nisan 14, it was a Friday and He died before sundown, which was before the Sabbath would begin. (Luke 23:54) We know from the Bible that Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week which we now call Sunday. (Luke 24:7) So we learn from this passage that Jesus was asleep in death resting in the grave on the Sabbath day. This means that the Sabbath day was the ONLY 24-hour day in which Jesus was in the tomb. Add to that the fact that this was called a “Great Sabbath”. (John 19:31) Why is this significant? Nisan 14 was a Passover day. Any day that follows the Passover is a Sabbath day, no matter which day of the week it may fall on. However, when the Passover occurs on a Friday as it did when Jesus was killed, the next day becomes what the Apostle John called a Great Sabbath or some may call it a dual Sabbath, or an high Sabbath. This is because not only is it the Sabbath after the Passover, but it is also the seventh day Sabbath that Jehovah set aside for rest and made Holy. Thus it is called The Great Sabbath. (See Insight book Volume 2 Page 831)

I ask you to consider, was this by accident or by design? Does Jehovah do anything by accident or without reason? Absolutely NOT! Jehovah is not a God of disorder. (1Corinthians 14:33) Just as Jehovah rested on the Sabbath from His work of creating the world, Jesus rested in the grave on the Sabbath from His work of saving the world!

When Jesus was speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem which we know is a dual prophecy (For 70 C.E. and for our day) notice what He says in Matthew 24:20, “Keep praying that YOUR flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the Sabbath day.” I have read what the Watchtower says about this passage and the truth of the matter is, it appears that the Watchtower is over complicating this point and not letting the Bible speak for itself. Jesus was speaking to His disciples. If in fact the Sabbath was to be done away with, why would Jesus say: “Keep praying that YOUR flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the Sabbath day.” when He knew this would be in the future after his death, resurrection and ascension to Heaven and after the new Covenant was in full effect? Jesus never minced words. This would have been the perfect time for Him to tell the people that after His death and resurrection they should stop wasting their time by keeping an unnecessary seventh day Sabbath. This would have been the time to let them know that the Sabbath would be done away with. This would have been the time for Jesus to tell us that “even though My Father in Heaven kept the Sabbath after creation week in a perfect universe and I have kept it all of My human life on earth, you won’t have to, even though I am your exemplar.

Consider this, according to Genesis the Sabbath was part of Jehovah’s perfect plan. The Bible clearly teaches this because as I mentioned at the outset, the Sabbath existed BEFORE sin. I know that as a Jehovah’s Witness I have always taught that Jehovah’s plan is to restore the universe to it’s original perfect state. Would this not include the Holy Sabbath that Jehovah created?

When considering the 10 Commandments, how can we justify not keeping any one of them? We can’t! But that is what has been done. Many consider it legalism to keep the Sabbath as a Holy day but they do not consider it legalism to keep the other 9 Commandments. That is exactly what Satan wants you to think. He has distorted the one day that Jehovah has made Holy much the same as he as distorted the Holiness of the marriage arrangement. Remember, Jehovah made these things Holy BEFORE sin. Satan loves the fact that many people have justified trampling on Jehovah’s Holy day. The prophet Daniel even prophesied that this would happen! And he will speak even words against the Most High, and he will harass continually the holy ones themselves of the Supreme One. And he will intend to change times and law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, and times and half a time (Daniel 7:25) The interesting about this is the fact that the Sabbath Commandment is the only Commandment that is both a time and a Law.

The Watchtower shows through the Reasoning book that the day of worship was changed from Sabbath to Sunday by Constantine in 321 C.E. and shows that this was done to harmonize the Christians and the Pagans under on common union. The Watchtower also recognizes the Pagan holidays brought into Christianity as a result of Constantine. I appreciate that the organization recognizes these things. The comment is also made that there is no scriptural reason for Jehovah’s day of worship to be changed. This being the case why are we following this structure?
This brings me to a vital question. Since we are to be no part of the world, (John 17:14) and giving all of the above evidence, why does the Watchtower say we need not keep the Sabbath even though Christians kept it until the fourth century C.E and beyond? Also, since the vast majority of the world’s Christian religions keep Sunday and do not rest on the Sabbath according to the Commandment, Why would we not want to be separate ourselves from these, especially when you consider how the day of worship changed?

One last point is the fact that one was to be killed for breaking the Sabbath Commandment. (Exodus 31:14-15, 35:2) Do we really believe that Jehovah has changed his Commandments? Would He have killed people in the past for breaking the Sabbath only to tell people later that it’s okay and this is no longer valid? NO! Jehovah does NOT change nor does Jesus! (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8) The Watchtower says we keep the Sabbath every day. When you read the fourth Commandment you will find that this is impossible. If we were to keep Sabbath every day we could never work. That would be laziness. As Christians we should strive to be Holy every day. However, only one day is called Holy, which Jehovah created for our rest, both spiritual and physical. We are told in His Commandments that it is the seventh day, the Sabbath day to Jehovah your God. (Exodus 20:10)

While there are many, many more scriptural points to support what I am saying I will sum this letter up at this time. Again, I ask that you prayerfully consider the things I have said. Please know that I love Jehovah with all my heart and I want to serve Him on His terms not my own selfish terms. I believe in my heart of hearts that the Sabbath is a requirement for all Christians. Jesus said “The Sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the Sabbath”. (Mark 2:27) Jesus did not say the Sabbath was for the Jews but for man, which literally means mankind. If you can show me from the Bible where this has changed I will be more than happy to change my position. Please help me. I write this letter in love and patiently wait for your response.

Your Christian Brother,

Mark Martin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Is Jesus' Return Visible or Invisible?

The Watchtower has used many printed pages defending the doctrine that Jesus’ return is invisible, but can find only a few scriptures that seem to support this doctrine and only by the misapplication of scripture. However, when reading the Watchtower publications one can find much human reasoning to try to support Jesus’ invisible return, even quoting Sir Isaac Newton as an authority on this subject and perhaps the father of the teaching. (See Watchtower July 15 1906 page 229 and Kingdom Proclaimers book chapter 5 page 46 footnote)

But, let’s look at the Biblical evidence. Jesus said in Matthew 24:30, “And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”.

The Watchtower’s reasoning book responds to this scripture on page 341: ‘Will Christ return in a manner visible to human eyes? John 14:19: “A little longer and the world will behold me no more, but you [Jesus’ faithful apostles] will behold me, because I live and you will live.” (Jesus had promised his apostles that he would come again and take them to heaven to be with him. They could see him because they would be spirit creatures as he is. But the world would not see him again."

By misapplying John 14:19 The Watchtower says Jesus will not be seen. But, what do other scriptures say? Notice the following Scriptures:

Daniel 7:13; “I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! With the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One.”

Matthew 24:27; For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be

Matthew 26:64; “Jesus said to him: “You yourself said [it]. Yet I say to YOU men, from henceforth YOU will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 13:26; “And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”

Mark 14:62; “Then Jesus said: “I am; and YOU persons will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Luke 21:27; “And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

1Thessalonians 4:16; “Because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.”

Hebrews 9:28; “So also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many; and the second time that he appears it will be apart from sin and to those earnestly looking for him for [their] salvation.

Acts 1:11; “And they said: “Men of Gal´i·lee, why do YOU stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from YOU into the sky will come thus in the same manner as YOU have beheld him going into the sky.”

Revelation 1:7; “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen.”

The reasoning book says this of Acts 1:11; “What is the meaning of Jesus’ coming “in the same manner” as he ascended to heaven? Acts 1:9-11: “While they [Jesus’ apostles] were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their vision. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, also, look! two men in white garments stood alongside them, and they said: ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.’” (Notice that this says “the same manner,” not the same body. What was the “manner” of his ascent? As verse 9 shows, he disappeared from view, his departure being observed only by his disciples. The world in general was not aware of what happened. The same would be true of Christ’s return.)”

Of Revelation 1:7 the reasoning book says:
“What is meant by his ‘coming on the clouds’ and ‘every eye seeing him’?Rev. 1:7: “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him.” (Also Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27) What is indicated by “clouds”? Invisibility. When an airplane is in a thick cloud or above the clouds, people on the ground usually cannot see it, although they may hear the roar of the engines. Jehovah told Moses: “I am coming to you in a dark cloud.” Moses did not see God, but that cloud indicated Jehovah’s invisible presence. (Ex. 19:9; see also Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 11:25.) If Christ were to appear visibly in the heavens, it is obvious that not “every eye” would see him. If he appeared over Australia, for example, he would not be visible in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, would he? In what sense will ‘every eye see him’? They will discern from events on earth that he is invisibly present. Also referring to sight that is not physical, John 9:41 reports: “Jesus said to [the Pharisees]: ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, “We see.” Your sin remains.’” (Compare Romans 1:20.) Following Christ’s return, some persons show faith; they recognize the sign of his presence. Others reject the evidence, but when Christ goes into action as God’s executioner of the wicked, even they will discern from the manifestation of his power that the destruction is not from men but from heaven. They will know what is happening because they were warned in advance. Because of what is overtaking them, they will “beat themselves in grief.” Who are “those who pierced him”? Literally, Roman soldiers did this at the time of Jesus’ execution. But they have long been dead. So this must refer to people who similarly mistreat, or ‘pierce,’ Christ’s true followers during “the last days.”—Matt. 25:40, 45.”

When we consider all of this explanation for two very simple passages it saddens me. First of all in Acts 1:11 the phrase, “in the same manner” when translated from the original language literally means “the same way”. Secondly, Scripture does not say that every eye will see Him at the same time. Even so, for any organization to say that Jesus could not appear to everyone at the same time, they are limiting Jehovah and using human reasoning. After all even man has the technology to beam TV broadcasts instantaneously and simultaneously all around the globe with satellites for all to see. Jehovah’s ability is much, much greater than this or than we can even imagine. (2Chronicles 2:6, 1Corinthians 2:9)

Concerning those who pierced him the Watchtower seems to have overlooked the fact that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. (John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15) Does this exclude those who pierced him? NO! They have to fall into one of these two categories, either righteous or unrighteous. According to the Philippians 2:10-11 every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord! This shows that ALL in the graves will HAVE to be resurrected. John 5:28-29 says: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of condemnation." NKJV

When using God’s Word the Bible, the weight of preponderance clearly says that Jesus’ return is visible, it's audible and it will be literal! There are hundreds of prophecies regarding Jesus that have been fulfilled, and they have been fulfilled literally. So, why does the Watchtower take the words that Jesus Himself said, “Then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26), and insist that this is not true? When comparing Scriptures that say Jesus’ return is literal to those that may appear to say it is not, there is much more Bible evidence to support the truth of Jesus being visible upon his return. Yes, every eye will see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory!

Can You Understand the Bible?

Following are some passages from the Watchtower publication (What Does the Bible Really Teach) Statements from the "Teach" book will be in green text. I will follow the "Teach Book" quotes with quotes from the Watchtower which will be in light purple text. I will type my interjected thoughts in black text. Please take notice as to whether there is any contradiction between the green and the light purple text, while keeping in mind that both were published by the Watchtower.

Bible Teach book Pages 8-9 paragraphs 3 - 5:
3 "Think about the question on the cover of this book, the questions raised in the preface, or those at the beginning of this chapter. These are some of the most important questions you can ask. Yet, many people have given up trying to find the answers. Why? Does the Bible have the answers? Some feel that its answers are too hard to understand. Others worry that asking questions could lead to shame or embarrassment. And some decide that such questions are best left to religious leaders and teachers. What about you?

4 Very likely you are interested in getting answers to life’s big questions. No doubt you sometimes wonder: ‘What is the purpose of life? Is this life all there is? What is God really like?’ It is good to ask such questions, and it is important that you do not give up until you find satisfying, reliable answers. The famous teacher Jesus Christ said: "Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you."—Matthew 7:7.

5 If you "keep on seeking" for answers to the important questions, you will find that the search can be very rewarding. (Proverbs 2:1-5) Despite what other people may have told you, there are answers, and you can find them—in the Bible. The answers are not too hard to understand. Better yet, they bring hope and joy. And they can help you to live a satisfying life right now. To begin, let us consider a question that has troubled many people."

I find these comments interesting. Paragraph 3 said:

And some decide that such questions are best left to religious leaders and teachers.

Isn't this what the witnesses do? They believe NOTHING without interpretation from the organization. Paragraph 5 says:

The answers are not too hard to understand.

I strongly AGREE with this comment. However, the organization does not. Look at these comments from the Watchtower. I give all references so you can see I do not take them out of context.

Watchtower 10/1/94 page 8 box
All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the “greatly diversified wisdom of God” can become known only through Jehovah’s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.

Watchtower 10/1/67 page 587 paragraph 9
Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.

This is a BOLD statement. If this is true, then what is the role of the Holy Spirit? (John 16:13)

Watchtower 12/1/81 page 27 paragraph 4
No matter where we may live on earth, God’s Word continues to serve as a light to our path and a lamp to our roadway as to our conduct and beliefs. (Ps. 119:105) But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his “faithful and discreet slave,” made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.

I personally DO NOT believe that God's Word the Bible is so limited or hard to understand that we will not progress no matter how much Bible reading we do! If Jehovah's Witnesses really believe this perhaps they should just get rid of their Bibles and read only the Watchtower publications. Why muddy the waters by reading something that has to be interpreted?

Watchtower 10/1/67 page 591 paragraph 3
Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect. We cannot claim to love God, yet deny his Word and channel of communication. We cannot accept apostolic teaching, yet reject our commission to teach others. We cannot accept the house-to-house ministry, yet ignore God’s moral requirements in everyday living. We cannot live an exemplary life, yet remain apathetic to the issue soon to be settled. We cannot preach the end of this system of things, yet seek to acquire all that this world has to offer in security or material benefits. Jehovah’s visible organization is based firmly on the twelvefold foundation of the “apostles of the Lamb,” with Jesus Christ himself being the foundation cornerstone. (Rev. 21:14, 19, 20; Eph. 2:20-22) Therefore, in submitting to Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements.

NOWHERE in the Bible will you find ANYTHING suggesting that an organization is needed for life! This is truly human thinking and it puts the Watchtower organization in the place of Jesus! THIS IS DANGEROUS THINKING! Where is the scriptural reference for this statement? Now that we see how the Watchtower organization views itself, let's look at how the Watchtower views the Catholic Church and then you decide how the organization differs.

Watchtower 10/15/1956 page 617 paragraph 1

“CHILDREN of the Roman Catholic Church are told not to accept any doctrine that does not originate with the church. Further than that, they are told that the ordinary priest and even the bishops are not authorized to interpret the Bible.”

Watchtower 3/15/63 page 169-170 paragraph 6
Thus, though probably possessing a Bible and freely speaking of it as God’s Word, in reality these professed friends of the Bible are in a false position and, in effect, contradict themselves. This is well illustrated by the following quotation from a Roman Catholic publication. Under the heading, “How Catholics Regard the Bible,” we read: “Catholics . . . cherish the highest esteem and veneration for the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and regard it as a treasure of unique value.” What finer expression of confidence could you want? But wait! The next sentence reads: “But they [Catholics] consider that the Bible was never intended to be the sole and adequate Rule of Faith, partly because it is not a sufficiently exhaustive account of all Christ’s teaching, partly because its expressions of doctrine are not always clear and need authoritative interpretation.” With your confidence in the Bible now undermined, you are then told that the authority of the Catholic church is the divinely provided means for preserving Christ’s full teaching for all time. In other words, it is not the voice of God’s Word, but, rather, the voice of the Catholic church that should be heeded as having full and final authority.

Just think about it. The organization has actually become like the Catholic Church, which they have criticized many times for believing they were the sole authority and interpreter of the Bible for the people. Ask yourself, how is this different from the Watchtower organization? In almost every Watchtower magazine you can read of how we need to submit to and obey the faithful and discreet slave and their interpretation of the Bible. According to the Bible, we are to submit to and obey ONLY Jehovah and Jesus Christ! (Psalm 118:8-9, Acts 5:29)