Review of the Watchtower – 1.2.2007

The Watchtower Society announced recently, via a letter to every congregation, that from January 2008 there will only be one PUBLIC edition of The Watchtower per month with the second one being for ‘internalconsumption’only. The letter to all congregations dated February 9 2007, read in part:

“The Watchtower will continue to be published semi-monthly, but it will have two different editions. In the issue dated the 1st of each month, all the material will be directed to the public. It will have no study articles. This issue will be known as the public edition. The Watchtower that is dated the 15th of each month will be solely for the Christian brotherhood. It will not be offered to the public. It will contain all the study articles for one month and secondary articles that are appropriate for dedicated servants of Jehovah. That will be known as the study edition.

“The advantages of this change will be quickly evident… in the study articles, we have to explain terms like ‘pioneer’ in ways the public understand. After this new arrangement goes into effect, everything in the study edition will be expressly for dedicated individuals and Bible students who are making spiritual progress. Hence, the information can be more pointed and more beneficial.”

Whereas the explanation seems reasonable one cannot help feeling that they want to hide the changes and alterations in policy and the involved non-Biblical teaching that we often critique in this column. Time will tell if we will be able to get hold of these copies, but I do hope so, as we will be able to see if they get stronger and clearer over their teachings when they do not have to let the public in on it.

I take a quick look at every Watchtower and Awake! that comes out and from time to time an article strikes me as almost inappropriate to have been written by the Society. One such appeared on page 3 of The Watchtower 1 February 2007, “Truthfulness – Expected Only of Others?” I felt like saying, on your past record, yes! But let’s see what the article actually says:

“‘I hate lies…’… Most of us feel the same way. We like to think that information given to us – whether by word of mouth or in written form – is truthful. But do we tell the truth when we pass information on to others”

Note the inference that the information written down is true but are we careful how we pass it on. Later in the article, they go on to say:

“Consider the damage that untruth can do. Falsehood breeds distrust… Fabrications by researchers ruin promising careers and tarnish the reputation of respected institutions… Widespread lying can cause damage both to individuals and to society as a whole. Few would dispute that fact. Why, then, do people deliberately tell what is untrue? And is every untruth a lie? We will consider the answers to these and other questions in the next article.”

Clearly falsehoods are a problem as is, wait for it, fabrications by researchers! Surely they are shooting themselves in the foot; why do people do it, surely they know, but why are they directing people to their own faults? This becomes clear in the next article where one of the questions that they answer is, “Is every untruth a lie”! I had to read that a few times before I believed they actually said it. Take a look in your dictionary and see that one of the definitions for untruth is, “lie”. No wonder they don’t want the public to be aware of their teaching!

The next article which starts on page 4 is entitled, “Why Be Truthful?” It starts off fine with the teaching that at the beginning of mankind’s history everything was based on truth and it was not until the Devil came onto the scene that lies began. They then give some interesting reasons as to why people lie; “Greed and selfish ambitions” and “Fear of the consequences” are two which are very relevant to each one of us but also to the Watchtower Society on their past history. Then on page 6 we have this amazing statement:

“Every lie is an untruth, but not every untruth is a lie. Why not? A dictionary defines a lie as “an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive.” Yes, lying includes the intention to deceive someone. Hence, to speak an untruth unwittingly – such as giving someone incorrect facts and figure by mistake – is not the same as to tell a lie”

That seems fair enough on the surface but I cannot help but feel that they are going to use this at some time in the future to change some facts they have given ‘unwittingly’. However, they then go on to a statement that is in their ‘Bible Dictionary’:

“Moreover, we need to consider whether the person asking for information is entitled to a comprehensive answer.”

However, that is something totally different; to hold back information is one thing but to deliberately misquote is another; not to tell all you know is your choice but to use what you know in a deceptive way is not. This thought was raised in their article on “Lie” in Insight on the Scriptures Vol.2, p.244:

“While malicious lying is definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not mean that a person is under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it. Jesus Christ counseled: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.” (Mt 7:6) That is why Jesus on certain occasions refrained from giving full information or direct answers to certain questions when doing so could have brought unnecessary harm. (Mt 15:1-6; 21:23-27; Joh 7:3-10) Evidently the course of Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, and Elisha in misdirecting or in withholding full facts from nonworshipers of Jehovah must be viewed in the same light.-Ge 12:10-19; chap 20; 26:1-10; Jos 2:1-6; Jas 2:25; 2Ki 6:11-23.

“Jehovah God allows “an operation of error” to go to persons who prefer falsehood “that they may get to believing the lie” rather than the good news about Jesus Christ. (2Th 2:9-12) This principle is illustrated by what happened centuries earlier in the case of Israelite King Ahab. Lying prophets assured Ahab of success in war against Ramoth-gilead, while Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah foretold disaster. As revealed in vision to Micaiah, Jehovah allowed a spirit creature to become “a deceptive spirit” in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. That is to say, this spirit creature exercised his power upon them so that they spoke, not truth, but what they themselves wanted to say and what Ahab wanted to hear from them. Though forewarned, Ahab preferred to be fooled by their lies and paid for it with his life.-1Ki 22:1-38; 2Ch 18.”

Notice in this article you are allowed to exercise an “operation of error” to anyone you consider prefers falsehood – quite a wide choice and something that can so easily be misused. However, they don’t go as far in The Watchtower article and end with these sobering words:

“Lies… cannot stand the test of time… Jehovah, the God of truth, has set a time limit for the toleration of untruth and of those who promote lies… Jehovah will soon put an end to all lies and liars… What a relief it will be when at last ‘the lip of truth’ will be firmly established forever.”

In the light of this article and the obvious claim that they are ‘the truth’, I thought it would be helpful to list again some of the clear lies and decepti
ons of the Watchtower Society – please check them out and ask the next Witness that calls to also check them out, especially in the light of this Watchtower article. Please also remember that this information is not for those who don’t want to accept truth but it is for Jehovah’s Witnesses who obviously should be given all the truth.

RULES OF TRANSLATION

First we will look at 3 rules of translation that they say they adhere to in their Scriptures.

The Truth of Rule 1

“How is a modern translator to know or determine when to render the Greek words kyrios and theos into the divine name in his version? By determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. Then he must refer back to the original to locate whether the divine name appears there. This way he can determine the identity to give to kyrios and theos and he can then clothe them.” – Kingdom Interlinear Translation, WB&TS, 1969, p.18.

The Lie told

On page 885 of the same publication we find Philippians 2:11 where kyrios is translated Lord. But applying the above rule of translation, and realising that Philippians 2:11 is a direct quotation from Isaiah 45:23 [it was even cross-referenced in the original 1950 edition of the New World Translation]. It should read, “and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus is Christ is Jehovah to the glory of God the Father”.

The Truth of Rule 2

“Isaiah 1:24 – ‘the [true] Lord’. This is the translation of the Hebrew expression ha-A’don, this being the title A’don (“Lord; Master”) preceded by the Hebrew definite article ha. Although there are many lords or masters, this prefixing of the definite article before the title a’don limits the application of the title to Jehovah God.” – Kingdom Interlinear Translation, WB&TS, 1985

The Lie told

In the same publication the footnote to Romans 10:9 tells us that the Greek word kyrios is ha-A’don in several Hebrew translations. Thus applying the above rule we should read , “For if you publicly declare that ‘word in your mouth,’ that Jesus is Jehovah, and…” However, that is not the case.

The Truth of Rule 3

“Consequently, religious traditions, hoary with age, have been taken for granted and gone unchallenged and uninvestigated. These have been interwoven into the translations to color the thought. In support of a preferred religious view, an inconstancy and unreasonableness have been insinuated into the teachings of the inspired writings… To each major word we have assigned one meaning and have held that meaning as far as the context permitted. This, we know, has imposed a restriction upon our diction, but it makes for good cross-reference work and for a more reliable comparison of related texts or verses.” – The New World Translation, WB&TS, 1951, pp.6 & 9.

The Lie told

Using their Kingdom Interlinear Translation we see that they have not kept this rule. For instance, in 1 Peter 1:17 we find that we can call upon the Father but the same Greek word in Acts 7:59 has Stephen making an appeal to Jesus.

A further example can be found in comparing the same Greek word in Revelation 7:11 where, older persons worship God, but in Matthew 2:11 the magi do obeisance to Jesus. Is there anything in the context that demands that these major words are translated in different ways? No! It is simply a “preferred religious view”. The very thing they have condemned as changing the meaning of the inspired writings.

DELIBERATE MISQUOTATIONS

The second area I would use to show that the Society has deliberately misled people is their misquoting of citations. This is especially relevant because of their reference to “fabrications by researchers” in the article. The first three quotations come from the publication Reasoning from the Scriptures pp. 272-275 under the heading of ‘Neutrality’. The Society are so determined to prove the point of neutrality, they even use a quote from someone who believes that parts of the Acts of the Apostles is fantasy. The words that the Society have omitted are added in italicst. These are clear fabrications that surely, “tarnish the reputation of respected institutions”, but at the very least they give a different thought to the one intended by the author.

“A careful review of all the information available goes to show that until the time of Marcus Aurelis, no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier after becoming a Christian, remained in military service. Against this conclusion it can be argued that, according to Acts (x 1-48), Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band, was baptised, together with others… that according to Acts (xii 12), Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus, ‘believed’… and finally that the jailer at Philippi (Acts xvi 23-34) was baptised… Stories in which such miraculous embellishments occur cannot be regarded as sober history: we have in fact, seen reason to hold that, in the first part of Acts, fact and fancy are blended so as to make a record which is sometimes allegory and sometimes literal truth.” – The Rise of Christianity, E.W.Barnes, 1947, p.333.

“The Christians stood aloof and distinct from the state, as a priestly and spiritual race, and Christianity seemed able to influence civil life only in that manner which, it must be confessed, is the purest, by practically endeavouring to instil more and more feeling into the citizens of the state… Those on the contrary, who determined that it was allowable for a Christian to accept civil and military offices… when they appealed to the case of the centurion, whose faith Christ himself had praised (Luke vii) and of the believing Cornelius… even Tertullian himself, the warm opponent of arms among Christians, did not feel himself authorised altogether to condemn those who, having become Christians while they were soldiers, continued in their old profession, provided it was unattended with any thing which caused them to violate their fidelity as Christians.” – History of the Christian Religion and Church During the First Three Centuries, Augustus Neander, 1848, p.168.

“Banners, standards and ensigns are frequently mentioned in the Bible. “Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his standard, with the ensign of their father’s house.” (Num 2:2)… Early flags were almost purely of a religious character… The national banner of England for centuries – the red cross of St George – was a religious one; in fact the aid of religion seems ever to have been sought to give sanctity to national flags, and the origin can be traced to a sacred banner.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1949, Vol.9, p.343.

These final three quotes are again taken from Reasoning from the Scriptures, this time from pages 69-70 and 179-182 which deal with various festivals.

“The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with those days. Yet the language of Jeremiah, taken in connection with that of Job, does furnish some ground for thinking that birthdays in general were joyfully remembered, Job 3:3 &c; Jer 20:14 &c.” – The Imperial Bible Dictionary, P.Fairburn, 1874, Vo1.1, p.225.

“The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days began to lengthen, to celebrate the “rebirth of the sun”… The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun) also took place at this time, and some Christian customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration… It is held by some scholars that the birth of Christ as “light of the World” was made analogous to the rebirth of the sun in order to make Christianity meaningful to pagan converts… but almost from the first, Christians have generally regarded Christmas as both a holy day and a holiday. For Christ’s birth brought a new spirit of joy into the world…” Encyclopaedia Americana, 1977, Vol. VI, p.666.

“There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians… The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemoration of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover with a new conception added to it of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed, and became the Christian Easter. Although the observance of Easter was at a very early period the practice of the Christian church…” – Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910, Vol. 8, p.828.

There is no question in my mind that in these two areas the Society is condemned by its own article. Indeed these lies and distortions cannot stand the test of time. I wonder what time limit Jehovah has then set on the Society. May it be that many at present in the Society truly find the One who said, “I am Truth” before that day comes that ‘the lip of truth’ will be firmly established forever.

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