On the 15 January 2008 the first edition of the new study version of The Watchtower hit the streets. Actually it only hit the Kingdom Halls because this one is the first that will only be for Jehovah’sWitnesses.On the 1st of each month there will be a Watchtower for general consumption of everyone in their door- to-door work and then on the 15th this study one.
This study edition will contain 4 or 5 study articles, for the next 2 months, in the normal format of questions for each numbered paragraph. It is worth noting again here what is happening with this question and answer method is a subtle form of re-programming or ‘brain-washing’. First the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society writes a paragraph about a subject; then the same Society poses a question, in a specific way, about the paragraph written by the Society to get the Witness to answer according to the Society’s view. After doing that for a few months they lose all individual thinking and simple answer according to the party line.
The January 15th edition contained 5 articles for the weeks February 11-17 to March 10-16. Page 2 gives us a summary. The first 3 are summed up by the continuing refrain:
“These three study articles will strengthen your determination to continue sharing in the Christian ministry. They will remind you of why you need to be zealous, show you how to improve your ‘art of teaching,’ and encourage you by demonstrating that many are still responding to the preaching work.”
The final two articles:
“…discuss in depth the hope that true Christians have. Whether you hope to make your home with Christ in the heavens or live forever on earth under the Kingdom rule, the articles will greatly strengthen your appreciation of Jehovah’s loving-kindness and unsearchable wisdom.”
We will look at some of these articles but first it is interesting that certain changes to content and style have also been made. First they inform us that from now on the annual report will not be found in The Watchtower but only as an insert in Our Kingdom Ministry and in the Yearbook. The hoped for outcome of this is that people ‘outside the Organisation’ will not be able to scrutinize the figures. However, I expect these will appear on the web as they have before because there seems to be quite a few leaks from insiders. Proof of this was shown by the fact that a copy of the January 15th 2008 Watchtower was available on the web in mid October 2007.
A more significant change seems to be found in this paragraph introducing the New Study Edition on p.3.
“You will notice that the study articles are a little shorter that they were previously. As a result, more time is allowed for the consideration of key scriptures during the Watchtower Study. We warmly encourage you to look up all the cited scriptures each week. Some cited scriptures are marked ‘read’ and should be read and discussed during the Watchtower Study. Other scriptures may also be read as time allows. In some articles, you may find scriptures marked ‘compare.’ Since such scriptures do not directly prove the main pints in the paragraph, they will usually not be read at the congregation meeting. Still ‘compare’ scriptures do contain interesting supplementary information, or they may provide indirect support for the points under discussion. We encourage you to check them while preparing for the Watchtower Study. Perhaps you will be able to refer to them in your comments.”
It is interesting that they are giving more place to the Scriptures but I wonder if any Witnesses will be bold enough to spend time checking out these references to see if they really back up what is said in the article.
In this issue the last two study items are of most interest and so we will start to take a closer look at them in this article.
The first one entitled, “Counted Worthy to Receive a Kingdom” begins on p.20 and will be studied during the week March 3-9. Most is a repeat of teaching recorded many times before but there is some ‘new light’ in it. Watchtower ‘theology’ has developed over many years and statements made today are often just accepted as Biblical teaching without any checking at all. For instance on p.20 we read:
“The primary part of the seed of Abraham turned out to be Jesus, who in 29 C.E. was anointed with holy spirit and became the promised Messiah, or Christ. (Gal.3:16)” (emphasis added).
In this one paragraph the Watchtower Society downgrade the person of Jesus in two ways; first by making others equal to Him and second by taking away what is His birthright.
The only Scripture they mention is Galatians 3:16 which when you read it carefully only ever referred to one seed! What then is this primary part? There was only ever one seed not seeds and that one is the Christ. There are no other parts of the seed so there cannot be a primary part. The Society however want to bring the 144,000 into a similar position as Jesus.
As if this was not enough they then claim that Jesus only became the Messiah at around 30 years old. Until then He was not anointed by the Holy Spirit, therefore not born of the Holy Spirit and so not God. And He was not the Messiah. But waht about the message of the angels in Luke 2:11 when they said He was born the Christ. Who is right, the angelic messengers or the Watchtower bible and Tract Society? It may only be a small thing but it is detracting from the Kingship and Lordship of Christ.
We have already indicated that the Society want to bring the 144,000 into the ‘seed’ and this is plainly stated on p.21.
“Abraham was told that his seed would multiply and become ‘like stars of the heavens’ and the grains of sand on the seashore (Gen.13:16; 22:17) … it was impossible to know how many would make up this seed. However, the exact number of his spiritual seed was eventually revealed. In addition to Jesus it was to number 144,000.”
What claims, especially when you then remember that the 144,000 are all made up of Jehovah’s Witnesses! They have already quoted Galatians that shows that the ‘seed’ was Christ but now they take it a step further and say that Abrahams actual descendants that were promised to be as the stars in the heaven and the sand on the seashore will be just 144,000. Have they read the Bible verses they quite? Genesis 13:16 says that his descendents cannot be numbered and so how can they be the number 144,000?
This 144,000, because they ‘exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom Sacrifice’ they are, ‘acquitted of sin’ and can be ‘anointed by holy spirit to be ‘spiritual sons of God’ and ‘brothers of Jesus Christ’. Once again however there are some problems.
First they quote Romans 3:24 to show that the 144,000 are declared righteous but verses 22 and 23 show that there is ‘no distinction’ between people because ‘all have sinned’ and it is these ones with no distinction and this ‘all’ that are justified; not just 144,000.
Second, if they have been judged and are ‘acquitted of sin’ how can some now be tried again and then lose their position? Once again there are distinct problems for the ‘theology’ of the Society
Third, note that these ones have the same ‘anointing of holy spirit’ as Jesus and are thuse put on a par with Him. This is a very dangerpous position to take because the Bible shows Jesus to be unique and no man or woman is on th
e same level.
These problems are of course of their own making as the Society tries to strain Scripture into its narrow belief that there are only 144,000 in heaven who reign with Christ and they all come from their membership. However there are some problems surrounding the 144,000 as the years role on. This breed should, according to their original statements be dying out, even though there had been minor changes over the years:
“Jesus was obviously speaking about those who were old enough to witness with understanding what took place when the ‘last days’ began.” – Awake, 8 October 1968, p.13.
“Thus, when it comes to the application in our time, the ‘generation’ logically would not apply to babies born during World War I. It applies to Christ’s followers and others who were able to observe that war …” – The Watchtower, 1 October 1978, p.31.
“If Jesus used ‘generation’ in that sense and we apply it to 1914, then the babies of that generation are now 70 years old or older. And others alive in 1914 are in their 80’s or 90’s, a few even having reached a hundred.” – The Watchtower, 15 May 1984, p.5.
Despite these changes, the end was still in sight for the generation of 1914 and the Watchtower had to make a radical change if it was not to be found out to be a false prophet again. This took place in November 1995 and now there is no apparent end in sight for the generation.
The Watchtower Society is now saying that although Jehovah gave the sign of the wars, earthquakes etc. in Matt. 24:3, He did not give the exact date that He would execute judgement. The outcome is that the Society can no longer say that it will be in 1975 or 1999 or any date because no one knows that hour and we will not know until after the event. This is a remarkable turn around when you consider some of the articles it has published in the past. The generation is no longer the one that saw 1914 but it is ‘today’s generation’. In addition, as long as this world exists it will be ‘today’s generation.’ With this change comes another difference. Witnesses have always been taught that chronology and dating are a vital part of the proof that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914. This key to the ‘truth’ is apparently now not so important; in fact, it is not necessary for salvation at all.
“Those Jews who had paid attention to Jesus’ prophetic words realized that their salvation depended, not on trying to calculate the length of a ‘generation’ or of some dated ‘times and seasons,’ but on keeping separate from the evil contemporary generation and zealously doing God’s will.” – The Watchtower, 1 November 1995, p.15.
So at this point the Society had to admit that they had not been the true prophetic voice of Jehovah on the earth all this time and a message given by a Circuit Overseer in Lincoln in 1998 gives an interesting reason as to why the Society ‘got it wrong’ in times past and needed to make changes. Part of the transcript of this taped message reads:
“Why did Jehovah allow us for 120 years to misunderstand Matthew 24 v 34 about the Generation, why did he allow us, for he knew we got it wrong for 120 years, why? I tell you why, because we never, ever, ever would have gotten his preaching work done. Nobody would have been missionaries, nobody would have gone abroad, nobody would have pioneered, they would have all raised children, gone to university. There is a hundred years to go yet well no need to rush around … you would not have been in the truth today and I wouldn’t, because nobody would have bothered all that much, it was 120 years ago, isn’t that right, marvellous you fooled me Jehovah, they got it wrong but it will do them good.”
Can anyone really believe in a God that needs to ‘fool’ His people in order to get His work done? That is a deceptive god not the Jehovah of the Scripture. The tape goes on,
“Now here is the next question, why suddenly after 120 years has Jehovah revealed to us that we got it wrong, and given us the right understanding of the verse? Because the time is near and we need to show what lS in our hearts. You’ve got it, now he wants to know what our real reason is now he has got us this far, it’s his right. I’ve got you this far to the door, I now Want to know what your motive is, are you going to stick with it, are you going to prove to be a sheep or a goat, amazing. What other organization after 120 years of getting it wrong, when they suddenly realize they got it wrong … will let them know … Isn’t that right, the faithful and discreet organization.”
In summary the Society is saying ‘we got it wrong and we need to change it but who shall we blame?’ In the end they did not take the blame themselves but said Jehovah fooled them. In all the excuses I have heard from the Society I believe this one is the worst and most insidious.
But now the Society, even after admitting they were wrong, has shown again they have not had complete understanding of Jehovah and His purposes and have made a further change. Just when will the majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses realise that if they have not had understanding on these issues there could be many other issues that at present are being taught as, Jehovah says when actually they are the opposite!
Anyway, now the Society is no longer content to let all the 144,000 die out with the 1914 generation and leave the leadership in the hands of the ‘Other Sheep’ Now we are to understand:
“Not all the 144,000 anointed Christians were selected in the first century. Their calling continued throughout the apostolic period and then apparently slowed down. However, it did continue throughout the succeeding centuries into modern times. (Matt.28:20) Eventually, after Jesus began to reign in 1914, things moved ahead rapidly.” p.22.
It was hard enough working out how there were only 144,000 true anointed Christians by 1935 when 3,000 were anointed on day 1. It means that there could only be 4 people anointed every month – just how crazy is that; but now, when there are some places open, it’s even worse. But, still, of the millions of Christians on earth today the only ones to be chosen are from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society!