In The Watchtower, April 1 2002, the Society printed an article entitled “God’s Kingdom – Earth’s New Rulership”. This seeks to show what the new Kingdom and rulership under Christ will be like; wereadon p.11,
“The Chief Ruler in the heavenly Kingdom, under Jehovah’s immediate direction, is the one best qualified-Christ Jesus. Before coming to earth, he existed in heaven as God’s “master worker,” being the first of all God’s creations. (Proverbs 8:22-31) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth.” (Colossians 1:15, 16) And when Jesus was sent to earth by God, he did God’s will at all times. He endured the most difficult of tests and died faithful to his Father. – John 4:34; 15:10.“
The Society claim here that the Scriptures in Proverbs and Colossians show that Jesus was the first of all God’s creations and that then Jehovah used Him to create all ‘other’ things. But is this the way that it is? What do Proverbs and Colossians actually show?
The context of Proverbs 8 is ‘wisdom’ and what wisdom can do for those who obtain it. Then in verse 22 (NASB) we read that, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way…” There has been no change of subject from wisdom to Jesus and none can be presumed. Apart from this the Hebrew word here, kahnah literally means “to erect” and by extension means “to procure especially by purchase” and then by implication “to own.” It is never used in Scripture in the sense of creating as the Watchtower wants us to believe that Jehovah created Jesus.
Some of the many verses with the same word include Genesis 49:30, 50:13 and Exodus 15:16 where the word is ‘purchased’. Never is the word used of creating something but always buying or getting something that is already there. Proverbs 8 must have the same meaning; it does not show the act of creation.
Indeed these verses actually show that He, (Jehovah God) did the creating – see verses 26-29. The one referred to here is by His side. Yes, he is called ‘a master workman’ in some translations but even here, it does not say that this one referred to actually did the work. The Hebrew word here is ahmohn and is the only time it is used in this form in the whole of Scripture. It comes from the root word, which literally means “to build up or support,” and by implication “to be faithful.” Yet, nowhere else is that word translated workman and so again a question mark must be raised against this translation. The King James Version reads, “brought up with.”
Proverbs 8 therefore does not support Watchtower teaching. What about Colossians 1?
The Watchtower Society makes much of these verses and especially the phrase ‘firstborn.’ They want us to believe that it really means the first creation of Jehovah as described in the Watchtower we are looking at.
The Greek word translated firstborn in verse 15 is prototokos but if Paul wanted to bring across the meaning of first-created he would have had to use protoktistos. Prototokos means the first-begotten and can never mean the first one to be created. Its meaning has nothing to do with the act of birth but the position and relationship the first-born has to the rest of the family. Literally, we find the meaning is priority to or pre-eminence over; therefore, Jesus is the pre-eminent one over all creation and not a created being Himself.
Whichever English word is used we must discover what the Greek means. The word prototokos (first born) is used again in Colossians 1:18 and we must look here to see what the word means. As the same word is used twice very close together, we can understand that the meaning will be the same. Verse 18 tells us that Jesus was the first-born from the dead – does that mean then, using the same definition as the Watchtower has used for verse 15, that He was the first one to be born from the dead? That would not be true because Lazarus was before Him, as indeed were others in the Old and New Testaments. Is the Scripture wrong? No, because the Greek word has the meaning of position, place, ranking. This is seen in the Old Testament where on two occasions the first to be born lost the position of firstborn to the second to be born.
Firstborn has always, in the Hebrew tradition, had to do with place and pre-eminence over. The context of Colossians makes it clear that the word is used in the same way. That “He might come to have first place in everything” (v. 18).
Again, a look at the context and meaning of Colossians 1 does not support the Watchtower’s teaching on the subject
Before we leave this article, we would like to comment on one other paragraph, this time on p.12 under the subtitle, “Associate Rulers.”
“There will be associate rulers with Christ Jesus in God’s heavenly Kingdom. Revelation 14:1-4 foretold that 144,000 persons were to be “bought from among mankind” and resurrected to heavenly life. These include men and women who, instead of being served, humbly served God and fellow humans. “They will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6) Their number is much smaller than the “great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues” who will survive this system’s end. These too render God “sacred service day and night,” but they do not have a heavenly calling. (Revelation 7:9, 15) They form the nucleus of the new earth as subjects of God’s heavenly Kingdom. – Psalm 37:29; John 10:16.“
This sounds logical but do the Scriptures quoted prove the point?
The Society seek to make a distinction between the 144,000, that they admit are priests, and the Great Crowd who render sacred service day and night, but do not have a heavenly calling. What is interesting is the verses in Revelation 7 where it talks about the Great Crowd rendering this service. When we check these we discover the following:
1. They are before the throne of God (7:15) – where is the throne?
2. This service takes place in the temple (7:15) – where is the temple?
3. Who alone can render this service in the temple?
The answers show us that the Great Crowd are actually fulfilling a priestly service in heaven and so must have a heavenly calling despite what the Watchtower tries to say.
The Watchtower also claims that the 144,000 heavenly priests are much smaller in number than the Great Crowd, which, “no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” However, Revelation 5:9,10 shows that this is the description of the heavenly priests, which of course in the mind of the Watchtower Society, must be the 144,000.
What is that description? “… every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” The same description they claim for the Great Crowd. The Scriptures show that the Watchtower Society has these groups muddled up and their claim that one group must be much smaller than the other is not true on the evidence they provide.