The Watchtower, 1 February 2002, carried an article, starting on p.19, entitled, “Have you received ‘the Spirit of Truth?'” I would like to comment on some of its contents.
“On the night of Nisan14,33 C.E., Jesus intimated to his disciples that they would later be received by him and dwell with him and his Father in heaven. He told them: “In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” (John 13:36; 14:2, 3) They would reign with him in his Kingdom. (Luke 22:28-30) For them to have this heavenly hope, they would be “born from the spirit” as spiritual sons of God and be anointed to serve as kings and priests with Christ in heaven. -John 3:5-8; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Peter 1:3, 4; Revelation 20:6.
“This ‘heavenly calling’ began at Pentecost 33 C.E. and, in the main, appears to have ended in the mid-1930’s. (Hebrews 3:1) The number of those sealed by the holy spirit to be part of spiritual Israel is 144,000, “bought from among mankind.” (Revelation 7:4; 14:1-4) These were baptized into the spiritual body of Christ, into his congregation, and into his death. (Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 27; Ephesians 1:22, 23) After their water baptism and anointing with holy spirit, they entered into a sacrificial course, a life of integrity until their death. -Romans 6:4,5.“
These two paragraphs from p.20 set the scene. They claim that Jesus said there would only be a few in heaven and it would be these few that He would receive. However, do note that Jesus did not say that He would receive them into heaven but that where He was there would these ones be. Revelation 21 shows us that heaven and earth are rolled into one and there cannot be a separate heavenly or earthly calling as we will all be with the Lord in the same place.
They claim that the heavenly calling began at Pentecost and appears to have ended by the mid-1930’s. They put in brackets after this statement the Scripture, Hebrews 3:1 but this in no way shows this statement to be Biblical. In addition, is it really true that in 1900 years only 144,000 reached a heavenly calling? That is only 75 people per year!
The holy spirit does indeed play an important part in the lives of the other sheep. They symbolize their dedication to Jehovah by being baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) They recognize Jehovah’s sovereignty, submit to Christ as their King and Redeemer, and yield to the action of God’s spirit, or active force, in their lives. Day by day, they make room in their lives for “the fruitage of the spirit,” namely “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” -Galatians 5:22, 23… The word “sanctification” basically means “the act or process of making holy, separating, or setting apart for the service or use of Jehovah God; the state of being holy, sanctified, or purified.” As early as 1938, The Watchtower stated that the Jonadabs, or other sheep, “must learn that consecration [dedication] and sanctification are required of each one who shall become a part of the great multitude and live on earth.” In the vision of the great crowd, recorded in the book of Revelation, they are spoken of as having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” and as rendering Jehovah “sacred service day and night in his temple.” (Revelation 7:9, 14, 15) With the help of the holy spirit, the other sheep do their utmost to measure up to Jehovah’s requirements of holiness. -2 Corinthians 7:1 – p.21.
In reality therefore the Holy Spirit does very little, it is the individual who is doing the work hoping that ‘holy spirit’ will somehow help them. How an individual Witness ever hopes to measure up to ‘Jehovah’s requirements of holiness’ is beyond me. There is no teaching on the need of allowing Christ to live in us, to do the work we cannot do. We must just hope that the help we receive is enough. The truth of the biblical message of justification and sanctification is ignored simply because they want to keep the ‘other sheep’ in a subservient position. This is made clear from the next paragraph we quote from p.22 that has the sub heading,
Doing Good to Christ’s Brothers
“Jesus highlighted the close bond between the other sheep and the little flock in his parable of the sheep and the goats, Included in his prophecy on “the conclusion of the system of things.” In that parable, Christ clearly showed that the salvation of the other sheep is closely linked to their conduct toward the anointed, whom he called “my brothers.” He stated: “The king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world… Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”-Matthew 24:3; 25:31-34, 40.“
There is no question that this is a second-class gospel of works. My salvation depends on how I treat the leaders of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. In this day and age, this is clearly discrimination, and is certainly not the gospel of Jesus Christ that is open to all equally. This is not an accident, it is the clear teaching of the Society as emphasised once more in this paragraph from p.23.
“All of this should impress upon the minds of the other sheep why the Christian Greek Scriptures focus so much attention on Christ and his anointed brothers and their central role in the outworking of Jehovah’s purposes. The other sheep therefore consider it a privilege to support in every way possible the anointed slave class while awaiting ‘the revealing of the sons of God’ at Armageddon and during the Millennium. They can look forward to being ‘Set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.’ – Romans 8:19-21. “
Really!! And finally…
Tongue in Cheek
Many passages in the Watchtower you feel are written with tongue in cheek but surely these two taken from The Watchtower 15 February 2002 must take first prize.
“First, how does God’s Word help to qualify us as ministers? Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) So the Holy Scriptures help make us “fully competent, completely equipped” to carry out the “good work” of teaching people about God’s Word. What, though, about all those adherents of the churches of Christendom? They have access to the Bible. How could one book help some people to become competent ministers and not help others? The answer lies in our attitude toward the Bible.
‘”Sadly, many who attend church do not accept the Bible’s message “just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) Christendom has built up a shameful record in this regard. After spending years studying in theological institutions, are the clergy equipped as teachers of God’s Word? Not really. Why, some students begin seminary studies as believers in the Bible but graduate as skeptics! Thereafter, instead of preaching the Word of God-which many of them no longer believe-they direct their ministry along other lines, taking sides in political debates, promoting a social gospel, or highlighting human philosophies in their sermons. (2 Timothy 4:3) In contrast, genuine Christians follow the example of Jesus Christ”
The writers for The Watchtower have obviously not thought that may be – just may be – this applies to them.