Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They're Not Who They Think They Are

Millions of those loyal to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society follow exactly what is told to them by the ones who govern the Watchtower Society, namely, by the ones who govern the Society’s teachings. These ones have taken upon themselves the name, “Governing Body,” and in a larger sense, the “faithful and discreet slave” (based on Matthew 24:45-47). The Governing Body and thousands of others in the Watchtower Society claim to be part of the 144,000 described in Revelation Chapters 7 and 14.

Together with millions of others who are said to be the “great crowd” of Revelation Chapter 7, the Governing Body and the remaining number of those claiming to belong to the 144,000 comprise the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and its related agencies and congregations, though they also call themselves, “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Yet, the “great crowd” in Revelation Chapter 7 is said to appear after “the great tribulation,” which even the Watchtower Society does not believe has been concluded. So this is a false identity, one in which millions of people believe they are already a part of a “great crowd” which according to the group’s own teaching could not possibly be here, yet (Revelation 7:14-17). But the group which is not yet here is the largest part of the Watchtower organization! What, though, about the other part of the organization, the one which is made up of the Governing Body and the balance of those whom the Society accepts as part of the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14? Does it, too, have a false identity demonstrable through the Society's own teachings?

Consider the identity which occurs with the Society’s teaching about itself as the “faithful and discreet slave[s]” appointed by Jesus according to Matthew 24:45-47. The Society continues to claim it was appointed as a composite “slave” (and so not one of individual identity) in 1919, after Jesus was made King in 1914, according to the Society’s interpretation of various Bible texts which are themselves not in line with or based on the best interpretation of the best available, biblical evidence.

That this is, in fact, the teaching of the Society and of its Witnesses concerning the “faithful slave’s” appointment by Jesus in 1919 is clear from the following (with my underlining added):

[W]hen the Master arrived, he found his faithful slave conscientiously feeding the domestics as well as preaching the good news. Greater responsibilities now awaited that slave. Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matthew 24:47) Jesus did this in 1919, after the slave had passed through a period of testing. Why, though, did “the faithful and discreet slave” receive greater responsibilities? Because the Master had received an increase in his belongings. Jesus was given the kingship in 1914. What are the belongings over which the newly crowned Master appointed his faithful slave? All the spiritual things that belong to Him here on earth. For example, two decades after Christ’s enthronement in 1914, “a great crowd” of “other sheep” was identified. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16) [“A Slave Who Is Both Faithful and Discreet,” The Watchtower, March 1, 2004, page 12, paragraphs18-19.]

Yet, in spite of what they claim occurred in 1919, or in 1914, or in any other year, these self-appointed “faithful slave[s]” have continuously, and without any expressed, meaningful (and thus enduring) apology, proclaimed, “The appointed time is near!” in Jesus’ and in Jah’s names, in spite of Jesus’ and Jah’s explicit warnings about those who would speak in the just such a way, using the exact or nearly the exact same words, “Many will come in my name saying, ... ‘The end has come!’ Do not follow them.”—Luke 21:8; compare Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

Note again the final part of Luke 21:8 as Jesus’ directive to anyone who would call him- or herself his follower, “Do not go follow them,” that is, do not follow those who say, “The end has come!” in his name. The final part of Deuteronomy 18:22 is Jah’s directive to his people, “Do not become frightened of him,” that is, do not be afraid of the prophet who falsely speaks to others in Jah’s name. If the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and its earlier and other corporate identities is not the leading religious organization for over the past 125+, that is, leading in terms of having falsely proclaimed, “The end has drawn near!” then who is? Who else would better fit this description, demonstrably, (meaning I can show you), than the Society?

Who other than the Society even comes close to so consistently and with such world-wide notoriety attaching Jah’s and Jesus’ names to false proclamations and to false, public teachings about “the end”? I know of no person or any other group which can match the Society in this ongoing, enduring, and refusal-to-stop intent on proclaiming, “The end is near!” for well over the past 125+ years. For details on various dates put forth by the Society see the First Dissertation in my Three Dissertations on the Teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Murrieta, CA: Elihu Books, 2002), pages 61-150. Yet, the Society does not identify itself as those against whom Jesus speaks. And they cannot possibly have the freedom of speech to identify anyone else as such. Who, then, do they think they are?

In addition to appointing themselves as ‘Governors’ over their organization’s teachings and policies, and as the “faithful and discreet slave[s]” of Matthew 24:45-47 (whom Jesus says will not be identified as such until “he comes” according to Matthew 24:46 [translated “arriving” in NWT]), the Society identifies its Governing Body and the others alive today who claim to be part of the 144,000 of Revelation Chapters 7 and 14 as the “brothers” of Jesus according to Matthew 25:40. Note carefully, please, the Society’s presentations here (underlining added):

In the near future, Christ will judge people of the nations on the basis of how they have acted toward his brothers yet on earth. … Matthew 25:31-46. [“Waiting in ‘Eager Expectation,” The Watchtower, September 15, 1998, page 17, paragraph 7.]

Have members of the [“faithful and discreet” slave class] been helped similarly by individuals who are not anointed members of the Israel of God? Yes, they have been supported by the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” who have appeared on the scene during these last days. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Isaiah 61:5) Foretelling the warm, loving support that these “sheep” would offer his anointed brothers, Jesus said to them prophetically: “I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked, and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to me. . . . 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 25:35-40. [“When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory,” The Watchtower, May 15, 1997, page 13, paragraph 16.]

Today, almost five million members of the great crowd are living under the active leadership of the heavenly King Jesus Christ. They are in subjection to Christ and in close association with his anointed brothers yet on earth. Concerning the treatment that the great crowd accord these anointed ones, Jesus says: “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 25:40) Because they unselfishly render aid to Christ’s anointed brothers, those of the great crowd are judged to have done good to Jesus himself. This helps them to have a secure relationship with Jesus Christ and Jehovah God. They have been privileged to join the anointed remnant in becoming God’s Witnesses and bearers of his name.—Isaiah 43:10, 11; Joel 2:31, 32. [“Saved Alive Through the Great Tribulation,” The Watchtower, February 15, 1995, page 15, paragraph 8.

What is done to his brothers he counts as being done to him personally. The sheeplike ones deliberately do good to Christ’s brothers because they recognize them to be such. They appreciate that Jesus’ spiritual brothers are the ambassadors of Jehovah’s Kingdom, and they want to give concrete evidence that they are taking their stand with them on the side of that Kingdom. [“Expanded Activities During Christ’s Presence,” The Watchtower, May 1, 1993, page 20, paragraph 21.]

Note especially the last quoted paragraph’s underlined part, “because they recognize them to be such. The People of God, Part Three: ‘The Sons of the Kingdom,’” IN MEDIO 2.5 (May, 2007 [rev. April, 2008]), page 14. Yet, as I wrote in an earlier article on a similar subject, “If the ‘sheep’ are those who today know those who are Christ’s ‘brothers,’ and they treat them as if they were Christ himself because of this prophecy [Matthew 25:39-40], why would they in the future then question the basis for their approval?”

It is not possible for the “sheep” of Matthew 25:34-40 to be those who already know the identity of the ones they are to support, for they say clearly in response to Jesus’ approval of their works, “When did we see you?” If these “sheep” are those who follow the Watchtower Society’s teaching that its own “faithful slave[s]” are Christ’s brothers, then they would not later be unclear at all about how is it they were approved, because they believe they already know their identity!

This point has not gone unnoticed by the Watchtower Society, by its Governors, or by its “faithful slave[s].” But it has gone unanswered. Consider the Society’s comments here in response to a question similar to the one I have raised about the “sheep” and the “brothers” of Christ, according to Matthew 25:39-40, which further shows why I believe they are not who they think they are:

If the other sheep are now preaching the good news with the anointed and aiding them, why would they ask: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty, and give you something to drink?” (Matthew 25:37) There could be various reasons. This is a parable. By means of it, Jesus shows his deep concern for his spiritual brothers; he feels with them, suffers with them. [“What Future for the Sheep and the Goats?” The Watchtower, October 15, 1995, page 26, paragraph 12; underlining added.]

The above is a clear deflection, a non-answer followed by an unrelated consideration of Jesus’ ‘feelings,’ when the point raised by the question asked in the opening sentence of the above quoted Watchtower shows that the Society recognizes the very problem they have with their view of themselves. As for the “various reasons” for why this problem exists, The Watchtower mentions what everyone already knows (it is a “parable”) as if that has something to do with the issue. Is the Society suggesting that the “sheep” really do know those whom they are to treat as if they are Christ himself? Yes, in fact, they are teaching just that in the above quotation!

Rather, however, perhaps Jesus was right: Those to whom he speaks do not know those to whom they are giving. Is that not the very point of Jesus’ illustration about the Samaritan neighbor (Luke 10:29-37)? Indeed, that is precisely how acts of giving are to be made:
Matthew 6:2-4, New World Translation (1984)

[W]hen you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full. But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, that your gifts of mercy may be in secret; then your Father who is looking on in secret will repay you.
This is a much more consistent understanding of the subject, and one which will not permit any man or group of men to elevate ourselves above others when we are supposed to be Christ’s “slave,” and so the ‘slave’ of others if necessary (John 13:13-16), but not ‘Governors.’ As for the identity of Jesus’ “brothers,” as it turns out, this is rather easy to define, “Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister.”—Matthew 12:50.

As for who determines whether we individually do Jah’s will, this will be shown by our faith, and our faith will be shown by our works (James 2:17-26; compare Romans 2:6-11). Our works need not include anything having to do with supporting those who are, demonstrably, and for good reasons, not who they think they are, or who millions of others want them to be for their own sakes, though not for Jah’s or Jesus’ glory and praise.—Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 19:1-6.

As for the Watchtower Society and its “faithful and discreet slave[s],” Jesus’ warnings in Luke 21:8 and his teaching in Matthew 25:39-40 in contrast to the Society’s own teaching about its “faithful slave[s]” as Christ’s “brothers,” shows clearly to me that they are not who they think they are. Otherwise, their “sheep” would not know they are treating and supporting the Christ by their treatment of the Society’s Governors and by the way they treat the rest of its “faithful and discreet slave[s].”

If the Watchtower Society’s “faithful slave” class comprise Christ's "brothers" on earth, then those whom they treat as Christ's "sheep" would not be misled into a similar identity crisis, thinking they are already a “great crowd” who by their own teaching has not yet even appeared, in as much as no one has come “out of the great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14). Thus, like the Watchtower's “faithful and discreet slave[s]” whom the "great crowd" (which has not yet appeared) support, they are not who they think they are, either.—Revelation 7:9, 13-17.