Jehovah's Witnesses vs The Bible
For a home-spun, Bible-based religion whose origin is relatively recent, the Watchtower Society has done pretty well for itself. Beginning with one man shortly after the American Civil War, it currently numbers approximately 8.2 million active members spread out in approximately 118,000 congregations worldwide. (Congregations have been displaced and consolidated in recent years due to the Society liquidating a number of Kingdom Halls in order to settle its legal obligations.)
My first encounter with a Watchtower Society agent (a.k.a. Jehovah's Witness) occurred in 1969. At the time I was young and inexperienced; and thus assumed that the missionary coming down my dad's driveway was a typical Christian.
But when I talked this over with an elder; he became alarmed; and urged me to read a little book titled "30 Years A Watchtower Slave" by William J. Schnell; whom the Society at one time demonized as an agent of Satan. I would not be surprised if it still does.
After getting my eyes opened by Mr. Schnell's book, I was afterwards steered towards another book titled "Kingdom Of The Cults" by Walter Martin. No doubt the Society demonizes Mr. Martin too.
Around late 1980, my wife and I attended a series of lectures sponsored by a local church titled "How To Witness To Jehovah's Witnesses". The speaker (call him Pete) was an ex JW who had been in the Watchtower Society system for near three decades before terminating his involvement; so he knew the twists and turns of its doctrines pretty good.
Pete didn't train us to hammer the Society's missionaries in a discussion because even if you best them scripture for scripture, they will not give up on the Society. Their mind's unflinching premise is that the Society is right even when it appears to be totally wrong. They are thoroughly convinced that the Society is the voice of God, while your voice has no more validity than that of a squeaky little gerbil.
Later on, I read a book titled "Why I Left The Jehovah's Witnesses" by Ted Dencher. I also read the Society's little brown book titled "Reasoning From The Scriptures".
(This was all before the internet and the ready volume of information available online, e.g. YouTube.)
From all that vetting, study, and training I quickly discovered that although the Watchtower Society uses many of Christianity's standard terms and phrases, those terms and phrases mean something entirely different in the JW mind than what you'd expect because the Society has re-defined the meanings of those terminologies.
So your first challenge with Jehovah's Witness teachings is to scale the language barrier. That by itself is an Herculean task because you'll not only be up against a tangle of semantics, but also a Jumanji of twisted scriptures, double speak, humanistic reasoning, rationalizing, and clever sophistry.
Staring Into The Abyss
Raymond Victor Franz was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses from October 20, 1971 until his removal on May 22, 1980, and served at the organization's world headquarters for fifteen years, from 1965 until 1980.
Mr. Franz resigned, and stated that the request for his resignation, and his subsequent dis-fellowshipping, resulted from allegations of apostasy.
Following his departure, Mr. Franz wrote a book titled "Crisis Of Conscience" relating his personal experiences with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and his views on Jehovah's Witness teachings. It's a bit expensive in print form, but as of the date of this writing could be heard audibly for free on YouTube and/or as a free pdf download.
Mr. Franz's book, and his interviews, are helpful aids for people wondering if they made the right decision leaving the Society's fold. It's also helpful for people thinking about becoming a Jehovah's Witness but not too sure whether they'd be making a really big, life-changing mistake not easily corrected.
Were John Q and/or Jane Doe Watchtower Society missionary to be questioned if they believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, I can assure you they would answer in the affirmative. However, what you may not know is that they and the interviewer would not be speaking the same language as the conversation would be talking about two very different processes that go by the same name. In other words: you would find yourself thrown off by semantic double speak.
The classical Christian understanding of Christ's resurrection is common throughout the gospels; viz: Jesus Christ's dead, crucified body was restored to life as per John 2:19-22.
"Jesus said to them: Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Therefore the Jews said: This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days? But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said."
You see, if Jesus' dead, crucified body had not been restored to life, that entire passage would be easily proven false. But according to the Watchtower Society's way of seeing things; Christ's dead, crucified body didn't return to life at all; and here's why.
In Watchtower Society theology, an angel named Michael volunteered to come to the earth to die for humanity's sins. But in order to do so; he had to relinquish his angel existence to become a human existence seeing as how in Society theology it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously. However, when Michael expired, he didn't go completely out of existence. Instead, his so-called "life force" remained intact and was transferred to a human form.
"the transferal of the life of his firstborn Son from the spirit realm to earth. Only in this way could the child eventually born have retained identity as the same person who had resided in heaven as the Word." (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p.920)
"He had to become a perfect man and yet not lose his continuity of life. His life-force was not to be extinguished but would be transferred to the ovum of the virgin girl, Mary." (Watchtower magazine, 2-15-82, p.7)
But Michael's existence as a human being was only temporary. When his human form passed away on the cross, the Society claims that God transferred Michael's life force back into his angel form thus restoring him to his former spirit existence; leaving the corpse of his human existence in a permanent state of decease.
NOTE: The Society teaches that death terminates existence; but apparently not entirely because the Society also believes that at death, an angel's life force was transferred to another form— in Michael's case, from a spirit form to an organic form; in effect, preserving a portion of Michael's existence so it could be re-transferred later when God went about restoring Michael to his former existence.
It could be argued that Jesus lives on in the body of an angel; but that wouldn't be true seeing as how Jesus' life force would've been Michael's to begin with.
The Society has to accept the obvious fact that their doctrine implies that Jesus Christ was never really fully human, rather, he was an amalgam of angel and human seeing as how it was the life force of an angel that kept Jesus' human body alive. In other words: the Society's Jesus wasn't an organic human in the normal sense, rather; he was an organic angel.
FYI: The Society maintains that Michael's crucified human form had to stay dead so he could be an angel again. But that's not the only reason the Society gives for keeping Michael's human remains perpetually deceased. An additional explanation is given on page 237 of the April 15, 1963 issue of the Watchtower magazine; where it's stated:
"If Jesus were to take his body of flesh, blood, and bones to heaven and enjoy them there, what would this mean? It would mean that there would be no resurrection of the dead for anybody. Why not? Because Jesus would be taking his sacrifice off God's altar."
There is a really, really big flaw in the Society's theology; and that's Michael's human remains. In order to confirm that his crucified human body stayed dead, the Society is going to have produce it. A piece of evidence of that significance can't be allowed to just slip through a crack unnoticed as if it makes no difference. As Carl Sagan once said: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Till then, we should reckon that when the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ's resurrection, it's talking about a human corpse rather than an angel's.
● Acts 1:1-3 . .The first account, O Theophilus, I composed about all the things Jesus started both to do and to teach, until the day that he was taken up, after he had given commandment through holy spirit to the apostles whom he chose. To these also by many positive proofs he showed himself alive after he had suffered.
The Watchtower Society's version of those "positive proofs" is interesting.
In order to show his friends that their savior was back from death, the arch angel Michael is alleged to have materialized an artificial Jesus that was in all respects just as physical, and just as functional, as the real Jesus.
1• The New Testament never even one time, on any occasion, nor under any circumstances, nor in any situation, either attests, alleges, alludes, or states that an angel named Michael appeared to Christ's disciples cloaked in a human avatar.
2• The Society's Michael never once let on to his friends that he was an angel in disguise. He led them to believe that his avatar was the actual Jesus Christ they all knew prior to his crucifixion.
3• Passing one's self off in the guise of a dead man is the lowest form of identity theft imaginable. It's what I expect from human beings, but that is not the kind of behavior I have a right to expect from an arch angel.
4• A so-called materialized body is not a real person.
5• Neither Paul, nor Peter, nor John, nor James, nor Jude, ever even one single instance in any of their writings identify Jesus Christ as an angel named Michael: not once. You'd think that if Jesus Christ is currently an angel who goes by the name of Michael, those men would have said so because that would be a really big deal.
FAQ: Why make an issue of the nature of Christ's resurrection?
A: Were I the Devil, I would do my utmost best to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ's crucified dead body because his crucifixion is only half enough to protect people from the wrath of God. Though his physical body's death obtains forgiveness for people's sins, its death doesn't gain exoneration for them.
● Rom 4:25 . . He was delivered up for the sake of our trespasses, and was raised up for the sake of declaring us righteous.
The Greek word translated "righteous" is dikaiosis (dik-ah'-yo-sis) which means acquittal; defined as an adjudication of innocence.
People merely forgiven still carry a load of guilt; viz: they have a criminal record. Christ's physical resurrection deletes their record so that on the books, it's as though they've never been anything but 100% innocent.
This clearing of one's guilt that I'm talking about is obtained via the kindness and generosity of God through belief in the resurrection of Christ's crucified dead body. If the Devil can succeed in convincing people that Jesus' crucified body is still dead or, even better yet, make them question whether the man even existed at all; then they will fail to obtain an acquittal, and consequently end up put to death in brimstone because records are to be reviewed when people stand to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15.
Of all the doctrines invented by the Watchtower Society, I'd have to say that their resurrection story is the most insidious because belief in the recovery of Christ's crucified dead body is one of the essential elements of the gospel that must be accepted if one is to have any chance at all of escaping the sum of all fears.
● 1Cor 15:17 . . Further, if Christ has not been raised up, your faith is useless; you are yet in your sins.
NOTE: According to 1Cor 15:34, people that disbelieve Jesus Christ's crucified body is alive aren't fully conscious; viz: they're like someone in a stupor; i.e. dazed.
Christ In The Kingdom Of God
FAQ: 1Cor 15:50 clearly testifies that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Wouldn't that fact alone preclude the possibility of Christ's crucified dead body returning to life?
A: According to John 3:3-12, the kingdom of God is primarily an earthly venue so we're not talking about Heaven in 1Cor 15:50.
Also, the Greek word translated "inherit" is kleronomeo (klay-ron-om-eh'-o) which speaks of heirs; roughly defined by Webster's as someone who is entitled to receive something from an ancestor. In other words: in order to obtain a place and/or a possession in the kingdom of God, one must first and foremost be Jehovah's legitimate kin— for real, either by birth or by adoption.
Anyway; it was essential that Christ's crucified dead body be returned to life or otherwise his prediction as per John 2:19-22, and the Scriptures as per Ps 16:10, Luke 24:44-46, and Acts 2:24-32 would be easily proven false.
However, as 1Cor 15:50 implies: his body's original materials were unsuitable for a place and/or a possession in the kingdom God, which is pretty serious seeing as Jesus in on track to dominate it while seated on David's throne in Jerusalem. So then, the chemistry of his body had to be reformulated.
God is very creative so I seriously doubt that natural flesh and blood are the only materials that He has to work with. I also seriously doubt that spirit material is the default material when natural flesh and blood are not an option; I mean, after all, if God was able to design the human body in its original form, so I see no reason why He would not be able to redesign it.
FAQ: When would Christ's body have undergone this redesign?
A: Someday all of Christ's believing followers will be physically resurrected and taken up to meet the Lord in the air (1Thes 4:13-17). On the way up, their natural bodies will undergo a sudden and miraculous transformation (1Cor 15:51-53). They'll become superhuman; viz: deathless and ageless.
I think it's pretty safe to assume that Christ's crucified body underwent a similar transformation while on the way up to heaven as per Acts 1:9 so that today his body is no longer a normal human body; but instead, a superhuman body to which all his believing followers' bodies will one day conform. (Phil 4:20-21)
NOTE: Although the organic aspects of Christ's body have been reformulated; it's still capable of dining upon ordinary foods and beverages. (Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:16-18)
FAQ: If Jesus Christ's corpse really did return to life; then how did he get it into a room without opening the door? (John 20:19)
A: Christ walked on water, restored withered limbs, cured people born blind, healed serious diseases like leprosy, restored dead bodies to life, controlled the weather, multiplied fish and bread, turned water into wine, and levitated. Plus; he once said that rocks could be made to speak. (Luke 19:40)
What's one more miracle, more or less? Walking through walls? Disappearing and reappearing? How hard could any of that really be for a man with the powers of God at his disposal?
It's curious how people can say they believe in miracles, yet cannot believe that God has sufficient control over the laws of nature to make a physical human body pass through solid objects. What defines miracles anyway? Aren't they acts of God that defy reason? Mark Twain once remarked that faith is believin' what you know ain't so. I would add that faith is believing what's revealed rather than only what makes sense.
FAQ: Well; if Jehovah has enough control over the laws of nature to pass a physical human body through closed doors, then couldn't He pass the arch angel Michael through the door as a spirit and then materialize him on the other side as a human in order to communicate with his friends?
That would be acceptable if only there were some record of it in the New
Testament. But it is an irrefutable fact that the New Testament not even one
time, on any occasion, nor under any circumstances, nor in any situation, either
attests, alleges, alludes, or states that an angel named Michael appeared to
Christ's friends cloaked in a human avatar. That doctrine doesn't come from the
New Testament. It's a humanistic fantasy.
Spirit Body vs Spiritual Body
Watch for the deliberate misquote in the passage below.
● 1Cor 15:42-44 . . So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spirit body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spirit one.
Catch the misquote? Well; there is no mention of a spirit body in that passage. The actual word is "spiritual".
The Greek word translated "spiritual" is ambiguous. It doesn't necessarily refer to the characteristics of thin air. Below is a list of spiritual things that bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the bodily chemistry of an angel or a demon.
Spiritual law (Rom 7:14)
Spiritual things (Rom 15:27)
Spiritual people (1Cor 2:15)
Spiritual nourishment (1Cor 10:3)
Spiritual water (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual rock (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual counselors (Gal 6:1)
Spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3)
Spiritual music (Eph 5:19)
Spiritual understanding (Col 1:9)
Spiritual housing (1Pet 2:5)
Spiritual sacrifices (1Pet 2:5)
It's apparently been decided, and chipped in stone, by a number of theologians that the spiritual body has to be composed of spirit because of the passage below.
● 1Cor 15:50 . . This I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom,
But spirit isn't necessarily the default material when flesh and blood are ruled out.
In my opinion if God was intelligent enough, and creative enough, to invent all the natural atomic elements on the periodic table with which to fabricate the current cosmos with all of its natural forms of life, matter, and energy; then it shouldn't be all that difficult for Him to produce yet another set of atomic elements with which to fabricate an unnatural body— i.e. a superman —composed of materials heretofore unknown by the likes of Albert Einstein, J.Robert Oppenheimer, Carl Sagan, and Stephen Hawking.
There are some other things in addition to immortality that are known about the spiritual body.
1) The spiritual body is patterned after Christ's glorified body.
● Phil 3:20-21 . .Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
2) The spiritual body is fully human.
● Heb 2:5-8 . . For it is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come,d about which we are speaking. But a certain witness has given proof somewhere, saying: “What is man that you keep him in mind, or the son of man that you take care of him? You made him a little lower than angels; with glory and honor you crowned him, and appointed him over the works of your hands. All things you subjected under his feet.” For in that he subjected all things to him God left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him;
● Heb 5:1-6 . . For every high priest taken from among men is appointed in behalf of men over the things pertaining to God
3) The spiritual body is capable of dining upon ordinary foods and beverages.
● Matt 26:29 . . I tell you: I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom.
● Luke 22:15-16 . . I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you: I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.
● Luke 22:28-29 . . However, you are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom,
4) The spiritual body is visible to the naked eye.
● Acts 1:11 . . Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven.
● 1John 3:2 . .We shall see him just as he is.
● Rev 1:7 . . Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him
Connecting With God Via High Priest
● Ps 110:4 . . Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek
● Heb 5:10-11 . . He has been specifically called by God a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek. Concerning him we have much to say and hard to be explained, since you all have become dull in your hearing.
Though the author of the letter to Hebrews was no doubt duty-bound and inspired by God to write it, I can sense reluctance in his tone— not because his audience lacked enough spiritual acumen to keep up. No, nothing like that. The Greek word for "dull" primarily means sluggish, i.e. lazy, slow, and/or indifferent, i.e. a lack of interest. In other words, he knew that the recipients of his letter would likely be bored to tears by his discussion of Jesus Christ's association with the high priest order of Melchizedek, and would resist making an honest effort to understand it, i.e. a discussion of Melchizedek and how he relates to Jesus Christ isn't everybody's cup of tea so I won't bother going into detail.
Melchizedek's only personal appearance in the Bible occurs at Gen 14:18-20. The letter to Hebrews in the New Testament utilizes him as a "type" of Christ's high priesthood.
However; at least one of the salient features of Mel's priesthood should be readily obvious to everybody regardless of their IQ: Mel was a human being; just as all of God's high priests have always been human beings— no exceptions. In point of fact, the letter to Hebrews clearly states that high priests are taken from among men (Heb 5:1). So that becomes the No.1 qualification for a Melchizedekian priest right out of the box and instantly disqualifies angels.
Mel's jurisdiction was on the earth. But that was before Israel's covenanted law established Aaron's priesthood. So when that happened; Mel's post was temporarily suspended; and in point of fact, if Christ were on earth, he would not be an active priest because this is Aaron's district.
However, though Mel's post was moved to heaven's temple, there were no changes made to the nature of the person who holds the office. In other words; a priest according to the manner of Melchizedek is a human being no matter where he is. And since Ps 110:4 made Jesus Christ a priest to time indefinite, then he will remain a human being to time indefinite; and in order to be a human being, the Society says he has to have a human body because in their theology; human existence is entirely physical.
● 1Tim 2:5 . . For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.
The Greek for both "men" and "man" in that verse is the same. It's derived from anthropos (anth'-ro-pos) —a common word for h.sapiens in the New Testament; which is why that passage doesn't say there is one mediator between God and men, an angel Christ Michael. No it doesn't say an angel Christ Michael; rather, it says a man Christ Jesus; who everyone knows to be an h.sapiens being rather than an angel by the same name.
A search of the entire New Testament for the angel Michael turns up but two references: Jude 1:9 and Rev 12:7. That angel is nowhere in the gospels, nowhere in Acts, and nowhere in the epistles other than Jude. If that angel is so all-fired important; then why is it so marginalized? Even the Society itself is a bit perplexed as to why the name of an angel so highly revered in their theology is nigh unto absent in the New Testament.
The Society claims that the names Jesus and Michael are interchangeable; but that's the most ridiculous case of apples and oranges on record; not to mention a very serious case of identity fraud. Even if an angel had once existed as a human being named Jesus; it no longer does. Now it exists as a spirit being named Michael. The two names aren't interchangeable because the one name denotes a human being and the other name denotes a spirit being. Go ahead; search the New Testament and see how much luck you have finding somebody's name hyphenated like this: Jesus-Michael Christ. You won't because the Society's theology is an utter fantasy.
Oh what a wicked web we weave, When first we practice to
— Sir Walter Scott —
That poem rings so true. Once Charles T.Russell and/or Joseph F.Rutherford declared that Michael the angel, and Jesus Christ the human, are the same person; they were faced with the Herculean task of forcing the Bible to agree; and that was quite a challenge; which was accomplished by means of clever amalgams of fiction, sophistry, half-truths, semantic double speak, and humanistic reasoning.
On page 1129 of the Watchtower publication Aid To Bible Understanding a mediator is defined as one who interposes between two parties at variance to reconcile them: an intercessor.
Here's a question that someone wrote in to the "Questions From Readers" section of the April 01, 1976 issue of Watchtower magazine, asking:
Is Jesus the mediator only for anointed Christians? (a.k.a. the 144,000)
The answer given in the magazine is YES.
The magazine's answer is corroborated on page 1130 of Aid To Bible Understanding where it says that the 144,000 are the only ones who have the mediator; a.k.a. Jesus Christ. (1John 2:1)
Intercession for non anointed Witnesses is accomplished on the coattails of the 144,000; viz: Jesus Christ is an indirect, second party mediator for the rank and file via their affiliation with the Watchtower Society.
It's sort of like buying insurance from Allstate. The company doesn't sell direct; its business is conducted through brokers. In essence, that's what the Society presumes itself: Jesus Christ's mediation brokerage.
So then; when a Jehovah's Witness either defects or is disfellowshipped, it breaks the pipeline to the mediator that they enjoyed within the Society's fold; right quick losing all contact with God, and placing themselves in grave danger of the calamities depicted in the book of Revelation.
Bottom line: According to Watchtower Society theology; it is impossible for non-anointed people to be on peaceful terms with God apart from affiliation with the Society's anointed class, a.k.a. the faithful and wise steward.
In other words: Christ's mediation for rank and file JWs as per 1Tim 2:5 is accomplished via a chain of communication that begins with Christ's association with the faithful and wise steward; and from thence to the rest of humanity. Removing the faithful and wise steward from the chain cuts humanity off from Christ; thus leaving them with no way to reconcile with God.
NOTE: I've had JWs tell me that the Watchtower magazine isn't an authority in matters of faith and practice. But the Jan 1, 1942 issue of the magazine, on page 5, speaks for itself as a trustworthy source of Watchtower Society theology by saying:
"Those who are convinced that The Watchtower is publishing the opinion or expression of a man should not waste time in looking at it at all. Those who believe that God uses the Watchtower as a means of communicating to his people, or of calling attention to his prophecies, should study The Watchtower."
In other words: the haulers of water and the hewers of wood— viz: the rank and file —are not only expected to know what's in the Watchtower magazine, but they're also required to accept it as the God's truth.
● Col 1:15 . . He is the firstborn of all creation
The New Testament's Greek word for "firstborn" in that verse is prototokos, which never means created first; no, it always means born first. The correct Greek word for created first is protoktistos.
The average JW probably doesn't know the difference between prototokos and protoktistos; and no doubt would care little about it anyway. To some; born first and created first are essentially one and the same.
The thing to note is that "firstborn" doesn't always refer to birth order. The term also refers to pay grade, so to speak, and as such is transferrable from an elder sibling to a younger, e.g. Esau to Jacob (Gen 25:23) Manasseh to Ephraim (Gen 48:13-14) and Reuben to Joseph (Gen 49:3-4, 1Chr 5:1).
There was a time when David was God's firstborn (Ps 89:20-27). The position was later transferred to one of David's sons. You'd think that the Jews' religious experts of Jesus' day would have known about this.
● Matt 22:41-46 . . Now while the Pharisees were gathered together Jesus asked them: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him: “David’s" He said to them: “How, then, is it that David by inspiration calls him ‘Lord,’ saying, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet” ’? If, therefore, David calls him ‘Lord,’ how is he his son?”
Jesus was referring to Psalm 110:1, wherein we will find two very different Hebrew words for "Lord"'
The first is Yehovah (yeh-ho-vaw') a.k.a. Jehovah, Yhvh, and Yahweh; which is a name reserved for the one true God only and no other.
The second is 'adown (aw-done'); a very common title of respect for one's superiors in the Old Testament. Sarah revered her husband Abraham as 'adown (Gen 18:12) Rachel revered her dad Laban as 'adown (Gen 31:5) and Jacob revered his brother Esau as 'adown (Gen 33:8). So then; Psalm 110:1 can be translated like this:
"The utterance of Jehovah to my superior: Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."
David is the paterfamilias of his own line of royalty, making him superior to all of his male progeny; none of them outrank him, all are his subordinates. But Ps 110:1 speaks of one of David's male progeny who somehow breaks the rules; and the Jews' religious experts were utterly baffled by it.
● Matt 22:46 . . And no one was able to answer him a word
The Jews' religious experts were no doubt aware, by means of their Old Testament studies, that the rank of firstborn can be moved around among siblings, but nobody even dreamed that a father's supremacy could be taken from him and given to one of his children; in effect making the child superior to its parents.
This was something strange to their Jewish way of thinking; yet there it is in black and white in their own scriptures. They had somehow failed to catch the significance of Ps 110:1 until Jesus drew their attention to it.
Now; the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy does not permit children to be superior to their parents.
● Ex 20:12 . . Honor your father and your mother
So then, Christ would have to outrank his father David by another route than family; and he does.
Renaming is fairly common in the Bible, e.g. Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Ben-oni to Benjamin, Simon to Cephas, and Rev 2:17. But with Christ, we encounter an astonishing renaming.
● Phil 2:8-11 . . God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (cf. Eph 1:20-21)
FAQ: What is "the name" that is above every other name?
FAQ: Is that the reason why Jesus outranks his father David?
A: Yes. Jesus has the God-given right to use Jehovah's
name as his own name; which allows him all the respect and reverence that
the name deserves; viz: failure to revere Jesus as Jehovah dishonors the name
of God the Father.
Below is the text of Col 1:16-17 quoted verbatim from the Watchtower Society's New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures ©1969.
"Because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist."
The word "other" is in brackets. This alert readers that "other" is not in the Greek manuscript; viz: the Society's translators took the liberty to pencil it in; which gives the impression that God's son was His first creation; and thereafter, the Son created everything else.
NOTE: I heard it from a JW that the Society's translators added "other" because that's what Col 1:16-17 means to say even though it doesn't say so in writing. In other words; that portion of the Society's Bible is an interpretation rather than a translation.
One day, a pair of Watchtower missionaries came to my door consisting of an experienced worker and a trainee. I immediately began subjecting the trainee to a line of questioning that homed in on the Society's rather dishonest habit of penciling in words that go to reinforcing its line of thinking.
I had him read the Society's text of Col 1:16-17 and then pointed out that the word "other" is in brackets to alert him to the fact that "other" is not in the Greek manuscript. The experienced worker corroborated my statement.
I then proceeded to have the trainee read the passage sans "other". It comes out like this:
"By means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist."
The trainee's eyes really lit up; and he actually grinned with delight to discover that Col 1:16-17 reveals something quite different than what he was led to believe.
Had I pressed the attack; I would have pointed out that the Society is inconsistent with its use of the word "other" by failing to pencil it into John 1:3 in order to make it read like this:
"All [other] things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one [other] thing came into existence."
Now; as to tampering with Paul's letters, and forcing them to mean things they don't say in writing; this is what Peter has to say about that.
● 2Pet 3:15-16 . . Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
NOTE: The 1984 revised version of the New World Translation omits brackets around the word "other" in Col 1:16-17. However, it's readily seen from the Watchtower Society's Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures that "other" is nowhere to be found in the Greek text. Caveat Lector.
● John 1:18 . . No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.
The Greek word for "only-begotten" in that verse is monogenes (mon-og-en-ace') which is also found in John 1:14, John 3:16, John 3:18, and 1John 4:9. It's a combination of two words.
The first is mono, which music buffs recognize as a single channel rather than two or four in surround sound stereo. Mono is very common; e.g. monogamy, monofilament, monotonous, mononucleotide, monochrome, monogram, monolith, monologue, monomial, et al.
The other word is genes; from whence we get the English word gene; which Webster's defines as a biological term indicating a part of a cell that controls or influences the appearance, growth, etc., of a living thing. In other words: monogenes refers to one biological gene set rather than many.
Monogenes always, and without exception, refers to parents' sole biological child in the New Testament. If parents have two or more biological children, none of them qualify as monogenes because in order to qualify as a monogenes child, the child has to be an only child.
Obviously then, an adopted child can never be monogenes because it wouldn't be the parents' biological child. Examples of monogenes children are located at Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, and Luke 9:38.
So then, scientifically speaking, Christ is unique in that he is God's sole biological offspring, while God's other sons are not; viz: they're placed as sons, i.e. adopted. (Rom 8:15-16, Gal 4:4-6, Eph 1:4-5)
FAQ: God literally fathered a child?
A: I think it's probably a bit more accurate to say that God literally co-fathered a child.
FAQ: How did he do it? Is there a Mrs. God? And who was the other father?
A: Jesus' conception, described at Luke 1:26-35, wasn't only miraculous, it was a very mysterious collaboration of human and divine.
David contributed the human component. (Luke 1:32, Acts 13:22-23, Rom 1:1-3, and 2Tim 2:8)
God contributed the divine component. (Luke 1:35 and 1John 3:9)
Jesus then, is just as much God's progeny as he is David's; and just as much David's progeny as he is God's.
FAQ: What about Heb 11:17 where Isaac is stated to be Abraham's monogenes child? Wasn't Ishmael a biological child of his too?
A: Isaac is the only biological child that Abraham and Sarah produced together; just as Jesus is the only biological child that God and Man produced together.
To say that this is all very baffling, illogical, unscientific, and unreasonable would be an understatement. In my mind's normal way of thinking, Christ's rather odd case of mixed-species genetics is an outlandish fantasy that, biologically, makes no sense at all. It's sort of like crossing an iguana with an apricot to produce a reptilian fruit tree. But; the circumstances of Christ's conception are in the Bible, so those of us who call ourselves Christians have got to accept it.
"Faith is believin' what you know ain't so" (Mark Twain)
Now, here's the inescapable ramification:
Like reproduces its like. In other words, when David
reproduced, he fathered a human being like himself in every way. When God
reproduced, He fathered a divine being like Himself in every way; ergo:
Christ is just as much God as God, in the same way that Christ is just as
much David as David.
The Living God(s)
● Jer 10:10 . . Jehovah is in truth God. He is the living god.
The Hebrew word for "living" in that passage is chay (khah'-ee) which first appears in the Bible at Gen 1:20 where it speaks of aqua life and winged life. Then it appears at Gen 1:24 where it speaks of life on land. It appears again at Gen 2:7 where it speaks of human life.
Flora life is never spoken of as chay. So I think we can limit the kind of life spoken of by chay as conscious existence; viz: sentient life.
Jehovah is called the living god something like fifteen times in the Old Testament, and fifteen more times in the New.
I'm unaware of any other gods in the whole Bible identified as living gods; not even the people of Psalm 82 to whom God said "You are gods".
Because of that; I think it safe to conclude that no other god is a living god. In other words: labeling Jehovah as the living god is a way of saying He is the only god that's actually eternal, i.e. always was, always is, and always shall be. This has some serious ramifications because when speaking of Christ:
● Col 2:9 . . It is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.
The Greek word for "divine quality" is theótes (theh-ot'-ace) which means: divinity
Seeing as how theótes is modified by the Greek definite article "ho" then what we're looking at here in Col 2:9 isn't nondescript divinity, but rather the divinity. In other words: we're looking at the fullness of the divinity of the living god.
Just about everybody on both sides of the aisle agrees that the Word spoken of at John 1:1 is a god. However: the Word isn't just any god; no, the fullness of the divinity of the living god dwells in the Word; viz: the Word is a living god, i.e. the life that's in the Word always was, always is, and always shall be.
● John 5:26 . . For just as the Father has life in himself, so He has granted also to the Son to have life in himself.
When the Father granted the Son to have life in himself just as the Father has life in Himself, things got a bit complicated because unless Jehovah and the Word are somehow different names for the same personage; there is now one too many living gods out there.
The Watchtower Society will never accept classical Christianity's teaching that Jesus Christ is Jehovah incognito simply because the Society's undying premise is that it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously.
According to the premise: Jehovah's spirit existence would have to be terminated before He could become a human existence; and I can easily guarantee that nobody is ever going to convince the Society otherwise unless they first prove that the Word of John 1:1-4 is impervious to death. In other words; in order to prove to the Society that it's possible for a spirit being to exist as a human being simultaneously, it is necessary to prove to the Society that the Word is an everlasting life; which is a kind of life that cannot die. Fortunately it's very easy to do because the apostle John did that part for us in his first epistle.
● 1John 1:1-2 . .That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have viewed attentively and our hands felt, concerning the word of life, (yes, the life was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you the everlasting life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us,)
The Greek word for "everlasting" in that passage is aionios (ahee-o'-nee-os) which essentially means perpetual; viz: without interruption.
The Word's human existence as per John 1:14 was as a mortal life and thus easily interrupted; but seeing as how the Word's spirit existence as per 1John 1:1-2 is an everlasting life, then it's impossible for the Word's spirit existence to be interrupted.
Jehovah cannot interrupt His existence as God because Jehovah is an everlasting life (Gen 21:33, Rom 16:26). In the same manner, the Word cannot interrupt his existence as the Word because the Word is an everlasting life too. (John 5:26, 1John 1:1-2)
The Word may have temporarily divested himself of his glory when he came to the earth to live and die as a human being, but he did not, and could not, divest himself of his spirit existence because in order to do that, he would have to die; which is an impossibility for everlasting life. If that were not so, then it would be possible to assassinate Jehovah. In point of fact, it would even be possible for Jehovah to commit suicide.
NOTE: According to chapter 1, verse 1, of John's gospel, the Word is a god. Well; seeing as how the Word is an everlasting life, then he's obviously an everlasting god too; viz: the Watchtower Society's religion has two everlasting gods in it, and both of those everlasting gods are credited with the creation of the cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy.
Precisely how an everlasting creator can exist simultaneously as a created thing is one of the mysteries of classical Christianity that has to be taken on faith rather than reason because the 3-pound lump of fatty, flabby organic tissue housed in a man's bony little skull, and sufficing for a mind, is just too limited to get it; and not even all three of those pounds are devoted to cognitive processes.
The Watchtower Society's theology is a based on a version called monolatrism, which basically alleges that all gods are actual deities; though not all deities are deemed worthy of worship. This is not quite the same as polytheism where numerous gods are all considered worthy of worship.
Monolatrism is distinguished from monotheism (asserts the existence of only one god) and distinguished from henotheism (a religious system in which the believer worships one god alone without denying that others may worship different gods of equal value)
While classical Christianity recognizes but two categories of gods: the true and the false, viz: the authentic and the imitation, the intrinsic and the artificial; the Watchtower Society's theologians took the liberty to create a third sandwiched between the true and the false called "mighty ones". The mighty-one category is a sort of neutral zone where qualifying personages exist as bona fide deities without violating the very first of the Ten Commandments. For example:
"I myself have said: You are gods" (Ps 82:6)
The gods referred to in that passage are humans; which everybody should know are only imitation deities rather than the genuine article; so in order to avoid stigmatizing humans as fake gods, the Society classifies them as mighty ones.
This gets kind of humorous when we plug "mighty one" into various locations. For example:
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a mighty one." (John 1:1)
"No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten mighty one who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him." (John 1:18)
The "mighty one" category was an invention of necessity. In other words: without it, the Society would be forced to classify the only-begotten (John 1:18) and the Word (John 1:1) as a false god seeing as how Deut 6:4, John 17:3, and 1Cor 8:4-6 testify that there is only one true god.
POSIT: Jesus verified the authenticity of Ps 82:6 in a discussion recorded at John 10:34-36. If the word of God cannot be nullified, then those gods have to be real gods.
RESPONSE: Oh; they're real alright: real imitations because according to Deut 6:4, John 17:3, and 1Cor 8:4-6 there is only one true god. Therefore the gods in Ps 82 are artificial gods. True gods don't die; viz: they're immortal, impervious to death. The gods in Psalm 82 are not immortal.
So then, what does all this say about God's son? Well; if God's son is only a mighty one, as the Watchtower Society alleges; then he's an artificial god— i.e. a false god —and his divinity is no more divine in reality than a totem pole or a statue of Shiva.
POSIT: If true gods don't die, then Jesus is not a true god because he was mortal.
RESPONSE: If Christ's origin had begun only with Adam, then that conclusion would be 100% correct. However, I know from John 1:1-14 and Heb 3:3-5 that Christ's origin is an eternal being who not only pre-existed the first man, but also got him started.
I have thus far been unable to comprehend how it's possible for the eternal being who created the first man to then genetically descend from that very same man. It's easy to say that Christ is fully God and fully Man, but not so easy to make sense of it. It's just as difficult for regular Christians as it is for JWs.
FAQ: Why does the Watchtower Society translate the Word in John 1:1 as a god in lower case instead of God in upper case?
A: The Watchtower Society's translation is based upon an imaginary grammatical technicality.
The common Greek word for "god" is theós (theh'-os). When it's modified by the little Greek definite article "ho" the Society translates theós in upper case, viz: in the Society's theological thinking; ho theós pertains to the one true God, while theós by itself is somewhat flexible, for example John 1:18 and John 20:17 where the Society translates theós in upper case though it be not modified by ho.
However, according to Dr. Archibald T. Robertson's "Grammar Of The Greek New Testament", page 767: in regards to nouns in the predicate; the article is not essential to speech. In other words: when theόs is in the predicate, ho can be either used, or not used, without making any real difference.
So then; a translator's decision whether to capitalize either of the two theόs in John 1:1 or not to capitalize them, is entirely arbitrary rather than dictated by a strict rule of Greek grammar. Of course the Society prefers that the Word be a lower case god because it's agreeable with their version of Christ's divinity.
● John 20:28 . . Thomas said to him: "My Lord and my God!"
God and/or gods, is from the Greek word theós (theh'-os).
Many moons ago; I asked some Watchtower Society missionaries to explain to me why their Bible translated theós in upper case in Thomas' statement seeing as how in Watchtower theology; only Jehovah should be referred to as a god spelled with an upper case G. Well; they were too inexperienced to explain and my question left them stumped.
The fact of the matter is: in John 20:28, theós is modified by the Greek definite article "ho". So by the Society's own rules; its translators had to use upper case because it is their practice that whenever theós is modified by the Greek definite article, then the upper case is required.
For argument's sake; let's remove the upper cases and translate the passage like this:
Thomas said to him: "my lord and my god!"
We could tolerate a lower case lord because that was a common way to address just about any superior back in those days, whether divine or otherwise; for example 1Pet 3:6.
However; we would have difficulty with a lower case god because the passage is possessive. In other words: the apostle Thomas didn't just declare that Jesus was a god. No, Thomas clearly declared that Jesus was "my" god.
The covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with Jehovah in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy forbids them to possess more than one god.
● Ex 20:1-3 . . And God proceeded to speak all these words, saying: I am Jehovah your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. You must not have any other gods against my face.
"against my face" is a combination of two Hebrew words that essentially refer to God's competitors. In other words: it is not Jehovah's wishes to have a market share of His people's affections; no, He'll settle for nothing less than 100%. (cf. Mark 12:28-30)
If the apostle Thomas was a Torah-trained Jew, then he was fully aware that possessing any other god but Jehovah would incur the covenant's curse upon himself.
● Deut 27:26 . . Cursed is the one who will not put the words of this law in force by doing them.
The way I see it: the Society has two options. Either the apostle Thomas knew what he was doing when he addressed Jesus as his god, or he meant to say something else.
Now, if the apostle Thomas knew what he was doing when he addressed Jesus as his god, then John Q and Jane Doe JWs need to ask around and find out why it is that Jesus Christ was the apostle Thomas' god but he isn't the Watchtower Society's god.
Plus: I would really like to know how it is that the apostle Thomas and the Watchtower Society are poles apart in their opinions of Christ's divine status when Thomas actually associated with Jesus and was one of his close personal friends.
● John 20:17 . . Be on your way to my brothers and say to them; "I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God."
FAQ: If Jesus is God, as classical Christianity claims, then how can he have a God? Does God worship Himself?
A: I have yet to encounter the language of John 20:17 in reverse, viz: I have yet to see a passage in the Bible where the Father refers to His son as "my God". The reason for that is very simple.
● Ex 20:12 . . Honor your father
● John 8:49 . . Jesus answered: I honor my Father
There's a hierarchy in the divine relationship just as there is a hierarchy in human relationships. Though all members of a human family are equally human, they are not all equal in rank and privilege; some are superior and some are subordinate. (cf. John 14:28, 1Cor 15:28)
The Watchtower Bible And Tract Society calls Jesus "the only-begotten son from a Father" (John 1:14). Don't let that mislead you. The Society dare not accept Christ's status as God's literal progeny because the ramifications would force them to revise their theology.
The Society also calls Jesus "the only-begotten god" (John 1:18). Well; If the true God were to beget a god, wouldn't that god be a true God like its father?
For simplicity's sake; it helps to think of the true God as a species; viz: if indeed the true God were to beget a child, He would beget a child of like species; i.e. the true God would beget a true God like Himself because that's the only kind of offspring that a true God could possibly engender; just as when a true human begets a child, they beget a child of like species i.e. they beget a true human being like themselves because that's the only kind of offspring that a true human can engender.
Now, we can volley back and forth with JWs, countering each other's verses with more verses: verse upon verse; but I can just about guarantee that us and they will both be chasing our tails and getting nowhere until they agree to approach the Son's relationship to his Father from a biological perspective; which is a perspective that just about anybody with even a cursory knowledge of the birds and the bees can understand with ease.
FAQ: How can there be two Gods out there when the Bible plainly declares there is only one?
A: The Bible also declares that there is only one Man.
In the beginning, when God created the Man species, He created it male and female; i.e. two persons. But the two persons do not represent two Mans. There is only one Man though the species can be spoken of with a plural pronoun.
● Gen 1:27 . . And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image He created him; male and female He created them.
After God created Adam, he then proceeded to construct Eve from Adam's body rather than create her from the soil as before. That way, Eve retained Adam's humanness rather than be given a unique humanness of her own, viz: Eve was in Adam and he was in her, i.e. Eve perpetuated Adam.
In a similar manner— though no doubt quite a bit more complicated —God's son is in God, and God is in His son. i.e. the Son perpetuates the Father just as Eve perpetuated Adam.
Passport To The Kingdom Of God On Earth
It's both tragic and ironic that the Watchtower Society's rank and file missionaries go worldwide advertising a kingdom that they themselves will never be allowed to enter. Here's why.
At John 3:3-12, Christ discusses what he labels "earthly things".
The primary earthly thing discussed was the kingdom of God. The other earthly thing discussed was a Spirit-birth requirement to enter it. In other words: God's kingdom on earth, and a Spirit birth, are joined at the hip.
The overwhelming majority of JWs coming to our doors aren't Spirit-born now, nor do they ever expect to be— not in this life, nor in the next —yet they sincerely believe they have a shot at admission to God's kingdom on earth. However, seeing as how the Spirit-birth requirement is a must rather than an option; they will not succeed.
Many of the Jehovah's Witness missionaries going door-to-door throughout the world are honestly, and sincerely, wanting to enter the kingdom of God; which is why I'm convinced that Christians really ought to know something about New Testament hope before engaging JWs in a conversation about the kingdom.
● 1Pet 3:15 . . Always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you,
The New Testament Greek word for "hope" in Peter's instructions is elpis (el pece') which means to anticipate (usually with pleasure) and to expect with confidence. Note the elements of anticipation, and expectation, and confidence.
In other words: elpis hope is a know-so hope rather than a cross your fingers hope.
So, unless someone knows for proof-positive, beyond even the slightest glimmer of sensible doubt, that they have a passport to the kingdom of God locked in and irrevocable, then of course it is impossible for them to comply with Peter's instructions seeing as they would not yet have the kind of hope about which he wrote.
● Rom 12:12 . . Rejoice in the hope.
When people are praying for the best, while in the back of their mind dreading the worst, they have absolutely no cause for rejoicing; but they do have plenty of cause to fear the unknown.
Elpis hope is one of the three principal elements of Christianity (1Cor 13:13). It's also a calling. (Eph 4:4)
When people are lacking the kind of hope described by the Greek word elpis, then I believe it's safe to assume that they have not yet responded to God's call; or worse, He has not called them; and quite possibly never will.
Jehovah vs Jehovah's Witnesses
● John 14:16-17 . . I will request the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. You know it, because it remains with you and is in you.
● John 14:26 . .The helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.
Rank and file JWs are taught to believe that they obtain boldness in speaking the word of God, and zealousness in engaging in the work of witnessing, from "having" the holy spirit. (pg 382, Reasoning From The Scriptures)
However; when speaking of "having" the holy spirit, the JWs mean that it is alongside them rather than inside them. Only a special guild of 144,000 JWs actually have the spirit inside them. The special guild are known as the anointed class; a label taken from 1John 2:27.
The non-anointed class are in a very serious condition. Here's why:
● Rom 8:9 . .You are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God's spirit truly dwells in you.
Seeing as how God's spirit does not truly dwell "in" John Q and Jane Doe missionary, then they are, by default, in harmony with the flesh. That only makes things worse.
● Rom 8:5-8 . . For those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with the spirit on the things of the spirit. For the minding of the flesh means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace; because the minding of the flesh means enmity with God, for it is not under subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.
The non-anointed class' situation is just too ironic for
words. They displease God, and He displeases them; yet they go door-to-door
sincerely believing themselves Jehovah's friends and allies.
● 1John 2:26-27 . .These things I write you about those who are trying to mislead you. And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.
The anointing provides people with some valuable advantages to which people who lack it of course have no access.
1• Protects people from deception
2• Enables people to grasp Jesus Christ's teachings the way he wants them grasped
3• Makes it possible for people to remain in union with him.
According to Watchtower Society theology, only 144,000 special Jehovah's Witnesses have the anointing. There aren't that many living Witnesses who have the anointing though because when anointed Witnesses die, their passing doesn't create vacancies; viz: 144,000 is the maximum unless an anointed JW either apostatizes or is ousted via the process of disfellowship.
NOTE: Ironically, one of the anointing's primary purposes is to prevent its recipients from becoming an apostate.
What that means is: the vast majority of today's living JWs don't have the anointing. We're talking about some serious numbers here. Currently, there are approximately 8.2 million living Witnesses. Even if all 144,000 anointed Witnesses were alive today, that would leave 8,056,000 JWs roaming the earth in our day who 1) have no protection from deception, 2) are unable to grasp Jesus Christ's teachings the way he wants them grasped, and 3) not in union with him.
Doubtless there are numbers of ordinary Witnesses who sincerely believe that their association with the Watchtower Society keeps them in union with Jesus Christ; but according to 1John 2:26-27, union with Jesus Christ isn't accomplished on the coattails of an organization; it's accomplished by means of the anointing.
Watchtower Society missionaries sincerely believing themselves in union with Jesus Christ without the anointing are each themselves "one of those who are trying to mislead you".
The Elite 144,000
So-called Replacement Theology is just another name for identity theft. Take for example the Watchtower Society's interpretation of Rev 7:1-8 wherein is listed a specific number of Hebrews taken from every tribe of the sons of Israel.
The Society claims that those aren't biological sons of Israel; but rather "spiritual" sons— referring of course to the Society's elite cadre of 144,000 Witnesses who have supposedly undergone a spirit birth as per Christ's instruction at John 3:3-8; and the anointing as per 1John 2:26-27.
The Society's claim is premised upon its observation that there never was a tribe of Joseph; when in reality Joseph is listed as both a son and a tribe (Gen 49:2-28 and Ezek 48:31-34). So that portion of the Society's reasoning is clearly a false premise.
The Society's claim is also premised upon its observation that Ephraim and Dan are missing from the list of tribes at Rev 7:4-8. However, what the Society's theologians have somehow overlooked in the Old Testament is that it doesn't matter whose names are chosen to represent the twelve tribes of Israel just so long as there are twelve names. Are there twelve in Rev 7:4-8? Yes. Well then that's good enough. I realize that makes no sense but then the Lord's apostles were still referred to as "the twelve" even with Judas out of the picture. So that premise in the Society's reasoning is spurious too.
The Society's claim is also premised upon its reasoning that Levi isn't a valid tribe based upon the fact that the Levites are exempt from warfare. However, Levi is clearly listed as both a son and a tribe (Gen 49:2-28, Ezek 48:31-34) which is a good many years after Num 1:1-54. So that premise is bogus too.
The Watchtower Society not wanting the 144,000 to be biological Hebrews is one thing; but I would just like to know from whence Charles T. Russell's and Joseph F. Rutherford's followers got the idea that their people constitute the 144,000. That's a pretty serious claim. How do they validate it? I don't know; but I can just about guarantee that their explanation is an outlandish stretch of the imagination consisting of humanistic reasoning, rationalizing, spiritualizing, clever sophistry, and semantic double-speak.
NOTE: According to Rev 14:1-4, the 144,000 are supposed to all be males, and none have ever slept with a woman. That, if true, would of course disqualify married JWs.
Jonah & Christ / Sheol & Hades
If we're not careful with the story of Jonah, the time element can become a red herring while the real issue— the issue that matters most —is his death and resurrection.
● Matt 12:39-40 . . As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.
That should be accompanied by this next passage so there's no mistaking what Jesus was talking about.
● John 2:18-22 . . Therefore, in answer, the Jews said to him: “What sign have you to show us, since you are doing these things?”
. . . In answer Jesus said to them: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Therefore the Jews said: “This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?”
. . . But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said.
● Jonah 1:17 . . Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, so that Jonah came to be in the inward parts of the fish three days and three nights.
FAQ: Was Jonah alive in the fish?
A: Yes. (Jonah 2:1)
FAQ: The whole time?
A: No; and in point of fact; unless Jonah was deceased at some point, then his adventure tells us little of any real significance.
FAQ: So you think Jonah died in the fish?
A: Jonah 2:5-7 strongly suggests to me that he drowned prior to being swallowed by the big fish; which fits perfectly with the fact that Jesus was dead before his body was entombed; viz: neither man was buried alive.
Jonah's prayer from within the fish speaks of a prayer that he prayed while drowning, and also about a prayer that he prayed while incarcerated in sheol; a total of three prayers; each one prayed from three separate locations and under three different circumstances: in the sea, in sheol, and in the fish.
At some point in his nautical adventure Jonah went to a place called sheol (Jonah 2:2) which he sited at the roots of the mountains. (Jonah 2:6)
Well; the roots of the mountains aren't located in the tummies of fish, no; they're located down deep in the Earth. So, the only way that Jonah could possibly be at the roots of the mountains while in the belly of a fish at the same time was for the man and his body to part company and go their separate ways.
And then there's Jesus . . .
● Matt 12:39-40 . . As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.
Now when you think about it; Jesus' corpse was never in the heart of the Earth. It wasn't even in the Earth's soil. His corpse was laid to rest on the surface of the Earth in a rock-hewn tomb.
So the only way that Jesus could possibly be in a tomb on the surface of the Earth while in the heart of the Earth at the same time; was for the man and his body to part company and go their separate ways.
Just before being cast ashore, Jonah prayed thus:
● Jonah 2:6 . . But out of the pit you proceeded to bring up my life, O Jehovah my God.
The Hebrew word for "pit" in that verse speaks of putrefaction.
The very same Hebrew word is located in Ps 16:8-10 —which Acts 2:25-31 verifies is speaking of putrefaction; viz: Jonah 2:6 tells of the prophet's flesh just as Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-31 tell of Christ's flesh. In other words: Jonah 2:6 tells of Jonah's resurrection; which is precisely the sign that Jesus intended.
So then, just as Jonah's soul was not left at the bottoms of the mountains, Christ's soul was not left in the heart of the earth. And just as Jonah's body was not left to decompose in the fish, neither was Christ's body left to decompose in the tomb. And just as Jonah came back from his grave within three days and nights, so Jesus came back from his grave within three days and nights.
If none of this were so, then Jonah's experience would be a pretty useless parallel to Christ's.
FAQ: What does the story of Jonah have to do with Jehovah's Witnesses?
A: JWs are taught to believe that human life is entirely physical; viz: when people die they cease to exist. Well; were that belief a reality; then Jesus Christ would've ceased to exist when he passed away on the cross.
Jonah's experience is handy for illustrating Jesus' experience; viz: if Jonah existed at the bottoms of the mountains while his flesh was deceased in the tummy of a fish, then Jesus existed in the heart of the Earth while his flesh was deceased in a tomb.
Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites and also a sign to Jesus' generation (Matt 13:39-40, Luke 11:29-30). The word "sign" is translated from a Greek word that's sometimes used in the gospels to indicate miracles.
Had Jonah stayed alive in the fish's tummy, that would not be the kind of sign that Jesus had in mind. He needed a miraculous event that would adequately depict his own; the reason being that Jesus' flesh was on track to be returned to life. (John 2:19-21)
Jonah, coupled with Ps 16:8-10, Acts 2:25-31, and Matt 12:39-40 proves that Jesus continued to exist out of body when he passed away; and if he and Jonah did, then there's reason to expect that everyone else does too.
My only question is: How was Jonah a sign to the people of Nineveh? The city was located up around northern Iraq; approximately 400 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. It's my guess travelers on their way to Nineveh witnessed Jonah exit the fish, and upon arrival in the city spread their amazing tale far and wide. If so, that would help explain why the people took Jonah's message to heart instead of mocking him as just another kooky itinerant preacher.
If Jesus Christ's resurrection is true— if his dead body actually recovered just as Jonah's— then Jesus most certainly is the one man in the New Testament that everybody really ought to approach with a great deal of caution because Jonah's message warned of the impending destruction of just one city; while Jesus' message warns of the impending destruction of many cities. (Rev 16:17-19)
● Matt 12:41 . . Men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; because they repented at what Jonah preached, but, look! something more than Jonah is here.
The Last Adam
● 1Cor 15:45a . . The first man Adam became a living soul.
● 1Cor 15:47 . .The first man is out of the earth and made of dust
Those verses are references to Gen 2:7, which reads like this:
"Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul."
The Watchtower Society alleges that Jehovah God wasn't directly involved in creating the first man, rather, His involvement was indirect. According to them, the actual work was done by the hand of a divine being called the Word.
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence." (John 1:1-3)
Seeing as that's the case; then the breath of life spoken of in Gen 2:7 was blown into the first man's nostrils by the Word. In all respects then, we owe the beginning of the original human race to the Word just as much as we owe it to Jehovah God because both are given credit for its origin.
● 1Cor 15:45b . .The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
That verse speaks of the origin of yet another human race. This second human race wasn't made of dust from the ground, nor was it given consciousness by blowing into its nostrils the breath of life, nor did it come to be a living soul.
Up to this point; I'm told of only two life-giving spirits in the Bible: the Word and Jehovah God. So unless there is now three life-giving spirits, I feel safe to conclude that the last Adam is one of the two; i.e. he's either the Word or he's Jehovah God. Well; it's easy to show by John 1:14 that the last Adam and the Word are one and the same person.
"So the Word became flesh and resided among us"
Q: When did this last Adam become a life-giving spirit? At his birth or at his resurrection?
A: According to John 5:26 and 1John 1:1-2, the Word is an everlasting life which, according to Gen 21:33 and Rom 16:26, is an indestructible category of life that's impervious to death. And according to John 1:1, the Word is a god. Well; people die, but gods never die. (Ps 82:6-7)
So the Word didn't go out of existence when he came into the world as an h.sapiens; which means of course that Jesus Christ was a life-giving spirit right from the moment of his conception rather than at his resurrection; i.e. he was capable of giving life prior to his crucifixion.
Speaking to the Jews of his day; Jesus said:
"My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them everlasting life" (John 10:27-28)
"You are searching the Scriptures, because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life; and these are the very ones that bear witness about me. And yet you do not want to come to me that may have life." (John 10:39-40)
Q: So you're saying a created man pioneered the original human race; and a man who's both creator and created pioneered the second human race?
● 1Cor 15:47 . .The second man is out of heaven.
● John 6:38 . . I have come down from heaven
● John 6:42 . . They began saying: Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it that now he says: I have come down from heaven?
The dual nature of Christ's existence is a fatal hang-up for the Watchtower Society due to its spurious belief that it's impossible for the Word to exist as a human being and a spirit being simultaneously. But the evidence is very difficult to refute.
It ain't what
you know that gets you into trouble.
It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
— Mark Twain —
Q: In standard Bibles; Jesus told one of his fellow prisoners that they would be in paradise the very day of their deaths (Luke 23:43). But three days later he told Mary Magdalena that he had not yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17). How do you reconcile Jesus' statements?
A: Well, of one thing we can be very certain: when Jesus died, he didn't go up; quite the opposite direction: he went down. (Matt 12:40, Ps 16:9-10, and Acts 2:25-31)
Paradise is structured such that it exists in more than one place; for example:
The Pacific Crest Trail (a.k.a. PCT) traverses the north/south length of three states— California, Oregon, and Washington. No matter where trekkers might be located on the trail at any given moment— whether south at mile No.1 in Campo San Diego, or 2,140 trail-miles to the north at the Columbia River in Cascade Locks Oregon —they're all on the very same PCT.
Paradise is sort of like that. There's a section of it in the netherworld (Luke 16:19-31) another in a secret region called the third heaven (2Cor 12:2-4) and yet another situated with God. (Rev 2:7)
● Heb 5:7-9 . . In the days of his flesh Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered; and after he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him
The "perfection" Jesus Christ obtained by means of suffering is directly related to his priesthood rather than his personal conduct.
● Heb 5:10 . . Because he has been specifically called by God a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek.
In order for a priest to be effective, he has to be capable of empathy.
● Heb 5:1-3 . . For every high priest taken from among men is appointed in behalf of men over the things pertaining to God, that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal moderately with the ignorant and erring ones since he also is surrounded with his own weakness, and on its account he is obliged to make offerings for sins as much for himself as for the people.
Jesus Christ of course could do no wrong of his own; but he was put through the wringer so he'd have a taste of what us mere mortals face every day of our lives.
● Heb 4:15 . . For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.
Hence, the purpose of the suffering that the Son endured was for a far different purpose than the discipline which the Father's lesser sons are put through at Heb 12:5-11 since according to 1John 3:9 and Col 2:9 it was, and it still is, impossible for God's son to ever be unholy, or unrighteous, or disobedient.
In other words; the Son's suffering was for the purpose of experiencing first-hand what it's like to obey as a human being. As the Word in heaven, obedience is his way of life because according to John 1:1-14, the Word is a god; but the rest of us are mere mortals. Obedience isn't a piece of cake for those of us who are only human.
It's one thing to sympathize and say you feel your fellow man's pain; but in order to truly empathize with his pain; you've got to go through it yourself. It's exactly that which makes Jesus an excellent choice for high priesthood in heaven because the things he suffered made him a "merciful" high priest; viz: an high priest that's truly one of us instead of an indifferent judgmental bigot from another world.
During America's dust bowl era in the 1930's, the Federal Farm Security Administration sent out an educated young lady named Sonora Babb to counsel migrant farm workers out west. Nobody trusted her until they found out she grew up in the so-called No Man's Land of the southern great plains. Sonora wasn't just another indifferent stuffed-shirt bureaucrat. She was familiar with the dust bowlers' way of life first-hand, and it made all the difference in the quality of her rapport with migrant farm workers.
The above pertained to Christ's high priesthood. Non-anointed Jehovah's Witnesses— a.k.a. the earthly class; viz: the hewers of wood and haulers of water, the great crowd —-do not have direct access to it, rather, they have indirect access to Christ's high priesthood via their affiliation with the Watchtower Society. (See Mediation)
May I suggest to any and/or all JWs hereabout that they take advantage of whatever degree of access they have for now and speak up candidly and forthrightly with Christ, asking him if there isn't some way to take advantage of his high priesthood's services without having to be affiliated with the Watchtower Society; i.e. as a free moral agent instead of dependent upon a hierarchy.
It's a reasonable request, and I'm pretty sure if asked in all honesty and sincerity that Christ will get back to its inquirer with a response.
● John 6:37-28 . . Everything the Father gives me will come to me, and the one that comes to me I will by no means drive away; because I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.
● Heb 4:16 . . Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.
The Faithful And Wise Steward
● Matt 24:45-47 . .Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
The core of the Watchtower Society— the Governing Body —sincerely believes itself the faithful and discreet slave spoken of in that passage, i.e. believes that God chose the leaders of the Watchtower Society as His sole distributor of truth to mankind; thus explaining why John Q and Jane Doe Jehovah's Witnesses are taught that they need to submit unquestioningly to the Governing Body in order to associate with God, and for protection from doomsday, viz: the calamities depicted in the book of Revelation.
"The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919. That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as the faithful and discreet slave." (jw.org, 10th Nov 2012)
"That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel." (Watchtower, 2013 Jul 15, p.20)
"We need to obey the faithful and discreet slave to have Jehovah’s approval." (Watchtower, 2011 Jul 15, p.24, Simplified English Edition)
"[A mature christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and "the faithful and discreet slave." (Watchtower, 2001 Aug 01, p.14)
However: paragraph 12, under the heading; "Who is leading God's People today?" of the Feb 2017 Watchtower—Study Edition, says:
"The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction. In fact, the Watch Tower Publications Index includes the heading “Beliefs Clarified,” which lists adjustments in our Scriptural understanding since 1870. Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food."
Just imagine the degree of confusion and insecurity that would pervade the minds of regular Christians had the authors of the New Testament scriptures attached a caveat to their writings similar to the above.
POSIT: It is impossible for Jesus Christ to be in heaven as a human being in the presence of God because 1Tim 6:16 says that the king of all kings dwells in an unapproachable light, whom "not one of men" has seen or can see.
RESPONSE: The Greek word translated "unapproachable" also means inaccessible; which right there attests that humanity needs a mediator between itself and the light to provide them at least an indirect access.
Note that the passage below is misquoted. Watch for the revision.
"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men; an angel: Christ Michael." (1Tim 2:5)
No, that passage doesn't actually say "an angel" nor does it actually say "Christ Michael". Here it is for real.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men; a man: Christ Jesus."
The Greek word for men, as well as the word for man, is derived from anthropos (anth'-ro-pos) —a common koiné Greek word for human beings in the New Testament; in other words:
"There is one God, and one mediator between God and anthroópoon; an ánthroopos: Christ Jesus."
So it's readily seen from a cursory examination of the Greek that the mediator spoken of in 1Tim 2:5 is a human being rather than an angel.
Seeing as how Christ Jesus is allowed access to the inaccessible light as a human being, then it's safe to conclude that there has to be something very unusual about him.
Well; for one thing, his body is no longer that of mortal men. When he went up to heaven, Christ Jesus' body underwent a miraculous transformation. It's still human, that we know, but its chemistry is unlike any human body on Earth. (1Cor 15:50-53)
For another, Christ Jesus is not only human, but also divine (John 1:1, John 1:18, and Col 2:9). That alone would surely be enough to grant him some special privileges, and it does. For example: the angel Gabriel stands in the presence of God (Luke 1:19) while Christ Jesus the man is seated. (Ps 110:1, Col 3:1)