Friday, December 5, 2008

The Watchtower And The Old Testament

Has anyone ever noticed how the Watchtower Society or individual Witnesses always use Old Testament / Old Covenant analogies in support of the modern day organizational authority structure? This is known as using a "false analogy".
It is not a coincidence that virtually every cult-like pseudo-Christian group uses them to enforce its man made authority structure.
First of all, the Old Covenant with its structure of authority and worship was done away with when Christ ushered in the New Covenant. The New Testament repeatedly refers to Jesus as the one and only high priest. It also states that there is only one head of the congregation - Christ Jesus; not a ruling body of ten men.
One thing that is absolutely clear and unambiguous in the New Testament, is that there is no longer any kind of temple / priesthood arrangement mediating between people and God. The Scriptures are crystal clear in referring to Jesus as the one and only mediator. There is only one mediator; not 144,000.
What was also done away with was the Talmud under which the Jews were subject. The system of Talmudic legalism (where the Pharisees tacked on countless additional "laws" and rulings to established Scripture) was rebuked by Jesus and the Apostles. This form of worship was referred to as "burdensome".
Legalism was a reoccurring problem in the newly formed Christian congregations in the first century. Men continuously attempted to go beyond the Scriptures and enforce their own human laws, standards, and rules under the guise of "pure worship". One only has to read the book of Galatians to see that Paul was quite blunt and forceful in his rebuking this kind of attitude.
We also see throughout the writings of Paul (most notably in the book of Galatians) that he invalidated the Watchtower’s modern day concept of a centralized Governing Body. Raymond Franz wrote an entire chapter in his book In Search of Christian Freedom explaining (Scripturally) the fallacy of centralized ruling bodies of men.
The Watchtower likes to continuously use Old Covenant analogies because on the surface, they seem logical and applicable, and Scriptural. But, Christians are no longer under that kind of arrangement. The Christian congregation is not under any kind of human mediatorship or priesthood.
When any group repeatedly uses Old Testament / Old Covenant analogies to promote or rationalize their authoritarian / legalistic power structure; they are guilty of using false analogies, logical fallacies, sophistry, and mind control. All of this rhetoric stems from intellectual dishonesty, delusions of grandeur, spiritual elitism, and arrogance.

20 comments:

Shawn said...

Here's a great example of the Watchtower Society saying there was a governing body in the first century when there actually wasn't.

*** w87 8/1 p. 20 par. 19 Christ’s Active Leadership Today ***

19 Back in early Christian times, some decisions made by the governing body may have been hard to understand at the time. This was doubtless the case when Paul was sent back to Tarsus or when he was sent to the temple after his third missionary journey. (Acts 9:30; 21:23-25)
***

If you look up only the cited scriptures, you'll read:

(Acts 9:30) 30 When the brothers detected this, they brought him down to Caes‧a‧re′a and sent him off to Tarsus.

and

(Acts 21:23-25) 23 Therefore do this which we tell you: We have four men with a vow upon themselves. 24 Take these men along and cleanse yourself ceremonially with them and take care of their expenses, that they may have their heads shaved. And so everybody will know that there is nothing to the rumors they were told about you, but that you are walking orderly, you yourself also keeping the Law. 25 As for the believers from among the nations, we have sent out, rendering our decision that they should keep themselves from what is sacrificed to idols as well as from blood and what is strangled and from fornication.”


...which looks like Paul is being shipped here and there by some 'governing body'. However, like many misapplications of scripture, the surrounding context changes everything.

Let's read the context of the first citation.

(Acts 9:26-30) 26 On arriving in Jerusalem he made efforts to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a disciple. 27 So Bar′na‧bas came to his aid and led him to the apostles, and he told them in detail how on the road he had seen the Lord and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 And he continued with them, walking in and out at Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord; 29 and he was talking and disputing with the Greek-speaking Jews. But these made attempts to do away with him. 30 When the brothers detected this, they brought him down to Caes‧a‧re′a and sent him off to Tarsus.

The brothers weren't giving Paul some assignment, they were helping him escape attempts on his life.

The second cited scripture is even better.

(Acts 21:15-25) 15 Now after these days we prepared for the journey and began going up to Jerusalem. 16 But some of the disciples from Caes‧a‧re′a also went with us, to bring us to the man at whose home we were to be entertained, a certain Mna′son of Cy′prus, an early disciple. 17 When we got into Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 But on the following [day] Paul went in with us to James; and all the older men were present. 19 And he greeted them and began giving in detail an account of the things God did among the nations through his ministry. 20 After hearing this they began to glorify God, and they said to him: “You behold, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews; and they are all zealous for the Law. 21 But they have heard it rumored about you that you have been teaching all the Jews among the nations an apostasy from Moses, telling them neither to circumcise their children nor to walk in the [solemn] customs. 22 What, then, is to be done about it? In any case they are going to hear you have arrived. 23 Therefore do this which we tell you: We have four men with a vow upon themselves. 24 Take these men along and cleanse yourself ceremonially with them and take care of their expenses, that they may have their heads shaved. And so everybody will know that there is nothing to the rumors they were told about you, but that you are walking orderly, you yourself also keeping the Law. 25 As for the believers from among the nations, we have sent out, rendering our decision that they should keep themselves from what is sacrificed to idols as well as from blood and what is strangled and from fornication.”

The men who were telling Paul what to do were not giving him an assignment, Paul had just witnessed to them! These men were telling Paul how he could dispel the rumors about the things they heard he was teaching!

Sheeplike said...

Jesus IS the one mediator. Witnesses do not believe that the 144,000 are mediators also. The Bible does say that they serve as kings and priests over the earth.

The Catholics do, however, view their saints as mediators. When I was a Catholic, we were encouraged to pray to them.

What the Bible says is clear enough.

R said...

This is an excellent article. I have thought the same way about their use of Old Testament examples.

Ringwielder said...

Its all rules, rules, rules. Going beyond the Scriptures in order to control, under the guise of concern for the spirituality of the flock. According to the Watchtower, none of the brothers and sisters can be trusted to keep themselves on the path!

I wonder who keeps an eye on the spirituality of the Governing Body, because they sure have strayed from the Scriptures many times.

Sheeplike said...

The way I read the scriptures, it is clear that the 'older men' were supervising matters of concern in among the congregations.

Did they not assign servants to provide thing for the needy?

There is nothing SCRIPTURALLY WRONG in having a governing body in itself. If one of the governing body abused his position, he has to answer to the head of the congregation- Jesus.

Shawn said...

Sheeplike said...

Jesus IS the one mediator. Witnesses do not believe that the 144,000 are mediators also. The Bible does say that they serve as kings and priests over the earth.

The Catholics do, however, view their saints as mediators. When I was a Catholic, we were encouraged to pray to them.

What the Bible says is clear enough.
===================================

'Sheeplike', What the Bible says is clear enough, what the Watchtower Society says has nothing to do with the Bible. If Jesus is the one mediator, then why did the Watchtower Society print

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CjMob3YJal8/ST0WBZIfGeI/AAAAAAAAAb8/NCdaGoaiE2Y/s1600-h/Order.gif

this organizational chart in the Dec, 15th 1971 Watchtower?

The chart shows the following hierarchy:


Modern-Day Theocratic Organization of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses

JEHOVAH GOD
|
v
Jesus Christ
Head of the Christian Congregation
|
v
“Faithful and Discreet Slave” Class, whom Jesus has ‘appointed over all his belongings.’
—Matt. 24:45-47.

GOVERNING BODY
|
v
ELDERS in the Cong.
|
v
MINISTERIAL SERVANTS


The actual rank and file members aren't even listed as being part of this 'theocratic organization'! Do you see how the only people with access to Jesus Christ are the governing body?

This is just one aspect of the Watchtower Society's cult control techniques.

Shawn said...

Sheeplike said...

The way I read the scriptures, it is clear that the 'older men' were supervising matters of concern in among the congregations.

Did they not assign servants to provide thing for the needy?

There is nothing SCRIPTURALLY WRONG in having a governing body in itself. If one of the governing body abused his position, he has to answer to the head of the congregation- Jesus.

==================================

There is a huge difference between organizing the distribution of aid to needy persons in a congregation and a centralized governing body who makes doctrinal policy decisions for all Christians. The former existed among the first-century Christians and the latter did not.

There is something very scripturally wrong with this concept of a governing body. No where does Jesus say that he would use a centralized governing body to carry out His will. The apostle Paul recognized this when he penned these words in his second letter to the Corinthians...

(2 Corinthians 1:23-24) 23 Now I call upon God as a witness against my own soul that it is to spare YOU that I have not yet come to Corinth. 24 Not that we are the masters over YOUR faith, but we are fellow workers for YOUR joy, for it is by [YOUR] faith that YOU are standing.

Paul did not subscribe to the concept of some hierarchy of men, but that each Christian was a fellow worker of the other.

Certianly all of the members of the governing body have a lot to answer for to Jesus.

(Matthew 20:25-26) 25 But Jesus, calling them to him, said: “YOU know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them and the great men wield authority over them. 26 This is not the way among YOU;

Sure, the governing body call themselves 'slaves', but they continue to lord it over the flock, wielding great authority over their relationship with God and Christ. For example, take a look at this quote from the governing body...

*** w59 3/15 p. 170 par. 18 Keeping Strict Watch on How We Walk ***

What a calamity it would be to be disfellowshiped from Jehovah’s congregation and suffer eternal destruction!
***

Hmm, so if the governing body decides you should be disfellowshipped, that means you will suffer eternal destruction if you don't make nice with them.

*** w65 12/15 p. 751 par. 15 “We Should Not Neglect the House of Our God” ***

Disfellowshiping means the casting of a member out of God’s household; and if one should remain in this disfellowshiped condition till he died, it would mean his everlasting destruction as a person who is rejected by God.
***

Wow! The governing body has the authority to declare that you have been rejected by God!

What greater authority could someone wield over another other than the ability to put that person on God's 'kill list'?

The governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses is not a provision from God, but a vile perversion of Christianity.

trebor said...

Sheeplike said...
Jesus IS the one mediator.

According to the Watchtower Society in the book Worldwide Security Under the "Prince of Peace" on page 10 it states:

"Jesus Christ, is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Isreal, which is limited to only 144,000 members".

That is what Jehovah's Witnesses are taught. You may wish to believe differently, but the Watchtower Society makes it clear that Jesus is only Mediator to a 144,000 individuals.

trebor said...

Sheeplike said...
Jesus IS the one mediator. Witnesses do not believe that the 144,000 are mediators also

According to the Watchtower Society in the book Worldwide Security Under the "Prince of Peace" on page 10 it states:

Jesus Christ, is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Isreal, which is limited to only 144,000 members".

You may wish to believe differently, but Jehovah's Witnesses are taught to believe that Jesus is Mediator for a 144,000 individuals only.

Voice of Reason said...

Shawn, you keep getting things wrong.

"If Jesus is the one mediator, then why did the Watchtower Society print this organizational chart in the Dec, 15th 1971 Watchtower?"

"Modern-Day Theocratic Organization of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses"

That is not an organization chart, that is showing how the congregations are directed. From the top down.

"The actual rank and file members aren't even listed as being part of this 'theocratic organization'!"

That is because the rank and file do not teach in the congregation. That is what the chart is about.

All 7 million (including you) are in the theocratic organization. You are just a traitor among us.

Voice of Reason said...

Sheeplike,

Shawn is not concerned with what is scriptural.

Shawn has a seat of the pants theology.

He learns what Jehovah's Witnesses believe, and he takes the opposite stance, then he searches the WT publications and CD to find quotes.

Shawn said...

Voice of Reason said...

Shawn, you keep getting things wrong.

"If Jesus is the one mediator, then why did the Watchtower Society print this organizational chart in the Dec, 15th 1971 Watchtower?"

"Modern-Day Theocratic Organization of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses"

That is not an organization chart, that is showing how the congregations are directed. From the top down.

VoR - an organization chart shows how an organization is directed! First you say it isn't an org chart and then you offer the definition of an org chart to explain what it is.

Come on! The title of the graphic is "Modern-Day Theocratic Organization of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses"... followed by a chart of the organization.


"The actual rank and file members aren't even listed as being part of this 'theocratic organization'!"

That is because the rank and file do not teach in the congregation. That is what the chart is about.

Every one of Jehovah's Witnesses are involved in the teaching work. That org chart isn't about the teaching work, it's about the power structure of the Watchtower Society's organization.

All 7 million (including you) are in the theocratic organization. You are just a traitor among us.

Wrong again. I'm not part of the 7 million people held by the cult that the Watchtower Society runs. A traitor is a person who says one thing and does another. I've never done that. It's typical for those who have been indoctrinated by the Watchtower Society to label those who disagree with them as inherently wicked. The truth is that you simply don't like that I am telling people the truth about the organization that is robbing you of your Christian freedom by inserting themselves between you and Christ.

The org chart that I posted a link to has no basis in scripture. It is a complete and total fabrication by the Watchtower Society so that they can assume divine authority, which is a classic cult control technique.

Shawn said...

Voice of Reason said...

Sheeplike,

Shawn is not concerned with what is scriptural.

That's a funny thing for you to claim, since I often back up my comments with scripture and you never do.

Shawn has a seat of the pants theology.

He learns what Jehovah's Witnesses believe, and he takes the opposite stance, then he searches the WT publications and CD to find quotes.

Does it bother you VoR that I can support my claims with evidence? You should try it some time, you might have a little more credibility on this blog if you did. But no, you persist in name calling and character attacks which do absolutely nothing to support any of your claims.

Here's an example of how you, VoR, have made up Watchtower doctrine in some kind of attempt to defend your leaders. When someone asked

"If you could point me to the Scripture indicating that Jehovah's Witnesses/Watchtower/Rutherford were selected as God's Organization in 1918/1919, I would believe you."

...your response was...

"We don't say that is the case. We say that there has been a great cloud of witnesses since Abel."

Notice that there are no scriptures or citations, just a statement pulled out of thin air.

When I responded with a citation from the actual publications of the Watchtower Society...

"Really VoR, for you it's more of a fog than a cloud. Oh yeah... here's where the Watchtower Society disagrees with you...

*** w67 10/1 p. 590 par. 19 Finding Freedom with Jehovah’s Visible Organization ***

19 Evidences are now conclusive that Jesus Christ was enthroned in heaven in 1914 C.E. and that he accompanied Jehovah to his temple in 1918 C.E., when judgment began with the house of God. (1 Pet. 4:17) After cleansing those belonging to this house who were alive on earth, Jehovah poured out his spirit upon them and assigned them the responsibility of serving as his sole visible channel, through whom alone spiritual instruction was to come. Those who recognize Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization, therefore, must recognize and accept this appointment of the “faithful and discreet slave” and be submissive to it.
***"

...you resorted to an attempt at attacking my character...

"You have such a narrow perspective. That is what you get when you limit your information to that which is in the Watchtower."

VoR, try being honest about what the Watchtower Society teaches and maybe I won't have to point you to your own cult literature.

Voice of Reason said...

Shawn, FYI, the only ones who care about what the watchtower says is you. JWs don't.

Ringwielder said...

VOR said to Shawn

'All 7 million (including you) are in the theocratic organization. You are just a traitor among us'

On the contrary, it is you who are the traitor to your faith, coming here and constantly trying to refute what every other JW believes; that what the Organization determines is truth, IS TRUTH.

When I was a JW, if someone like you had come up to me in the Kingdom Hall and told me the things you post on here as your beliefs, I would have labeled you as bad association.

kevin said...

Sheeplike said...

"Jesus IS the one mediator. Witnesses do not believe that the 144,000 are mediators also. The Bible does say that they serve as kings and priests over the earth."

No, the Bible does NOT say that the 144,000 serve as kings and priests over the earth. Neither does it say that they are the bride of Christ, etc.

Shawn said...

Voice of Reason said...

Shawn, FYI, the only ones who care about what the watchtower says is you. JWs don't.
===================================

Just for the record, I'm not plural, but now's not the time to point out your consistently bad grammar, I guess.

Lots of rogue JWs, such as yourself try to claim that rank and file JWs only use the Bible and anything else printed Watchtower Society is incidental or insignificant.

Of course this isn't true. Many of the commenters on this and the other blogs you pollute were in fact JWs themselves and know that comments like yours are pure fabrication.

For those who have never been associated with the Watchtower Society's high-control group, take a look at the following quotes from their publications and determine for yourselves whether VoR's comment holds water.


*** km 3/94 p. 1 pars. 1-4 Hold Fast the Public Declaration of Your Hope Without Wavering ***

1 The Watchtower Study is the primary means by which spiritual “food at the proper time” is provided for God’s people today. (Matt. 24:45) We attend this important meeting with two main objectives—to be built up spiritually and to make public declaration of our hope to others.—Heb. 10:23-25.

2 Benefiting Ourselves: It is estimated that in most congregations only a third of the audience study the lesson in advance. About the same number share in commenting. The solid spiritual food presented in the Watchtower Study cannot be fully assimilated during the meeting itself. You need to set aside time to study the material in advance.

3 When preparing for the study, you may find it helpful first to read and think about the questions in the box near the end of the article. These can help focus your attention on the main points to be considered in the lesson.

4 During the study listen carefully to what is said. Pay attention to the conductor’s opening remarks; these comments set the stage for the study. He may raise three or four questions that will be answered, or he may review some highlights from last week’s lesson if this week’s is a continuation of the same subject. If there is some adjustment in our understanding of a Bible prophecy or a Scriptural principle, he will call this to our attention.
***

*** km 5/83 pp. 1-2 par. 5 Bearing Witness to the Truth ***

5 Since The Watchtower is a primary channel for dispensing the truth to others, we need to be well acquainted with each magazine we present. This means reading it through first and then looking for points we would like to use in the field. In each issue we can find points that tie in with our Topic for Conversation. If the scriptures we use are mentioned in an article, we have a natural and effective bridge for our presentation.
***

*** w06 10/1 p. 13 Jehovah Helped Me Meet Life’s Challenges ***

We also received strength from the Watchtower magazine that we received right after the tragedy. It contained an article dealing with personal trials, including bereavement, and showed how trials can help us to develop such godly qualities as endurance, faith, and integrity.—James 1:2-4.
***

*** w06 12/1 p. 14 Our Fight to Stay Spiritually Strong ***

Upon my return to prison, my Witness cell mates were eager to know what things had recently been published. How happy I was that I had carefully studied the Watchtower magazine and had regularly attended the meetings, so that I could be a source of spiritual encouragement to them!
***

*** w02 11/15 p. 8 Do Not Give Up Meeting Together ***

Most congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses meet three times a week. One meeting is a public lecture on a subject of current interest. It is followed by a study based on a Bible theme or prophecy, using the Watchtower magazine as source material.
***

*** w01 6/1 p. 25 Joyous and Thankful Despite Heartbreaking Loss ***

During the early months when there were no other Witnesses, George and I maintained our spirituality by holding all the regular Christian meetings. In addition, we followed a diligent program every Monday night of studying the lesson in the Watchtower magazine and doing our Bible reading. We also read all issues of The Watchtower and Awake! as soon as we received them.
***

*** w01 7/1 pp. 11-12 par. 17 Rejoice in the Knowledge of Jehovah ***

17 Further, think of the blessing that we have in our multiracial brotherhood! “The faithful and discreet slave” supplies spiritual food at the proper time, including Bibles, magazines, and other publications in a multitude of languages. (Matthew 24:45-47) At congregation meetings during the year 2000, Jehovah’s Witnesses in many lands reviewed highlights from eight major books of the Hebrew Scriptures. They meditated on the lives of 40 Bible characters discussed in Insight on the Scriptures. They considered about one fourth of the book The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived and almost the entire book Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! Thirty-six secondary articles were considered from the Watchtower magazine in addition to 52 study articles. Furthermore, Jehovah’s people were nourished with 12 issues of Our Kingdom Ministry and weekly public talks on a variety of Bible subjects. What a wealth of spiritual knowledge has been made available!
***

*** w99 5/15 p. 17 par. 10 Keep On Walking in Jehovah’s Way ***

10 The ‘word behind us’ also comes by means of “the faithful and discreet slave,” who supplies “food at the proper time.” (Matthew 24:45-47) One way this food is supplied is in printed Bible-based publications, and in recent years this food supply has been abundant. For example, through the Watchtower magazine, our understanding of prophecy has been refined.
***

So I guess Jehovah's Witnesses who aren't making up Watchtower Society doctrine out of thin air and posting it on blogs actually do care about what the Watchtower Society prints.

Voice of Reason said...

Ringwielder,

I don't refute what every other JW believes.

The only JW here is Sheeplike. Others like Shawn, etc are inactive JWs and don't know what JWs really believe. (if they did they would not be inactive, they would be serving with us).

The organization does not determine what is truth. All 7 million are the organization. The administration of the earthly part of Jehovah's organization is in Bethel. They do not determine the truth. The truth just is.

"When I was a JW, if someone like you had come up to me in the Kingdom Hall and told me the things you post on here as your beliefs, I would have labeled you as bad association. "

And you would be called a hard nosed elder or a bible study. Either case you are not a good Witness yourself.

Voice of Reason said...

"No, the Bible does NOT say that the 144,000 serve as kings and priests over the earth. Neither does it say that they are the bride of Christ, etc. "

The Bible does not say it because you have to read it. An mp3 of the Bible says it though.

The Bible wrote in Rev 5:9,10
"You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”"

Jesus bought person to be kings and priests with him. Those are not the ones on the earth as they rule over the earth.

If the 144,000 are not the bride of Christ, then what does it matter if they are virgins?

Rev 14:4 "These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. "

Since Jesus, the bridgegroom, is the high priest, his bride must be a virgin.

kevin said...

VOR said,

"The Bible does not say it because you have to read it. An mp3 of the Bible says it though."

"The Bible wrote in Rev 5:9,10"

The Bible didn't write. The Bible writers wrote.

"You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”"

This supports my position, not yours. The 144,000 are not sealed from "every tribe and tongue and people and nation." They are sealed from the 12 tribes of Israel.

"If the 144,000 are not the bride of Christ, then what does it matter if they are virgins?"

I don't know why their being virgins is significant. This virginity is probably physical, as no son of Adam, other than Christ, was a virgin spiritually (we are all sinners). If physical, then this virginity cannot be a prerequisite for being a member of the body of Christ, since Peter was married, etc.