[From ws15/11 for Jan. 25-31]
“May the God of peace . . . equip you with every
good thing to do his will.”— He 13:20, 21
This entire article is based on the premise that Jesus has been ruling over the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses since 1914. For a Scriptural examination of the flaws in that belief, please read 1914 – A Litany of Assumptions.
The opening paragraph of this week’s study states that Jesus “spoke more about the Kingdom than about any other subject—referring to it more than 100 times during his ministry.” That would work out to a little over one mention every two weeks. I’m sure he spoke about it more than that, so perhaps the writer should have rephrased this as “He is recorded as referring to it more than 100 times.”
This may seem picky, but one must remember that we were told in the 2012 annual meeting that every issue of The Watchtower goes through dozens of reviews to ensure accuracy of even the smallest details before ever being printed and released to the public. This is meant to inspire unquestioning reliance on every word sounded down from the Governing Body.
Be that as it may, a quick scan of these 100+ mentions reveals a number of recurring phrases.
- The kingdom of the heavens
- The good news of the kingdom
- The sons of the kingdom
- The kingdom of God
Matthew prefers “kingdom of the heavens”, using it more than any other phrase; while Mark and Luke use “kingdom of God” most frequently.
From paragraphs 2 thru 9, we learn of early methods that the Bible Students used. A testimony card and the portable phonograph which played recordings of talks by Judge Rutherford.
Paragraphs 10 and 11 speak of the preaching that was effected by Russell and Rutherford through the use of newspapers and radio broadcasts.
Paragraph 12 covers public witnessing—still our mainstay—as well as the much more recent cart work.
Paragraph 13 introduces the preaching possible by using the JW.org website.
Paragraphs 14 thru 18 covers all the training Jehovah’s Witnesses receive for the preaching work.
Paragraph 19 concludes with these words:
“More than 100 years have elapsed since the birth of God’s Kingdom. Our King, Jesus Christ, continues to train us.…And how grateful we are that the God of peace continues to equip us for this most enjoyable work! Indeed, he gives us “every good thing” we need to do his will!”
This is a nice bookend to the thought expressed in paragraph 3: “So this vast preaching work would be carried out under his [Jesus’] direction. And our God has equipped us with “every good thing” to help us fulfill that commission.” All of which is consistent with the overall theme that for the past 100 years, Jesus has been ruling over the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
What History Teaches Us
Is this consistent with the historical facts? After all, we are attributing divine direction to all our work and any decision we’ve made is said to have come from Jesus himself.
According to our teaching, in 1919 Jesus chose us as a group and J. F. Rutherford and his supporters specifically to be his faithful and discreet slave. At this time, Rutherford was promoting the idea that millions then living would never die because the end would be coming in 1925. We excuse this by blaming human imperfection, but is it fair to do that while also claiming that all these decisions and training come from Jesus? We are saying that Jesus chose this man at a time when he was publicly promoting a falsehood that would lead to the disillusionment of tens of thousands and bring reproach on the preaching work. (From 1925 to 1928, memorial attendance fell from 90,000 to 17,000 as a direct result of this disappointment – Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pages 313 and 314)
Did Rutherford meet the Scriptural qualifications for being appointed as the faithful slave? (See Qualifications to Become God’s Channel of Communication)
Rutherford also introduced a clergy and laity class with his creation of a secondary group of Christians who are denied the hope of becoming God’s children. This is now the “good news of the kingdom” that we preach around the world. It is a false hope, yet we promote it in the name of Christ. Apparently, this is what Christ wants.
Since the article is directly referring to Jesus’ alleged direction of our Organization in the preaching work, we should recall that computers were discouraged for any theocratic activity and the internet was villified. Then, apparently, Jesus changed his mind, and suddenly the internet is the prime means for us to preach the good news.
During the 20th Century, Jesus, as the one supposedly directing the Organization, apparently felt the need to change the time frame of “this generation” (Mt 24:34) once per decade until finally telling us by the mid-1990s that it didn’t apply at all to a measurement of time. Then he changed his mind again in 2010 to tell us that a whole new definition of the word, never before encountered in Scripture, applied.
A good manager knows that those under his authority need a sense of stability. Constantly changing requirements dishearten and disillusion. Yet this is the pattern set by Jesus’ rulership over the past 100 years, if the allegations made in this Watchtower are to be accepted as true.
By claiming that Jesus is directing and training us, we put the responsibility on him for all these changes. Again, putting this down to merely the imperfection of men doesn’t work, because if Jesus is in charge and allows this type of conduct to go on for over a century, then ultimately, he is to blame.
It gets worse, because in addition to all the above, we are now told that the faithful and discreet slave Jesus identified for us starting back in the first century never ever was. Now we are told that the slave only came into existence in 1919 and consists of a small group of seven men. We are told that Jesus delights in these men and will appoint them over all his belongings when he returns. So despite all their “mistakes” he’s invested even more confidence in them.
Now Jesus, it seems, wants us to treat the word of this Governing Body as if it were his very own. We are told that God’s word and the publications are on par. (See Avoid Testing Jehovah in Your Heart) Each new teaching is treated as gospel, at least until it is abandoned for a newer version.
So, have we really been under Christ’s rulership for the past 101 years? Or is someone else ruling?