Trusting a Deceitful Organization

How much trust can you put in an organization? For many Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower Society is believed to be Jehovah’s organization in which they are to put their blind loyalty in for divine guidance:

In the preceding article, we learned that our trust in Jehovah is manifested when we turn to him in prayer, when we seek direction from his Word, and when we look to his organization for guidance” (The Watchtower, September 1, 2003, 13)

In 2012, the Watchtower announced its adjustment in its doctrine of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ declaring that:

The evidence points to the following conclusion: “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.” (Annual Meeting Report 20102).

This unscriptural designation of a “class” of men as making up the faithful and discreet slave is primarily aimed at upholding the concept of a centralized authority vested by power from above. This is the means by which the governing body wields control over JWs by demanding their loyalty and submission.

This belief is aimed at diminishing individual discernment, faith, responsibility and discretion and elevating the Governing Body to a divine plane as The Watchtower bluntly puts it: “the faithful and discreet slave is directly under the control of Jesus Christ.” (March 15, 2002, p. 14)

But there are three major historical incidents that shatter these hallowed claims appropriated by Watchtower leadership into bits.

  1. The Society’s support of the Nazis

The Watchtower loves to attack Christendom for colluding with Hitler while mining a huge moral capital for itself by citing the resilience of many JWs who were imprisoned and killed for refusing to compromise their neutrality. But they are silent about how Joseph Rutherford had initially praised Hitler for his antagonism against the Jews and the Anglo-American empire.

Rutherford not only hated Christendom, he also promoted anti-Semitism and denounced Anglo-American empire as “the most oppressive empire on earth.” This is one of the areas where he dissented from his predecessor, Charles Russell, who was a Zionist.

Due to the refusal of many Jehovah’s Witnesses to offer their loyalty to the government or serve in the armed forces, in 1933, the Watchtower office in Berlin was closed and JWs were banned in several German states.

To appease Hitler into lifting the ban, Rutherford drafted a Declaration of Facts and sent a letter to Hitler, stating the Watchtower support for the Nazi regime. A part of the letter translated into English reads:

The Brooklyn headquarter of the Watchtower Society is pro-German in an exemplary way and has been so for many years. For that reason, in 1918, the president of the Society and seven members of the board of directors were sentenced to 80 years in prison, because the president refused to use two of the magazines published in America under his direction for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, “The Watchtower” and “Bible Student” were the only magazines in America which refused to engage in anti-German propaganda

“The enclosed declaration underlines this fact and emphasizes that the people leading in such propaganda (Jewish businessmen and Catholics) also are the most rigorous persecutors of the work of our Society and its board of directors…

“The conference of five thousand delegates also noted – as is expressed in the declaration – that the Bible Researchers in Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator.”

The Declaration of Facts was reprinted in their 1934 Yearbook where they stated that: “Instead of being against the principles advocated by the government of Germany, we stand squarely for such principles” (pp. 134-138, English edition).

The above letter in support of Hitler was also mentioned in the Watchtower Yearbook of 1974 (p. 111), yet in a gross display of hypocrisy and revisionism, the Watchtower chided church officials for not writing letters of protests against the Nazis as Jehovah’s Witnesses did in Germany! (The WT., October 1, 2011, p. 14).

  1. The betrayal of the Malawians

In 1964 (as well as 1970s and 1980s), Jehovah’s Witnesses in Malawi were heavily persecuted and harassed for their political neutrality. According to the Watchtower:

“It is because Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to buy the Malawi Congress Party Card. This card declares the holder to be a member of the ruling political party of Malawi. But for Jehovah’s Witnesses to buy a political card and thus join a political party would be an open denial of what they believe and stand for.” (Awake! August 8, 1976, p. 5)

Thousands of Malawian JWs were brutally tortured and killed for their loyalty to the Watchtower doctrine. In each wave of violence, beatings, torture and even murder went virtually unchecked by the authorities. Raymond Franz wrote:

“In the first attack, 1,091 Malawi families saw their little homes burned or otherwise demolished with 588 fields of crops destroyed. In the 1967 attacks, Witnesses reported the raping of more than one thousand of their women, one mother being sexually violated by six different men, her 13 year old daughter by three men” (Crisis of Conscience, 1983 p. 112).

Yet, the Governing Body took an opposite position when a similar situation occurred at about the same time in Mexico.

At the time, the men of draft age were required to undergo a specified period of military training for one year. On completion of service young men would receive a certificate or “Cartilla” noting down their attendance at weekly military instruction classes.

Like the card used in Malawi, the “Cartilla” was required for transactions such as obtaining a passport or driver’s license and it was illegal for officials to fill in the attendance record if the registrant has not attended, but officials could be bribed to do so. This was what many JWs did.

The Governing Body of the Watchtower Society ruled that:

If members of the military establishment are willing to accept such an arrangement upon the payment of a fee then that is the responsibility of these representatives of the national organization. In such a case the money paid does not go to the military establishment, but is appropriated by the individual who undertakes the arrangement. If the conscience of certain brothers allow them to enter into such an arrangement for their continued freedom, we have no objection” (Letter to Mexico Branch Committee, June 2, 1960, reproduced by Raymond Franz in Crisis of Conscience p. 121).

In other words, Malawian Witnesses were hypocritically forced to uphold a higher standard than was expected of those in Mexico. No thanks to the Governing Body with its surprising detours and contradictory stances. The Watchtower used their (apparently inferior) African followers as bullocks to be sacrificed to uphold their image.

  1. The secret league with the United Nations

For decades, the Watchtower Society has launched its missiles against the United Nations, identifying it as an anti-Christ organization, the image of the wild beast and Satan organization set up against Jehovah and his witnesses.

“No, the UN is not a blessing, even though the religious clergy of Christendom and the rabbis of Jewry pray heaven’s blessings upon that organization. It is reallythe image of the wild beast,” the visible political and commercial organization of “the god of the system of things,” Satan the Devil. So the UN will soon be destroyed along with that beastly organization” (The WT 1984, Sep. 15, p. 15)

“The United Nations is actually a worldly confederacy against Jehovah God and his dedicated Witnesses on earth.” (The WT, 1987, Sep. 1, p. 20).

But, in October 2001, a stunning revelation emerged that the Watchtower Society had been an associate NGO with the United Nations since 1992! In 1991, the Watchtower Society applied to be a NGO associate of the UN and their application was being renewed annually. Few days after it became public knowledge that they were working with the UN, the Society pulled out of the alliance.

Stephen Bates, a correspondent with The Guardian (UK), was the first to expose this astonishing hypocrisy on October 8, 2001:

“The United Nations is being asked to investigate why it has granted associate status to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the fundamentalist US-based Christian sect, which regards it as the scarlet beast predicted in the Book of Revelation. Disaffected members of the 6 million-strong group, which has 130,000 followers in the UK, have accused the Witnesses’ elderly governing body of hypocrisy in secretly accepting links with an organization that they continue to denounce in apocalyptic terms. The UN itself admitted yesterday that it was surprised that the sect whose formal name is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, had been accepted on its list of non-governmental organizations for the last 10 years.”

Again, we are confronted with the unjust double standards which the Watchtower holds for itself. No JW is allowed to work even as a janitor for any political or worldly organization such as the UN. To do so would be a violation of their theocratic “neutrality” and will result in one being disfellowshipped.

Yet, this same Watchtower Society was in partnership with the very organization which they said is as an anti-Christ organization, founded by Satan himself – and they even went ahead to mislead their followers when their affiliation with the UN became public knowledge.

These are simply inexcusable stances showing an organization under the control of the father of lies and hence cannot produce divine guidance. The lives and overall well-being of many JWs all around the world are being sacrificed on the altar of the Watchtower leadership which lives above its own austere diktats.

Jesus descried them perfect: “For they say but do not practice what they say. They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger … Blind guides, who strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel!” (Matthew 23: 3-4, 24)

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A Call for True Worship

temple

The church today is fraught with a prevalence of mixtures – a mixture of good and evil; mixture of truth and falsehood; a mixture of spirits (the Holy Spirit and unholy spirits); mixture of law and grace; and a mixture of God’s children with the slaves of Satan.

These dubious mixtures are the underlying reasons behind the confusion, doubt, divisions and spiritual pollution among many Christians. The powerlessness and ineffectiveness of the Faith in this century can be traced to a blurring of spiritual lines; iron has been mixed with clay.

The enemy we were fighting on the front lines has not only entered the vineyard through the backdoor, but is also launching his missiles from within.

Even from church history, it’s clear that some of the very issues that prompted the Protestant Reformation – authoritarianism, image worship, relics, replacement of Christ with men, legalism – have all found their ways back into several Christian denominations today, though, in a more trendy and enticing form.

Indeed, we are fighting the same theological battles at each generation of the church. The very compromise with paganism that caused problems for first century Corinthian Christians has re-emerged as ecumenism and interfaith which is sinking some mainline denominations today.

The strange mixture of Judaism and Christianity which deceived many Christians in Galatia in the first century is still with us today as the “Sacred Name/Hebrew Roots” Movement.

The message to the church of Laodicea in the first century is still very relevant to several churches in our land today where colourful entertainment, pop psychology, syrupy “all-about-me” teachings and jamborees have drowned out the still voice of the Holy Spirit calling for repentance.

From Scripture, we see that God hates any worship that is a mixture. Jesus said “God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24). God seeks true and spiritual worship. He has no regard for those who mix their worship with the leaven of falsehood or filth of the flesh.

In Deut. 22:9, God warned His people, “Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.”

Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together” (vs. 10)

Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together” (vs. 11)

The principle conveyed by these prohibitions is that when we serve the Lord, we should not mix two different types of things. We are not to sow a mixed seed, which represent a message comprising of both truth and error.

To allow mixed livestock to breed can represent a Christian group aligning itself with another group that is not Christian. Mating a sheep with a goat will result in sterility and possibly a malformed creature. When a church unequally yokes itself to a false religion, even for positive purposes, it results in spiritual fruitlessness.

To wear a garment of mixed material is like living simultaneously in accord with Scripture and in accord with the pattern of this world. This is the hallmark of spiritual confusion.

All through the ages down to the present day, people don’t always reject God outright; rather, they mix some falsehoods into their worship of God. Satan knows too well that if he can’t get you to forsake God, but encourage you to absorb some strange and impure things into your service, it will be rejected and you will lose out in the end.

Even the nation of Israel made a golden calf they still appended Yahweh to it: “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD” (Ex. 32:5). These were the same people who had witnessed supernatural miracles by the hand of God, yet they became so blinded by the devil that they effortlessly called a debased work of their hands their God. About 3,000 of them died for this abomination.

During their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites carried the tabernacle of God, but they added “the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship” (Acts 7:43; Amos 5:26). For this, God dealt with them.

In 2 Kings 17:32-33, we read about the nations living in Bethel:

They worshiped the LORD, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.”

Doesn’t that sound like many contemporary Christians from various pagan cultures? They fear the Lord in appearance, in words and even occupy high positions in their churches, yet they still send money to priests who perform pagan rituals on their behalf; they still partake in family/communal pagan rites; they still pay homage to the gods of their ancestors and participate in pagan festivals.

In the time of Ezekiel, God transported the prophet in the spirit from Babylon to see what was happening in His temple in Jerusalem. He saw “an idol of jealousy” (possibly an obelisk) right at the entrance of the gate. He “saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel.”

He saw “seventy elders of the house of Israel … each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising” to pagan deities. He “saw women sitting there weeping for Tammuz [a fertility god] … between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men … they were bowing down to the sun in the east” (Ezk. 8:10-11, 14, 16).

This was a pagan gathering of a second degree. The people had turned the Temple that was once filled with God’s glory into a filthy shrine. Mind you, all these pagan rites were being practiced while the Ark of the Covenant – the token of God’s glory – was sitting right in the Holy of Holies. What a deliberate insult to God!

To numb their conscience, these abominable practitioners were saying, “The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land,” just the same way many today who profess Jesus in the open think God doesn’t hear the strange names they chant with their lips in the corner of their bedrooms.

They think He doesn’t see the strange places they visit for power and inquiries to find missing items. They think He doesn’t know of the occult rings, ointments, books waistbands, talisman, incisions and New Age medicine they resort to when they feel God is not answering their prayers when and how they wish.

When God could no longer tolerate the defilement in His temple in Ezekiel’s time, His glory finally departed from there and His judgement descended on them (see chapters 9-11). All these show that God is never pleased with worship that is a mixture; He wants pure worship.

The inebriated King Belshazzar learned this the hard way. He held a great banquet for his nobles, wives and concubines, then gave orders for the golden goblets that had been consecrated to Yahweh and taken from the Temple in Jerusalem to be used for drinking their wine.

No, this wasn’t an ordinary banquet; it was a pagan gathering: “As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone” (Dan. 5:4). It was a worship of mixture – worshipping demon gods using vessels dedicated to God – and suddenly, he received his sentence from above. His life was taken and his kingdom was given to another.

In the days of prophet Zephaniah, God pronounced His judgement upon “those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, but also swear by Milcom [or Molech]” (Zeph. 1:5)

Prophet Jeremiah had to challenge the people “who come through these gates to worship the LORD” and had mixed in pagan rituals, “You are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. Will you … burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘we are safe’…? (Jer. 7:2, 8-10)

God will never accept a defiled or corrupted worship. That was why Elijah had to call out to the people of God: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God follow him” (1 Kgs. 18:21)

Of course, Baal is still active an operative in our world today; he is a god with almost a thousand faces. He is in the fashion world; he’s in pornography; he is in the gay movement; he’s in the corporate world; he’s in abortion; he is in polytheism; he is in lasciviousness; he’s in erotic novels and musicals; he is in drunkenness; he’s in paedophilia; he even manifests as the false Christ in cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Catholicism etc.

In the New Testament, the church in Pergamum is a case in point. This church was located in a rich ancient Greek city which was “where Satan has his throne.” In this city was built a shrine to Asclepius, the Greek god of healing and occult medicine, and it was considered one of the most famous therapeutic and healing centers of the Roman world.

The church in Pergamum was so invaded by pagan delusions that many believers there were eating food sacrificed to idols and embraced Gnostic teachings. Jesus’ message to them was stern and straight to the point: “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Rev. 2:16).

That doesn’t sound like the cheap grace teaching emanating from some pulpits today. All through Scripture, we can see that God will never accept a movement, church, doctrine or religious system that is founded on imprudent mixtures.

God wants His people to part ways totally with any ties to the god of the world. That is why He calls His people out of false worship and pagan religions into true worship. Samuel told the Israelites:

“If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you…” (1 Sam. 7:3)

This is the same admonition given to the Corinthian believers. We cannot drink from the table of the Lord and also from the table of demons. There is no agreement between Christ and Belial; no fellowship between light and darkness.

We are to renounce all evil works and links with Satan’s kingdom – no matter what “benefit” they seem to offer – and be totally committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.