Who Mediates for the “Great Crowd”?

The key to reaching Jehovah’s Witnesses is by asking them the right questions that will get their thinking wheels spinning. This is because their mode of brainwashing is often so thorough that it’s almost difficult to reach them by engaging them in a Bible verse shooting contest. I’ve walked that path before and I can tell you it leads nowhere.

The right questions are aimed at making them realise that what the Watchtower Society teaches doesn’t agree with the Bible. That should be the crux of your arguments. If you ask the wrong questions (e.g. “Why don’t you people preach about heaven?” or “Why do you reject blood transfusion?”) or make direct attacks (e.g “You guys are rank heretics”), you will likely get into a Bible ping pong game that will leave both parties exhausted and exasperated.

Many Christians have missed vital witnessing opportunities because of negative attitudes. An informed, tactful and respectful approach to Jehovah’s Witnesses will work better than a bullying, aggressive and demeaning attitude.

Sadly, I’ve listened to Christians (even pastors) boast of how they shouted on and talked down at JWs and even banned them from coming to their houses! That is not only a display of immaturity and insecurity, it’s also unchristian.

The more we do that, the more we reinforce the negative ideas drilled into their minds about “Christendom” (a rather derogatory term JWs use for Christianity) and convince them of their errors. A better approach can start out by asking them, “What would you do if you found out that what the Watchtower teaches is not what the Bible teaches? Who would you obey? Jehovah God or the Watchtower?”

When you use the term “Jehovah God,” it resonates with them. This question is to probe the JW’s readiness to find the truth. Look for his/her reaction. If he admits he is willing to obey God, proceed. If he says it’s the Society he wants to go with or refuses to answer the question, you may have a tough one on your hands.

The Mediator role of Christ is an example to use. Paraphrase 1 Timothy 2:5-6 and ask, “Is Jesus your Mediator?” He will answer “Yes.” Tell him that Jesus is also your Mediator. You both agree on that after all, God’s inspired Word says so. You can then inform them, “But the Watchtower says Jesus is mediator only for the 144,000.”

Here are some quotes:

The red wine represents Jesus’ blood. That blood makes valid the new covenant. Jesus said that his blood is poured out “for forgiveness of sins.” Humans can thus become clean in God’s eyes and can enter into the new covenant with Jehovah. (Hebrews 9:14; 10:16, 17) This covenant, or contract, makes it possible for 144,000 faithful Christians to go to heaven. There they will serve as kings and priests for the blessings of mankind …

“Who should partake of these Memorial emblems? Logically, only those in the new covenant – that is, those who have the hope of going to heaven – should partake of the bread and wine” (What Does the Bible Really Teach? 2005, 207)

After instituting the Lord’s Evening Meal, Jesus made a covenant. (Read Luke 22:28-30.) Unlike other covenants, in which Jehovah is one of the parties to the covenant, this is a personal covenant between Jesus and his anointed followers. Thus, the Kingdom covenant is made with the 144,000 anointed Christians” (The Watchtower October 2014, par. 15-16).

He mediates the new covenant between God and those taken into the new covenant, the congregation of spiritual Israel. (Heb. 8:10-13; 12:24; Eph. 5:25-27) … Holding the offices of Mediator and High Priest, Jesus Christ, being immortal, is always alive and able to plead for those of spiritual Israel approaching God through him, so that he can mediate the new covenant until these persons receiving his mediatorial assistance are saved completely. (Heb. 7:24, 25)” (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2:360-363).

From these quotes, it can be seen that while the Bible says Jesus is our Mediator, the Watchtower says He only mediates for the 140,000 ‘anointed class.’ Unless the JW at your door is part of the ‘spiritual Israel,’ according to the Society, he is wrong to say Jesus is his Mediator.

This takes the question back and the Witness realises this contradiction. You can ask them, “If Jesus mediates for only 144,000 people, who then mediates for the ‘great crowd?’ Actually, the great crowd have to look up to the ‘spiritual Israel’ i.e. Watchtower Society as mediators:

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. – Matthew 4:4; John 17:3.” (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, 362, par. 2)

In other words, those making up the faithful slave have one mediator (Jesus) but all other JWs have the 144,000 (anointed class) as mediators. So the relationship of the great crowd Witnesses with God and their receipt of God’s blessings depend on their relationship with the 144,000 elites. This is as far from the Bible as the North pole is from the South pole.

If Jesus became the “mediator of a new covenant” (Heb. 9:15) by His blood and His shed blood made forgiveness of sin possible, by claiming He is Mediator of only 144,000 people, the Watchtower leadership is implicitly teaching that Christ’s ransom and all its benefits apply only to the ‘spiritual Israel.’ Of course, the Bible never taught that Jesus died for only 144,000 people. The blood of His covenant applies to as many receive Him, making the forgiveness of sin possible (Heb. 7:25; 9:22; 1 Tim. 2:6 etc).

If the Witness is still not convinced of the deviation of Watchtower leadership from God’s inspired Word, you can use the crucifixion and bodily resurrection of Christ to establish your arguments. Encourage him/her to study further if not persuaded. They must reach the point where they will choose between following God’s inspired Word or the uninspired Watchtower Society.

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Tested and Found Wanting!

Every industry has a quality control section. There, the shelf-life, microbial load, purity and safety levels of the product are assessed. There is usually a standard chart against which the product’s qualities are compared. If there is a breach in this process, it poses a great danger to the consumers and the integrity of the organization will plummet.

In the field of religion, the testing of truth claims is essential. The more gnomic the claims religious leaders make, the more they should be held up to scrutiny. The Watchtower Society is one organization headed by a Governing Body with such exclusive claims:

“[W]hen the Master arrived, he found his faithful slave conscientiously feeding the domestics as well as preaching the good news. Greater responsibility now awaited that slave. Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matthew 24:4) Jesus did this in 1919, after the slave had passed through a period of testing” (The Watchtower, March 1, 2004, 12).

“While all anointed Christians collectively form God’s household, there is abundant evidence that Christ chose a small number of men out of the slave class to serve as a visible governing body. The early history of the congregation shows that the 12 apostles, including Matthias, were the foundation of the first-century governing body” (The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, 11).

“Naturally, all elders must submit to Christ’s right hand of control, guidance, and direction, which he exercises by means of the spirit and the spirit-begotten members of the Governing Body” (The Watchtower August 1, 1987, 19).

It’s on the bases of their claims as God “faithful and discreet slave,” “Christ’s right hand of control” and “spirit begotten” successors of the 12 apostles that the Watchtower leadership demands blind loyalty and absolute obedience from millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide. JWs are forbidden to pit their reasoning, opinions, personal feelings or harbour private understanding of the Bible against this Society.

They are not allowed to test this authoritarian leadership; they have no quality standard to asses whether they are being led by true or false leaders but are made to believe that everyone outside “Jehovah’s organization” is a false teacher:

No matter what false teachers may say, we must not follow them! Why go to such dried up wells, only to be deceived and disappointed? Instead, let us be determined to remain loyal to Jehovah and to the organization…” (The Watchtower, July 2011, 17).

By using pronouns “we” and “us” the Watchtower subtly conditions JWs into a groupthink. Since the Witness has already taken the epistemological leap of embracing the Society as Jehovah’s organization, he/she is precluded from asking the real questions: What really makes our leaders true teachers and the outsiders false? Where are the “abundant evidence” underpinning the Watchtower leadership’s special claims?

In a study edition of The Watchtower, they are told:

How can we protect ourselves against false teachers? The Bible’s counsel regarding how to deal with them is clear. (Read Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11) “Avoid them,” says God’s Word. Other translations render the phrase “turn away from them,” “keep away from them,” and “stay away from them.” There is nothing ambiguous about that inspired counsel” (July 15, 2011, 16).

Notice that the real question has been moved back one step: how to detect false teachers. If we are directly warned to avoid them, then there must be ways to identify them before we turn away from them. The Watchtower magazine was curiously silent about this crucial aspect. That’s not a coincidence; it’s a tactic of institutional self-preservation.

It further says: “When we learn that Jehovah disapproves of something that we enjoy, for example, our initial reaction might be to rebel. That indicates that we need to make progress in the realm of being “ready to obey.” (James 3:17) In this article, we will review a few areas in which our willingness to fit in with God’s purpose to be obedient from the heart – would be put to test” (p. 28).

Nothing is still said about how false teachers can be discerned, instead, the moral responsibility of being “put to the test” is shifted back on the individual JW to “keep pace with Jehovah’s organization” (p. 29). The words “put to test” comes from Revelation 2:2 which says:

“I know your deeds and your labor and endurance and that you put those to the test who say they are apostles; but they are not and you found them liars” (NWT).

This verse unequivocally stresses the necessity of Christians to test those who claim to be apostles, yet the magazine doesn’t quote it. The term apostle means “a sent one” and it’s technically identical to the claims made by Watchtower leaders – of being Jehovah’s mouthpiece and “the faithful slave” sent by Christ to feed the people. If they were truly appointed by Christ since 1919 then they must be tested just as the early Christians tested those claiming to be apostles. And if found to be liars, they should be rejected.

Until a Jehovah’s Witness does this, he/she has no yardstick of determining whether he has been feeding on pure lies or a mixture of truth and lies. But Watchtower leaders don’t want to tested and found wanting, so they de-emphasize Revelation 2:2 in their materials such that JWs will seldom encounter it let alone apply it – unless they directly read the Bible. The Watchtower 2006 library CD shows that Revelation 2:2 has been quoted a total of only six times in Watchtower literature from 1950-2006.

In almost every instance, the text is so remotely interpreted that its real meaning is somewhat muddled. Below are 3 examples of their explanations after quoting the verse:

(I) “We can see that the apostles, during the ‘last hour’ of apostolic care on earth, stood in the way, preventing the organizing of the ‘mystery of this lawlessness’ into a corporate body, the ‘man of lawlessness’ (The Watchtower April 15, 1957, 253).

In the verse Jesus was commending the Ephesian believers for testing those claiming to be false apostles. But The Watchtower avoids talking about this but applies it to a singular figure: “the man of lawlessness.”

(II) “Faithful ones soon find that the speech and conduct of these deceivers do not ring true. Like the Ephesians, Christians today “cannot bear bad men” so they disfellowship them from their congregations” (Revelation – Its Grand Climax at Hand! 1988, 34).

They deflected the verse to apply to individuals who didn’t claim to be Christ’s right hand of control or Spirit anointed leaders instead of the Governing Body of the Society.

(III) “Today, congregations of Jesus’ true followers have a similar record of good deeds, hard work and endurance. They do not put up with false brothers who want to be viewed as apostles. (2 Corinthians 11:13, 26) Like the Ephesians, loyal Christians today “cannot bear bad men.” To maintain the purity of Jehovah’s worship and to protect the congregation, therefore, they do not extend the hand of fellowship to unrepentant apostates” – Galatians 2:4, 5; 2 John 8-11 (The Watchtower May 15, 2003, 12)

Again, the text is flipped around and placed on ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses (“apostates”). But these individuals have not claimed to be apostles or their successors. For some people to have claimed to be apostles in the 1st century implied they were in leadership positions so what we see here is a classic shell game to hide the truth.

People who make special claims must be tested and critically assessed before being accepted as true teachers/leaders. The Bible is clear on this testing:

a) Deut. 18:22 says “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.” Leaders who truly speaking for God give accurate prophecies, but the Watchtower leadership have given many false prophecies.

b) Gal. 1:8 says “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” The Gospel revolves around the death and resurrection of Christ but Watchtower leadership preaches a false gospel and a false Christ.

c) Isa. 8:20 says “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” True teachers teach in harmony with the Bible, whereas Watchtower leadership teach doctrines that conflict with plain Bible teachings.

d) Matt. 7:15-16 say “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them….” True teachers bear godly fruit but Watchtower leadership has historically and presently borne the fruitage of falsehood, hypocrisy, cruelty, sexual depravity and hate.

e) 1 Pet. 5:3 says to church leaders: “not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” Godly leaders lead by example, personal growth and gentleness, but the Watchtower leadership lords it over JWs, binding heavy burdens on them, forbidding them from independent thinking and holding their leaders accountable.

An outgrowth of all man-centred, authoritarian leaderships is exemplified by the Society’s desperate efforts at mentally and spiritually subjugating JWs, demanding they have “complete confidence” in whatever the organization reveals. This is like consuming food and drinks that haven’t passed through quality control on the leverage of blind faith and sentiment. The spiritual consequences of such stupor is perilous.