God’s Kingdom Society: A Watchtower Surrogate

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My friend, Dexter, sent me an audio clip of a monthly radio program sponsored by the friends of God’s Kingdom Society.

The station minister, Emmanuel Oriaku, was on air to disseminate their teachings and the line was opened for listeners to call in at the end of the program.

Before I proceed to respond to some of the things he said, I need to give a brief history of this religious group.

The God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) is a sect that broke away from the Jehovah’s Witness religion. It was founded in 1934 in Nigeria by Gideon M. Urhobo (1903-1952) a former Jehovah’s Witness (JW).

GKS has become one of the larger offshoots from JWs with followers in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Benin, North America and England.

Urhobo claimed to receive a vision from Jesus in 1933 “to proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom to all nations as the only remedy for all human sufferings and woes…and to expose all the false doctrines which Satan had used to deceive the people.”

Thereafter, he became a Jehovah’s Witness and a Watchtower Society representative in Nigeria.

He soon disagreed with their teachings regarding marriage, the Memorial celebration, the 144,000 heavenly class, their failed predictions and their name “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” and broke away in 1934 to form his own sect.

When we have surrogate sects that have splintered from a pre-existing curious sect, they usually contain a derivative and successive theological, Christological, soteriological and eschatological views.

Therefore, once you have understood the falsehoods inherent in Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrines and their method of eisegesis (flawed Bible interpretation), you won’t be swayed by the teachings espoused by the God’s Kingdom Society.

Now, back to the audio clip, the words of Emmanuel Oriaku will be in blue:

[Quotes from John 14:1-3]

“This promise is not meant for a Christians. There are two classes of Christians. This is where all the churches get it wrong when they interpret the Scriptures. We have the apostles and the disciples class. Christ himself gave that distinction.”

First of all, nowhere does the New Testament teaches that Christians are in two classes. There is no elitism in the Body of Christ.

It’s quite difficult for a brainwashed mind to admit that his interpretative grid is cut out of the badly smoked, deluded lenses of Mr. Urhobo – a man in the 20th century who supposedly had a better grasp of the Scriptures than all other Christians in the last 2000 years!

One of the first things a cult leader tells his followers is that all others are lying.

To infer that the Bible classifies all believers into “apostles” and “disciples” is ludicrous, because the word “apostle” is used in two senses: as an office and as a gift (implying “one who is sent from”).

In Matthew 10:1-2, the “twelve disciples” were also called “twelve apostles.” The terms were used interchangeably, even though they were quite different.

Jesus originally called disciples. The meaning of the word disciple is “a follower.” These were the people who followed Jesus and learned from Him.

It was out of all His disciples that Jesus chose certain ones who were to be apostles. The word apostle means “sent one.”

In Acts 1:16-26, Peter said the criteria for being in the office of an apostle is that he must have followed Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry and been a witness of the Resurrection.

Mr Oriaku quoted Luke 6:12-13 but it fails to support his preconceived beliefs. The text fails to uphold the idea of a two-tier Christianity.

Christ told the apostles to make disciples through preaching the gospel. He added that each person who believed the gospel was to be taught to obey everything that He had taught the original twelve:

“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20).

This statement can’t be applied exclusively to a special class of “elite” Christians or leadership hierarchy.

Whatever commands, promises and empowerment the apostles received from Christ were passed on to all who believed the gospel (e.g., their own disciples), who in turn passed on the same to their own converts, and down on to the present time.

All believers are recipients of the blessings of the New Covenant – forgiveness of sin, regeneration of the Holy Spirit, baptism of the Holy Spirit and eternal life.

No one has the right to restrict these blessings to a “special class.”

“Is it only 12 that make up the apostles? No. The 12 apostles were the foundation members of the class of Christians known as 144,000 chosen and anointed Christians according to Revelation 14:1-5 and 7:1-7. They are known as the “little flock” Luke 12:32.”

Now the Trojan horse has been fully unearthed. These are the same errors adhered to by Jehovah’s Witnesses, except that they don’t designate their two classes as “apostles” and “disciples.”

This has been addressed in two posts, The 144,000 and the Great Crowd and Who mediates for the Great Crowd?

Indeed, the title “apostle” was not limited to the Twelve, for Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Paul (Acts 9:1-31; 22:5) and James the Lord’s brother were also apostles (Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 15:7). But they didn’t leave behind a dynasty of apostolic succession as Romanism or Mormonism teaches.

When you open to Revelation 14:1-5 and 7:1-7 and read, you will find out that these people are literal Jews from the tribes of Israel, not anointed Christians.

Again, when you read Luke 12 from verse 22, you find that Jesus was directly saying these things to His disciples.

So, even if we assume that the term “little flock” indicates the number of those who would be in heaven, it also shows that disciples will be in heaven!

Those who subscribe to these absurd GKS teachings need to learn that the promise of believers agreeing together in prayer (Matt. 18:19) and receiving whatever they ask in the name of Jesus (Jn. 16:23) was originally given to Christ’s inner circle of twelve. So why do they follow it today?

The command given at the Last Supper for believers to do this “in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19) was given to the inner circle of 12 disciples, so why do they follow it?

Approaching the Bible with a two-tier lens makes the Bible quite confusing and contradictory.

Finally, Mr. Oriaku drops the bombshell:

And there is no woman among those that are going to heaven. No woman will go to heaven. Some of the women may be surprised to hear this. (The interviewer cuts in, “The women on earth?”). Yes. No woman on earth would go to heaven. We have it in the Scriptures … I am not here to patch the words, I’m just here to tell the truth as contained in the Holy Bible. (The interviewer asks, “So where will women go?”). They will be blessed, once they are faithful in God’s kingdom here on earth.”

If there’s a proof that this is a false religious group, this one extinguishes all the doubts.

If the Bible is clear that “there is neither Jew not Greek…slave nor free, … male nor female; for you are all one in Christ” then our position as recipients of Christ’s blessings is not premised on race, social class or gender. It’s based on faith in the perfect work of Christ at Calvary (Gal. 3:26).

One excited caller on the program (who has been soaking in these heresies) said he taught in his church during the youth week, that we would not go to heaven and his pastor corrected him that if he doesn’t want to go to heaven, he, his pastor wants to. I hope that guy was corrected and re-taught from the Bible.

We are living in an age where Christians need to be grounded doctrinally in the truths of Scripture otherwise we will be blown here and there by different winds of false doctrines.

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 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 allegiance 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 allegiance 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 adherence to this 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, 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 military classes, 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 and those under its control. 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 for decades in partnership with the very organization which they declare to be an anti-Christ organization – 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 provide any 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 described 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 NWT)

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 powerful Society.

They are not allowed to test this authoritarian leadership; they have no quality standard by which to assess whether they are being led by true or false leaders, yet they 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 here, that the real question has been moved back one step namely: how to detect false teachers.

If we are directly warned to avoid false teachers, then there must be some ways to identify them before we turn away from them. The Watchtower was curiously silent about this crucial aspect. This is 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 in the first century. And if found to be liars, they and their teachings should be rejected.

Unless 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 be 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 never claimed to be “Christ’s right hand of control” or “Spirit anointed leaders”.

(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, it implied they were in leadership positions. So what we see here is a classic shell game by the Governing Body to hide the truth.

People who make special claims must be especially 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 are truly speaking for God give accurate prophecies, but the Watchtower leadership has 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 teaches 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 or holding their them 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 any quality control system on the leverage of blind faith and sentiment. The spiritual consequences of such stupor is disastrous.