Last week was Easter which has been called Resurrection Sunday by some. The organization is quick to point out that every other religion is based in paganism. The organization says they are the only one that is right.
Today, I would like to examine and look at Chapter 15 of the What Does the Bible Really Teach Book? entitled, “Worship that God Approves.”
Before getting into the article, this chapter looks to keep the individual interested and establish further faith into the organization. This article works to keep people from looking at outside resources and ultimately utilizes circular reasoning to establish itself as “the truth.”
Typically when I do these sections, I start with the past and come back to the present. Today, I’m going to do it a little backwards by starting in the present (information from the chapter) then going back to the past.
The opening questions for this chapter are:
Are all religions pleasing to God?
How can we identify the true religion?
Regarding religion, Judge Rutherford gives the answer in the lecture "Religion is a Snare and a Racket,” published in 1939.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses that heard this lecture in 1939 were instructed that religion originated from Satan.
Next point, religion is organized and it does say under Satan. Being under an organized religion, does this now mean that by a prior leader’s admission that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is under the influence of Satan? Have you considered that the organization that takes time to deride “Christendom” for using non-biblical terms does the same thing with titles and offices of those within the organization. Here's some examples:
Branch offices numbering nearly 100 divided into zones
Traveling overseers (overseer is from Greek term episkopos)
Titles such as circuit, district, group preceding overseer
Territory-The area a kingdom hall is responsible for
Coordinator of the Body of Elders-Assigns the duties and maintains finances
Watchtower Study Conductor-Leads the weekly study of the magazine
Moving on in the chapter, it says, “If we worship him in the right way, we will be happy and will avoid many problems in life.” What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 144
Currently, the organization teaches that Jehovah alone is to receive worship. However, let’s look at this:
Truly these words fittingly apply to our beloved Brother and Pastor!
Russell, thou hast, by the Lord been crowned a king; and through the everlasting ages thy name shall be known amongst the people, and thy enemies shall come and worship at thy feet.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. December 1, 1916 Reprints p. 6015
It didn’t go just for the founder. Creature worship was applied to Jesus Christ who eventually was associated with Michael the Archangel with the following:
It is this great One, who has been thus highly exalted and honored by Jehovah, whom we delight to honor and to worship and to serve, as one with the Heavenly Father, in word, in work, in purpose and in spirit.
Studies in the Scriptures V-The At-one-ment Between God and Men. 1899, 1916 ed. p. 85
A more recent quote:
Christ to be worshipped as a glorious spirit, victorious over death on the torture stake.
Make Sure of All Things. 1953 p. 85
I wonder why a publication like this is no longer available?
It was changed with the following:
Consequently, since the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is not a Trinitarian co-person with God the Father, but is a distinct person, the Son of God, the answer to the above question must be that no distinct worship is to be rendered to Jesus Christ now glorified in heaven.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. January 1, 1954 p. 31
The organization didn’t waste any time by issuing this proclamation in the first issue of the The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom in January of 1954.
Reverent adoration should be expressed only to God. To render worship to anyone or anything else would be a form of idolatry, which is condemned in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Accordingly, true Christians do well to direct their worship only to Jehovah God, the Almighty.
Awake! April 8, 2000 p.26, 27
So in short, the organization from 1879 until the quote I presented in 1954 shows the organization was engaged in idolatrous, irreverent adoration for 75 years. Those during that time frame were to be condemned. If they were condemned, how was it that this organization was approved by Jehovah in 1919 for teaching “truth?”
The next paragraph says, “How can you know the right way to worship Jehovah? You do not have to study and compare the teachings of all the many religions. You need only learn what the Bible really teaches about true worship.” What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 144
Therefore, those under the authority of this organization were engaged in true worship since the organization implores members to not look at the bible. When they do, the New World Translation is purposely mistranslated. Searching for the word “worship” in the New World Translation, it uses that word. When Jesus is the subject, the word is now transformed to be “obeisance.” I usually recommend reading the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (1969, 1985 ed.) in the JW Library App but it’s rewritten there as well. Interestingly, Satan can receive worship, yet Jesus who is higher then Satan in the universe receives the lesser honor.
The one point from the third paragraph says: “To have God’s approval, therefore, we must learn what God requires of us and do it. Jesus called those who do not do God’s will ‘workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)” What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 145
Interestingly the 22nd verse of Matthew 7:22 says, Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ (New World Translation). Prophecy is an aspect that the organization doesn’t write off anymore yet tries to put a positive spin on. Regardless, when was the last time the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society ever prophesied something that actually came to pass?
Paragraph four contains the following statement: “True religion leads to everlasting life. False religion leads to destruction.” What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 145
I’d like to look at the biblical standard for true religion as contained in James 1:27. It says (New World Translation): “The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.”
If you’re a Witness reading this, how many widows that you came across within the organization that were taken care of by the society based in Brooklyn, New York? This would be something as simple as getting the elderly out to the meetings up to financial assistance if they needed it. Given that the organization has multiple funding streams, how much do they use to take care of their own? Also, the hot topic is child sex abuse and the organization. Hypothetically, should all cases but one be proven false, that is still one single spot. One spot is one too many as written in Jehovah’s Word.
“Every good tree produces fine fruit” (Matthew 7:16, 17) What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 146.
In other words, those who practice the true religion would be recognized by their beliefs and their conduct. Although they are not perfect and they make mistakes, true worshippers as a group seek to do God’s will. This fifth paragraph is interesting and is a way the organization excuses past beliefs. Even if they aren’t perfect, why doesn’t this organization give all members free access to past material? Could it be that giving free access to past material would show the present day Jehovah’s Witnesses how much this man made religion is like the foolish man who built his house on the sand as described in Matthew 7:24-27?
The next paragraph says: “God’s servants base their teachings on the Bible” What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 146
How often have you stopped to consider much of what you learn is not from the bible alone but based on pages from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society publications? It can be just a random statement as I read above or something specifically mentioned in the “Questions from Readers” section of the Watchtower magazine. A fair question worth asking is how much time reading the Bible compared to Society material do you read?
They believe that the Bible is God’s Word, and they base their teachings firmly on what it says. Here’s just one example of going “beyond what is written:” Blood transfusions. The scriptures the organization cites for support should be prophetic since the first blood transfusion didn’t occur until the 17th century according to this story: History of Blood Transfusions.
Of course, genuine love means more than not killing others. True Christians unselfishly use their time, energy, and resources to help and encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) They help one another in times of distress, and they deal honestly with others. What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 149
They now don't want to agree with killing. However, there was indirect support for the "war machine" with the following:
Some members of the Brooklyn Tabernacle congregation had previously purchased Liberty Bonds.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence. May 15, 1918 p. 153
This time period was World War I. Jesus would have known this when he was inspecting all world religions.
They believe in some ways they are dealing honestly even though they can engage in what is called theocratic warfare. Here is a relatively recent reference of where it can be defined:
She was not a liar. Rather, she was using theocratic war strategy, hiding the truth by action and word for the sake of the ministry.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 1, 1957 p. 285
True Christians accept Jesus Christ as God’s means of salvation. The Bible says: “There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (Acts 4:12) What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 149
This is interesting given that the organization said this:
No doubt, before the “great tribulation” is finished, we will see the greatest witness to God’s name and kingdom in the history of this world. And while now the witness yet includes the invitation to come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation, the time no doubt will come when the message takes on a harder tone, like a “great war cry.”
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. November 15, 1981 p. 21
So which should you as a Witness believe? Should you place your faith in the organization or Jesus? If the organization is right, there was no one who would be considered to have been in a saved condition from the death of John in the year 96 until 1879 when the organization was founded by Charles Taze Russell.
And while God’s true worshippers are neutral regarding politics, they are law-abiding. What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 149
This is an interesting statement. Perhaps you have heard of the Amish. The Amish still maintain their simplistic ways. They are further “no part of the world” in that they don’t pay taxes, nor embrace much in the way of technology. They are also law abiding too. Regarding this, it looks like the Amish in comparison to those within the organization are further removed from the world. Even though they do not run for office, there is one early believer listed in Romans 16:31-Erastus: the city steward or treasurer depending on your translation.
Jesus’ true followers preach that God’s Kingdom is mankind’s only hope. Jesus foretold: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 150-151
They haven’t fully stated that Watchtower Jesus took kingdom power in 1914. If they did, how would that be within the bible? This is a great contrast since we have the following statement: Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil. (Revelation 7:9-17; 2 Corinthians 4:4) They will make up the “flesh” that Jesus Christ said would be saved through the worst tribulation of all human history.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. September 1, 1989 p. 19
This is saying as long as one is part of the organization they have a hope. This is a caveat that isn’t spoken of much.
Also, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is not in every inhabited country. North Korea and the Middle Eastern countries are conspicuously absent when you look at the Yearbook. The organization is still not fulfilling the biblical requirement.
Of all the religious groups on earth, which one meets all these requirements?’ The facts clearly show that it is Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Read Isaiah 43:10-12. What Does the Bible Teach? 2005, 2014 ed. p. 151
Based upon the circular reasoning contained within this chapter, they fit their own standard.
Since ancient Babylonian worship spread throughout the earth, modern-day Babylon the Great can properly be identified as the world empire of false religion.
This is what groups do, encourage the “us vs. them” mentality. We have that here. Look at this statement form the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons): My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right--and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt…”
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 5-6
Revisiting "Bible based" teachings, here are some statements I’d like to read that were used at one point or another in the organization:
According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E.
Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God. 1966 p. 28
And there was war in heaven-between the ecclesiastical powers, Pagan Rome and Papal Rome. Michael-“who as God,” the Pope.
The Finished Mystery. 1917 p. 188
The Holy Scriptures show that the term “morning stars” refers to two mighty creatures of heaven, namely, Michael (the Logos) and Lucifer. These two mighty creatures were brothers; both sons of God.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. March 1, 1932 p. 76
The beast that THEN ascendeth out of the [bottomless pit] ABYSS.—The government without a foundation; revolutionary France during the "Reign of Terror."
The Finished Mystery. 1917 p. 174
What Jehovah has in store for these “sons of God” who became disobedient, the Scriptures do not reveal, but if at Armageddon any of them do take a positive and unequivocal stand on the side of Jehovah and gladly leave it to Jehovah where to place them, they may be recovered and return to some place in his organization.
Angels. 1934 p. 43
The Elijah work ended in 1918. Any attempt to carry on the Elijah work thereafter would be an attempt to revive a dead thing, and hence out of harmony with the Lord.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. May 15, 1933 p. 154
Was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.—The number of the Great Company –will apparently exceed one hundred millions. Num. 4:46-48 and Ex. 28:1 indicate but one priest to each 2,860 Levites, which would make the number of the Great Company approximate 411,840,000.—T118, 119; Dan. 7:10.
The Finished Mystery. 1917 p. 103
Furthermore, since Christ Jesus is the Head or Husband to his church when he appears at the temple of Jehovah for judgment, and gathers his own to himself, there would be no necessity for a substitute for Christ Jesus, such as the holy spirit; therefore the office of the holy spirit as an advocate, comforter and helper would cease. The angels of Christ Jesus forming his retinue of servants at the temple, invisible indeed to man, are given charge over members of the temple company yet on the earth. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”-Ps. 91:11.
Preservation. 1932 p. 202, 203
Contrast the Holy Spirit being taken away with the words of Jesus Christ in John 14:16, 17 (New World Translation)-And I will request the Father and he will give YOU another helper to be with YOU forever, the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. You know it, because it remains with YOU and is in YOU.
Picture of C.T. Russell’s gravestone saying he is the Laodecian Messenger.
Proclaimer’s of God’s Kingdom. 1993. p. 64
What, then, can we deduce from the fact that one of the 24 elders identifies the great crowd to John? It seems that the resurrected ones of the 24-elders group may be involved in communicating of divine truths today.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. January 1, 2007 p. 28
The organization proclaims to be the only one engaged in “Worship that God Approves.” However, I submit to you that based upon the statements within its history, the past proves otherwise. If we allow the practices in the past to determine the future, it is highly improbable that this organization will engage in worship that God approves any time soon. As always, I ask that you place down that uninspired man made material and read the Bible alone.