Category Archives: False Brethren

The Wolf

images8ekhpq2pIn the New Testament the wolf is a common symbol of the Apostasy. The wolf attacks the flock, killing the sheep, but bears and lions also do this. Why are these two animals not chosen to symbolize the Apostasy? The Apostle Paul writes “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock ” (Acts 20:29) Here we see that the Apostasy would develop after Paul’s death. The Apostasy was to disguise itself, pretending to be the true church. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matt 7:15)

The Apostasy existed in the day of Jesus, for Luke 10:3 says “Go your ways; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves..” Paid overseers of the Church abandon the sheep when they see the wolf coming. John 10:12 says; “He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them.” Let us go back to the original question: why is the Apostasy symbolized by a wolf and not a bear or a lion? To answer this question, we must look at what a wolf meant to all the people of the first century. According to ancient tradition, a wolf raised twins called Romulus and Remus, who were said to be the founders of Rome.

The Bible’s wolf in sheep’s clothing is Rome pretending to be Christian. The great Apostasy is none other than the Roman Catholic Church! We are warned by Jesus and Paul of this wolf-like Apostasy. This warning is as valid today as it was in the first century. Let us avoid the Roman wolf and stand apart from him.

Do Not Be Deceived

donotbedeceivedWhen the disciples came to Christ, in Matthew 24, and asked about the sign of His coming and the end of the age, Christ prophesied things for them and us to be watching in the future. One thing that He warned against three times was deception. In Matthew 24.4-5

“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceive you. For many will come in My name saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many.'”

Matthew 24.11 – “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”

Matthew 24.23 – “For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

We are going to look at:

  1. Examples of deception from the scriptures.
  2. How to know a false prophet.
  3. How to avoid deception.

Examples of deception from the scriptures.

We will start in Genesis 3. This is the account of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. We do not know how long they were there before Satan came. It would seem that they knew their way around and going about their daily business. Satan came on the scene and deceived Eve. Adam, while not deceived, also ate the forbidden fruit.

God then came to the garden and Adam and Eve hid from Him. God confronted them and inquired if they had eaten of the fruit.

Genesis 3.13 – “And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me and I ate.'”

God walked out into Eden one day, knelt down and sculpted a man out of clay. He breathed life into this statue. God introduced Himself and told Adam that He had created him. He brought the animals for Adam to name. This was after God had brought Adam up to date on what was happening. Remember that Adam was like a newborn babe in an adult’s body. After the period of education, God put Adam to sleep, took a rib from him and made Eve. God then, along with Adam, educated Eve in what was happening and gave them both instruction in how to live and conduct themselves in the garden.

Take a look at what was occurring. Two perfect physical human beings, plenty of food, no inhibitions, they had everything going for them, and they had an opportunity for eternal life. They were taught and tutored by their Creator God. Then Satan came along and it all went away.

If Eve could be deceived and Adam follow along, how about us? They had it all, but it was not enough. Satan was a false minister. The result of Eve’s believing the lies and deception of Satan brought them a life of misery.

Look at James 1.14-16:

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin: and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

Adam and Eve had it all. A false minister deceived them.

Genesis 31.6-7 – “And you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet your father deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.”

Jacob prospered while with Laban, but it also brought him responsibilities he did not ask for. Jacob had a family conflict. He had to deal with Laban more than he wanted. All because Laban deceived Jacob.

Proverbs 20.1 -” Wine is a mocker. Strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

What addictions do we have? Do we have problems with alcohol? What about nicotine or illegal drug addiction? What is it that has a hold on us? Pornography, etc.? Do we deceive ourselves and say that we do not have a problem? First thing after work, we go to the bar for a drink. Before we turn on the light in the morning, we light up a cigarette. What has a hold on us? Do not be self- deceived.

Sin is a deceiver.

Romans 7.11 – “Paul speaking, ‘For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.”

Sin looks good. The grass is greener on the other side we think.

Romans 6.23 – “For the wages of sin is death…”

Compare this to James 1.15. Sin will deceive and kill us.

How to know a false prophet.

II Corinthians 11.3 – “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

The christian life is not always easy, but it is simple. Remember Romans 6.23:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The christian life restricts our activities. We cannot do just what we want to do when we want to do it. There are things we must do and things that we must not do.

Matthew 7.13-14 – “Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Matthew 5.48 – “Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

I John 2.15-17 – “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it: but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

This does not mean we cannot enjoy life and the things that God blesses us with, but our physical surroundings cannot become all consuming.

Matthew 5.17 – Christ says “Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

I John 3.4 – “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

Galatians 3.19, 24-25 – “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of mediator. Therefore, the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we no longer under a tutor.”

When we leave the tutor, we do not throw away or forget all that we were taught.

See Matthew 7.21-22. In verse 23 – “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

If there is no law, we cannot practice lawlessness.

Those that say that the law is done away with are false prophets. The law defines sin and is the guideline to how we are to live.

Isaiah 8.20 – “To the law and the testimony; if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

The law is not, is not, is not our salvation, but it is the thing that keeps us on the right path. It keeps us “in the way”.

Read Matthew chapters 5-7. See what Christ had to say about the law and how we should live.

A person who prophesies in God’s name and whose prophecy does not come to pass is a false prophet.

Deuteronomy 18.21-22 – “And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him.”

A false prophet may show a sign or miracle and then try to turn you from the Creator God.

Deuteronomy 13.1-3 – “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and he gives you a sign or a wonder and the sign or wonder come to pass of which he spoke to you saying, ‘Let us go after other gods – which you have not known – and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

How to avoid deception.

Believe God. God says what He means and means what He says.

Read Genesis 6.13-14, 22; Genesis 12.1-4; Genesis 31.3, 16-17; Acts 9.6

These scriptures are accounts of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Paul. When God told them to do something, they responded and did it. To avoid deception we must exercise faith. Believe God. Have confidence in Him, in the sacrifice of Christ and the scripture. Grab hold of the trunk of the doctrinal tree. Do not get out on limbs and twigs. Stay close to that which we know is right. Stay grounded in the faith. Strive to rekindle the first love.

I John 4.1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Test the spirits. Check out what you see and hear.

Study – II Timothy 2.15. Watch – Matthew 24.42, Acts 20.28-30. Pray – I Thessalonians 5.17, I Peter 4.7

Be alert to what is going on around us.

I Corinthians 16.13 – “Watch, stand fast in the faith. Be brave, be strong.”

Stay close to God through prayer, study, and fasting. Ask for guidance and help. If we do this and keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ, our savior, our sacrifice, and our great High Priest and keep our mind on the kingdom of God and our part in it, it will be virtually impossible for us to be deceived and turned away form God. Keep on keeping on.

Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?

errorObjection is often raised even by some sound in the faith-regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry-namely, showing the Satanic origin and, therefore, the unsettling results of the propagation of erroneous systems which Peter, in his second epistle, so definitely refers to as “damnable heresies.” Our Lord prophesied, “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Within our own day, how many false prophets have risen; and oh, how many are the deceived! Paul predicted, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch.” My own observation is that these “grievous wolves,” alone and in packs, are not sparing even the most favored flocks. Elders in these “perilous times” will do well to note the apostle’s warning: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the holy Spirit hath made you overseers.” It is as important in these days as in Paul’s-in fact, it is increasingly important-to expose the many types of false teaching that, on every hand, abound more and more. We are called upon to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” while we hold the truth in love. The faith means the whole body of revealed truth, and to contend for all of God’s truth necessitates some negative teaching. The choice is not left with us. Jude said he preferred a different, a pleasanter theme-“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4). Paul likewise admonishes us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). This does not imply harsh treatment of those entrapped by error-quite the opposite. If it be objected that exposure to error necessitates unkind reflection upon others who do not see as we do, our answer is: it has always been the duty of every loyal servant of Christ to warn against any teaching that would make Him less precious or cast reflection upon His finished redemptive work and the all-sufficiency of His present service as our great High Priest and Advocate. Every system of teaching can be judged by what it sets forth as to these fundamental truths of the faith. “What think ye of Christ?” is still the true test of every creed. The Christ of the Bible is certainly not the Christ of any false “-ism.” Each of the cults has its hideous caricature of our lovely Lord. Let us who have been redeemed at the cost of His precious blood be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” As the battle against the forces of evil waxes ever more hot, we have need for God-given valour. There is constant temptation to compromise. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” It is always right to stand firmly for what God has revealed concerning His blessed Son’s person and work. The “father of lies” deals in half-truths and specializes in most subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus, our sole and sufficient Savior. Error is like leaven of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died. Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to those “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.

The Spirit of Compromise

TheDangerOfCompromise“Beloved, I now write this second letter to you, in which I stir up your pure mind by reminder to remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior by us, the apostles. First, knowing this, that there will come in the last days scoffers walking according to their own lusts and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” –  2Pe 3:1-4

Many—and very plain and positive—are the warnings of God’s Word against the “evil communications” that “corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15: 33). The Apostle Paul’s counsel (Acts 20: 28-30) to all the elders of the church was, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” And Jude said, “Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves [from the Truth and its Spirit], sensual [minding earthly things, and gratifying the ambitions and tastes of the old nature], having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying with a holy spirit [a spirit of loyalty and devotion to God], keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 17-21).

Thus we are put on guard against the enemies of the Truth, and it is made obligatory upon all the faithful to be on the alert against them, and to be prompt in discerning and in dealing with them, so that the flock of Christ may be spared. The Apostle Paul grows very earnest in urging this matter, saying, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own desires; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [those not on the alert against the encroachments of error]” (Rom. 16: 17, 18). Again, says the same Apostle (2 Tim. 2: 16), “Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

HOW THE POLICY OF COMPROMISE SPEAKS

No, says the ungodly policy of this evil day of compromises and of disloyalty to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” “We cannot walk by this strict rule: we dare not recognize and admit the real character of a wolf in the sheepfold, if the wolf be attired in sheep’s clothing; we must accept his professions, notwithstanding his words and his actions to the contrary. We cannot believe that of our own selves—right in the midst of the company of the consecrated—any will arise to ‘pervert the truth’ and to ‘draw disciples after them’; and we dare not ‘mark’ any as such, and ‘avoid them,’ or ‘shun their profane and vain babblings,’ as the Apostle suggests, for that would be uncharitable, unloving and unkind.”

Lately we hear a great deal in favor of a broad-minded charity which gives loose rein to the enemies of the doctrines of Christ—a charity which would affiliate with every form of belief and unbelief; that makes no claims or superiority for one religion over another, be it heathen or Christian or anti-Christian; and that freely fellowships all and bids all Godspeed, utterly heedless of the Word of the Lord, which says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God,” and “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11) .

The warning here is not against those who never knew the Truth, but against those who have known it and have been blessed by it, and who afterward turned away from it; of whom the Apostle Peter speaks, saying, “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning [they are worse off than those who have always been of the world]. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2: 20-22). Why do they do so? Because the dog nature and/or the sow nature and disposition are still there, and only wait for opportunities and circumstances to prove it. So also says the Apostle John: They that go out from us—who desert the Truth and its interests—do so because they are not of us (1 John 2: 19), because the old fleshly mind and disposition are still there and are allowed to come again into control.

In some cases the desertion may be only on one or a few items of Bible Truth, in other cases it may be many. Also, in some cases one who is fighting the Truth may never have been enlightened or is insufficiently enlightened on the pertinent truth or truths he is opposing. These things, and also the relative importance of the truth or truths that are being deserted and opposed would all have to be taken into consideration in determining how much friendship and fellowship we could give such. Certainly we should not fellowship with them in their errors of doctrine and practice, but are rather to reprove them (Eph. 5: 11).

Again, many who once were “established in the present truth” (2 Pet. 1: 12) regarding the Bible chronology, the Second Advent and the beginning of the binding of Satan and Christ’s Thousand-year Reign (Rev. 20: 1-4) as having set in with the beginning of the seventh thousand-year day after Adam’s fall, the beginning of Earth’s Great jubilee, in 1874 (B 173-200), now reject these Bible-based truths, some denying that Jesus has come again in His Second Advent, others denying that the binding of Satan has even started yet, and some even casting aside the Bible chronology and substituting a false chronology in an effort to prove that Christ’s Thousand-year Reign has not begun yet.

The love  which goes out toward the enemies of the cross of Christ–those who have been once enlightened by the truth and have turned away from it–is not the right kind of love. We are commanded to “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” and told that “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15); and, again, “This is love, that we walk after his commandments.”2 John 6.

“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”–Gal. 6:16.

Test Your Leaders

leadersTo the angel of the church of Ephesus write: He who holds the seven  stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, says these things. I know your works and your labor and your patience, and how you cannot bear those who are evil. And you tried those pretending to be apostles, and are not, and have found them liars.(Revelation 2:1-2).

It would seem absurd to think that these men claimed to have been the apostles selected by our Lord. The only solution would seem to be that their claims were either, that they had been called to that office after the Lord ascended, as Paul was; or, that they claimed the honor due to this name or office, in virtue of some election to it; or, that they claimed to be the successors of the apostles, and to possess and transmit their authority.

In either case there are but two types of apostles spoken of in the Scriptures, the twelve apostles who were sent out by our Lord to spread the Gospel and those apostles sent out by the Church, as the word APOSTLES simply means “messenger, ambassador.”

See Acts 14:14 – “but hearing this, the apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their clothes and ran in among the people, crying out.”

Barnabas is called an apostle because he was sent forth by the church on a particular message (Acts 13:3; compare Acts 14:26), not because he had been chosen to the special work of the apostleship. – Barnes

In our text, there were those who were claiming to be apostles when they were not. The Lord praised the Brethren at Ephesus for detecting their false claims. While today many denominations claim to have apostles, these men were not apostles sent forth by another Ecclesia, for the Lord would not have praised them for detecting false apostles of the world. No! These false apostles were in the Church!

While today we do not have veritable apostles, we do have congregational elders, who not only serve their local ecclesias, but who from time to time are invited to serve other ecclesias and conventions. These elders can and do sit on committees and publish Bible studies by way of journals, newsletters, books, etc. Their qualifications as elders are highlighted in 1 Tim. 3:1-7. (We discussed that at length yesterday)

They are to shepherd the flock that has been entrusted to them, by teaching them, encouraging them and preparing them for what the Lord describe as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” – Mark 7:15

Now what do you do when the very elders elected are the “wolves”?

Now we’re going to digress here a moment and consider a few things about eldership that were not covered yesterday.

Eldership

 Paul, when writing to Timothy in regards to the office of elder, writes: “It is a faithful saying, that if a man desireth the eldership, he desireth a good work.” (1 Tim 3:1 – Murdock) It’s not quite clear, whether Paul believed this to be a “faithful saying” or whether this was a “faithful saying” in general among the brethren. Regardless, it is a “good work”.

The first word “desireth” is Strong’s 3713, which means “reach out after (long for), covet after, desire.”

The second word “desireth” is Strong’s 1937, which is defined as “to set the heart upon, that is, long for, covet, desire, lust after.”

Elders (or Bishop, Overseer) is a position sanctioned by the Scriptures. We shouldn’t take the word “desire” and lust after” too literally. Before I was elected an elder, being an elder was not on my agenda. I loved the Lord, the Truth and the brethren. I wanted to serve them all in whatever way I could. But I did not go about politicking for the office. [Not that we should] I knew enough of the Scriptures that this was not an office to toy with. There were lessons to prepare, talks to present, Truths to defend. Hebrews 13:17 tells us that elders will have to “render an account” to the Lord for all they do, in regards to teaching and shepherding.

After all, Elders are the shepherds, the servants of the ecclesia. They look after the spiritual welfare of the flock.

1 Peter 5:2-3 tells us: “Feed the flock of God among you, taking the oversight, not by compulsion, but willingly; nor for base gain, but readily; nor as lording it over those allotted to you by God, but becoming examples to the flock.

The ecclesia has been entrusted to the care of the elders. With eldership comes certain responsibilities, certain duties. Their sole responsibility is to the flock that have been entrusted to them. Namely the ecclesia. When I was elected as an elder, I was NOT chosen to shepherd any other ecclesia, but the ecclesia that appointed me to that office. There are of course secondary duties that come our way. For example, speaking at conventions or large gatherings of brethren.

I admit, it’s a bit of a high, when you see your name on a convention program for the first time. But then you wake up. Some elders NEVER wake up, and want to see their names on as many programs as possible. Let me ask. WHO suffers as a result?

One elder spoke his heart when he said; “why bless a handful in my class, when I can bless hundreds at a convention?” I guess we know where this brothers priorities were.

I spoke at a convention where 7 were in attendance. I took a major airline and a puddle jumper to get there. The Lord said “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” – Matthew 18:20

If I as an elder spend too much time on speaking engagements, what happens? I now have to prepare outlines. That is time consuming and will eventually take away from more pressing matters, that of taking care of the flock entrusted to me, those within our own ecclesia. Preparing for ecclesia meetings. There is nothing worse than coming UNPREPARED for Bible Study.

It happens. Why? It’s obvious, we don’t set aside time, we may have more “pressing” matters. Perhaps I’m putting together a really good outline to impress the brethren at my next speaking engagement?

Whatever the case …. we let our guard down and what happens? The individuals mentioned by Paul and Jude creep in and wreak havoc.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with serving at conventions. It’s an honor and a privilege. They serve a purpose, especially now at this end of the age, with our dwindling numbers. A lot of hard work goes into their preparation. That being said, if we as elders, find ourselves serving others, as oppose to those in our own ecclesia, we may find ourselves ATTENDING meetings and conventions instead of SERVING at meetings and conventions.

Now I’m going to digress even further ….

Some years ago I heard a brother from a convention platform mention how he had been voted out as an elder. He said in part:

“You know why they voted me out? Because I travel too much! I went around to the various conventions serving. They didn’t want that. They wanted their elder here!”

To that I ask, and what is wrong with that? Were you elected as a missionary to the world or a local elder to shepherd the flock? He also stated:

“It is known that I was voted out of my class. … a class I started, a class I fostered for over 58 years.”

His class??? I wonder what came first, his appointed as elder or the class that appointed him? Did he start the class and then profess himself elder? Or did the class after it was formed elect him as elder? It just seems presumptuous on this brother’s part to claim that he is entitled to be an elder because he “started” the class and “fostered” it “for over 58 years.”

He apparently felt he had been divinely appointed as a missionary to the world, for he later said;

“I don’t feel that my mission is for my class only. My mission is for all the classes!”

Who says? Did the class he “fostered” for 58 years, elect him as apostle. Giving him their blessing to forsake his duties to them and serve “all the classes”? I wasn’t aware that being an elder gave one such power and authority. Apparently it didn’t, because the brethren of this class saw the abuse, and withheld their hand.

And now this poor brother had to go and make phone calls, because he “had already about six commitments to serve conventions.” And so he had to call up everybody and tell them he was no longer an elder.

Ah, but have no fear … the Lord will fix it all. As the brother recounts;

“someone called me up” and said “we started a new class and we have invited you to serve as an elder.”

Hmmm …. I thought one had to belong to a class in order to be elected as an elder. Shouldn’t they have called the brother up first, invite him to be a part of the class and then elect him as elder? So nice of them to call and tell him, “Oh, by the way, we started a new class and we made you elder.”

Now this brother feels empowered, he tells the audience;

“the Lord says “no way are you going to stop what you’re doing!” And the new class say “…. you want to go anywhere you want to go … go ahead!””

I guess he forgot to tell the audience that this new class was actually a split from the class he fostered for 58 years.

So there you have it …. Self proclaimed elders, brethren who will do anything to be an elder, to be prominent. To forsake those who appointed him, for the sake of traveling and making a name for oneself. And when the class sets him straight, he goes elsewhere, keeps his titles and his appointments. Perhaps they take the Apostle Paul’s words literally, “if a man desireth the eldership, he desireth a good work” that is of course to “long for, covet, desire, lust after.” What better way to describe such individuals?

I knew of another elder, who traveled a lot, the class told him, “brother, you travel too much, we need you here.” Did he tell them, “No! I am appointed of the Lord, to travel to all the classes”? NO, he said “okay” and declined all invitations. He listened to the voice of the Lord through the ecclesia.

Others do not … they do what they feel is important.

Okay, let’s return to our Revelation 2:1-2

In our Revelation text, the Lord said, “you tried those.” According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, the word “tried” is defined as: “to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality.” Does that sound like we should just go along with what the elders say and teach? The Lord says you can either easily put them to the test or you can easily be deceived.

Our focus should always be on the Christ who is in our midst. Revelation 1:12-13 reads,

And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band.

The emphasis is not on the seven candlesticks—the emphasis is on Christ who is in the midst of the seven candlesticks—Christ is right in the middle. But He will allow His followers to go astray.

Let’s continue the description of Christ:

“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like a flame of fire. And His feet were like burnished brass having been fired in a furnace. And His voice was like the sound of many waters. And He had seven stars in His right hand, and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. And His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” (verses 14-16).

This great Being is described to introduce the seven eras of Revelation 2 and 3. If we let Christ and His work slide from the middle of the picture, all we have left are deceived churches. So the emphasis is not on being “in the Church,” but following the Lord! When John saw Christ in this vision, he “fell at his feet as dead” (verse 17).

Unless this same Christ leads the Church, we are in serious trouble; and if Christ isn’t leading the Church, we should not follow! If the Brethren at Ephesus, in a right attitude, tried those who said they were apostles, shouldn’t you? This was the same Ephesus Church which was discussed in 3 John 9-10. Was Diotrephes one of those false apostles? How did he get all those people to follow him while casting John’s followers out of the Church? How much authority did he have? It’s difficult to say. John’s followers, who stood by John and Christ, were “cast out.” The point is, John discerned Diotrephes’ evil motives and rebuked him. We need to do the same.

Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul said the leader is to follow Christ. Follow a man only as he follows Christ. We can’t do that unless we are testing and proving all things. It’s very biblical to do so.

1 John 4:1 tells us 

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

John pleaded with the brethren to “try the spirits.” Why? Because there are “many” false prophets and false leaders. Often these deceivers were among God’s people. We must always test our leaders with God’s Word.

We must prove all things! Individuals go astray. Ecclesias go astray. Christ never goes astray! A man is not the trunk of the tree. An organization is not the trunk of the tree. God’s Word is the trunk of the tree. And what Christ established through “That Servant” for some 40 years is a big part of the tree trunk. Anyone who has been among the Lord’s people for any period of time is use to change. But not all change is good.

We read in Acts 17:11

“And these were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so.”

Do you realize brethren, that your approach to Bible study helps reveal to God how noble you are? Do you search the Scriptures daily “with all readiness of mind,” eager to see what the Bible says, so you can follow Christ more perfectly? God’s elect are very noble people when it comes to their Bible study.

Thayer’s Lexicon says the word “searched” is often used as the verb “judge” in the Bible. The Bereans approached their Bible study by investigating and examining the evidence. That includes examining our elders and those who take the lead, as long as it is done with a Berean attitude. God knows if an attitude is right. It is good to have “righteous indignation” when the direction is wrong among the Lord’s people. God certainly does!

Luke said these people had greater nobility because of this attitude. That means a higher reward in God’s Kingdom. The very elect have fallen in love with God’s truth. They love God so much they will stand alone or even die for Him. They are not deceived by “hugs and kisses” without real substance. And they are not deceived by endless talk of “love”! They know what the true love of God is. They judge by “fruits” (Matthew 7:16), not outward appearance.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

“and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

God will personally send strong delusion! But why? Why would God send strong delusion to His own people? Does He want us to fail? Of course not. This is God’s way of testing who “received not the love of the truth” (verse 10). God wants to know how much you love Him and His Word. It’s not possible to deceive God’s VERY elect (Matthew 24:24).

Paul is not talking about normal delusion being sent to God’s people—this is “strong delusion.” We’re going to see thousands of people deceived because they are “blind” to their own spiritual condition (Revelation 3:17). They assume there is safety in numbers, and they assume they are God’s very elect who cannot be deceived. If they are not careful, these assumptions will lead them into the Great Tribulation and possibly the lake of fire!

We all think we love God. God requires that we have the depth of love necessary to withstand strong delusion. God sends “strong delusion” to His people to determine who will be His very elect. God wants to know who loves the truth—and who just has it. With a wrong attitude, some are going to lose out big time! (2 Thessalonians 2:10). God is dead serious about our calling. The Lord’s people have been flooded with the present truth. Now God is going to see if we just talk about faith—or really live by faith—by His Word. Do we remember what we were taught and do we live by it?

God sends strong delusions to see if His people are Faithful. The Lord wants to know who will qualify for His Kingdom. That is the whole purpose for our existence. There are probably more warnings in the New Testament about false teachers than any other subject. If God saw fit to put these warnings in His Word, then we brethren, should take it seriously.

“Change is everywhere. It’s in everything. And frankly brethren, when you come to understand people, it’s appearing in just about everyone…”

We read in I Thessalonians 5:21: ‘Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good.

Revised Standard and other translations will more often say ‘that which is right.’ Hold it fast. Now, that’s not a suggestion, that’s a plea …. a command.

Why would Paul, tell us to hold fast that which is good after we proved all things if it could not be done? Now you know how people say, ‘You can prove anything from the Bible,’ or ‘the Bible is a fiddle in which you can play any tune.’

The word there for “hold fast”, is the Greek word katecho (Strong’s 2722). Any one familiar with Catholicsm recognize what word comes from katecho … catechism. It means to hold down or hold fast, to have, to keep in memory…”

You know I think one of the most amazing things about the changes through the doctrinal sleight of hand we are living through, is that brethren forget how much truth we have. They just forgot it! It just went out of their head. They had it, but they never studied later on the way they always studied earlier on, and it just went out of memory.

It’s interesting what katecho means. The Catholics know what it means. When instructing their youth they called it catechism because they knew exactly what katecho means. Now they don’t hold to the ‘hold fast that which is right’ part, but they wanted their youth to prove all things within Catholic doctrine. It always means “possess”. The truth is something we possess and retain.

Let’s turn to Acts 17. There are those who think a sermon has to have something new to be exciting…I think the most exciting thing in the Bible is the truth. The truth is what fits. The truth is the mind of God. What could be more exciting than that? Studying something that is new, but false—but hey, it’s new!, right?

Acts 17:20, Paul is being accused:

“For you bring certain strange things to our ears, therefore we are minded to know what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers who were there spent their time in nothing else except to tell or to hear something newer.)”

‘Oh, now we’re going to hear another sermon that is just the same old, same old’

Through the years I have heard brethren say ‘I want to hear more meat in the sermon.’ Invariably, what these brethren were saying is; “you’re preaching to the choir, ‘You’re not telling us anything we don’t know. I want to hear something new.’

I call this SPIRITUAL BOREDOM

Do you want something new, or are you willing to live with the same old, same old? It may be the ‘old, old story’, but let me tell you something, it’s a story that never grows stale. If it does, then the problem isn’t with the story.

Beware of being unwilling to change in the areas of your life that involve character growth, but always willing to take a look at that little different idea that comes along—The truly consecrated is supposed to be unwilling to change when it comes to ideas, but always willing to take a look at his character and change wherever he needs to…”

We must not be part of what I call the ‘Bible Student Ecumenical Movement’, that is reflected in the kind of ecumenical thinking that the Catholic church is attempting. The Mother Church wants her daughters back, FINE.  But, we can’t be in God’s Church, “spiritual ecumenists.”

You know there are a lot of voices within the Bible Students community, books, booklets, tracts, newsletters, journals. And I was guilty of subscribing to them all. But in recent years, I’ve let my subscriptions lapse. I figured, since they all claim to be heirs of The Divine Plan, I might as well stick with The Divine Plan, and not the cheap knock-offs out there.

While I recognize that it is a noble cause to publish such study material, in an effort to help others understand The Plan, or to defend it, there have been in the past those who have endeavored to rewrite The Divine Plan in a simpler, easier to read format. These have all failed miserably in that regards. While a noble attempt, they lack “meat” found nowhere else, but in the original. Others have made subtle changes in The Plan to reflect their views.

Many individuals and ecclesias have even used these resources in their own personal and ecclesia studies as primary study material. This is a grave mistake, as I feel personally that the Harvest Message (the writings of Pastor Russell) should be the primary material used in our personal and eccclesia studies.

We don’t want to pick up any doctrinal baggage from these various sources. Brethren don’t realize how much they ingest from reading all that “spiritual junk”. And yet the basic command was to ‘prove all things, hold fast that which is good,’ and that’s what the Bereans did in Acts 17:11 ‘…in that they received the word with all the readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.’

But, 10 verses later you’ve got this bunch from Athens, not very far from Berea. They say, ‘Titillate us!’ That’s what they wanted. So there are lots of brethren and elders, and ecclesias out there as a result. I’m not attacking them personally, I’m not saying they aren’t consecrated, but they are missing a very fundamental command—and how deeply they are consecrated, and how hot they are, is a huge question…”

Matthew 24:13: ‘But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.’ All right, we have to endure, but what does it mean?

Look at 2 Thessalonians 3:6, we’re going to look at the Greek here again:

“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.’ But he commands them, ‘I command you, hold fast the tradition as you have been taught.”

Now 2 Thessalonians 2:15:

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or epistle.”

“Stand Fast” – A little different Greek word here…krateo. See what you notice.

Katecho is ‘hold down, fast, have, keep in memory, possess, return, take, seize on, stay.’

Krateo is ‘to use strength, a little stronger even, to seize or retain, to hold by, to hold fast, to keep.’

If you were describing to a Greek mind, if you said, ‘Well, I want you to krateo the stick. That means to ‘grab hold of’ or ‘lay your hand on it’, and ‘obtain’ and ‘retain.’

Now the TRUTH is something we obtain, and then we’re told after we grab it to retain it. That’s exactly what it means. That’s krateo, stand fast, and if people don’t do this—withdraw from them. That’s what it says!…”

Turn to 2 Timothy 1:13, this is katecho again, ‘Hold fast the form of sound words.’ We talked about the importance of sound words, a sound mind, and sound doctrine and so forth. You hear sound words, don’t follow unsound things…”

Next is 2 Timothy 3:14: ‘Continue you in the things you have learned and have been assured of knowing of whom you have learned them.’ Do you do that? ANY truth you possess, you learned from “That Servant”.

If you take a look at Church history, you’ll see that there has always, always, been a battle internally for the soul of the Church, between those who would change and those who would not.

History reveals that those who want change usually ‘win,’ and I put that in quotes. They usually ‘win.’ And they usually outnumber those who don’t because of the drive—the need—in human beings to go along to get along. To not be willing to disrupt the status quo is great. If you doubt that, look at how many stayed with the Society after the death of the Pastor. There’s a battle for the soul of the Church. And if I read prophecy correctly, the battle is going to intensify, brethren, not diminish.

This is war brethren, and that’s why we’ve been chosen to be soldiers. We’re called and told, ‘We must war a good warfare,’ and it’s going to be that way to the end.

I’m not trying to lay any ground work here. I’m just saying you better make your own decisions as to what you’re going to do. Are you going to hold fast? Or are you going to sort of, over the course of time, become lukewarm? Go with the status quo? We have to be very careful that we don’t take part in this ‘ecumenical movement’ within the brotherhood. To align ourselves with the majority, (for the sake of unity) because we fear being left alone. When in reality, we’re never REALLY alone.

2 Timothy 4:4

“They shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.”

We’re here, Brethren!!! We can no longer say “the time will come”. The time has come. Brethren are NOT enduring. It’s not, ‘it came and went.’ It is now come. And Brethren are out there looking for teachers.

Just hear of some of the insanity that is being promoted from the platform by some and what’s worse, not just the ecclesias that continue to appoint them, but those ecclesias and conventions that continue to invite them.

When I first began to associate with the brethren, I marveled at some conventions that would invite the same speakers year, after year …. and now I know why!

As a side note, you do realize that elders are not the only ones commissioned to stand up for the Truth. It will take courage, brethren, but if you’re in the presence of somebody, just you and one other person, in the presence of somebody who’s teaching something that’s wrong? Are you going to show courage? What would you do?

Just remember … it was this same lukewarm spirit, of appointing men, year after year, without testing them, requiring of them an accounting that gave rise to the hierarchy that we know as Babylon the Great. So today, we have a Little Babylon, we have wolves in sheep’s clothing, false brethren, and deceivers in our midst …. strong delusions, itching ears due to every wind of doctrine.

These men didn’t appoint  themselves …. You did!

Discourse given by Rolando Rodriguez

Perils Among False Brethren

false-teachingsOur Christian experiences differ; no two have exactly the same: because our temperaments and talents differ as well as our surroundings. But we may rely upon it that no real son of God is exempted from the needed trials of patience, faith and love. No matter how strong the character or how seemingly impregnable to the ordinary besetments, we may rely upon it that such have as great trials and crosses as others – perhaps greater – perhaps such as would prostrate weaker ones, whom the Lord will therefore in love and mercy not suffer to be tempted above that they are able to bear.

Even our blessed Lord Jesus, though perfect, had to pass through an experience to test and prove his complete submission to the Father’s will. Looking at our Lord’s testing, we cannot doubt that his strong character was measurably unmoved by the sarcastic, bitter words and threats of the Scribes and Pharisees, and that likewise he speedily and firmly settled Satan’s temptations negatively. And none of these things which would have been the greatest temptations to others seemed to move or even to greatly annoy him. He answered coolly and often sarcastically and ironically the attacks of open enemies.

It was when those who “dipped in the dish with him, lifted up the heel against him” and left him, that his heart was troubled; – wounded by professed friends. The only discouraged expression recorded, relative to his work, was toward the close of his ministry when the test became more and more severe and “many went back and walked no more in his company,” saying of his doctrines, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” His unreproachful but sorrowful words, then expressed to the twelve specially staunch, were full of pathos and disappointed grief: “Will ye also go away?” The prompt response of Peter – “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of lasting life” – must certainly have come as a comforting balm to that noble, loving heart whose only impulse was to do good and bless others.

And yet, as it came to the close of his ministry, the time came that he must still further suffer wounds from those he most loved. And catching a clear view of how his sacrifice was to be completed, how all his bosom disciples would forsake and disown him, and how one of them would betray him with a kiss, no wonder that was one of his most sorrowful trials and disappointments. He was sorrowful, troubled in spirit, and testified, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” And when Peter courageously said, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” – and so said they all – Jesus saw that all would be scattered, forsaking him in his most trying hour, and that courageous Peter would be so terribly sifted of Satan and prove so weak that he would even swear that he had never known him. Truly these trials from “brethren,” some of whom were only weak, and some false at heart, must have been among the sorest of our Lord’s experiences, during his period of trial. Yet none of these things moved him or for a moment influenced him to choose another course. He cheerfully followed the narrow path and left it for God, in his own time, to bring forth his righteousness as the light of noonday. He was obedient to God, and faithful to the truth, and it was thus that he suffered not only at the hands of evil men but also from the misunderstandings of his closest friends, who did not clearly understand the situation, nor see how needful it was that he should first be Redeemer before he could become Restorer and King.

*                         *                         *

The same lesson of perils among false brethren, and among brethren who had not so fully as himself grasped the Truth, was the Apostle Paul’s experience too.

We never hear from him a complaint about the way the world rejected his message and spoke evil of him and maltreated him as the leading exponent of the unpopular doctrine of the cross of Christ, which was opposed both by the stumbling, blinded Jews and by the worldly-wise philosophies of the Gentiles. Indeed, instead of being downcast or discouraged at his past experiences and in the future prospect that bonds and imprisonments awaited him, he boldly and cheerfully declared, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself.” – Acts 20:19-24.

But, like the Lord Jesus, Paul had his severest trials from “false brethren;” who, instead of being faithful yoke-fellows and co-workers with Paul as good soldiers of the cross, became puffed up, heady, anxious to be leaders. These, being unwilling or unable to see the truth as fully and clearly as did Paul, because of their wrong condition of heart, and being envious of his success, and the results of his zeal and labor, followed after him in the various cities where he had labored, and by misrepresentation of his character as well as of his teachings sought to lower him in the esteem of the household of faith, and to thus open the way for various sophistical theories which would reflect honor upon them as teachers of what they claimed were advanced truths, though actually subverting the real truth in the minds of many.

The only annoyance ever manifested by the Apostle Paul, in any of his letters, was upon this subject of his misrepresentation by false brethren. Referring to these false apostles by name, that they might be known and recognized as such (See 1 Tim. 1:19,20; 2 Tim. 4:10,14-17; 2 Cor. 11:2-23), he clearly exposed their unholy motives, of pride, ambition and envy, which scrupled not to make havoc of the church and of the truth. Especially did he point out that in their attempt to be leaders, they had manufactured a different gospel … 

Paul was zealous for the truth’s sake, lest these false apostles should, by smooth words and by misrepresentations of his character and the truth, use that as a lever to turn men aside from the true gospel.

He warns them against those teachers, not to keep himself uppermost in their hearts, but to put them on their guard, lest receiving the new teachers they should be injured by the false teachings they presented, and lest in rejecting him and losing confidence in him as an honest and true man and teacher they should discard his teachings which were the truth. Hence his reference to himself was not a self-defence and self-laudation but a defence of the truth and an endeavor to have them see that his character and career as a true teacher comported well with the true message he bore to them.

And he fearlessly pointed out that men might claim to present the same Jesus, the same spirit and the same gospel, and yet be false teachers and deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And he says, marvel not at such a thing as that men should be great workers in the name of Christ from ambitious motives: “No marvel, for Satan himself fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing, therefore, if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness.”

*                         *                         *

Do not be deceived by the agents he often makes use of. In this he will be as cunning as in his presentation of the deceptive misrepresentations of truth, making unwitting use of many a weaker brother, and to some extent of every stumbling and deceived one, to spread the infection of false doctrine farther. And while every child of God should take earnest heed, that he prove not an occasion of stumbling to any, we cannot doubt that every one will, through some instrumentality, be assailed by it.

Aptly indeed did the prophet liken it to a pestilence. (Psa. 91:6.) A pestilence spreads because people are in a physical condition which renders them susceptible to disease. Physicians will tell you that those whose systems are in good, healthy order are in little danger of any disease. So it is with a spiritual pestilence: it will flourish not only because all will be exposed to it who have not a clear intellectual appreciation of the doctrines of Christ, but from another cause also. Out of the heart are the issues of life, and most needful of all to be in right condition is the heart. How is your heart, dear Brother, dear Sister? Is it proud, boastful, independent, self-conscious and self-willed? If so, take care; you will be very liable to this epidemic, no matter how far from it you may seem to be. Make haste to labor and pray for

“A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
The dear Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.”

With such a heart you are safe.

 

 

The Watchtower Society: The Channel of God?

make-you-free“The truth will set you free!” John 8:32

JESUS MADE a true statement in John 8:32 when he said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Jesus said those words to the Jews who believed on him, but also in the hearing of the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted to kill him. The question then arises, how were those Jews who believed on him to be made free? Free from what? As they said, they were not in bondage to anyone. But we ask, were they really free?

It seems quite clear that Jesus was referring to the traditions and teachings of the Pharisees. As he pointed out in the 23rd chapter of Matthew, though they claimed to sit in Moses’ seat, they did not follow the teachings of Moses, but bound up heavy loads on men. Claiming to sit in Moses’ seat, and that Abraham was their father, they took the position that they were the successors of Moses and Abraham by Jehovah’s arrangement. Therefore, whatever interpretation they put upon the law was to be accepted as though from God.

That position and attitude has prevailed these many years even to this day. It was shortly after the Apostles passed from the scene that the Catholic Church came into existence. They took that same position: that now they were the channel by which the great God Jehovah was dealing with his people. They claimed that Peter was the first Pope, that from that time all Popes were successors to Peter, and whatever the Catholic Church was to bind on earth was to be bound in heaven. If one were to sin against or disagree with them on spiritual matters, that one was considered sinning against God Many Protestant churches have made similar claims.

A Channel of God?

Today we have yet another organization making the same claim, i.e., that they are the channel by which Jehovah God is now dealing with his people. That channel is what this organization likes to call “the faithful and discrete slave class” who in turn use the Watchtower Bible & Tract  Society to publish what it likes to call “the truth” or “newly revealed truth from Jehovah God.”

That the Watchtower Society takes the position that it is used by Jehovah by and through this “faithful and discrete slave class” is well documented in its publications. It says this class is in fulfillment of Matt. 24:45-47, and that Jehovah God is now using them to disseminate Bible truths by and through the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and by the use of the Watchtower magazine. (See The Watchtower, 1963, page 338, par. 17).

The Watchtower, 1958, pages 485-488, under the heading “The Watchtower Society in God’s Purpose,” endeavors to relate the “Society” with Jehovah’s channel of communication, starting with Abel down through the Apostles and then to our day culminating with the “Society.” Even stronger words are used in The Watchtower, 1952, page 79, par. 10, in which it states “… God interprets and teaches, through Christ the chief servant, who in turn uses the discrete slave as the visible channel…” meaning of course the “Society.” On that same page in par. 11, it further states “. . . The truths we publish are the ones provided through the discrete slave class or organization …”

Stronger yet, is a statement made in The Watchtower, 1965, page 351, in answer to a “Question from readers” which asks the question, “How can it be said that God’s visible organization was made strictly Theocratic in structure by 1938?…” In summary, their answer is that by 1932 The Watchtower Society began to be controlled by God or was God ruled and by 1938 was fully God ruled or fully Theocratic.

By their own claim, all scriptural explanation comes from Jehovah God and is published in The Watchtower. Now if this be true, then there will be no contradiction or changing of explanation from one Watchtower to another. Stated another way, what was published as truth since 1938 must still be truth today. (Mal. 3:6)

An Unchanging Organization?

With this thought in mind, let us go on to see if the facts support their contention. Is the Watchtower Society (Channel) indeed as unchanging as the God it claims to represent? In the book entitled “Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose,” written in dialogue fashion, on page 14, mention is made that for the first time, in 1929, the Watchtower made known to their people the true meaning of Rom. 13:1-7; namely that Paul in this scripture was not referring to the governments of this world, but was referring to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.

And in the book “Let God Be Tine” written in 1952, published by the Watch Tower Society, we read on page 248, referring to Rom. 13:1-7: “The higher powers there mentioned are the principal ruling factors of God’s congregation, namely, the invisible governing body of God’s kingdom …”

Again, in The Watchtower, 1952, page 375, par. 6, we read: “The Superior authorities Paul is speaking of could not refer to the political powers of Caesar governments. In the scriptures at Rev. 13:2. NW, the Bible specifically states that Satan is the one who has empowered and authorized the old world Caesars. Hence the superior authorities in Rom. 13 which God commissions include only the theocratic ruling authorities and exclude Caesar’s authorities. . .”

But now note what was written in The Watchtower, 1962, page 683, par. 7, discussing this same subject. “…Paul is telling God’s holy ones how to conduct themselves among men outside ‘the Christian congregation, ‘all men’ including even an enemy who does evil to Christians, hence an individual found outside the congregation, not inside, then, right afterwards, Paul passes on to his discussion of the ‘Superior Authorities’ and thus has his sights focused on, not what is inside the congregation, but what is outside it. So the ‘Superior Authorities’ have their setting logically in the world outside the congregation … *”

 Not Founded By Pastor C. T. Russell

Note the asterisk at the end of the quote, which refers to a footnote at the bottom of the page. That footnote refers to “The Divine Plan of the Ages” a book written in 1886 by the founder of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell. The reference is to page 266 which gives in effect the same explanation now given by The Watchtower of 1962 on Rom. 13:1-7.

We note here, that the claim is absolutely untrue Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by C. T. Russell. He died in 1916. Jehovah’s Witnesses, per se, were founded in 1931 by none other than J. F. Rutherford who radically changed name and doctrine beyond recognition and substituted instead his own theology. That theology has become the very basis of the Witnesses’ teaching today. A greater detail as to the many doctrinal changes will follow in our Part Two – A Refutation of Selected Doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For decades Charles Taze Russell’s legacy has been associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses in published accounts that inaccurately list him as their founder. In 1997, Professor David S. Doran corrected the matter by writing the editor of The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia and delivering a more accurate account of Brother Charles Taze Russell’s life. Through Professor Doran’s efforts, the second edition presenting the truth was published in 1998 and reflects these changes. We quote as follows:

“Russell, Charles Taze , known as Pastor Russell (1852-1916). Religious leader, founder of what is commonly called the “Bible Student Movement,” born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a Congregationalist, he struggled with the concept of eternal torment, his subsequent studies leading him to conclude that the Biblical hell is oblivion, that the millennium began in 1874, and that a period of social and political upheaval would lead to a peaceable kingdom on earth. After his death, many followers abandoned his Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1879), which under the leadership of Joseph Rutherford moved in other directions and ultimately — became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (1931).” — Bible Students Newsletter, p. 7, Spring, 1999

 Watchtower Structure Changes

“A press release issued Tuesday (October 14, 2000) by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania Inc., as the Witnesses are officially called, talked about “revisions” in legal structure and said that they were dictated by the need to keep pace with growth.” “Some ‘revisions.’ The president resigned, the ruling Governing Body was stripped of its legal power, and three new corporations were set up to run the society’s U.S. operations. Milton Henschel, 80, the fifth president, stepped down after eight years, along with six other directors of the Watchtower Society. He remains a member of the Governing Body, which had run the 5.9- million member society with an absolutist hand.”

“The Governing Body was not abolished, but under the new setup, it will oversee only religious affairs, among them Bible doctrine, evangelization and pastoral care. Henschel’s successor as chief legal officer is Don Adams, 75, a longtime insider who has spent 54 years at the world headquarters in Brooklyn Heights.”

“But, even more significant than the change at the top was the corporate realignment, with three new not-for-profits formed to assume control of U.S. legal and administrative operations. One will oversee construction of houses of worship and technical assistance. Another will supervise personnel. A third will direct a wide range of congregational services. “I don’t believe Witnesses look to any one person now as their leader,” Pellechia said.”  From: News and Views | City Beat | Saturday, October 14, 2000

What would one suppose the reason for this momentous change might be? Could it be that they are being accused of having a central head and that they don’t wish to be identified in this way? After all, the accusation was made by the Society in the past that Bible Students were following after a man, Charles Taze Russell who dressed in haberdasher’s fashions and presented out-of-date teachings from the Bible, whereas they continued to progress in “New light?” They have restructured with multitudinous corporations and have continued their “Governing Body,” that makes all the rulings in matters of faith directly under Christ and by His Spirit. How Can this be? As you will see in the succeeding pages, there have been many changes backward and forward on the doctrines of the Watchtower as published in its pages.

The above changes were not subject to the vote of the congregations. They were just told that this is the way it is now going to be. There will be no central head. There will only be the governing body who will make all decisions in religious matters. The Watchtower organization rules with absolutist power – “an absolutist hand” – and this has not changed. You knew where things were coming from with one at the top; but with this change you are left in the dark as to who made the ruling or changes. This is not God’s way. His way is clearly outlined in His Word – it is the rule of the congregation – Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-22)

The Elders, and not autocrats, are chosen by the Congregations after a democratic fashion according to their recognized Spirituality and submission to righteous requirements. (1Timothy 3:1-13) They are not “appointed in every place” except to begin the ecclesia arrangement which was new at that time and the Apostles were specially guided by the Holy Spirit. They were the ones upon whom the tongues of fire appeared. In our modern day, it becomes an excuse for the Society’s “flock” to render absolute control and obedience to an arranged program adopted by the leadership. You will not have any dissenters; for if they would dare to differ a trial would be called for, they would be disfelowshipped and would be looking in from the outside. This is very wrong and represents powerful control or domination. It is the same method as that adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.

If the “Channel” became cleansed in and after 1919, and was completely cleansed by 1938, and as stated in the Watchtower 1959, page 601, the elective Elders before that time were not mature or theocratic. Why does that channel now go back to the explanation given in 1886? What happened to that “Channel,” or its “governing body” from 1919 or 1938 to 1962? Had it or they been tuned to the wrong station?