Category Archives: Ransom

Watchtower Contradicts The First Resurrection

first-resurrectionIn April 1986, the Watchtower stated that because certain first century “Christians” taught that the resurrection had already occurred, they were apostates:

Yet, on this one basic point, what they were teaching as to the time of the resurrection, Paul rightly branded them as apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship.

  “Paul wrote about some in his day: “Their word will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of that number. These very men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:17, 18; see also Matthew 18:6.) There is nothing to indicate that these men did not believe in God, in the Bible, in Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, on this one basic point, what they were teaching as to the time of the resurrection, Paul rightly branded them as apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship.” Watchtower 4/1/86, Page 31:

In their lastest history book: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom published in 1993, the book shows that the founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society [now the legal representatives of Jehovah’s Witnessesses] Charles Taze Russell, taught that the resurrection began in 1878:

[The Bible Students] concluded that … the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then.

“Based on the premise that events of the first century might find parallels in related events later, they [the early Bible Students associated with C. T. Russell] also concluded that if Jesus’ baptism and anointing in the autumn of 29 C.E. paralleled the beginning of an invisible presence in 1874, then his riding into Jerusalem as King in the spring of 33 C.E. would point to the spring of 1878 as the time when he would assume his power as heavenly King. They also thought they would be given their heavenly reward at that time. When that did not occur, they concluded that since Jesus’ anointed followers were to share with him in the Kingdom, the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then.” Proclaimers, Page 632

Russell taught this for the remaining years of his life. The Watchtower Society was still teaching this in 1925:

It is the understanding of the consecrated that the sleeping saints were resurrected in 1878. [Watchtower 2/1/25, Page 371]

By 1927, however, the Watchtower Society said:

… the resurrection of the sleeping saints did not take place in 1878. [4]

“It seems impossible to find anything in these parallel events to indicate the resurrection of the sleeping saints in 1878… Again referring to the quotation from Volume III: The conclusion there reached, that the parallels bear upon the resurrection of the saints, results from the assumption that the Lord was supposed to have taken his power and begun his reign in 1878, and that therefore he would resurrect his saints at approximately the same time. But there is nothing to indicate that Jesus Christ took his power and began his reign in 1878. He could not consistently do so until the expiration of the Gentile Times… the Gentile Times ended in 1914, and the nations were angry, and it was the Lord’s due time to take possession and oust Satan. Seeing then that the Scriptures conclusively prove that the Lord Jesus Christ did not take his great power and begin his reign in 1878, but that he did so in 1914, it follows that the resurrection of the sleeping saints did not take place in 1878.”  Watchtower 5/15/27, Page 151

This presents a curious situation: Charles Taze Russell was an apostate according to the 1986 Watchtower, since he declared that the resurrection had already occurred.

Moreover, the Society says that Jehovah selected it as His earthly organization in 1918. At that time, they were still teaching Russell’s “apostate” interpretation.

Note: In the Watchtower (06/01/27), it was stated (on page 165) that the resurrection had in fact taken place in 1918: “The anointed and faithful ones constitute the temple of God… Such of course include both the sleeping saints and the faithful ones who afterwards have their instantaneous change… Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for his saints… it would hardly seem that he would awaken the sleeping saints until this preparatory work was completed… it follows, then that the temple of God was brought together in 1918, and that that marks the time of the resurrection of the sleeping saints.”

Watchtower Contradicts The Ransom

ransomThose who are associated with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society often have misconceptions in regards to the Society’s early years and history. Those who take the lead among the Jehovah’s Witnesses [the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses] have written about the years before 1925 as though there was a governing body in existence in those early years of the Society. While it is believed by many that a governing body did exist in 1918, in reality no governing body existed until recent years.

The Watchtower leaders have often presented distorted and sometimes outright false statements concerning the things taught by Charles Taze Russell and the early Watch Tower movement . The truth is that Charles Taze Russell never advocated such an organization that now exists as “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” After Russell’s death, “Judge” Joseph Franklin Rutherford usurped authority through legal trickery. He began to teach new ideas that took his followers farther and farther away from the Bible.

One of the greatest changes he effected was on the ransom. The teachings of The Watchtower and those of the earlier Zion’s Watch Tower are so different that they have been viewed as two different entities. The reader should note that when we refer to The Watchtower, we mean the modern-day publication produced by the leaders of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” When we refer to Zion’s Watch Tower, we mean the publication that was being produced before “Judge” Rutherford invented a new organization called “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

We will now proceed with examining how the two different doctrines concerning the ransom has led the modern-day Watchtower leaders into self-contradiction.

According to the modern-day Watchtower leaders, Messiah “came to inspect his slaves in 1918.” (The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 13) According to this same Watchtower:

“Well, by then [1918], who had given sincere truth-seekers the correct understanding of the ransom sacrifice….?”

The answer given is:

“The facts show that it was the group of anointed Christians associated with the publishers of the magazine Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald Christ’s Presence…”

(The reader should note that in 1918 there was no “Jehovah’s Witness” organization.) If Zion’s Watch Tower was printing the truth about the ransom-sacrifice in 1918, then what the modern-day Watchtower is teaching cannot possibly be true. Let us show what we mean.

What is the teaching of The Watchtower of today concerning the ransom-sacrifice? The March 15, 1990 Watchtower answers:

“Jesus came ‘to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.’ (Mark 10:45) But who are the many? Adam is evidently excluded because he was a perfect man who deliberately chose to disobey God and died an unrepentant, willful sinner.”

The article goes on to say:

“The course taken by each individual determines whether he will benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice. Like Adam, the willfully wicked do not have the ransom merit and eternal life forced upon them. As Christ said: `He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; he that disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.’ (John 3:36)”

Thus The Watchtower of today would make all who disobey the Watchtower leaders [who supposedly represent Jesus] in this life as willfully wicked, and receiving no benefit from the ransom. (This disregards John 12:46-48, which shows that those who disobey Jesus today will be judged in the resurrection day. In this life, the wrath, inherited from Adam, simply remains upon him.) Likewise, according to the present-day Watchtower leaders, Adam would receive no benefit from the ransom.

Now compare this with Zion’s Watch Tower of 1918 (August 15, 1918):

“When this ransom price shall have been formally delivered over to Justice in the end of this Gospel age, then, it will … have been exchanged for Adam and his posterity, the world of mankind, all of whom will be immediately transferred by the Father to the Son, that the work of the Millennial Kingdom may begin. The ransom price is designed to bring to Adam and his race the earthly life and the earthly life-rights and honors which were lost in Eden through disobedience.” (See Reprints, page 6314)

Again in Zion’s Watch Tower of October 1, 1918 (Reprints, page 6337), we find this statement:

“As in the one man Jesus Christ both Adam and all his children will be justified from the original condemnation, that which came upon the human race because of Adam’s disobedience.”

Please note that in the two quotes above, from the early Zion’s Watch Tower in 1918 that the ransom is presented quite differently from that in 1990. In 1918 Adam and all his posterity are to benefit from the ransom. In 1990, according to present-day Watchtower leaders, Adam will receive no benefit from the ransom, nor will many billions of mankind living today that might be destroyed during the destruction of Satan’s world.

A little reflection on the above should lead one to see that if Zion’s Watch Tower was teaching the truth concerning the ransom in 1918, then what The Watchtower of today is teaching is false, for they do not teach the same thing. Of course, just because the whole world receives benefits from the ransom of Jesus does not mean that “everlasting life” will be “forced” upon them. It only means that they will be given full opportunity to come into harmony with Jehovah and His Son, Jesus. Those of the world who then refuse will eventually be eternally destroyed in the second death at the end of the 1,000-Year Reign of Jesus, when the Kingdom is returned to the Father. (Revelation 20:7-9; Psalm 37:9,10; Matthew 25:41,46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9,10; 1 Corinthians 15:24) With Zion’s Watch Tower of 1918 we are general in agreement on this; therefore we are in disagreement with The Watchtower of modern times which would deny that Jesus gave his life as “a ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5,6) It is this “ransom for all” teaching that will actually vindicate Jehovah as not only the rightful ruler, but that his ways are best in all things. It is only through the “ransom for all” that all the wicked will come to know Jehovah. Psalm 83:18; Compare Ezekiel 16:62,63.

We must, in all honesty, state that The Watchtower today does believe that millions of the unsaved dead will be awakened in the resurrection day and given opportunity to obey Jesus during the millennial kingdom. (See The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 31) In this we see an inconsistency of logic, however. On page 4 of the March 15, 1990 Watchtower we read:

“When Adam sinned, he lost everlasting perfect human life, with all rights and prospects. Hence, the same thing was redeemed by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.”

How anyone could make this statement and then turn around and deny its clear meaning is beyond logic. If Adam’s “everlasting perfect human life” was redeemed by the ransom, then it would clearly mean that Adam would be released from sin’s condemnation of death. To reason otherwise would destroy the entire principle of the ransom.

The claim is made that Adam did not repent. The Scriptures nowhere state this. We are not informed as to whether he did or did not repent. There are some reasons to believe that he did have a change of heart. But Jehovah did not offer to him any deliverance based upon his repentance. Rather, another method of deliverance was vaguely suggested when Jehovah stated to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head, and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:15) How much better are the ways of Jehovah than the reasoning of man!

Christ Died for All

CrossJehovah’s love for the sin- cursed and dying race has been made operative through the gift of his Son to be man’s Redeemer. In John 3:16 we read, “God So loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This text limits the receiving of everlasting life to those who “believe.” But, as Paul asks, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) And the same apostle also explains that the “god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) This indicates that as long as Satan continues to rule this “present evil world,” even those who do hear the Gospel imperfectly presented do not have a fair opportunity to believe.

One of the biblical words used to describe the redemptive work of Christ is “ransom,” and Paul explains that a knowledge of the ransom will be testified to all in due time. To Timothy he wrote: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there Is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the ma Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—1Ti 2:3- 6

The sequence stated in this text is most revealing. Paul says that it is God’s will that all shall first be “saved” and then come to a “knowledge of the truth.” So far as eternal salvation is concerned, it must be based upon a knowledge 01 the “ransom for all” and a belief and obedience in harmony therewith. What, then, does Paul mean by being “saved’ before  coming to a knowledge of the truth? Obviously this is reference to the fact that in order to have a genuine opportunity to know about the “ransom for all,” the entire unbelieving world will need to be “saved,” or awakened from the sleep of death.

It will be after the people are awakened from death, as Paul indicates, that the glorious truth of the ransom and the manner in which is gives evidence of God’s love will be testified” to them. That will be the “due time” when the “sea” will be converted unto the Lord. Satan, the great deceiver, will then be bound, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. Then the way will be made plain, So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”—Isa 35:8 The word “ransom” means a price to correspond, or a price to offset. When Adam sinned he was a perfect man, the “son of God.” (Luke 3:38) God’s just law, demanding an “eye for an eye,”a”tooth for a tooth,”a”life for a life,”meant that if Adam was to be redeemed another perfect man would have to take his place in death. (Exodus 21:23,24; Deuteronomy 19:21) It was for this purpose that Jesus was made flesh—a perfect human being, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.’ ‘—Gal 4:4; Hebrews 7:26 The claim has been made that Adam was not redeemed by the blood of Christ because he was a willful sinner. The fact is that if Adam had not sinned willfully God could have forgiven him without a ransom. It was because God loved him despite his willful sin that, in order to give him another opportunity for life, he sent Jesus to be a ransom for him. Addressing those who have believed on Jesus and have already accepted the provisions of the ransom, Paul wrote, “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) From this it is clear that if another sacrifice for sin were to be made, the willful sin of those who now have a knowledge of the truth would be atoned for, and they could return to harmony with God if they wished. It is only because there will be “no more” sacrifice for sin that the reconciliation of present willful sinners will never be possible. Jesus atoned for the willful sin of Adam, So Adam will be awakened from the sleep of death and given another opportunity to live forever.

Adam’s children inherited his sin and the sentence of death which came upon him because of his disobedience. (Romans 5:12) Thus, when Jesus redeemed Adam, it meant that he also redeemed his offspring, who lost life through him. Paul explains the philosophy of this, saying: “If by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive  abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by  one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even s by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all mer [including Adam] unto justification of Iife.”—Ro 5:17- 19 Christ stated that he came to give his life a “ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) The Greek text reads, “the many.’ The word “many” as used in this text means an indefinite large number. In the Greek it is polus, and it was this word which Jesus used when he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous [polus], but the laborers are few.’ (Matthew 9:37) This contrasting use of the word polus strongly indicates that it denotes a great number, and what better word could Jesus have used to describe the countless millions whom he came to ransom by his precious blood?

The Apostle Paul emphasizes the largeness of this number when he says that Jesus gave himself a ransom for “all”—that is, for the entire human race. This does not mean, o course, that the entire human race will be eternally saved as result of the ransom, for it Is mandatory that there be an individual acceptance of this provision of Jehovah’s grace ii order to receive everlasting benefit from it. But the provision has been made for all; and because of this no one will remain in death because of Adam’s sin, for all have been ransomed therefrom.