JW BOOK – “GOD’S KINGDOM RULES” – NEW LIGHT OR DAMAGE CONTROL?

Rutherford

UPDATED WITH MORE LINKS TO RELATED INFORMATION – Oct 1, 2014

This year (2014) the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization published a new book, “God’s Kingdom Rules,” which will be studied by JWs around the world starting in early 2015. This new book attempts to harmonize the organizations teachings, mission and activities from the early days of Brother Russell to the present day and projecting into the future. The JW Organization’s changes in doctrine and practice are presented in the context of new light and progressive insight, rather than as contradiction and inconsistency.

You can get an pdf copy of the book by clicking here:  2014-Gods Kingdom Rules

It seems to me that this publication is partly an effort at Internet information damage control.  Interestingly, “Bible Students” are cited 43 times.  There seems to be a focus on reclaiming the Bible Student legacy that has been carried forward for a century by today’s Bible Student’s.  In recent years, we have seen continuing growth over the Internet in the availability of increasingly more accurate information on early Watchtower history. Ignoring historical changes in doctrine and practice may no longer be an option. As more and more JWs uncover this information, they often don’t know what to do with it. Solution! The JW Organization is now presenting these details with their own narrative and perspective on events. With a positive spin placed on the historical changes, perhaps most JWs will be satisfied and view other points of view as lies and distortions of the truth.

Here are some of the areas of the book we would like to review:

  • Is the other “messenger” of Malachi 3:1 really Brother Russell?
  • Was 1914 always believed to be the dates of Jesus’ Return?
  • Is membership in a Church Organization a good or bad thing?
  • A Time of Testing – Are the Bible Students who separated the bad guys?
  • The Great Crowd on Earth – Is that right?
  • The Preaching work revived 1922?  Really?  Had it ever stopped?
  • From free association to tight organization – A good or bad change?
  • Is the Ezekiel 38 Battle against the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

 

IS THE OTHER MESSENGER OF MALACHI 3:1 REALLY BROTHER RUSSELL?

Page 12, par 3 quotes Malachi 3:1: “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will clear up a way before me. And suddenly the true Lord, whom you are seeking will come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant will come, in whom you take delight.”

Page 14, par 6 “This history shows that in the latter part of the 19th century, one small group of faithful people was emerging as the only body of genuine Christians in a vast field of imitations. That group came to be known as the Bible Students. Those taking the lead among them – Charles T. Russell and his close associates – did, indeed, act as the foretold “messenger,” giving spiritual direction to God’s people and preparing them for the events ahead.”

Notice how we are not provided with the names of these close associates. Could it be because these were not the same as the close associates of J. F. Rutherford who took over the Watchtower after Brother Russell’s death?

It is interesting how the Watchtower Organization is now applying the Malachi 3 prophecy to Brother Russell and his close associates as jointly being the “messenger.” How should we respond to the fact then that much of what the “messenger” taught would today be viewed as apostate teachings? (i.e. Nation of Israel being restored, Ransom for ALL, many non-believers to survive Armageddon and live into the kingdom, Great Crowd a heavenly class, Bible Students to have liberty and independence to not be controlled by an Organization, etc.)

If Brother Russell was the other “messenger” of Malachi 3:1, it seems that JWs should be amazed that he preached the same unchanging message for forty years and that after his death the message changed dramatically.  New light is not changing Truth.  Rather, it is increasing clarity of established Truth.

 

WAS 1914 ALWAYS BELIEVED TO BE THE DATE OF JESUS’ RETURN?

Page 10, par 12 “the harvest season began in 1914.”

Page 50, par 5 “As we saw in Chapter 2 of this book, the Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant in fulfilling Bible prophecy. However, at that time they believed that Christ’s presence had begun in 1874… “

Page 15, p 10 “As early as the 1870’s, they pointed to 1914 as the year when those seven times would end (Dan. 4:25; Luke 21:24) although our brothers of that era did not yet grasp the full significance of that marked year…”

Brother Russell associated the end of the Gentile Times with the end of Gentile domination over natural Israel.  J.F. Rutherford changed the meaning to apply to the date of Jesus’ return at the beginning of His second presence.  So by moving the date of Jesus’ Second Presence later (from 1874 to 1914), Rutherford could now attempt to apply the prophecy of the Faithful and Wise Steward (Matt 24:45-47; Luke 12:42-44) to Himself and His associates.  However, even though Brother Russell never publicly claimed to be the Faithful and Wise Steward, most of the Bible Students believed he was and about 75% of these original Bible Students had exited the new JW Organization by 1933.

Page 51, par 11 “…the season for separating the wheat from weeds, faithful anointed Christians from the imitation Christians – began in 1914. The time had come to focus attention on the gathering of the remaining number of that heavenly class!”

The early Bible Students claimed to be doing just that starting in 1874.  By 1914 most of the wheat had already been harvested out of Babylon and were already part of the Bible Student movement.  So how then could the Harvest be said to have started in 1914?

 

IS MEMBERSHIP IN A CHURCH ORGANIZATION A GOOD OR BAD THING?

Page 17 par 17 “In January 1900, the Watch Tower offered counsel to those who still kept their names on the denominational rolls of Christendom’s churches and who rationalized their course, saying, “My sympathies are all with the truth, and I rarely attend other meetings.” The article asked: “But is this right – to be half out and half in Babylon? Is this the obedience required… and pleasing and acceptable to God? Surely not. He [the church member] publicly entered into a covenant with the denomination when he joined it, and he should faithfully live up to all the conditions of that covenant until he… publicly renounces or cancels his membership.”

The early Watchtower did not encourage Bible Students to keep rolls like denominational Churches. Yet today’s JW Organization adopts a similar practice. You have to turn in your hours, be on record and stay active or you will lose your place in the kingdom.

Read more about how the early Watchtower viewed Organization verses Christian Liberty by clicking here:

 

A TIME OF TESTING – ARE THE BIBLE STUDENTS WHO SEPARATED THE BAD GUYS?

Page 22 subhead “A Time of Testing” par 32 “From within, the organization suffered turmoil as well. In 1916, Brother Russell died at only 64 years of age, leaving many of God’s people in shock. His death revealed that some had been placing too much emphasis on one exemplary man. Though Brother Russell wanted no such reverence, a measure of creature worship had grown up around him. Many thought that the progressive revelation of truth had ended with his death, and some bitterly resisted efforts to move forward. That attitude contributed to an outbreak of apostasy that divided the organization.”

This is what is called deflection. On the whole, Bible Students did not engage in Creature worship of Brother Russell.   On the other hand, do JWs engage in Governing Body and Organization worship? Is not singing hymns about the Governing Body in place of Jesus creature and organization worship? (See detail by clicking here)

Any so called “progressive revelation” in Brother Russell’s lifetime was not a change in doctrine, but rather an increase in insight or adding to existing knowledge.  Truth never changed in Brother Russell’s lifetime; nor did it ever change in the days of Jesus and the Apostles. These so called apostates were defending established and consistently held truth against a hostile takeover from Rutherford and his close associates. For the first time in Watchtower history, doctrines and practices were being dramatically changed. So today if you try to change Watchtower doctrine, you are an apostate. In Rutherford’s time if you tried to prevent the change of Watchtower doctrine, you were an Apostate. Make sense???

Page 23, par 34 “A daunting test arose in 1918.  J.F. Rutherford who succeeded [succeeded in a hostile takeover] C.T. Russell in taking the lead among God’s people, was arrested along with seven other responsible brothers. They were unjustly sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.”

Why did not the so called apostate brothers try to take control of the Watchtower while Rutherford was in prison? To see how the ousted Board of Directors had legal authority to reclaim the Watch Tower, click here. Lawyers Letter2.  Because the Bible Students had a humble attitude of turning the other cheek, they were not interested in seizing back power. They could leave the Watchtower since their commitment was to Jehovah and Jesus, not to an earthly organization.

Page 23, par 35 “He appointed “the faithful and discreet slave,” a small group of anointed men who would take the lead among his people by dispensing spiritual food at the proper time. – Matt 24:45-47.”

Matt 24:46 (NASB) says, “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” Yet we are not aware of anything J.F. Rutherford was doing of special note in 1914. We do know that in 1915 he was discreetly expelled by Brother Russell from Bethel, we believe for indiscretions with women and alcohol (from verbal testimonials passed down by Bible Students of the time). We also know that Br. McMillan kept in close contact with Rutherford. Seeing that Brother Russell’s health was failing, they conspired together to take over the Watchtower Society.  Knowing the Bible Students were gentle and trusting, if Rutherford and McMillan could move quickly, the Bible Students would never know what hit them.  Find more detail by clicking here:

Page 24, par 37 “The preaching work continued to refine Christ’s servants for the proud and arrogant among them had no stomach for such humble work. Those who would not get in step with the work parted company with the faithful ones.  In the years following 1919, some disloyal ones were embittered and resorted to slander and libel, even siding with the persecutors of Jehovah’s faithful servants.”

By “parted company,” that often means that they were ousted from Bethel and disfellowshipped.

No names or publications are mentioned. No quotes from writings are cited. I am not familiar with examples of the Bible Students who left the organization of engaging in slander, libel and joining the persecutors. Can anyone out there help? Can any of you cite such examples?

Did Rutherford himself resort to slander and libel? Check this link out. What do you think?

Those holding to and defending the original Watch Tower views were disfellowshipped and cast out of Bethel. Rutherford removed all opposition, just as did one of his favorite WW2 pen pals.  (Search on word “Hitler” in pdf here)

 

THE GREAT CROWD ON EARTH – IS THAT RIGHT?

Page 52, par 17 “In 1935 came a brilliant flash of spiritual light. At the convention held in Washington, D.C., the great multitude was identified as an earthly class, the same as the sheep in Jesus parable of the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:33-40). The great multitude would be among the “other sheep,” of whom Jesus said: “Those too I must bring in.” (John 10:16)?”

Previously, Bible Students had always believed that the Great Crowd was a secondary heavenly class, that is, anointed ones not faithful enough to be part of the 144,000, but who still loved and served Jehovah. Check out these articles.

 

THE PREACHING WORK REVIVED IN 1922? REALLY?  HAD THE WORK EVER CEASED?

Page 63 under “1922 Cedar Point Ohio.”

“Our mission was now loud and clear – to advertise the King and the Kingdom, and we went forth from that convention and did just that.”

Page 176 & 177 – 1919 Cedar Point & 1922 – Give impression that preaching work had died out and that the organization was needed to revitalize it.

The independent and associated Bible Students had been preaching the Kingdom all along to the public. This did not cease while Rutherford and his close associates were in jail.  Although Bible Students had always utilized the publications of the Watch Tower for public preaching, the members of each congregations were independently involved in the preaching work in whatever way the Holy Spirit guided the congregations and each of them individually.  This included colportering, newspaper advertising, public events, etc.

 

FROM FREE ASSOCIATION TO TIGHT ORGANIZATION – A GOOD OR BAD CHANGE?

Page 119 under the subhead “I Will Appoint Peace as Your Overseers.”

This section quotes Isa 60:17 (NWT) “Instead of the copper I will bring in gold… and I will appoint peace as your overseer and righteousness as your task assigners.”   The book explains that this prophetically means that the organizational structure of the Watchtower would improve from Brother Russell’s day (like copper) to Rutherford’s day and to the present (like gold). Paragraph 7 says, “By mentioning “overseers” and “task assigners,” Jehovah indicated that gradual improvements would come in the way his people were cared for and organized.”

Yet, notice that Isaiah 60 is a kingdom chapter. Verse 3 says, “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.”

If chapter sixty of Isaiah applies to the JW Organization, then how can we explain verse 10, which says, “For in my wrath I struck you?” When did Jehovah strike His organization in his wrath?

Verse 12 says that “the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish.” How can this be if the wicked nations are already destroyed in Armageddon?

Verse 14 says, “The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet.” Aren’t these who afflict and despise the JWs destroyed in Armageddon? How do they end up in the kingdom?

The book describes the changes in the organizational structure as gradual and improving progress. On the other hand, Bible Students view it as a 180 degree change from Christian Liberty and Congregational elections of Elders to a dictatorial and controlling organizational structure, similar to the organizational structure of the Catholic Church. Just as the Catholic Church has different levels of hierarchical control (Popes, Vicar, Bishops, Priests, etc.), so does the Watchtower (President, Governing Body, District Overseers, Circuit Overseers and Elders).  Find more details here:

This book attempts the impossible goal to connect the Watchtower philosophy, teaching and structure in the days of Brother Russell and find harmony, progress and cohesion with the organization today.

Page 173 par 10 – “Watchtower Study. In 1922 brothers known as pilgrims – ministers sent by the Watch Tower Society to give talks to the congregations and take the lead in the preaching work – recommended that a regular meeting be devoted to a study of The Watch Tower. This suggestion was adopted and at first, Watch Tower studies were held either midweek or on Sunday.”

As a matter of fact, many Bible Student congregations were resisting the “suggestion” [mandate] and continued to study Brother Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures. For example, the Chicago Bible Students held out until 1933 when in the midst of a hostile takeover of our ecclesia, many brethren of the congregation split off and reformed the Chicago Bible Students at a different location, outside of the control of the Jehovah’s Witness organization.  Click here for an eye witness account of the event.  Over the months that followed, many Bible Students continued to leave the Chicago JWs and join back up with the Chicago Bible Students who had split off.

Page 173 par 11 “The June 15, 1932, Watchtower provided further direction on how this meeting should be conducted. Using as a model the study that was conducted in the Bethel Home, the article stated that a brother should lead the meeting. ..”

Page 174 par 12 “Initially, each congregation was permitted to select the issue of the magazine that the majority wanted to study. However, the April 15, 1933, Watchtower suggested that all congregations use the current issue… The Watchtower Study continues to be the primary meeting through which the faithful slave provides spiritual food at the proper time (Matt 24:45).”

“Permitted” and “Suggested?” contradict.

Of course Rutherford did not want the congregations reading Russell’s old Watchtower articles which were contradicted by the new Watchtower articles. This suggestion was more of a directive. Notice how it is stated, “Initially, each congregation was permitted to select the issue…” The word “Permitted” indicates that the Watchtower was no longer making suggestions and recommendations as in Brother Russell’s day.  The Congregations was expected to cooperate or offending members would be punished.

 

IS THE EZEKIEL 38 BATTLE AGAINST JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES?

Page 227, par 12 – “An all-out attack. Gog of Magog will attack the remaining anointed ones and their other sheep companions. (Read Ezekiel 38:2, 11.) This attack against established Kingdom rule will be Satan’s last battle in a war that he has been waging aginst the anointed remnant since his expulsion from heaven. (Rev 12:7-9, 17)”

The book applies the Ezekiel 38 battle as against the spiritual Israel of the Jehovah’s Witnesses,  as the kingdom is being established. The book indicates that in a final attempt to overthrow God’s kingdom, Satan will send armies against the remaining Anointed and the Great Crowd of Jehovah’s witnesses and deliver them.

A major problem here is that the narrative continues into Ezekiel 39, where in verse 23 (NASB) we read, “the nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me…” When Did Jehovah send the JWs into exile for their iniquity and treachery?

Also notice in Ezekiel 38 (NASB) that in verse 8, that Satan’s armies come against “the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but it’s people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.”

In what sense will the Jehovah’s Witnesses be in a land restored from the sword? If the “mountains of Israel” apply to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the kingdom, in what sense had it been “a continual waste?”

Page 19 note about picture, “A colporteur. Note the “Chart of the Ages” painted on the side of the carriage.

It is interesting that the book is pointing out the Chart of the Ages that the JWs long ago disposed of; one of the biggest problems being the restoration of Natural Israel depicted in the Millennial Age section of the chart.  Find the “Chart of the Ages” by clicking here:

 

CONCLUSION

Well there you have it. We covered some of the areas of the book that we found interesting and wanted to comment on. What did you find interesting in the book? What do you think? Has the JW Organization provided an accurate history? Is Jehovah more pleased with the early Watchtower Bible Students Association in Brother Russell’s day or the present Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization today? We look forward to reading your comments.

26 comments to JW BOOK – “GOD’S KINGDOM RULES” – NEW LIGHT OR DAMAGE CONTROL?

  • Beulah

    About the comment made of isaiah 60. You are right. It isis a kingdom. Nations will come to ur light is referring to the woman. Who is she? Check out watchtower online library click on top where there is an icon looks like 4 bars click on publication index then go click on subject index .
    .look for isaiah 60 n read what it saids…so they know that it is a woman n she was found in very sad condition n was told to Rise Up n shine her light for darkness n gloom will cover the earth …she is shining Jehovahs light …. she knows who she is n is already shining his light n people come to her light…she is Beulah …she is hephzibah…Jehovahs wife n hephzibah means my delight is in her. The nwt Bible keeps the names out but in its place they use the definition …now why is that ? She knows who she is and was already called by that name. Her light is recognized by all…those that are opposing Gods kingdom look at her with hated …those in bethel in a visit there stared in amazement… that is the ones who do not know…but the ones who do know she has identify them as evil n wicked as they come …why,? Jehovah will make it right…no one comes to him if not thru his son Jesus. JESUS IS MEDIATOR TO ALL.. I was never a Jehovahs witness but 17 years w them on n off again n again…what will be their excuse for twisting the word n calling Gods annointed mental? Trying to prevent me from partaking of the bread n wine…a sister …only to realize when I partook…one look at me n jehovahs light was upon me…in as much she looked at me as if she was seeing her Savior….telling me her name three times n for me to remember … N hugging me…why,? Because I asked Jehovah not to allow this ill treatment Mo more…Gods Annointed will take over the task n trust me that no one can stop Jehovah ..they will be recognized by his light

  • just stay sweet and good

    Nobody has had to give up their life prematurely because they are interested in stone a building in Egypt!

  • Anonymous

    They are right

  • Dundee

    Very enlightening info..Thank u!!!

  • Wilt u zo goed zijn alles in het Nederlands door stuuren

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