SHORT CHRISTIAN READINGS SELECTED FOR FORMER JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES


Destroying the Mediatorship of Christ

The Watchtower Society always has tried to downgrade the person Jesus Christ and the atoning work of His death. Jehovah's Witnesses proclaim their belief that Jesus is not God but "a god", who was Michael the Archangel and possessed only some of the divine attributes. [1]

Since Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus is not God, they consider Him unworthy of their worship. While every Jehovah's Witnesses is taught to view God the Son in this manner, many Watchtower followers are surprised to learn of what former Jehovah's Witness, Duane Magnani, calls a "secret doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses" --  the teaching that Jesus Christ is not the savior and mediator for most Watchtower. [2]

Although hidden during earlier times, the WatchTower Society's teaching on Christ's mediation now has become clearer. First, the Watchtower claims that Jesus did not come on Earth as Christ the savior, but was given this role at age 30. 

The Watchtower book, "Things In Which It Is Impossible For God To Lie", says on page 211: "As regards to Jesus, according to the angel's announcement at His birth in Bethlehem he was to become a 'Savior, who is Christ the Lord'. When did he become Christ or 'Anointed One'? Not at birth, but at thirty years of age Jesus became Christ or Anointed One."

Watchtower writers have given a new meaning to the angel's announcement by adding to the biblical text the word "become". Luke 2:11 clearly states that the angel announced "for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord." Scripture testifies that at his birth Jesus already was the Christ, not that he was to become the Christ.

However, the Nov. 15, 1979, Watchtower magazine, pages 24-27, emphasizes that Jesus Christ acts as a mediator only for a select few -- those the Watchtower regards as the 144,000 anointed Christians. Members of this group, who also are referred to as "spiritual Israelites", are those who, according to WatchTower teaching, will reign in the heavenly kingdom.

The April 1, 1979, Watchtower magazine, on page 31, stresses that in a "strict Biblical sense Jesus is the 'mediator' only for anointed Christians."

As one would expect, the WatchTower Society must twist God's Word to support this doctrine. Two distinct examples of how the organization has changed God's word are found in separate citations of 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

Watchtower writers said on page 26 of the Nov. 15, 1979, Watchtower: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all (or, for all kinds of people, margin) -- this is what is to be witnessed to at its own particular time." Again, in the same article, the passage is cited and made to state, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men (not all men), a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all."

As the WatchTower Society becomes more outspoken and dogmatic in its claim to be the sole channel for biblical truth, it also seeks to keep from its followers the fact that its founder, Charles T. Russell, openly taught that all Watchtower adherents belonged to this "anointed" group. Russell asserted: "Here I first saw that the great privilege of becoming joint-heirs with Christ and partakers with him of the divine nature was confirmed exclusively to those who would share with him in self sacrifice in the service of the truth." [3]

Hidden also from present-day Jehovah's Witnesses is Russell's teaching that Watchtower adherents would inherit the same divine nature possessed by Jesus. The October-November 1881 edition of Zion's Watch Tower says on page 297:

"We see then, that the Divine nature comes to the church, as to Jesus, as a reward from the Father Jehovah for the race of faith well run, for the crucifixion -- sacrifice, of human nature. We conclude then that the titles, Mighty God and Everlasting Father, are titles which fully understood, are very appropriate to Our Lord Jesus Christ. And we might add that so perfectly is his bride -- body -- church, associated with him, both in filling up the measure of the sufferings -- being joined in sacrifice and also in Glory that shall follow, that the same titles are applicable to the Church as his body -- for 'He that hath freely given us Christ, shall he not with him also freely give us all things?' ... 'Therefore all things are yours, and ye are Christ's and Christ is God's (el -- powerful one) to rule and bless the nations -- and the body with the head, shall share in the work of restoring the life lost in Adam, and therefore be members of that company which as a whole will be the Everlasting Father to the restored race."

"Pastor" Russell, in the following issue of his publication, again elevated his followers to Godhood. Announcing, "Ye are Gods," he concluded that "When we claim on the scriptural warrant, that we are begotten of a divine nature and Jehovah is thus our father, it is claiming that we are divine beings -- hence all such are Gods." Absent from Russell's assertion that we can become gods is any reminder of Satan's lie to eve in the Garden, "You will become like God!" (Genesis 3:5), Lucifer's fall from glory for wishing to be as God (Isaiah 14:14ff) and words from Yahweh Himself, stating that "The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens" (Jeremiah 10:11).

When membership began to increase during the late 1930s, the Watchtower Society began to stray from Russell's teaching regarding who belonged to the anointed class. By the time that the Aug. 15, 1945, issue of the Watchtower magazine was published, Jehovah's Witnesses were told that they could not all currently be regarded as children of God. On page 253 of that issue, it was written: "... he is not yet giving the 'other sheep' the standing of sons of his, sons of 'The everlasting Father' (Isaiah 9:6). But these faithful ones will become such during his thousand-year reign after Armageddon; and now, by virtue of the prospect of eventually becoming Jehovah's perfect sons, they address him prospectively as 'Our Father.'"

The Watchtower demonstrates its departure from biblical Christianity in its offering of little hope and no security of eternal life for the average Jehovah's Witness. With Christ Jesus' role as mediator greatly reduced, and more than 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses in need of a Savior, the Society can conveniently maintain its teaching of a "Christ class", an entire group of mediators. This doctrine was clearly warned against by Jesus when he cautioned that false Christs would arise (Matthew 24:24).

In light of current Watchtower doctrine, the unanointed Jehovah's Witness must look elsewhere for his salvation, and for someone to intercede for him. Unanointed Jehovah's Witnesses are taught they will get these blessings from the "Christ class" -- the remnant of the 144,000 now living on Earth today. [4] 

The Nov. 15, 1979, Watchtower magazine says on page 27, "To keep in relationship with 'our Savior, God,' the 'great crowd' (made up of other Jehovah's Witnesses) needs to remain united with the remnant of spiritual Israelites." 

The Aug. 1, 1981, Watchtower magazine addresses and defines the conditions for eternal life. On page 26, it states, "Your attitude toward the 'wheatlike anointed brothers' of Christ and the treatment you accord them, will be the determining factor as to whether you go into 'everlasting cutting-off' or receive 'everlasting life.'"

Further, a false basis for this "Christ class" teaching has been smuggled into God's Word by the twisted rendering of Scripture in the WatchTower Society's New World Translation. 2 Corinthians 5:20 has been distorted to say: "We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: 'Become reconciled to God.'". 

The insider Watchtower publication, "Organized To Accomplish Our Ministry", on page 6, quotes this twisted passage and seeks to establish in the minds of Jehovah's Witnesses that the "anointed brothers seek to keep rank-and-file Jehovah's Witnesses enslaved to its wishes and direction. The WatchTower Society's leaders again have demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to propagate their "doctrines of demons."

The Bible is clear in its message. One does not need an organization to interpret God's Word, nor does anyone need to add to it to clarify its meaning. The eternal God, Creator of the universe, became man and dwelt among us. He freely offered his human life, shedding his blood in atonement for our sins.

The Apostle Paul clearly proclaims the Gospel that Christ was crucified, died, was buried, and on the third day arose from the grave. The sacrifice that Jesus made and his present mediatorship is not limited to a small number, but is available to all, with the added security that these have eternal life (John 5:24, 10:27,28). 

Scripture is clear that there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5,6). The Watchtower claims the man Jesus is dead and the Society's leaders must substitute for him. [5] Jesus is not dead, but fully alive and able to save completely those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).

FOOTNOTES:

1 The Watchtower, December 15, 1984, pp. 26-29. Let God Be True (Second Edition), pp. 31-41.

2 For photocopies of key Watchtower quotes concerning this doctrine, write: Duane Magnani, Witness, Inc., P.O. Box 597, Clayton, CA 94517. Please include $2.50 for printing and postage costs.

3 The Watch Tower, April 25, 1984 (special issue), pg. 111. 

4 1984 statistics showed 9,081 of the anointed still alive. This figure is based on the number of Memorial Partakers -- those who partake of communion when it is served yearly to the local Watchtower congregations -- during 1984 as recorded in the 1985 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pg. 31. See also Watchtower, January 1, 1985, pg. 25. For more information on the Watchtower's annual Memorial, see PFO Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 2, pg.4.

5 Russell, Charles T., Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 5, pg. 454.


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Think About Eternity - Is Jesus Christ Your Mediator?

By Timothy Oliver

Many members of religious organizations have a shallow understanding of the real teachings of the group they are involved with. Often, this is because the members just don't study the group's doctrine very deeply. However, sometimes it is the result of deliberate policy by the organization's leaders. This seems especially true of non-Christian groups that claim to be not only Christian but also the only true Christianity.

The leaders of these groups are walking a delicate tightrope. They must, as much as possible, maintain a Christian image. Yet they cannot compromise on those core fundamentals that separate them from real, biblical Christianity without sacrificing their organization's distinctiveness and the reason for its existence.

No group could pretend to be Christian without giving some place in its doctrine to Jesus Christ, and to the idea that as a Mediator between sinful man and a holy God, He made some kind of atonement for sin. The hope of Christians is based upon that atonement, and so the hope offered by any pseudo-Christian group must also somehow be tied to the atonement. The counterfeit must appear genuine or it will not be accepted in place of the genuine.

The Christian believes that Jesus is the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5). He confidently expects to enjoy eternal life in the presence of God as a "joint-heir" with Christ (Rom. 8:17) , with all the blessings of Christ given to him as a free gift, on the basis of the merits of Christ alone (1 Jn. 5:10-13).

However, counterfeit-Christian groups cannot allow such assurance without making their own existence unnecessary. They may refer to Christ as a Mediator, and to His atonement as indispensable. But they always falsify His role as Mediator, and deny the real power of His atonement, by maintaining a system of doctrine that makes the group itself as indispensable as Christ. The "all-sufficient" aspect of the power of the atonement is thus destroyed. The result is that these groups provide a clear example of what the Bible refers to as "having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:5).

What power is left in the atonement must be supplemented by the member's own works, which are necessary to obtain the benefit of the atonement. The organization and its leaders are necessary to provide the member with the direction he needs to make the atonement effective for himself.

The leaders may not apply the specific terms "savior" or "mediator" to themselves. Yet the place and function given them in the group's doctrine actually constitutes them as much mediators as Christ. They stand between God and the rest of mankind, administering "authority" and "truth" essential to salvation. Apart from them no one can be saved.

An example of the falsification of Christ's role as the Mediator, with the exaltation of the organization and its leaders to the function and role of mediator, is found in the teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The case also demonstrates how religious leaders deliberately obfuscate doctrines to maintain the appearance of Christianity. It is likewise a case where very few of the group's members actually understand important teachings of the organization.

The Biblical View of Christ as Mediator

To really understand this issue one must first have a clear understanding of the biblical view of Christ's role as Mediator, and of the covenant that He mediates. First, as mentioned above, Christ is the onlymediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5) .The covenant that He mediates is through His blood, i.e., through His death (Mat. 20:28; Mark 10:45; Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:25-28).

Second, this new covenant is for the forgiveness of sins (Rom. 3:24-25; Mat. 26:28; Eph. 1:7; Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:17) . Forgiveness is required because man has sinned against God and is "at variance" with Him. Forgiveness that upholds God's law cannot exist without atonement for sin.

A mediator is necessary because nothing a man can do can atone for his own sin. Atonement requires a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. As High Priest, His offering up of Himself in sacrifice made Him our Mediator -- mediating forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It cannot be stated too clearly or too often -- forgiveness of sins cannot exist, nor eternal life be given, apart from a Mediator.

Third, God covenants that He Himself will write His laws into our hearts (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; 10:16). That is, He is at work for all those brought into the new covenant to change their innermost being. Believers can be assured that He is going to cause them to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28, 29).

Fourth, it is sin that brought about death (Rom. 5:12) and put a barrier between Man and God (Isa. 59:2) . In the New Covenant God has promised (as shown above) to both forgive and remove sin from our lives. Therefore death is abolished for all those in the new covenant. They can now enter the presence of God and live there forever (Rom. 6:23; 2 Tim. 1:10; 2:10; Jn. 14:2-3; Jer. 31:33-34; Heb. 8:10-11; 10:19-22).

Last, it must be pointed out that the roles of Christ as Mediator and as High Priest cannot be arbitrarily separated. They are virtually one and the same thing. The function of the High Priest -- his job -- was to mediate. Christ is our Mediator because He is our High Priest. As High Priest, He mediates. Mediation for Man -- fully and inexorably effective for bringing in all the blessings of the covenant for all those who are in the covenant -- that is what Jesus does as High Priest (Heb. 8:1; 9:11-15, 24-28).

The scripture speaks of no work of Christ or blessings provided by Him, as High Priest, other than those provided by His work as Mediator, and belonging to the covenant He mediates. Likewise, the scripture speaks of no one receiving covenant blessings without being adopted into the covenant.

The Watchtower's View of Christ As Mediator

What does the Watchtower teach about the Mediatorial role of Christ? First, the Watchtower teaches that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant (Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2, p. 360). Out of all human history, those who are in the covenant, "spiritual Israel", are supposed to number only 144,000 (Ibid., p. 362) . And Watchtower material says expressly, "... Jesus' mediatorship operates solely toward those in the new covenant ..." (Ibid, p. 362; emphasis added).

Jesus is Mediator, then, for only these 144,000. And only they will ever be together with Jesus in heaven. For it is only, "By means of this covenant [that] it became possible for them to gain heavenly lifewith Christ ..." (Survival Into A New Earth, p.72; bracketed word and emphasis added).

Out of the 8 million current members of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization, only a few thousand are considered to be among the 144,000 of the new covenant, with a "heavenly hope". Thus it is expressly declared that for the great mass of Watchtower members, Jesus is not their Mediator, and they can never expect to be with Him in heaven.

This sounds truly dismal to Christians, who may ask, "How can they attract or hold on to their members?" One answer seems to be that though they don't regard themselves members of the 144,000, still they are somehow under the mistaken impression that Jesus is their Mediator. And though they can never expect to be in heaven, they still hope someday to have a better life than this one, here on earth.

Why this confusion about Christ's mediatorship? And what is the basis of this "earthly hope"? The Jehovah's Witnesses' confusion is probably not just ignorance. The fact is that Watchtower leaders have deliberately obfuscated the issues by arbitrarily, and without any scriptural warrant, separating Jesus Christ's being Mediator from His being High Priest (Insight, vol. 2. p. 362-363).

Forgiveness of sins and eternal life are blessings scripture declares integral to the New Covenant. But the Watchtower says they are also available to those outside the covenant. The possibility of forgiveness of sins and eternal life for those in the Covenant is the result of Christ's work as Mediator. The possibility of the same blessings for those outside the covenant is said to be the result of His work as High Priest (Ibid., pp. 362-363).

The idea that forgiveness of sins (a blessing of the Covenant) can be obtained by those outside the covenant is urged on the basis of 1 Jn. 2:2, which says that Jesus, "is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." This does not mean, however, that forgiveness is available for people outside the New Covenant. Rather, it means the value of the atonement was not limited, but was of infinite worth. People presently outside the covenant (and people from all nations, not Jews only) can still be adopted into the Covenant, and thus receive forgiveness of sins.

The Watchtower says the "other sheep" that Jesus refers to in John 10, "... are persons who are not in the covenant who are being gathered within Jehovah's provision for eternal life on the basis of their faith in the sacrificial value of Jesus' blood. They are the same as the "great crowd" of Rev. 7:9, 10, 14, and so they have the prospect of surviving the coming great tribulation -- they are included in the great crowd of prospective survivors of the coming day of divine wrath" (Survival,pp.73, 80; emphasis added). They are said to be, "putting faith in the merit of his ransom sacrifice" (Insight, vol. 2. p. 363; emphasis added). These, of course, are the Jehovah's Witnesses not included in the 144,000.

To speak of "putting faith in the merit of his ransom sacrifice" and "the sacrificial value of Jesus' blood" not only sounds Christian, it naturally leads many Jehovah's Witnesses to think of Jesus as their Mediator. That so many Jehovah's Witnesses think this way is, in fact, testimony to the real truth that forgiveness of sins cannot exist nor eternal life be given apart from a mediator. Those blessings are provisions of the Covenant, mediated by Jesus' blood, "the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins" (Mat. 26:28).

To speak of Christ providing people these blessings as High Priest while denying He is their Mediator is nonsense. It ignores all the biblical facts concerning the role of the High Priest and the nature of his work -- to mediate. It also contravenes the Jehovah's Witnesses own definition of a mediator: "One who interposes between two parties who are at variance to reconcile them; an intercessor; an intermediary agent or go-between" (Insight, vol. 2, p. 360; emphasis added).

If Jesus forgives the sins of those who are in the "great crowd", then He certainly has "interposed between" them and God, "two parties at variance, to reconcile them." He has become their "intercessor". By their own definition this makes Him their Mediator. Yet they say, "... Jesus' mediatorship operates solely toward those in the new covenant ..." (Ibid., p. 362; emphasis added).

To say Jesus is Mediator only for the 144,000 is actually to deny the possibility of forgiveness of sins for any others. To claim forgiveness of sins for the "great crowd" is to deny the claim that Christ is Mediator for only the 144,000. Forgiveness is impossible without a Mediator. This morass of confusion is still not the worst of Watchtower doctrine on the subject.

The 144,000 As Mediators

Since it is denied that Jesus is the mediator for all but the 144,000, Watchtower doctrine has elevated these 144,000 to the position of being mediators themselves. Note carefully again the last phrase of the Watchtower's definition of a mediator: "an intermediary agent or go-between." Then read their statements about the 144,000, below:

"With Christ they make up the agency by means of which blessings will be extended to all other obedient ones among mankind" (Survival, p.65; emphasis added). "Being made kings and priests by reason of the new covenant that he [Jesus] mediated, they will share in administering the blessings of Jesus' sacrifice [such as forgiveness of sins] and of his Kingdom rule to all the nations of the earth. Christ's mediatorship, having accomplished its purpose by bringing 'the Israel of God' into this position [go-between], thus results in benefits and blessings to all mankind" (Insight, vol. 2, p. 363; emphasis, words in brackets, added).

In direct blasphemous contradiction to the Word of God (1 Tim. 2:5), these statements unequivocally class the 144,000 as mediators for the rest of humanity surviving Armageddon, according to the Watchtower's own definition of the word, mediator, quoted above.

The Watchtower As Mediator

It might seem that 144,000 mediators would be enough. But there is still one more: the Watchtower Society itself, and its leaders. To be sure, the leaders do not dare call themselves mediators; rather, "the faithful slave class." But their role is as "an intermediary agent or go-between", providing "meat in due season." Meat in due season means teaching and instruction the Jehovah's Witness cannot do without if he is to be "reconciled" to Jehovah God.

"All who want to be marked as having God's approval must accept the instruction that Jehovah is providing through that 'slave' class and become true worshippers of Jehovah" (Survival, p. 96). The role they have assigned themselves unmistakably qualifies as a "mediator" according to their own definitions.

The Final Irony

When Christ alone is not enough, the multiplication of those things deemed necessary to obtain salvation becomes endless. As was noted earlier, the great majority of Jehovah's Witnesses, the other sheep, are only "prospective survivors" of Armageddon (Ibid., p. 80) . Whether or not they will be actual survivors depends upon their own attributes (virtues), attitudes (values) and achievements (works). Watchtower members can never know for certain in this life if they have been good enough or done enough to inherit life everlasting on even this earth.

Hope is dangled before them by the use of intentionally vague terms like "persons of godly devotion" (Ibid., p. 52) , and "right-hearted people" (Ibid., p. 86) . Perhaps they will qualify! But if they do everything that is required, their only hope is for life on this earth, apart from God, Christ and the 144,000 mediators. They have no heavenly hope, and to attain even their earthly hope, "No less faithfulness is required of them than of those who are spirit-anointed Christians" (Ibid., p. 67; emphasis added) , the 144,000 who do go to heaven.

Evidently, God is not an "equal opportunity employer". The Watchtower member dies and gets no pay at all if he does not meet all the requirements. If he does meet them, then for the same work in this life as the 144,000, he receives unequal pay -- for all eternity.

What must the Jehovah's Witness really do to receive even this unequal pay? Is there any concrete standard by which "godly devotion" and "right-heartedness" will be gauged? Actually there is. The standard is, "... full harmony with Jehovah's requirements" (Ibid.; emphasis added) . Obviously, any sin would not be full harmony.

Important Questions to Share With Jehovah's Witnesses

The King commands us not to sin (Isa. 1:16; Mat. 5:48). "Are you truly submitting to his authority as King?" (Ibid., p. 64; emphasis added) . Do you give Jehovah your exclusive devotion, allowing nothing to infringe on the place that he should hold in your heart?" (Ibid., p. 92; emphasis added) . Remember, "Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah's executioner today, cannot be tricked" (Ibid., p. 60; emphasis added) . Will he execute you?

Is There Any Hope?

Do you recognize your need of forgiveness for your sins? Do you want everlasting life? Those are blessings available only through a Mediator. If Jesus Christ is not your mediator then you have none; you will not receive forgiveness of sins or life everlasting. Would you not rather accept Jesus now as your Mediator than face Him later as your "executioner"?

Stop trusting in your own devotion and right-heartedness! Put all your trust on Jesus as your Savior, your Mediator. He will forgive your sins. He will also credit to your account His own perfect righteousness. Covered by His righteousness you will have everything you need to be able to stand in the presence of God. He will take you to the place He has prepared for you there.