“When Jesus finished these sayings, the effect was that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching, for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes.”
– Matthew 7:28-29
When Jesus taught, his listeners discerned that he had unusual insight. He explained things in a way that demonstrated his unwavering belief in the truth of what he said. He managed to pierce into the heart of the matters he spoke about, and apply them in a new and revolutionary way, unlike any of his contemporaries. His listeners were left with the feeling that something profound had just happened.
Even today, those who read Jesus’ words refer to him as the Great Teacher, the Greatest Teacher Who Ever Lived, the Master. And Jesus is all of these things and more. So we find it offensive that some who claim to view Jesus in this way actually demonstrate by their teachings that Jesus’ words were not clear and precise, as if Jesus taught in a ‘Da Vinci Code’ method. In their minds, Jesus’ teachings are not plain and open, they are half truths with obscure and hidden meanings. They believe Jesus’ teachings need to be supplemented by men who have a special gift of discerning the whole truth. In their minds, Jesus did not say what he really meant!
Sadly, millions of people hold this view, yet they are unaware of it. They are strangely blind to what is so clear to others. So in this article, we will show openly how some people have, by their teachings, minimized the teachings of Jesus in favor of their own interpretations. For purposes of this article, we will use Jehovah’s Witnesses as an example, though they are not the only ones who do this.
What Jehovah’s Witnesses Say Jesus Really Meant
Here is a comparison of what Jesus actually said and what the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses say he really meant:
|What Jesus Said||What JW's Believe Jesus Meant|
|I am going my way to prepare a place for you in the house of my Father. (John 14:2)||I am going my way to prepare a place in heaven for just a few of you. Then I will make a nice little place on earth for the rest of you.|
|I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)||I am the way, the truth and the life for now. But in the 20th century, you will have to go through the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses first.|
|You must be born again. (John 3:2-7)||Some of you must be born again. But most of you do not have to worry about it.|
|Who really is the faithful and discreet slave? (Matthew 24:45)||No one is the faithful and discreet slave until the 20th century when I will appoint the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses as the composite Faithful and Discreet Slave. (Watchtower 7/15/13 pp 20, 22) See Notes 1-2|
|What I say, I say to all. (Mark 13:37)||What I say, I say to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.|
|This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. (Matthew 24:34)||A generation of anointed Christians in the 20th century which overlaps another generation of anointed Christians, but does not include the next overlapping generation of anointed Christians, will by no means pass away until I return to earth to destroy the wicked people who refuse to follow the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Watchtower 1/15/14 p 31) See Note 3|
|In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the sheep go inherit the kingdom of the heavens, and the goats go off into destruction.||It is really the parable of the sheep, the goats and a secret third group (let’s call them the ‘cows’). The sheep go inherit the kingdom of the heavens, the goats go off into destruction, and the ‘cows’ stay on earth to graze in the grass forever.|
|In the parable of the wheat and the weeds, the wheat goes into the storehouse and the weeds get burned up. (Matthew 13:24-30)||It is really the parable of the wheat, the weeds, It is really the parable of the wheat, the weeds, and a secret third group (let’s call them the ‘grass’). The wheat goes into the storehouse, the weeds get burned up, and the grass stays in the field forever.|
|Since the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of the heavens is the goal to which men press. (Matthew 11:12)||Since the days of John the Baptist, a small number of you will press toward the kingdom of the heavens. The rest are not invited.|
|Stop judging that you may not be judged. (Matthew 7:1)||Stop judging, unless they disagree with the Governing Body. Then you will be just fine.|
|My kingdom is no part of this world. (John 18:36)||My kingdom is no part of this world yet. But in the 21st century, I will set up my kingdom in this world.|
|Go make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit (Matthew 28:19)||Go make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, the holy spirit, and the Watchtower organization|
|Go teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)||Go teaching them to observe all the things the prophets taught along with your interpretations of the things I commanded.|
|Keep doing this in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19)||Some of you should keep doing this in remembrance of me. The rest of you can just watch.|
|Unless you eat and drink of me, you will not gain life or a resurrection or be in union with me. (John 6:53-56)||You do not need to symbolically eat and drink of me. Just exercise faith that I said you should eat and drink of me.|
|The two sheep folds will become one flock. (John 10:16)||The two sheep folds will become one flock for now. But in the future, I will separate them again and take the small fold with me to heaven.|
|Let your light shine before men. (Matthew 5:16)||Let your light shine, if the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses says it’s okay.|
|‘As many as did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children.’ (John 1:12)||As many as did receive him had to hurry up because there are only 143,988 sonship slots left after he selected the apostles.|
|You have but one leader, the Christ. (Matthew 23:10)||You have but one leader for now. But in the 20th century, I will give all my authority to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Watchtower 7/15/13 2013 p 23) See Note 4|
|I will send the Spirit of Truth to guide you into all truth. (John 16:13)||I will send the Spirit of Truth to guide the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses into new truths.|
|Keep on asking, seeking, knocking and it will be given to you. (Matthew 7:7-8)||Keep on asking, seeking and knocking, but only in Watchtower publications. Then wait for the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to write an answer in the Watchtower magazine.|
|‘This is my son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.’ (Luke 9:35)||This is my son. You can listen to him for now, but after the 20th century, you must listen to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Watchtower 11/15/13 p 20) See Note 5|
|The hour is coming when you will not worship in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. The Father wants you to worship with spirit and truth. (John 4:20-23)||The hour is coming and it is now that you must worship with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Father wants you to worship by obeying the Governing Body.|
|Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)||Truly I say to you today, you will be on a paradise-like earth, but you will not be with me. I will be in the paradise of God in heaven.|
- “That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel.” (Watchtower July 15, 2013, page 20)
- “The faithful and discreet slave: A small group of anointed brothers who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food during Christ’s presence. Today, these anointed brothers make up the Governing Body.” (Watchtower July 15, 2013, page 22)
- “Jesus said: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” (Read Matthew 24:33-35.) We understand that in mentioning “this generation,” Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed Christians. The first group was on hand in 1914, and they readily discerned the sign of Christ’s presence in that year. Those who made up this group were not merely alive in 1914, but they were spirit-anointed as sons of God in or before that year. The second group included in “this generation” are anointed contemporaries of the first group. They were not simply alive during the lifetime of those in the first group, but they were anointed with holy spirit during the time that those of the first group were still on earth. Thus, not every anointed person today is included in “this generation” of whom Jesus spoke. (Watchtower January 15, 2014, page 31)
- “The faithful and discreet slave is thus charged with the responsibility to manage the household of faith. That responsibility includes overseeing material assets, the preaching activity, assembly and convention programs, and the production of Bible literature for use in the field ministry and in personal and congregation study. The domestics depend on all the spiritual provisions dispensed by the composite slave. (Watchtower July 15, 2013, page 23)
- “At that time, the lifesaving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.” (Watchtower November 15, 2013, page 20)
We have pointed out just a few ways the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses goes way beyond the things written and get puffed up with pride in their ‘new truths.’ (1 Corinthians 4:6) Some of this may be humorous, but it is indeed what the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses teaches. While some of these views are unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are other religious groups who do similar twisting of Jesus’ plain and unambiguous words. And all of such groups have the same diabolical purpose – to gather men to themselves for their own glory. For if they were seeking to glorify Christ, they would teach the things Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19), without supplementing it with their own interpretations.
Those who twist Jesus’ teachings are, in fact, mocking God. They must surely believe God and Jesus do not exist. For if they did believe, they would not outright reject Jesus’ role as God’s only spokesman (Hebrews 1:1-2), nor God’s clear direction that we listen to Jesus (Luke 9:35), nor would they presume to twist Jesus’ simple truths as Paul warned:
“However, some things in them are hard to understand, and these things the ignorant and unstable are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
– 2 Peter 3:16
It is our hope that by presenting this comparison of what Jesus taught, and what certain men teach, honest hearted people who love truth more than they love their religion, will be able to distinguish between Jesus’ plain and open teachings, and the sophistry of non-believing blind men. As Jesus said, the helper – the Spirit of Truth – will guide you (John 16:13), if you have faith enough to trust in the power of the spirit.
May we suggest that you go into your inner room and pray. Then read Jesus’ words for what they actually say and then stop there. Do not add the ideas of men. If you engage in study in this way, you will be able to discern what Jesus really meant.