Watchtower: January 2016
Study Article: “We Want to Go With You”
Study Date: March 21-27, 2016
“We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.”
– Zechariah 8:23
We continue our commentary on the second study article in the January 2016 Watchtower magazine (“WT”). We Want to Go With You Part 1 (paragraphs 1-4), and Part 2 (paragraphs 5-6), Part 3 (paragraph 7-8), and Part 4 (paragraphs 9-11).
What About the Number of Those Partaking at the Memorial?
WT Paragraph 12:
“12 In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of those partaking at the Memorial of Christ’s death. That trend contrasts with the decrease in the number of partakers that we saw for many decades. Should this increase trouble us? No. Let us consider some key factors to keep in mind.
The Watchtower organization has long prophesied that the number of anointed Christians would decrease as we near the ‘end of the system of things.’ Their teaching, that originated in the 1930's under the leadership of J.F. Rutherford, that not all Christians can go to heaven resulted in many Jehovah’s Witnesses abandoning the hope to be with the Father and Christ Jesus in heaven and accepting the lesser hope of living forever on earth.
In spite of the Watchtower’s assertion that the news of the ‘earthly class’ was joyfully received in 1935, those who were present when the announcement was made tell a very different story. Most were confused and disappointed and many left the organization as a result. But in spite of the response, the Watchtower organization held firm to its ‘other sort of good news’ and continued to promote the idea that the vast majority of Christians should not hope to go to heaven. In essence, the Watchtower organization “shut up the Kingdom of the heavens” for all but a handful of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Matthew 23:13) And true to the Watchtower’s self-fulfilling prophecy, the number of anointed Christians in the Watchtower organization began to decrease year after year.
But the efforts to promote ‘another sort of good news’ began to fall apart beginning, as far as we can tell, in 2006, when the number of anointed Christians in the Watchtower organization began to increase and continued to increase each year thereafter. This increase is a fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist about what would happen to those who follow Jesus and pursued the heavenly hope, and those who followed John who held the Synagogue hope:
“You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent ahead of that one.’ Whoever has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, when he stands and hears him, has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom. So my joy has been made complete. That one must keep on increasing, but I must keep on decreasing.”
– John 3:28-30
A more detailed discussion of John’s prophecy can be found in the article, “That One Must Keep On Increasing.”
Yes, in direct opposition to the prophecy of the Watchtower organization, John the Baptist long ago prophesied that there would be an increase in those who follow Jesus, and the increase would ‘keep on’ growing. That is what we should expect ... unless you think John was a false prophet!
The increase is also a reflection of the loosening of the grip of the false teaching of an ‘earthly hope’ and is remedying the stagnation in the development of the body of Christ within the Watchtower organization. More and more Jehovah’s Witnesses are realizing that there is only one hope that leads to survival – the heavenly hope – and they are gaining the courage to openly and publicly confess union with Christ in the face of opposition by men.
Accordingly, this increase should not trouble you at all. It should cause you to rejoice! Finally the body of Christ is growing among Jehovah’s Witnesses. And despite all efforts to the contrary, no amount of wrong teachings, or constant readjustments by man, can prevent or deter that continuing increase in the sons of the Kingdom, not even the two January 2016 Watchtower study articles!
WT Paragraph 13:
“13 “Jehovah knows those who belong to him.” (2 Tim. 2:19) Those taking the count at the Memorial cannot judge who truly have the heavenly hope. The number of partakers includes those who mistakenly think that they are anointed. Some who at one point started to partake of the emblems later stopped. Others may have mental or emotional problems that lead them to believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven. Therefore, the number of partakers does not accurately indicate the number of anointed ones left on earth.)
Now we get to the crux of the matter. Here is where the Watchtower writer finally gets to write what he has wanted to write from the very first article, “The Spirit Bears Witness With Our Spirit.” Finally, he can do what he was commissioned to do, namely to discourage Jehovah’s Witnesses from joining the body of Christ and to tell all in the congregations that the individuals who are now partaking are mistaken, or mentally or emotionally deficient. It is a direct message to Jehovah’s Witnesses which is why it is contained in the internal “Study Edition,” and not the public edition of the Watchtower magazine.
But are those who eat and drink of the Memorial emblems mentally or emotionally unbalanced? Not according to Paul. To him, it was the other way around:
“I am pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Therefore, let those of us who are mature be of this mental attitude, and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above attitude to you.”
– Philippians 3:14-15
Paul believed those who did not pursue the heavenly calling were the ones mentally deficient. We choose to side with Paul’s view!
And what about those who start partaking and then stop. Were they mistaken? We don’t think so. We believe they were chastised and scrutinized so much that they succumbed to the pressure and stopped partaking. Yet many of these weaker brothers and sisters continue to secretly believe they were indeed ‘called.’ We have a family member who was victimized in that way. But has she truly stopped partaking? No. She continues privately between her, the Father and Christ Jesus. And even though those in her congregation believe she no longer partakes, she is still ‘marked’ as mentally or emotionally unbalanced!
There is very little such a person can do to escape the judgmental attitudes of those who despise the children of God. But we should expect nothing more of fleshly minded people. So, then, why not maintain your faith and stand with Christ, and let the spirit speak on your behalf:
“What, then, is the case? If some lacked faith, will their lack of faith invalidate the faithfulness of God? Certainly not! But let God be found true, even if every man be found a liar, just as it is written: “That you might be proved righteous in your words and might win when you are being judged.”
– Romans 3:3-4
Now. Let’s look at this another way. If we assume the paragraph is accurate, which we strongly assert is not, we must be fair and objective. The paragraph states: “The number of partakers includes those who mistakenly think that they are anointed.” Since the Governing Body professes to be anointed, it must mean that the Governing Body might also mistakenly think they are anointed? It must also mean that the Governing Body “may have mental or emotional problems that lead them to believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven.” Based on what they allowed to be printed in this and the prior study article, it would seem that there are some mental and spiritual deficiencies afoot. So, in all fairness, giving equal respect to all who profess to be anointed, we must keep in mind the possibility that the members of the Governing Body, and Watchtower writers, are mentally and emotionally deficient, based on what is written in this Watchtower article alone.
There might also be a mental deficiency based on the fact that they believe they are a part of the 144,000 who they believe will rule with as kings and priests with Christ in heaven. As we showed in paragraph 3 in Part 1, and in the article The Great Crowd of Partakers, the 144,000 are not said to be kings and priests, ever. A great unnumbered multinational crowd are the ones designated to be the kings and priests. (Revelation 5:8-10) So, based on this clear error in doctrine, there seems to be some validity to the idea that the Governing Body members might “mistakenly think that they are anointed” or “may have mental or emotional problems.” Their words, not ours.
The question on paragraphs 12 and 13 ask:
“12, 13. Why should we not worry about the number of those who eat the bread and drink the wine at the Memorial?
One reason we should not worry is because, as the paragraphs states: “Those taking the count at the Memorial cannot judge who truly have the heavenly hope.” The way it works is that the men who take the count of those who partake at the Memorial are given instructions to attempt to discern those whom they believe are truly anointed and only count them. But since they cannot truly judge this matter, they might mistakenly fail to count many who are truly anointed. And let’s not forget the large number of ‘closet’ anointed who do not partake in public. Accordingly, it is quite possible and probable that the number of anointed Christians among Jehovah’s Witnesses far exceeds the number that is actually reported! This is reason to rejoice!
Another reason we should not worry is because the steady increase is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. (John 3:28-30) It is what is to be expected. Thus, there is no need for worry, but rather an even greater reason to rejoice!
WT Paragraph 14:
“14 Anointed ones will be present in many parts of the earth when Jesus comes to gather them to heaven. Speaking of that time, the Bible says regarding Jesus: “He will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” (Matt. 24:31) The Scriptures do indicate that only a remnant of the anointed ones will be left on earth during the last days. (Rev. 12:17) However, the Bible does not state how many will be left at the time that the great tribulation begins.
The question on paragraph 14 asks:
“14. What does the Bible say about the number of anointed ones who will be on earth when the great tribulation starts?
This paragraph is correct that the Bible does not state how many anointed will be left on earth when the great tribulation begins. But the remaining parts of this paragraph are pure speculation, and in conflict with what John actually wrote. Let’s look at what John saw in his Revelation:
“After this I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth, so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the sunrise, having a seal of the living God; and he called with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel:”
– Revelation 7:1-4
While we believe the true meaning of these verses remains hidden from mankind, we can show that they do not support Watchtower doctrine. According to Watchtower doctrine, these scriptures are describing what will occur just prior to the start of the great tribulation. We see the angels are holding back ‘the four winds’ that would otherwise destroy all those on earth. To protect ‘the slaves of God,’ the angels begin ‘sealing them in their foreheads.’ How many needed to be sealed? 144,000! So according to John’s vision, all the ‘slaves of God’ who make up the 144,000 are all on earth at that time, all needing to be protected from the ‘four winds!’ So paragraph 14 is clearly wrong. All 144,000 are on earth at the start of the great tribulation, not just a remnant of 144,000.
So then, according to the words of John’s prophecy combined with Watchtower doctrine, there should be at least 144,000 anointed partakers in the Watchtower organization today. But in 2015, there were only about 14,000. This would further prove that the Watchtower leadership, along with the Teaching and Writing Committees, are grossly suppressing the anointed children of God and stifling their growth!
And what is even worse is that 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses blindly follow the Watchtower leadership’s erroneous prophetic interpretations instead of the plain and open teachings of Jesus that we are all sons of God and heirs to the heavenly kingdom. Many will lose their lives because they did not love truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10), but their blood will be asked back from those in leadership positions. (Ezekiel 33:8)
WT Paragraph 15:
“15 Jehovah chooses when in history he will select anointed ones. (Rom. 8:28-30) Jehovah began choosing anointed ones after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and it seems that all in the first-century Christian congregation were anointed. From the first century until the beginning of the last days, the vast majority of those who claimed to follow Christ were false Christians; Jesus likened them to “weeds.” Even so, Jehovah continued to anoint some faithful ones throughout that time, and they proved to be like the “wheat” Jesus described. (Matt. 13:24-30) During the last days, Jehovah has continued to select those who will make up the 144,000.  If he chooses to wait until late into that period to select some for that privilege, who are we to question his wisdom? (Isa. 45:9; Dan. 4:35; read Romans 9:11, 16.)  We must be careful not to react like the disgruntled workers who complained about the way their master dealt with the 11th-hour workers.—Read Matthew 20:8-15.
This paragraph also shows the lack of knowledge and thinking ability by the ones who wrote and approved this article. It is true that the anointing with spirit began in the 1st century with the pouring out of the Spirit of Truth at Pentecost 33 C.E. It was poured out on “every sort of flesh” (Acts 2:17), not just the 120 and the 3,000 in Jerusalem. And it continued to be poured out on all who thereafter became believers in Christ Jesus. There is nothing in the scriptures that indicate the pouring out was temporary, or that it would cease, stall or be withheld. Even though Jesus’ authentic teachings were suppressed, enough of his teachings survived to allow the Spirit of Truth to continue working with sincere Christians who loved God and were willing to give their all to be a follower of Jesus to the best of their ability.
Note this: The paragraph says: “it seems that all in the first-century Christian congregation were anointed.” So how many faithful Christians were there in the 1st century? According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (1982), it is estimated that by A.D. 100, there were 1 million Christians in the Roman Empire. Other skeptic and non-Christian sources estimate that there were about 200,000 in Rome. And this does not account for the Christians outside of the Roman Empire. But in either case, the number of anointed Christians in the 1st century alone far exceeded 144,000. If we are to believe the Watchtower’s Doctrine of 144,000, we will have to accept that the current Governing Body members could not be anointed, nor anyone else in the past 1900 centuries, since the number was fulfilled in the 1st century. They have shot themselves in the foot again and destroyed their own self-exalted authority!
Another point: The statement “From the first century until the beginning of the last days, the vast majority of those who claimed to follow Christ were false Christians” is an abomination! There is no reason for this statement other than to support the Governing Body’s doctrine that there are only 144,000 anointed Christians who have ever lived on earth. The Watchtower leadership is willing to denounce the faith of millions, possibly billions of Christians who gave their lives in confessing union with Christ, for the self-serving purpose of propping up their false doctrine! The Watchtower organization has done a lot of dastardly deeds, and taught a lot of error, but this condemnation of sincere believers in Christ is one of their most reprehensible!
Even their use of the scriptures to support this fallacy is deceptive and betrays a further lack of thinking ability. Yes, Jesus spoke about weeds sown in among the wheat, but notice the entire illustration:
“He presented another illustration to them, saying: “The Kingdom of the heavens may be likened to a man who sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat and left. When the stalk sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds also appeared. So the slaves of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No, for fear that while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest season, I will tell the reapers: First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up; then gather the wheat into my storehouse.’”
– Matthew 13:24-30
According to this illustration, the wheat and the weeds were growing together. They were both in the same field at the same time. Did the weeds over grow the wheat and take over the field? No. There was no concern that the weeds would overpower or destroy the wheat as there was sufficient wheat remaining in the field to have a harvest.
Now, let’s use some thinking ability and apply that illustration of wheat and weeds to true and false Christians. How does that illustration prove that “From the first century until the beginning of the last days, the vast majority of those who claimed to follow Christ were false Christians”? It doesn’t. It actually suggests that the ‘vast majority’ or at least half were wheat!
Keeping in mind that these are illustrations, and not prophecies, let’s look at the other illustration referred to in the paragraph:
“When evening came, the master of the vineyard said to his man in charge, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last and ending with the first.’ When the 11th-hour men came, they each received a denarius. So when the first came, they assumed that they would receive more, but they too were paid at the rate of a denarius. On receiving it, they began to complain against the master of the house and said, ‘These last men put in one hour’s work; still you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat!’ But he said in reply to one of them, ‘Fellow, I do you no wrong. You agreed with me for a denarius, did you not? Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last one the same as to you. Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye envious because I am good?’”
– Matthew 20:8-15
We wrote an article about this illustration entitled “Why Are Older Anointed Reluctant to Recognize Younger Anointed?” And while the paragraph states: “We must be careful not to react like the disgruntled workers who complained about the way their master dealt with the 11th-hour workers,” it appears the main ones who are disgruntled at the growth of new anointed Christians, and who complain about the reward given to them, are those in leadership and teaching positions in the Watchtower organization. They are the ones trying to convince the rest of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the new anointed ones “mistakenly think that they are anointed” or “may have mental or emotional problems.” Hypocrites!
Since the question on paragraph 15 is connected to paragraph 16, let’s read paragraph 16 before we consider the question.
WT Paragraph 16:
“16 Not all who have the heavenly hope are part of “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45-47) As in the first century, Jehovah and Jesus today are feeding many through the hands of a few. Only a few anointed Christians in the first century were used to write the Christian Greek Scriptures. Similarly today, only a few anointed Christians have been appointed to provide spiritual “food at the proper time.”
We wondered why this paragraph has been inserted in this subheading that is supposed to be about “the number of those partaking at the Memorial.” It seems out of place and is further evidence that it is the Governing Body who is disgruntled and trying to deny an equal reward – equal pay – to the new anointed ones. It seems the reason is because the Governing Body wants to be the only ones who “have been appointed to provide spiritual “food at the proper time.” They are clearly threatened and intimidated by the insight of other anointed children of God, and they should be!
Perhaps they have forgotten that Geoffrey Jackson of the Governing Body publicly testified under oath that the Governing Body has not yet been appointed to that role, but is only “trying to fulfill the role.” (See the transcript of testimony of Geoffrey Jackson, on page 15,937 beginning at line 37.) So even among the Governing Body members, there is confusion, misunderstanding, and possibly dissent.
Finally, the idea that “Jehovah and Jesus today are feeding many through the hands of a few,” is a fallacy, as is the idea that in the 1st century, the feeding was done through the hands of a few. In the 1st century, every Christian who learned about Jesus and became a believer was entrusted with the obligation/opportunity to ‘feed’ others. This is such common knowledge that it is hard to believe the Governing Body is promoting this teaching. But for those who are not sure about this, please see the article we wrote debunking this false teaching, entitled “Feeding the Many.”
The question on paragraphs 15 and 16 ask:
“15, 16. What do we need to understand about the 144,000 chosen by Jehovah?
We need to understand that: (1) the 144,000 are not said to be kings and priests; (2) the 144,000 are not said to be the only ones who will go to heaven since the great unnumbered crowd at Revelation 5:8-10 are also “bought from the earth;” and (3) the 144,000 are not said to be the only ones who are anointed by holy spirit. In fact, there is no Biblical support at all for the Doctrine of the 144,000 as taught by the Watchtower leadership.
We also need to understand that: (1) the number of those “bought from the earth” is not limited; (2) every Christian Bible writer encouraged their audience to reach out for the heavenly calling; and (3) there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that the Father has stopped calling his anointed children.
Therefore, with all of this understanding, what prevents you from accepting the anointing and pursuing the heavenly hope? Are you led by spirit? If so, you are a son of God. (Romans 8:14) Are you doing the will of the Father? If so, you are a brother to Christ Jesus. (Matthew 12:50) And if you are a child of God and a brother to Christ Jesus, then you are also an heir to the heavenly kingdom! (Romans 8:17)
There is only one more paragraph to consider in this study article. The question on that paragraph asks: "What have you learned from this article?" Given the meaty meal we have had based on this study article, it will take an entire commentary article to answer that question which we will do in the next commentary.
We have had to provide a great deal of information in order to unravel the twisted doctrines promoted among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some of our readers might still be a little confused. If so, we hope to provide a clear and simple summary in our next and last commentary on the two January 2016 study articles within the next week.
If you have any questions that you feel need to be clarified, please write us so we can include those issues in our final commentary.