Old Light - New Light: Changes in WT Doctrine

by NewLight2 22 Replies latest jw friends

  • AndersonsInfo
    AndersonsInfo

    This "Old Light - New Light: Changes in WT Doctrine" thread deserves to be brought back because it is so important for new ones on this board to see for themselves, point by point, the changes in WT doctrine over the years.

    Recently, I finished an article about the WT Society's interpretational changes of the separation of the sheep and the goats parable and it is found on Freeminds.org.

    http://www.freeminds.org/blogs/musings-of-a-watchtower-insider/separating-the-sheep-from-the-goats.html

    It might appear from a quick perusal of late WT literature that "peacedog" has the changes in interpretation correct, but looking at the old material, and for the sake of accuracy, the reality is that the changes were not quite as simple as "peacedog" presented. Yes, generally he's correct, but the changes were far more important than just when the Society said the separating event takes place.

    Prior to 1923: The separating of the sheep and the goats is a future event taking place after the tribulation.
    1923-1995: The separating of the sheep and the goats began in 1914 and is currently taking place.
    1995-current: The separating of the sheep and the goats is a future event taking place after the tribulation.

    The 1923 interpretation offered by the WT regarding the parable of the sheep and goats was one of the most important theological change in WT's history because it alone was the impetus for the "world-wide preaching work of JWs.

    Prior to 1923: Russell taught that the "separating" would occur during the Millenium and yes, peacedog is correct, this is after the tribulation. Note this: Russell taught that Jesus did the separating of the Gentiles during his 1,000 year rule.

    1923-1995: Rutherford taught the "separating" began in 1918, no matter if later Watchtower articles generalized and used the year 1914 as the starting date. Also, it would only be Christendom that would be separated. And, most importantly, Christians separated themselves by their reaction to the message they heard only from the Bible Students/JWs, who early on were all annointed so constituted "Christ's brothers." This work was the "judgment" that would continue until just prior to the start of the Millennial age. Jesus, through the angels, was pushing the worker messengers, who mainly were not annointed but supportive of "Christ's brothers" until just before the start of the great tribulation when goat-like Christians were determined by Jesus unworthy of receiving the trial for life that went on during the Millennium and which sheep-like Christians received.

    October 1995: Jesus executes judgment when the entire wicked system has ended, right after the tribulation starts. And Jesus’ judgment includes people of all nations, (or as Russell called them the "Gentiles,"), just like the parable states, not merely Christendom. And, Jesus does the separating. This is what the Watchtower of Oct. 15, 1995 stated: "Jesus is the one who is appointed to render judgment. It is not for us to determine who are sheep and who are goats ."

    What does the latest change mean: As I pointed out in my essay, Awake! editor, Harry Peloyan, told me, Now Jehovah’s Witnesses believe just like Christendomhas for 2,000 years!” That in a nutshell is the most important part of the change of interpretation in 1995!

    The following material was taken from my Freeminds article:

    1. The earliest belief of Russell and associates—1879 onward

    Zion’s Watch Tower , September 1881, p. 269, par. 5, 6:

    A thousand years of such ruling and teaching! ... This thousand years is the time during which all the nations are gathered before the judgment seat of Christ. It is their judgment day—one thousand years. [6] During all that time, God’s truth, as a two-edged sword, will be quietly, … doing a separating work, dividing the sheep from the goats. Matt. XXV, 31-46. This article originally appeared in the September 1879 Zion’s Watch Tower, p. 34, and was expanded in Sept.1881.

    Zion’s Watch Tower, March 15, 1905, p. 3528, par. 6:

    The Lord refers to this other flock of sheep, and explicitly tells us about the gathering of those sheep to his favor under him as the great Shepherd. He definitely fixes the time and shows that the parable of the sheep and goats belongs not to the present age but to the Millennial age

    The Watch Tower , February 15, 1914, p. 5406, par. 7:

    One parable at least tells about the future work of the kingdom, after the Church is completed and sits with Christ in his throne. This is the parable of the Sheep and the Goats… [par. 10] This dividing of the world, the Gentiles , will progress for a thousand years, and eventually will make a most complete separation…

    2. 1923—Change In the October 15, 1923 issue of The Watch Tower, p. 308, par. 18, 21, the second president of the Watch Tower Society, Joseph F. Rutherford wrote:

    (18) Our Lord’s throne, or judgment-seat, mentioned in the parable does not seem to be that of the Millennial throne which will deal with the living and the dead during his reign, but seem clearly to be the throne of court established to judge the things existing at the time of or during his second presence and before the beginning of restoration. (21) …that this judgment of the unrighteous things spoken of by St. Jude takes place prior to the beginning of the Millennial age judgment, which shall be in righteousness. Acts 17:31

    Repetition for emphasis: Rutherford applied the judgment of everlasting destruction for goat-like people before the Millennium began and during Christ’s invisible presence, which was thought to have begun in 1874.

    According to that same Watch Tower,the messageand how people react to that message about the day of God’s vengeance preached by God’s earthly representatives separates goat-like people from sheep-like people only in Christendom and not dividing or separating the gentile world as Russell taught.

    But it is the duty of the church, as representing the Lord on earth, to proclaim the day of his vengeance against Satan’s unrighteous system and to call upon the people to separate themselves from the unclean thing and come apart and recognize and acknowledge allegiance to the King of kings and Lord of lords (p. 314, par. 61).

    His [Jesus] words concerning the separating of one from another in this parable do not seem to relate to a general separation of the nations, but rather to the separation of the two general classes composing the nations of Christendom, one symbolized by goats and the other by sheep. (p. 310, par. 30).

    3. The latest belief—1995

    “The rendering of judgment on the sheep and goats is future. It will take place after ‘the tribulation’ mentioned at Matthew 24:29, 30 breaks out and the Son of man ‘arrives in his glory.’ Then, with the entire wicked system at its end, Jesus will hold court and render and execute judgment.” Watchtower , October 15, 1995, p. 23, par. 26.

    In other words, Jesus executes judgment when the entire wicked system has ended, right after the tribulation starts. And Jesus’ judgment includes people of all nations, just like the parable states, not merely the Gentiles or only Christendom.

    Nowhere in the 1995 articles does it enlighten readers that for some forty-four years previous to 1923 the Watch Tower Society taught that the parable of the sheep and the goats applied during the Millennium, but simply explains on page 25, par. 9:

    The parable does not apply during the Millennium, for the anointed will not then be humans suffering hunger, thirst sickness, or imprisonment.

    For a fact, that October 15, 1995 Watchtower, on p. 19, par. 24, and p. 22, par. 22 misleads the Witnesses by stating that it was long understood that the parable found application starting in 1914 when that was the second application the Society endorsed, the first being Russell’s teaching that application was during the Millennium. This should have been clarified. In addition, in the October 15, 1923 Watchtower, the year 1914 is never mentioned; rather, the Watch Tower explains that Christ came in 1918 for the purpose of judging, first the spirit-begotten saints, later, Christendom.

    To recap, the new development in the Society’s understanding is that the other sheep are those who are preaching the good news with the anointed and do good towards them. Goat-like ones are those whose past actions were not supportive of the anointed and rejected the Kingdom message. And, most importantly, as explained in the Oct. 15, 1995 Watchtower, p. 26, par. 15,

    Of course, in the final analysis, Jesus is the one who is appointed to render judgment. It is not for us to determine who are sheep and who are goats.

  • Heaven
    Heaven

    I really like the "YES" then "NO" then "YES" then "NO" lists. Shows truly what a farce it all is!

  • peacedog
    peacedog

    Barbara,

    Thanks for the info. It was not my intent to write an essay or to delineate all the nuances of the Society's historical positions on Matt 25:31-46; just to present an overview of another doctrinal flip-flop.

    I don't think I mispoke when I summarized the WT views thusly:

    Prior to 1923: The separating of the sheep and the goats is a future event taking place after the tribulation.
    1923-1995: The separating of the sheep and the goats began in 1914 and is currently taking place.
    1995-current: The separating of the sheep and the goats is a future event taking place after the tribulation.

    Imo, the bigger issue here is not (another) WT doctrinal flip-flop, but that the 1923 doctrinal position was attributed directly to God:

    Stirring up increasing interest in them, Jehovah caused to be preached from 1918 onward the startling public message "Millions Now Living Will Never Die," and in 1923 he provided the interpretation of "the parable of the sheep and the goats." (Matt. 25:31-46) --WT, 11/15/1955, p.698.

    The above is a very plain statement by the Society attributing what is now said to be DOCTRINAL ERROR to God.

    It is my opinion that shifting doctrines (including even back-and-forth doctrinal flip-flops) are by and large readily accepted by individual JWs as they deem these to be examples of "the light getting brighter". However, attributing false doctrine - doctrinal error - to God is an entirely different issue which I consider to be far more damning to the Watchtower Society and much more difficult for individual JWs to reconcile.

    Watchtower doctrine leaves no room for a God who provides doctrinal error to the JWs or anyone else for that matter: God is Truth. This means that the Society's claim to have received doctrinal enlightenment from God regarding Matthew 25:31-46 in 1923 is patently FALSE. This calls all other similar claims into question, for if the Society is demonstrably wrong(lied) about receiving new light from God in this case, why should any other such claim be believed?

    Secondly, what of the ramifications of portraying God as a liar? Based on the Society's current doctrinal position regarding Matt 25:31-46 and their comments regarding their previously held view, God LIED to the Watchtower Society in 1923. By putting God "in the light of a liar", the Watchtower Society has sealed their own fate, according to their own teaching:

    We may not tell untruths in his name, for that puts God in the light of a liar. "Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar." (Rom. 3:4, NW) In Jeremiah's day the false prophets prophesied lies in Jehovah's name and lied against his purpose, foretelling in his name what he had not foretold. Therefore Jehovah was against them. He executed judgment against them at Jerusalem's destruction in 607 B.C. (Jer. 23:25; 27:15) Religious liars like them today cannot escape a like judgment but will meet a like end at Armageddon. --WT, 2/1/1956, p.88.

  • AndersonsInfo
    AndersonsInfo

    No, peacedog, you did not misspeak. I felt the need to post because there is so much more to WT's past and present "separating" work interpretations than just flip flops and I was adding to your overview. Absolutely WT tells untruths about God and even makes liars out of the messengers. As I mentioned in my essay found at Freeminds, it was a terrible blow to me to find out I had been lying to people when I taught them WT's 1923 interpretation of the parable. I felt as though I had misrepresented the God that I thought I had served for over forty years.

    In reality, every time WT makes changes to their doctrines and "sweet talks" the flock into believing it is in their best interests to accept more "new light," it makes God out to be a liar who apparently is having fun playing a sick sort of game with his believers’ hearts and minds. And to outsiders, believers appear to be fools to accept the expositions of “...the church that claims to represent the Lord on earth" but can never get their claims right!

    We who thought we knew it all and looked down at others for not understanding the Bible like we did were living a fantasy, a lie. And JW's leaders are two-faced liars. Out of one side of their mouth, they smoothly and convincingly lie to their members about God's purposes. Out of the other side, they say every religion except them lies about God. And nobody did that better than Rutherford did in his Oct. 15, 1923 article, THE PARABLE OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS.

  • lovelylil2
    lovelylil2

    Excellent thread, am marking for later. Lilly

  • Chalam
    Chalam

    Great list!

    Can anyone provide full quotes for these two please?

    THE "ALPHA AND OMEGA"OF REVELATION 22:12
    Refers to Jehovah God - AWAKE! 8/22/78 p.28
    Refers to Jesus Christ - WT 10/1/78 p.15

    Many thanks in advance!

    Blessings,

    Stephen

  • peacedog
    peacedog

    Hi Barbara,

    As I mentioned in my essay found at Freeminds, it was a terrible blow to me to find out I had been lying to people when I taught them WT's 1923 interpretation of the parable. I felt as though I had misrepresented the God that I thought I had served for over forty years.

    In my opinion, this speaks to your character.

    I am surprised and disappointed that JWs in general are not more concerned about (continuing to) misrepresent God by bringing doctrines to the door, only to have those doctrines discarded down the road.

    Even current JWs must realize that there is no certainty that what they believe (and carry to the doors) today will be "truth" tomorrow. And yet they continue to preach these uncertain doctrines and to present them as "God's truth".

    I wonder how many times the average JW has "put God in the light of a liar" by preaching something that was subsequently discarded as error?

    How many "untruths" has the average JW carried to the door and presented as God's will?

    I enjoyed your essay, and, again, I thank you for the info.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    .. though Pastor Russell has passed beyond the veil, he is managing every feature of the harvest work.

  • BlindersOff1
    BlindersOff1

    marked

  • Red Piller
    Red Piller

    Great thread and research NewLight2! I looked up the organ transplant references, using the 2003 CD index: 11/15/1967 p702: Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. 3/15/1980 p31: Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalistic. Wow, I wonder why "some" christians might feel that way....? One eye-opener (thanks to this site) is the Society's method of introducing "new light" and then dismissing old "light" as opinions of members.

Share this

Google+
Pinterest
Reddit