Why does the Watchtower claim Jesus is only Mediator for the 144,000?
The history of the development of this concept provides the answer. The Watchtower did not always teach this distasteful doctrine. Russell taught that the role of Mediator was extended to all mankind.
Russell appears to have been thoroughly confused about the role of mediator. At times he felt that the 144,000 were not under the new covenant, at other times that they were under the New Covenant. When he taught that they were not under the New Covenant it followed that they did not need a mediator and that they (along with Jesus) played role of mediator for mankind.
- Up to 1880 Russell taught that Jesus and the body of Christ (the 144,000) mediated for mankind, so the 144,000 were not included in the New Covenant.
"It should be remembered that we are in him heirs of glory, not under the new covenant, which is still future, but in the Abrahamic covenant." Zion's Watch Tower 1880 Feb p.72
- Russell changed his mind and from 1881 to 1907 said the Church is included in the New Covenant
"In a sense, the operation of the new covenant begins with the Gospel church and lifts us from the plane of degradation and sin-to a justified or reckoned perfect condition, from which we can go forward in the narrow way, becoming heirs of the first covenant." Zion's Watch Tower 1881 Sep p.151
- In 1907, Russell re-introduced his teaching that the new covenant is not made with the church at all.
"It was very inconsistent for us to quote in one breath the Apostle's statement that we are members of the Isaac Seed, the children of the old, original Covenant, and then in the next breath to class ourselves as beneficiaries of the New Covenant." Zion's Watch Tower 1909 Jan 1 p.12 (See also Zion's Watch Tower 1909 Apr 1 p.110)
At least Russell believed Jesus role of mediator was for all mankind.
"Jesus will occupy this mediatorial relationship between God and men until he shall have accomplished fully the intended work-until he shall have brought back into full harmony with God every creature who, being brought to a knowledge of his Creator and his righteous laws, shall desire to be and to do in complete harmony therewith."Studies in the Scriptures - The New Creation p.398
To coincide with his moving the Great Crowd from heaven to earth Rutherford made an almost opposite claim that the New Covenant only applied to the 144,000. In 1934 Rutherford limited who Jesus could mediate for to just the 144,000 Spiritual Israelites.
"Christ Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant toward his own brethren, that is to say, spiritual Israel, during the period of time God is taking out from the nations a people for his name."Watchtower 1934 Apr 1 p.104 Click for scan
It was during this period that Rutherford introduced the concept that only 144,000 go to heaven. The Watchtower was forced into the position of limiting the new covenant to the 144,000 because the Bible states that those under the covenant receive a heavenly resurrection.
Hebrews 10:16-22 "'This is the covenant that I shall covenant toward them after those days,' says Jehovah. 'I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds I shall write them,'" 17 [it says afterwards:] "And I shall by no means call their sins and their lawless deeds to mind anymore." 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness for the way of entry into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 which he inaugurated for us as a new and living way through the curtain, that is, his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with true hearts in the full assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies bathed with clean water.. . .
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 "We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. … The sting producing death is sin, but the power for sin is the Law."
Being determined to prove that only 144,000 go to heaven the Watchtower had no alternative than say that the New Covenant only applies to the 144,000. The Watchtower removed Jesus from being mankind's Mediator in order to support an inaccurate doctrine, that of an earthly resurrection. There is not a single scripture that discusses an earthly resurrection.
The introduction of these teachings was a critical turning point for the Watchtower Society. Even as the number of Jehovah's Witnesses grew over 144,000 Rutherford could have continued with Russell's teaching, allowing additional followers to be part of a heavenly Great Crowd. By sending the Great Crowd to earth and allowing only Jehovah's Witnesses to be part of it Rutherford was able to introduce the concept of narrow salvation. Russell's idea that the majority of mankind were to survive Armageddon could be extinguished. Salvation became dependant solely on belonging to the Watchtower Society. This use of control has continued ever since.
From that time forward the leaders of the Watchtower Society, as part of Spiritual Israel, could demand unquestioning obedience from the secondary class of other sheep.
"All of this should impress upon the minds of the other sheep why the Christian Greek Scriptures focus so much attention on Christ and his anointed brothers and their central role in the outworking of Jehovah's purposes. The other sheep therefore consider it a privilege to support in every way possible the anointed slave class while awaiting "the revealing of the sons of God" at Armageddon and during the Millennium. They can look forward to being "set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God."-Romans 8:19-21." Watchtower2002 Feb 1 p. 23
"But that does not necessarily mean that they are marked for survival. They must be marked by the 'man with the secretary's inkhorn.' The facts show that "the faithful and discreet slave" class is doing that marking work today.-Matthew 24:45-47. 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 worshipers of Jehovah." Survival into a New Earth p.96
The resultant conclusion of Watchtower doctrine is that the Governing Body have elevated their role to that of mediators themselves.
"With Christ they make up the agency by means of which blessings will be extended to all other obedient ones among mankind. Appreciation of this is a key to understanding the Bible." Survival into a New Earth p. 65
"Being made kings and priests by reason of the new covenant that he mediated, they will share in administering the blessings of Jesus' sacrifice 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, thus results in benefits and blessings to all mankind." Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2p.363 Mediator