Monday, 13 July 2015

The Watchtower’s 144,002

Watchtower and Herald of Christ's PresenceThe American 19th Century was a religious boiling pot from which all kinds of ideas, abstractions, and movements emerged, from the early days of the Seventh Day Adventists, through the followers of William Miller (Millerites), and John Thomas (Christadelphians), to the Watchtower Society in the latter part of the century. Such groups were overwhelmingly preoccupied by the second Adventism that grew out of the 18th century.

With Christ's return insistently taught as imminent, caution was thrown to the wind as people sold off their properties, gave away money, and confessed teachings that, on reflection, they might have treated with greater caution. Date setting was commonplace, failed prophecies were legion, and teachings were not-so-subtly changed to accommodate new circumstances.

 

144,000 King-Priests

We are familiar with the Watchtower teaching regarding the Old and New Covenants, that the Old, or Law, Covenant is between Jehovah and Israel, and the New Covenant is between Jesus and 144,000 'anointed Christians.' We know very well the problem Jehovah's Witnesses face when challenged to explain which covenant they fall under. That they are not in the Old Covenant is clear enough, because that is done away with, but they are not in the New because only a limited number (144,000) enter that covenant.

We are told on JW.og, under the title How God Will Accomplish His Purpose that the New Covenant:

...legally unites anointed Christians with Christ to be kings and serve as priests in heaven.

...provides a legal basis for 144,000 Christians to be adopted as sons of God and to become the additional part of the “offspring”

As Christians we believe that the whole body of Christ is 'a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God...' (1 Pet.2:9) and all are adopted into the family of God, with the privilege of calling God 'Abba, Father.' (Ro.8:15-16 cf. V23, 9:4; Gal.4:5; Eph.1:5) Jehovah's Witnesses restrict these privileges to the 144,000, who will reign from heaven. The rest, the 'great crowd,' will live on earth and be ruled from heaven by this 'little flock.' So far we are on familiar, if questionable, territory.

What is the status of this select 'little flock' before the throne of God? In the book What Does the Bible Really Teach they are described as kings, 'selected by God [to] rule together with Jesus in the heavenly Kingdom.' (p.78) In Reasoning From the Scriptures they are described as 'priests of God...[who will] rule as kings over the earth.' (p168) The Watchtower of 1 July 1990, p.9 tells us:

'The new covenant, which is made operative by Jesus' shed blood, replaces the old Law covenant. It is mediated by Jesus Christ between two parties – on the one hand, Jehovah God, on the other, 144,000 spirit-begotten Christians. Besides providing for forgiveness of sins, the covenant allows for the formation of a heavenly nation of king-priests.'

These are, then, 144,000 king-priests who will reign with Christ in the new creation. In the 19th Century they appear to have been much more than simply king-priests.

 

The Divine Nature

In an early Watchtower publication, Zion's Watch Tower, October/November 1881 (forerunner of the Watchtower magazine of today) we read:

'No one is justified to the Divine nature by Christ's death – no, it was human life that was lost through Adam, and to human life all are justified by Christ. It was because it was a human nature that was lost that Jesus left the glory he had with the Father, and took upon him the human nature – that he might give or sacrifice it as a ransom for our human nature. In a word, it was to be evident to all that Jesus' death is the basis or cause of the restitution of the human nature, but not a cause of the giving of the Divine nature.

Secondly, we remark that the Divine nature is Jehovah's gift – given as a reward of obedience (even unto death), to those who, by patient perseverance, in well doing seek for it - “Glory, Honour, and Immortality.”' (Italics in original)

In keeping, in other words, with how we understand Watchtower teaching, Jesus' shed blood redeems, or ransoms fallen humanity back to its original state to Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. Scripture refers to those who those who, participate in the Divine nature,' (2 Pet.1:4) Whoever participates in the Divine nature, it is not the Great Crowd, who are not in the covenant, and therefore cannot rule with Christ. There are, however, those who will thus participate, as the second point above makes clear. It seems they qualify themselves by the sheer weight of obedience. The article goes on:

'Paul informs us that it was because of obedience even unto the death of the human, that God highly exalted Jesus, or made him a Divine being...And the promise held out during the Gospel age, under which the Bride or Body of Christ is called out of the world is, that if we follow in Jesus' footsteps, we shall attain to the same prize and experience that high exaltation from the human nature to the Glory, Honour, and Immortality of the Divine – as members of a body under Jesus our head.

The conditions of this high exaltation are so severe though many are called, few will be chosen, because only a few will make their calling and selection (sic) sure by so running as to attain that great prize (1 Cor.9:24)

It is an extraordinary prize and it is no easy race as all the runners testify from the head all down through this age. Yet, though difficult we run it with joy for the same reason as the head – who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross despising the shame (ed. Note: reference here is to 'the cross', reflecting their use of the KJV. The 2013 NWT gives 'torture stake')

Brother Paul tells us that the exceeding great and precious promises of the Word were given us, that by these (the strength and encouragement that they would afford us, as they did Jesus, to be “obedient even unto death”) we might become partakers of the Divine nature. (2 Pet.1:4)

There is then presented in the article a list of these, 'exceeding great and precious promises,' including sitting with Christ on his throne (Rev.3:21); power to rule over the nations (Rev.2:27); living and reigning with Christ (2 Tim.2:11-12). But if it was the restoration of the human nature that was brought about by Jesus' sacrifice, and the Divine nature is not in Jesus' gift but in the gift of Jehovah, and few find it, who are these few and what is their end and ultimate nature?

'Few there be that find this narrow difficult way. It is, “a little flock to whom it is their Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom.”

 

Watchtower's Jesus is - God?

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 the 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”

After the sacrifice soon follows the power which will, under him as our head, constitute the whole body of Christ the “Mighty God” (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 the company which as a whole will be the Everlasting Father to the restored race.'

So, what do we have?

Christ's sacrifice restores humanity to its original state to live in a recreated order.

Because of his perseverance and sacrifice, Jesus becomes a legitimate participant in the Divine nature and can rightly be called Mighty God, Everlasting Father. They have just called Jesus 'God.'

Of those restored from their fallen state to original humanity some, following Jesus' example and through perseverance and sacrifice, become elect of God and also participate in the Divine Nature along with Christ.

 

A 144,000 person Godhead

They are so united with Christ, as the body with the head, as to also be participants in the Divine nature, and may also share in the titles ascribed to Jesus and, 'therefore be members of the company which as a whole will be the Everlasting Father to the restored race.' They have just called Jesus and the 144,000 'God.'

This 144,000, joined to the head, constitute the whole body of Christ, the “Mighty God” (el – powerful one). It is this company, God, Jesus, and the 144,000 who will rule and reign and be instrumental in restoring the life lost in Adam.

This is so reminiscent of the Mormon teaching of a council of gods presided over by God the Father to plan for the progression of God's children through creation to a celestial existence as gods. Both ideas came from the same century and religious milieu, both have subsequently been less spoken of than once they were. If Jehovah's Witnesses struggle with the Trinity, what would they make of this 'godhead' of 144,002?

This article first appeared in the June 2015 Reachout Newsletter.

You can read the source article below. Thanks to Mark Grilus in Calgary for sharing this and to Dave Roberts of Inter-Mountain Christian Ministries, Utah for passing it on.

ZWTMighty god 1  MightygodR 3MightygodL 2

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...

WHY DID JESUS COMMAND WATER BAPTISM? BY STEVE FINNELL

Why did Jesus command water baptism? What do the Scriptures tell us?

THE COMMAND: Matthew 28:16-19.......19"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)

Jesus command the eleven disciples to baptize all nations in water. What was the purpose of water baptism?

1. Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.(NKJV)

By believers being immersed in water they are clothed in Christ.

2. Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved...(NKJV)

Believers who have been immersed in water will be saved.

3. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

Repentant believers who have been immersed in water will have their sins forgiven and they will receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit.

4. Romans 6:3-7 ...4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.......6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.....(NKJV)

Believers in Jesus who have been immersed in water can walk in a new life, they no longer have to be slaves to sin.

5. Acts 22:16 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' (NKJV)

Believers who have been immersed in water have had their sins washed away.

6. Acts 2:40,41,47 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 47 .....And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.(NKJV)

Repentant believers who have been immersed in water become saved from the penalty of sin and the Lord adds them to His church. The church is the body of Christ.

7. Colossians 2:11-13...12 buried with Him in baptism... 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made you alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,(NKJV)

Believer who have been immersed in water have been forgiven all their sins.


WHAT DO CERTAIN BELIEVERS IN DENOMINATIONS TEACH US ABOUT WATER BAPTISM?

1. Water baptism is not essential for salvation. (Not found in the Bible)

2. Water baptism is not for the forgiveness of sins. (Not found in the Bible)

3. Water baptism is simply for a testimony of faith. (Not found in the Bible)

4. Water baptism is in order to be baptized into a denominational church or in order to join the church of your choice. (Not found in the Bible)

5. Water baptism means being sprinkled, or poured with water. (Not found in the Bible)

6. Water baptism in not being baptized into Christ.(Not found in the Bible.)

7. Water baptism is in order to wash away the guilt of original inherited sin from Adam.(Not found in the Bible)

8. Water baptism is unnecessary, period.(Not found in the Bible)

9. The one baptism mentioned in Ephesians 4:5 in not water baptism. (Not found in the Bible)

10. Unbelievers such as infants, and small children should be baptized against their will.(Not found in the Bible)

11. Teaching about being baptized in water should be based on denominational creed books because the Bible is not God's final authority.(Not found in the Bible.)


WHAT DO YOU TRUST? DO YOU TRUST THE BIBLE? DO YOU TRUST DENOMINATIONAL CREED BOOKS?

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

Posted by Steve Finnell at 5:27 PM No comments:
Email This
BlogThis!
Share to Twitter
Share to Facebook
Share to Pinterest
Links to this post