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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wrong Way to Paradise: The Bible Watchtower Society

Reformers of the Reformation: Jehovah's Witnesses

by Lawrence Fox


Author Lawrence Fox's copy of "The Way to Paradise" 
Somewhere during my life’s journey I received a thin and delicate book titled, “The Way to Paradise,” by W.E. Van Amburgh with an introduction written by John F. Rutherford, who is one of two key founders of the Bible Watchtower Society, also known as Jehovah's Witnesses.
 
The JW movement, first founded by Charles T. Russell (1852 – 1916) and Rutherford (1869 – 1942), remains in my honest estimation an assent of intellect and will to imagination under the guise of religion with no attempt of understanding the past.

It inherited this abhorrence of the past from the reformers who created Church history as a triptych: First came apostles, then (Roman Catholic) apostasy, and finally the Reformation later reformed by reformers and again reformed by even later reformers until you arrive at the Mythical Watchtower Movement. 
The unchanging truth handed down to the apostles from Jesus Christ, known as the Deposit of Faith, has been jealously guarded by the Roman Catholic Church for over 2,000 years, but the reformers chipped away a little truth here and there until the Watchtower Society emerged as a totally non-Christian church that pretended to be Christian -- sort of. Even their Bible -- the New World Translation -- is different than all other Christian Bibles. As a result, the movement is a cradle for newly minted atheists -- so badly abused by what they think is a Christian movement that they are unable to find another Church. A branch of my wife's family joined JWs decades ago, and she has noticed her cousins stripping all religion from their lives upon leaving the organization. 

"The Way to Paradise" was copyrighted in 1924 and published by the International Bible Students Association, Brooklyn, New York in 1925. The purpose of the book was to narrate for bustling members of the Watchtower Society, “A brief history of the 7,000 years of sin from the time when sin was unknown to the time when again there will be no sin along with Scriptural biographies of Michael who became the Christ and of Lucifer who became the Devil.” What follows is a brief summary of the doctrines, themes, and notions describe in the delicate book along with a few personal observations. It is not my intention to answer every belief of the Jehovah's Witnesses in this piece. 

Way to Paradise in Summary

Jehovah's Witnesses taught that God is a monistic (solitary) being who dwells in a specific place where flesh and blood cannot enter. This is one of the arguments made in the book against the Christian Doctrine of Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead and Ascension into Heaven. Jesus’ physical Resurrection is also rejected by Atheists, Modernists, Materialists and Muslims.

Contrast the tender image of St. Thomas, the doubter, touching the wounds of Jesus in the upper room after the bodily Resurrection of
The Apostle Thomas touching the wounds
of Christ after His Bodily Resurrection
the Incarnate Christ. Witnessed by John and the other apostles, they heard him passionately say to Jesus,  
"My Lord and my God!"  

But the Modernists deny the Resurrection since the spiritual (non-material realm) does not exist. Modernists identify the gospels as being expressions of faith, but not history. In other words, the Jesus of Faith is not the Jesus of History. Muslims deny Jesus’ Resurrection since they don't believe that Jesus actually died on the Cross. Islam borrows this notion from Gnostic sources: Jesus did not take flesh and therefore could not be put to death.

Jehovah's  Witness deny Jesus’s Resurrection due to an imagination which dictates that God is a solitary being who lives in a place that flesh and blood cannot inhabit; therefore Jesus Christ Incarnate cannot enter heaven with a Resurrected Body. 

So what's wrong with that?  God is not locked in a place that flesh and blood cannot enter. He is transcendent, outside time and place. God's inner life is not solitary like man's. He is one divine nature in a Communion of Three 
Persons. This is demonstrated by God saying, "It is not good for man to be alone." A solitary God could not dream of a communion of persons existing within humanity as a good. 

According to the Watchtower, Michael the Archangel was Jehovah’s first creation and all things were created with the assistance of this  creature also identified as God’s Word. This Michael was not divine and immortal until he first proved his worthiness to receive such honors. 

He agreed to a plan given by Jehovah to serve as a man. The example the author gives for this change is as follows:  “Suppose a farmer owned a sheep that had been bad and was condemned to die. Suppose the owner of the sheep also had a fine shepherd 
dog. And after explaining (to the dog) that the disobedient sheep 
Christ is not -- according to the Watchtower Society  --
the Good Shepherd. He is a just a sheep.  
must die unless some other sheep die in its place, (he) would make this proposition to him (the dog): 'Trust if you will agree to let me transform you from a dog into a sheep, and then consent to die in the place of that sheep. I will then transform you into a man like myself.'" 


The dog ceases to exist and is made into a sheep. As a sheep, it dies and no longer exists. Then it wakes up recreated as a human without an abiding spirit or soul. The farmer knew the dog when it was a dog, as a sheep when it was a sheep, and now knows the sheep as a human like himself. This is not Christian incarnation, it's not even Hindu re-incarnation since with each transitional state nothing of the previous state existed except the farmer's memory of each transitional state. The analogy given by the author is completely rooted in his imagination. It is not rooted in Divine Revelation (oral and written) nor is it rooted in reason. 

The Watchtower Society professes that
Jesus once was St. Michael,
according to the Watchtower
Society 
Michael was once a created angel and then re-created into the human Jesus of Nazareth, who died and was then was re-created into a divine spirit. Jehovah Witnesses hold that human’s do not possess a living soul. The Watchtower clings to the idea that the understanding of the human soul is the work of Satan. Modernists, Atheists, Sadducees, and Jehovah Witnesses share a common notion: that the human person is a machine and not a hylomorphic being consisting of body and soul. Jehovah Witnesses somehow attribute Neo-Platonism - which taught that souls exist prior to the body - as formal Christian doctrine. The Watchtower demonstrates time and again a willful ignorance of Church History and Sacred Scripture.

They argue that humans have a physical mind capable of imagining spiritual thoughts, concepts, and abstractions without owning a soul or spirit. In this sense, they share the same faith as an atheist and materialist. Strange bedfellows. 

In other words, the material mind of man is capable of deluding itself into thinking that it possesses something spiritual. Jesus the man was capable of knowing the thoughts of men. It seems that the Witnesses believe that Jesus was interpreting human
electromagnetic waves, much like a lie detector measures physical responses to questions. Or possibly Jehovah interpreted men’s electro-magnetic waves and transmitted their meaning back to Jesus by
The Materialist's view of how Jesus reads
others' thoughts using electro-magnetic waves!
another set of electro-magnetic waves. Atheists -- locked in the same material world -- have defined soul, spirit and moral goodness as “The God Delusion” or “The Selfish Gene.” 

Jehovah's Witnesses also believe the human does not possess a spirit or soul and therefore what goes back to Jehovah upon death is simply Jehovah’s memory of that person. In other words, what Adam (the first man) received from Jehovah was life giving air and “that mechanism” (my words) which recorded everything Adam would do or say. Jesus the new Adam received from Jehovah this life giving air and “mechanism” capable of recording everything Jesus did and said.

Jesus of Nazareth was a man without a soul, who performed miracles by the will of Jehovah. Jesus was put to death and utterly died on the cross. Jehovah’s recorded memory of Jesus is what was committed back into the hands of Jehovah at the cross. Note that without a soul, there is no self-awareness in God's creatures.


According to the Witnesses, Jesus’ body was taken from the tomb by Jehovah and hidden so that Christians would not worship his body. This is the same reason Witnesses argue Jehovah took and hid Moses’ body, which was never found by the people of Israel. It is unclear -- in the Witness theology -- what Jesus and his Apostles saw when they saw and heard Moses and Elijah on the Mountain of Transfiguration. One can only assume that both Moses and Elijah were spirit creatures at that point in time. Jesus’ Transfiguration is a mystery in the Jehovah Witness theology since Jesus was a man without spirit or soul and bodies generally do not become brilliant on their own. I speak sarcastically.


Heaven is a place in the Witnesses's theology where a  flesh and blood resurrected body could not enter. Therefore, after his death, Michael/Jesus was  re-created as a divine spirit.   In other words, what Jehovah's Witnesses do not understand is that Jesus had a glorified  body after His Resurrection, therefore He was able to enter into heaven. 

In the "
Way to Paradise," Jesus death on the cross was only meant to substitute Adam’s human nature as a means of avoiding punishment. Jesus’s death really had nothing to do with justification and sanctification (nor could it). Men cannot save men; only God can save men and since Jesus was not God Incarnate, nothing was really reconciled, justified or sanctified by Jesus through the Cross. In a material sense, amnesty was awarded to Adam’s sinful humanity by the actions of another man. So in a strange manner, Jesus provided an excuse for Adam's sin.

Divine Revelation demonstrates, however, that as a result of the very real Incarnation of Jesus Christ, humanity now participates in God's divine nature. Men and women are now adopted sons and daughters of God in Christ Jesus. This is because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) No detours, no Michael, no sheep nor dogs.

"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." (1John 3:2) This means that we cannot see God face to face until we have received the Spirit of Christ. 

The "Wrong" Way to Paradise teaches that familiar anit-Catholic diatribe that after the death of Jesus, the true followers of the bible were persecuted by the Catholic Church and the world entered into Dark Ages. Yes, the Bible, which was formed and canonized by the Catholic Church, was hidden and burned by the same Catholic Church. It is again an abysmal reading of Church History. These Dark Ages remained in place, the JWs say,  until the 19th century when bibles (by the Watchtower Society) were made available to peoples everywhere. The author noted that in 1924 a great Spiritual Enlightenment is growing in the world as a result of so many bibles being printed and distributed. A bible here and a bible there all translated and read and interpreted by everyone to mean just about anything one wants paradoxically devolves into a spiritual deadening, not an awakening. 

According to the author, Van Amburgh, Satan managed to convince Emperor Constantine of Rome to form a council of Bishops in 325 AD for the purpose of identifying Jesus as God, the Holy Spirit as God and the Father as God; all three Persons as "one Person," the Witnesses explain. Constantine apparently did this so that Christians would become heathens and fight for the Roman Empire. I am not sure what the abysmal interpretation of the Council has to do with Christians becoming  soldiers. Anyway, it is argued in the most sophomoric sense by JWs, that 1 + 1+ 1 = 3, and 3 is not equal to 1 and that the son cannot be as old as the father. And therefore, Constantine created the doctrine of the Trinity so that the empire would have more soldiers.

This has to be the most ignorant reading of Church History and Church Doctrine ever devised. In reality, Christians were put to death because they confessed Jesus to be "Lord and God" long before Constantine's Council. Yet the Watchtower Society believes that all Christians were Arians -- precursors to  Jehovah's Witnesses -- from the beginning.  So much for history.  


I guess the plethora of epitaphs, homilies, sermons, apologetics, epistles, and tessera sent between dioceses which identified the various martyrs as Catholic Christians is simply fiction. So sad.

Now, according to the Watchtower,  the various epochs of the world can be interpreted from various tunnels and caverns located in the Pyramids. 


Watchtower Pyramid Memorial at Gravesite of JW Founder Charles Russell 
God’s plan for humanity was written in stone in the Pyramids. It is possible that Shem, the son of Noah, a faithful servant of Jehovah, was in charge of the construction of the Pyramids and detailed within them the deepest secrets of geometrical, geographical, astronomical and mathematical science. The tunnels supposedly tell the dates of the Exodus from Egypt, the date of the birth and death of Jesus and the date of the French Revolution and the great World War I. But this is pure pagan imagination. 

According to the Watchtower, Christ returned invisibly in 1914. He had to come invisibly because it was foretold in the Bible in Stone (the Pyramids) that he would come, and then he failed to show up. 


Yes, the bible and Bible in Stone  tell us that 1914 AD is the beginning of Jehovah’s Invisible Kingdom on Earth. Yes, the Bible and Bible in Stone together confirm that by 1925-1926 there will be a great ouster of Satan’s Kingdoms from the Earth, ushering in a new era. The tragedy is this is a literal written prophesy within the Watchtower Society. But instead of what they expected, what emerged were the atheist materialist movements of Nazism, Communism, Liberalism and Socialism. It seemed like the Bible in Stone predicted the return of Satan, not Jesus.

According to the Watchtower, there are two separate contracts with mankind. In one, some  humans will live in heaven as spirit creatures. And in the other, the remainder of men will live as a perfect Adam on earth. Those living in heaven will number about 144,000. 


Humanity will one day live on earth under the protection of Jesus (the spirit creature). In this state, man will learn not to lie, not to steal, not to murder, and begin to live longer because they will be living purer lives. Mankind will eventually be restored to Adam’s original human perfection before the fall. Though how this will happen is a mystery as it's a materialistic religion, and people do not experience conversion of their hearts. 

All those who died in previous ages will then be resurrected. They will be surprised, of course, to see airplanes, cars, telephones,  lights and they will wonder what has transpired, “One moment we were sick and dying and the next moment we see such wonderful technology.” Since they do not have souls they have no memory of death or being placed in the grave. The Way to Paradise then states, “We who are alive prior to their resurrection must prepare our homes and places to  welcome all our loved ones who will come back to life.”

Just like Atheism, Islam, and Mormonism, in the Watchtower Paradise, humans were not created to know, love, serve and be happy with God forever in Heaven. In other words, God is not the final end of His creatures. Like the 72 virgins in Islam, JWs look forward to a carnal blessedness. 


That is because Jehovah is locked in a specific place and is not omnipresent, nor transcendent and man does not possess an eternal soul, nor any self-awareness (except in a mechanical sense). And everything in the Bible is not really clear unless first interpreted by the Watchtower Society.

This ends the "Wrong" Way to Paradise.



Did you enjoy this piece. Lawrence Fox has written more. You might like Genderless "Marriage" Threatens the Foundation of Civilization 

6 comments:

  1. Thanks, Lawrence, for this interesting expose of the JWs. I might be tempted to invite them in for a chat next time they come to the door.

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    1. JW's come to your door with 1 senior member & 1 novice. Scripture tells us not to invite them in. 2 John 7-11, Romans 16:18. Instead, invite the novice to contact you at their convenience so the senior JW can't pull him away or influence him.

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  2. Thanks for this wonderful presentation of the one who every second decade will promise the end of time (in 23.59 mins the end is here , repent and open your check book ..... LoL ) keep your poison in your mouth I say to them . you became another gate of hell . and will not prevail . that was ,is ,and ever shall be the promise of my lord and my God , and as a servent of the lord I will try to reach you to bring you back to the truth , the mother church which sacrificed a lot for your freedom of speech . I will pray for you this is our way . God bless you .father son and holy spirit , along with the ever vergine Mary and all the saints and the martiers who are the true witnesses of the death and resurrection of our Lord , blesses are those who believe without seeing . Lords servant .

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  3. A very good explication of JW beliefs. I feel so sad for these people, especially the children who are being fed these heresies. We should all be reminded to pray for them when they come to our doors, or when we pass by one of their drab little buildings. Just a quick ejaculation, such as: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. Amen" (SFBayPJ)

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  4. Fascinating piece about the JWs and the book Lawrence based it upon. I'd never heard of this book and never heard about the 'pyramid predictions', which underlines my experience with these charlatans, that they have tweaked and adjusted their position through their brief history to compensate for their many failed prophecies.

    I wasted my young life and education on their rubbish and, as Lawrence said, when I broke free, entered on a process to expunge all religion from my consideration. It was a slow progression through vague Christian beliefs and deism, but the end of my road was the inability to accept any concept which I could not evaluate with my five physical senses.

    I pulled clear of their influence at age 17, but their 1975 Armageddon prediction was the last straw for me. I was 24 and had skimped on school, doing only enough to get by, and taken an unsuitable career, all beneath my potential abilities, because I was told I'd either be in paradise or annihilated that year.

    Instead of university I spent the rest of my life in a manual trade.

    My situation now is still such that I can't accept anyone else's religion, though I now am of the opinion that there is more beyond the five senses and there might very well be a great conscious power behind all that exists.

    Christopher Woodford. England.

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  5. Dear Chris. Ideas have consequences. False ideas do cost us. I'm so sorry this happened to you, however. God bless you. Susan

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