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DELIBERATELY SPREADING TEACHINGS CONTRARY TO BIBLE TRUTH

By 23. February 2021Apostasy

—REVIEW—

The book for elders “Shepherd The Flock Of God” lists “deliberately spreading teachings contrary to the Bible” as a disfellowshipping offense, and this is a disfellowshipping offense according to the Christian Greek Scriptures.

The first part of the study discusses the meaning of “Bible truth.” It is shown that the only true religion is “the pillar and the foundation of the truth.” The only denomination whose doctrines are based on the Bible is Jehovah’s Witnesses. But since the last part of the 20th century, the GB has introduced a few false teachings.

The view of false teachings in the Christian Greek Scriptures is discussed. It is shown that Hymenaeus and Philetus were disfellowshipped because they spread the false teaching that the resurrection had already occurred.

The GB has also introduced a false teaching regarding the resurrection. The current GB holds that fewer persons than the Watchtower literature has previously acknowledged will get resurrection. The GB has rejected the literal meaning of the words of Jesus that the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Sodom will be present on Judgment Day. The claim is that these words represent hyperboles (exaggerations).

There is a detailed discussion of the context of the words of Jesus. Contrary to the GB, I show that Jesus really spoke about the resurrection, and there is strong evidence in favor of the view that people from the mentioned cities will get a resurrection and be present on Judgment Day. The arguments of the GB against this view are carefully considered.

Hymenaeus and Philetus were disfellowshipped because of their false teachings that the resurrection had already occurred. This should be a sobering reminder and wakeup call for the GB to reconsider its stance in connection with these two teachings. Because JW have become an autocratic organization, there is no one on earth who can check the hand of the current GB. However, the GB is still accountable to Jehovah, and so they should act quickly to remove the two major false teachings that I have brought to their attention via sound scholarly evidence as presented in my book and in these web page articles.

The second false teaching on the part of the GB is even more serious than the one about the resurrection. The members of the GB deny the full inspiration of the Bible. They claim that  large portions of the Hebrew Scriptures have no meaning for us today, and the nuances and subtleties of the Hebrew text are not important. Only an outline of this view is given because the article “The Governing Body rejects the full inspiration of the Bible” has a detailed discussion of this subject.

Because there is one law for all members of the Christian congregations, denying the full inspiration of the Bible is a disfellowshipping offense for anyone promoting such a teaching. If the current members of the GB were simply a group of local elders in a congregation of JW, and they insisted on promoting their current view of the Bible—that it is not fully inspired—they would be disfellowshipped as apostates. Said another way, the previous members of the GB would have accused the current members of the GB of spreading the apostate teaching of denying the full inspiration of the Bible. Such ones would be deleted from the GB and subject to judicial action and possible disfellowshipping if they refused to recant such a false teaching.

Under the heading “Apostasy,” the book “Shepherd The flock Of God” 39 (3) says regarding false teaching:

Deliberately Spreading Teachings Contrary to Bible Truth: (2 John 7, 9, 10; lvs p. 245; it-1 pp. 126-127) Any with sincere doubts regarding the Bible truth taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses should be helped. Loving assistance should be provided. (2 Tim. 2:16-19, 23-26; Jude 22, 23) If one obstinately is speaking about or deliberately spreading false teachings, this may be or may lead to apostasy. If there is no response after a first and a second admonition, a judicial committee should be formed.—Titus 3:10, 11; w86 4/1 pp. 30-31

In order to understand the real issue, some definitions are needed.

WHAT IS “BIBLE TRUTH”?

The disfellowshipping offense mentioned in the quotation above is centered around the rejection of “Bible Truth.” Therefore, we need to know the meaning of this expression. In his second letter to Timothy 4:3, 4 (NIV), Paul shows that there is only one “truth.”

3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Paul parallels “sound (or, healthful) doctrine” and “truth,” and he contrasts truth with myths. This truth would not suit the desires of many people. Therefore, they would listen to teachers who said what they liked to hear. The result would be that they would believe in myths rather than the sound or healthful doctrine. In 1 Timothy 3:15 (NIV) Paul connects truth with God’s household, which is his congregation:

If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

The comments in the quotation from the Shepherd book connects the “truth” with the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I agree with that, and I show in chapter 1 of my book My Beloved Religion — And The Governing Body that all the basic truths taught by JW are based on the Bible.

C.T. Russell and his co-workers established most of the basic truths, and J.F. Rutherford and his co-workers made some adjustments to the beliefs of Russel. From 1942, when N.H. Knorr became the president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,  all the basic truths had been established. These basic truths continued to be preached throughout most of the 20th century.

However, in the last part of the 20th century and in the 21st century changes started to occur. Most of the basic doctrines were upheld, but in a few cases, false teachings were introduced. The organization also changed from being theocratic to becoming autocratic and dictatorial, and all power was in the hands of a few men, at present eight in number.

This is a parallel to what happened at the end of the 1st century and during the 2nd century CE. The letters of John and Revelation were written at the end of the 1st century. In 1 John 2:18, 19, 4:1-3, and 2 John 7-11, we read about false prophets and antichrists, and in the first three chapters of Revelation we read about false teachings and false practices inside the Christian congregations. Moreover, some elders became ambitious and wanted more personal power. They elevated themselves to bishops, and in time, a clergy with priests and bishops had developed.

“The church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth,” had now been polluted. The congregations still upheld the basic Christian doctrines, but false doctrines and false practices were introduced as well. This is a clear parallel to what has happened with “the pillar of truth,” the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. This will be discussed in detail below.

THE VIEW OF “FALSE TEACHINGS” IN THE CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES

The reference in the quotation from the Shepherd book above is to The Watchtower of 1 April 1986. The main point in this article is that it is not enough to believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. But it is necessary to accept all the basic doctrines of the Bible. This is, of course, correct.

The article quotes 2 Timothy 2:17, 18, and I also add verse 16:

16  But reject empty speeches that violate what is holy, for they will lead to more and more ungodliness, 17  and their word will spread like gangrene. Hy·me·nae’us and Phi·le’tus are among them. 18  These men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and they are subverting the faith of some

The comments of the verses, which are excellent, are as follows:

There is nothing to indicate that these men did not believe in God, in the Bible, and in Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, on this one basic point, what they were teaching as to the time of the resurrection, Paul rightly branded them as apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship.

First Corinthians, chapters 5 and 6, speak about disfellowshipping, and in 5:5, Paul says that the person who would be disfellowshipped would be “handed over to Satan.” Paul refers to Hymenaeus in 1 Timothy 1:20 and says:

20  Hy·me·nae’us and Alexander are among these, and I have handed them over to Satan so that they may be taught by discipline not to blaspheme.

Paul’s words that Hymenaeus was handed over to Satan shows that he was disfellowshipped from the congregation.

The use of Titus 3:10, 11 both in the article from The Watchtower and in the Shepherd book is not fitting. This is so because these verses speak about making a sect, which is something different from arguing in favor of one false teaching.[1]

[1]. See My Beloved Religion — And The Governing Body, pages 185, 186.

THE FALSE TEACHING OF THE GOVERNING BODY REGARDING WHO WILL GET A RESURRECTION

The basic point of the article in The Watchtower of 1 April 1986 is very important, namely, that it is not enough to believe in Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible, if we reject one or more of the doctrines of the Bible.

How would we view a person who says that he believes that the whole Bible is the word of God but also says that the creation account in Genesis chapter 1 is not a literal historical account? It is only an illustration of the fact that God is the creator of all things. Or, how would we view a person who said that he believed that everything in the Bible is true; but when we showed him the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam in Luke 3:23-38, he said that the first part is mythological because Adam and Eve stand for the human family and does not refer to two persons who were the ancestors of the whole human family?

Those who believe that every word in the Bible is inspired by God would say that both viewpoints presented above are false teachings. Yet, the present GB is guilty of several similar false teachings. In what follows, I will outline two of the false teachings of the GB.

Who will be resurrected from the dead?

Hymenaeus and Philetus had “deviated from the truth” because they said that the resurrection was not future but had already occurred. They did not deny that there was a resurrection. But their false teaching related to the time of the resurrection. In a similar way, the present GB does not deny that there will be a resurrection. But their false teaching is related to the scope of the resurrection. The members of the GB simply reject some of the words Jesus uttered regarding the resurrection.

The Watchtower of 15 January 1987 compared the actions of the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida and Sodom and Gomorrah and said:

Jesus goes on to single out for reproach the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, where he has performed most of his powerful works. If he had done them in the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus says, these cities would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. Condemning Capernaum, which apparently has been his home base during his ministry, Jesus declares: “It will be more endurable for the land of Sodom on Judgment Day than for you.”

What does Jesus mean by this? Evidently he is showing that, during Judgment Day when proud ones in Capernaum are resurrected, it will be more difficult for them to admit their mistakes and accept Christ than it will be for the resurrected ancient Sodomites to repent humbly and learn righteousness.

In The Watchtower of 1 June 1988, the question was raised: “Will those whom Jehovah destroyed by fire in Sodom and Gomorrah be resurrected?” The article says:

A recent review of this suggests that these verses need not be taken as statements about the future for the people of Sodom/​Gomorrah…

A reexamination of Matthew 11:20-24, though, has brought into question whether Jesus was there discussing eternal judgment and resurrection. His point was how unresponsive the people in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were and how unlikely it was that they would reform even in the Judgment Day. Saying that it would be “more endurable” for Tyre/​Sidon and Sodom/​Gomorrah “on Judgment Day” was a form of hyperbole (exaggeration to emphasize a point) that Jesus need not have intended to be taken literally, any more than other graphic hyperboles that he used.

I do not hesitate to say that just as Hymenaeus and Philetus had “deviated from the truth” by claiming that the resurrection had already occurred, those who wrote the 1988 article and the present GB have “deviated from the truth” because they contradict Jesus’ words regarding those who will get a resurrection.

The sentences below that are marked in brown show without any doubt that the basic conclusions of the article are wrong:

Matthew 12:41, 42:

41  Men of Nin’e·veh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at what Jo’nah preached. But look! something more than Jo’nah is here. 42  The queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Sol’o·mon. But look! something more than Sol’o·mon is here.

Matthew 11:24:

23  And you, Ca·per’na·um, will you perhaps be exalted to heaven? Down to the Grave you will come; because if the powerful works that took place in you had taken place in Sod’om, it would have remained until this very day.24  But I say to you, it will be more endurable for the land of Sod’om on Judgment Day than for you.”

Jesus said that the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south would get a resurrection together with “this generation” (“this adulterous and wicked generation,” 12:39). This shows that the persons who did not accept that the powerful works Jesus showed that he was God’s servant, including the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida, will get a resurrection. And these persons were wicked and adulterous, according to Jesus. Thus, when The Watchtower says that Jesus did not speak about the resurrection, this claim is clearly wrong.

And what about the inhabitants of Sodom? The clause. “it (Sodom) would have remained until this very day” can only be understood in one way, as The Watchtower of 1 March 1965, page 139 says:

As in the case of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus showed that Sodom, bad as it was, had not got to the state of being unable to repent. That is why Jesus said that, if his powerful works that had taken place in Capernaum had taken place in Sodom, “it would have remained” until Jesus’ day. And in that connection Jesus said that Capernaum, which had been exalted in a spiritual way to heaven, would be abased down to Ha’des, not to Gehenna. Heaven for height and Ha’des or Sheol for depth; and by using this contrast Jesus meant that Capernaum would undergo the deepest abasement. Though highly favored by Jesus, that city does not exist today any more than Sodom does. But if Sodom had had Capernaum’s opportunity Sodom would have had ten or more righteous persons in it and it would have continued over nineteen hundred years longer till Jesus’ day and then some. So the spiritual recovery of the dead people of Sodom is not hopeless. (Gen. 18:22-32Ezekiel 16:46-61 speaks hopefully of people compared to ancient Sodomites.

The divine requirement that would have ensured that Sodom “would have remained until this very day” was that ten or more righteous persons had been in the city. The words of Jesus show that there were at least ten potentially righteous persons in Sodom. To claim that these ten or more are eternally annihilated, as does The Watchtower of 1 June 1988, is a rejection both of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, that he bought all Adam’s descendants and a rejection of God’s righteousness.[1]

The article from 1 April 1986 dealing with disfellowshipping for spreading false teaching showed that even if a person believes in Jehovah, Jesus, and the Bible, he should be disfellowshipped for spreading one false teaching. This was the reason why Hymenaeus and Philetus were disfellowshipped, because of their one false teaching of the resurrection. In a similar way, if the eight members of the GB had been local elders in a congregation of JW, and had rejected the literal meaning of Jesus’ words and had spread this false teaching about the resurrection, as the brothers on the GB have done, they all would have been disfellowshipped in short order.[2] There is one law regarding false teachings for all the servants of Jehovah. I ask you; are the members of the GB exempt from God’s law or subject to it like the rest of us?

 

EXCURSUS ON THE FALSE ARGUMENTS DENYING THAT THE PEOPLE OF SODOM WILL GET A RESURRECTION

Different arguments in the GB literature are used to support the view that the words of Jesus must not be taken literally. I will discuss these arguments below.

Jesus’ use of hyperboles

The Watchtower of 1 June 1988, page 30, attempts to explain away the words of Jesus in the following way:

A reexamination of Matthew 11:20-24, though, has brought into question whether Jesus was there discussing eternal judgment and resurrection. His point was how unresponsive the people in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were and how unlikely it was that they would reform even in the Judgment Day. Saying that it would be “more endurable” for Tyre/​Sidon and Sodom/​Gomorrah “on Judgment Day” was a form of hyperbole (exaggeration to emphasize a point) that Jesus need not have intended to be taken literally, any more than other graphic hyperboles that he used. For example:

I do not want to tamper with the text of the Bible. Because of this, I take any passage in the Bible in the literal sense, if the context does not clearly  indicate that the text should be understood in a non-literal way. I will, therefore, carefully consider the reasons given in the article for not taking Jesus’ words at face value. The article says:

“It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one particle of a letter of the Law to go unfulfilled.” “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” (Luke 16:17; 21:33; Matthew 5:18; compare Hebrews 1:10-12.) We know that the literal heavens and earth will never pass away. (Psalm 78:69; 104:5; Ecclesiastes 1:4) Jesus also said: “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25) Certainly, Jesus did not mean that no rich man could ever become a disciple; some in the first century became anointed Christians. (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Jesus’ use of exaggeration was to stress how hard it is for a rich man to put God before material wealth and comforts.​—Luke 12:15-21.

I will first deal with the words about heaven and earth.

Luke 16:17 (NWT13):

17  Indeed, it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to go unfulfilled.

Luke 21:33 (NWT13):

33  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

Matthew 5:18 (NWT13):

18  Truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one stroke of a letter to pass away from the Law until all things take place.

Matthew 24:35 (NWT13):

35  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

Can these passages be used to show that Jesus’ words about Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Sodom in connection with Judgment Day represent a hyperbole and so should not be taken literally? Luke 16:17 and Matthew 5:18 are clearly not hyperboles. But these passages show that heaven and earth will never pass away. Does that mean that Luke 21:33 and Matthew 24:35, where it is said that heaven and earth will pass away, must be taken as hyperboles? Not necessarily.

I will use Hebrews 4:3 as an example. The text above is the NWT13 text, and the text below is the literal rendering in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures:

So I swore in my anger, “They will not enter into my rest.”

As I swore in the wrath of me If they will enter into the ceasing down of me.

Do you see what is strange with the NWT13 rendering? The Greek text is positive while the NWT13 is negative; the negative word “not” is lacking in the Greek text. The first Greek word in the sentence is ei. This word marks a cause or reason and can be translated by “since” or “because.” Or it can mark a condition, real or hypothetical, and can be translated by “if” or “since.”

So why is this positive word translated by the negative word “not”? The reason is that the words represent an oath, and oaths in Hebrew are expressed in the opposite way of what we would expect. The quote is from Psalm 95:11, where we find the Hebrew particle “im” meaning “if.” When this particle is found, the oath is negative “they shall not..” If the oath is positive, we find the words “im lo” meaning “if not.” This is the case in Isaiah 14:24.

The idea for this seemingly backhanded construction is:

If (’im) you do it, then…= you must not do it.

If you do not (’im lo) do it, then…= you must do it.

Can this discussion of how oaths are expressed in Hebrew throw some light on the words of Jesus about the heaven and the earth? Quite possibly. Jesus could have used his words in Luke 21:33 and Matthew 24:35 as hyperboles. But that would be strange since he uses the heaven and earth in the two parallel passages in Luke 16:17 and Matthew 5:18 in a literal way.

Jesus could also have expressed his words as an oath, and in that case, Luke 21:33 and 24:35 must be taken in a literal sense: “Heaven and earth will certainly not pass away, as my words will certainly not pass away. If Jesus expressed his words as an oath, that would make the words emphatic, and that would fit the context both in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Moreover, in that case, all the four expressions quoted above would express the same thought—heaven and earth will not pass away.

The other example of a hyperbole that is used is Mark 10:25:

25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

It seems that the word kamēlos refers to the big animal with the name “camel,” that trymalia refers to a hole and rafis refers to a needle. If correct, Jesus did make use of hyperbole in this case. However, that does not have anything to do with the words used by Jesus in connection with Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Sodom. To be sure, Jesus also used a number of other hyperboles, but the conclusion to this discussion is that none of the hyperboles used by Jesus has anything to do with his words about these cities and Judgment Day.

The words of Jude 7

The words of Jude 7 are considered one of the best pieces of evidence in favor of the view that the inhabitants of Sodom will not get a resurrection, according to The Watchtower of 1 June 1988, page 30:

One of the most pointed comments is in Jude 7. Jude had just spoken of (1) Israelites destroyed for lack of faith, and (2) angels who sinned and are ‘reserved with eternal bonds for the judgment of the great day.’ Then Jude wrote: “So too Sodom and Gomorrah . . . are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” This text has been applied to the actual cities’ being destroyed everlastingly, not the people. However, in view oJude 5 and 6, likely most people would take Jude verse 7 to mean a judicial punishment of individuals. (Similarly, Matthew 11:20-24 would be understood as criticizing people, not stones or buildings.) In this light, Jude 7 would mean that the wicked people of Sodom/​Gomorrah were judged and destroyed everlastingly.

The arguments in this paragraph are weak indeed. Jude says that “they…(are) undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” The antecedent of the pronoun “they” is “Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them” These cities and their inhabitants were destroyed by fire, and this fire was everlasting because we do not even know exactly the location of these cities today.

Jude does not tell us anything about the destiny of the people of the cities. Therefore, the claim that “Jude 7 would mean that the wicked people of Sodom/​Gomorrah were judged and destroyed everlastingly” is pulled out of thin air. In contrast with this strong statement, we note the word “likely” and “most people”  as a part of the argument, “likely most people would take Jude verse 7 to mean a judicial punishment of individuals.”

In order to show the use of the terminology of everlasting fire, I use two examples from the Hebrew Scriptures:

The people of Edom will have a resurrection

Isaiah 34:9, 10:

 Her streams will be changed into pitch, And her dust into sulfur, And her land will become like burning pitch.10  By night or by day it will not be extinguished; Its smoke will keep ascending forever. From generation to generation she will remain devastated; No one will pass through her forever and ever.

The word “her” is referred to in a footnote: “Evidently referring to Bozrah, the capital of Edom.”  This comment is correct because verse 6 mentioned Bozrah and Edom. Were the inhabitants of Edom destroyed everlastingly without any hope of a resurrection? Ezekiel 32:21, 29 give the answer:

21  “‘From the depths of the Grave the mightiest warriors will speak to him and his helpers. They will certainly go down and will lie just like the uncircumcised, slain by the sword…

29  “‘E’dom is there, her kings and all her chieftains, who despite their mightiness, were laid among those slain by the sword; they too will lie with the uncircumcised ones and with those going down into the pit.

The word “grave” in verse 21 is translated from sheol, and verse 29 shows that the inhabitants of Edom were in sheol. Revelation 20:13 shows that the persons who are in hades (corresponding to sheol) will get a resurrection. This means that in spite of the words, “its smoke will keep ascending forever,” the people of Edom will get a resurrection.

The people of Babylon will have a resurrection

Jeremiah 51:39:

“When they are inflamed. I will set out their banquet and make them drunk, In order that they may exult; then they will sleep a lasting (NIV: “everlasting”) sleep, From which they will not wake up,” declares Jehovah.

Isaiah 14:4, 9:

 you will recite this proverb against the king of Babylon: “How the one forcing others to work has met his end! How the oppression has ended!…

 Even the Grave underneath is stirred up To meet you when you come.

Jeremiah says that the people of Babylon will sleep an everlasting sleep and not wake up. But Isaiah shows that the people of Babylon are in sheol and therefore will get a resurrection. So even words referring to the people of a city, seemingly showing that that will be everlastingly destroyed, do not have this meaning. This is a good background for the understanding of Jude 7—the use of these words to show that the people of Sodom will not have a resurrection is completely untenable!

Different arguments against the resurrection of the people of Sodom

I continue to consider GB arguments against the resurrection of certain people from the past The Watchtower of 1 June 1988, page 30:

Looking elsewhere, we find it noteworthy that more than once the Bible links the Flood and Sodom/​Gomorrah. In what context?

When asked about “the conclusion of the system of things,” Jesus foretold the coming “end” and a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning.” (Matthew 24:3, 14, 21) He went on to speak of “the days of Noah” and what “occurred in the days of Lot” as being examples of people who took no note of warning about coming destruction. Jesus added: “The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30; compare Matthew 24:36-39.) Was Jesus illustrating just an attitude, or does the context in which he used these examples suggest that eternal judgments were involved?

Later, Peter wrote about God’s judgments and His punishing those deserving it. Then Peter used three examples: The angels that sinned, the ancient world of Noah’s time, and those destroyed in Sodom/​Gomorrah. The latter, Peter said, ‘set a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come.’ (2 Peter 2:4-9) Thereafter, he compared the destruction that people suffered in the Deluge with the coming “day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” That precedes the promised new heavens and new earth.​—2 Peter 3:5-13.

Likewise, at the end of the present wicked system, will those whom God executes have had a final judgment? That is the indication of 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9: “It is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you, but, to you who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength.”

There is an interesting similarity in phraseology between this description and what Jude said occurred in the case of Sodom. Furthermore, Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 19:11-21 indicate that “the goats” cut off in the coming war of God will experience “everlasting cutting-off” in “the lake of fire,” which symbolizes permanent annihilation.—Revelation 20:10, 14.

Consequently, in addition to what Jude 7 says, the Bible uses Sodom/​Gomorrah and the Flood as patterns for the destructive end of the present wicked system. It is apparent, then, that those whom God executed in those past judgments experienced irreversible destruction. Of course, each of us can confirm that by his proving faithful to Jehovah now. In that way we will qualify to be alive in the new world to see whom he resurrects and whom he does not. We know that his judgments are perfect. Elihu assured us: “For a fact, God himself does not act wickedly, and the Almighty himself does not pervert judgment.”​—Job 34:10, 12.

In the quotation above, the author of the article reads something into the text that is not there. There are references in the Christian Greek Scriptures to God’s judgments in the past, to the worldwide flood in the days of Noah and to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These judgments “set a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come,” as 2 Peter 2:6 says. This pattern shows that God judged persons in the past whose actions were bad, and, therefore, will judge persons whose actions are bad in the future. But no passage in the Bible speaks about the eternal destiny of peoples that were destroyed in the past.

I have already shown that God destroyed Edom and Babylon. But Isaiah and Jeremiah show that the people of these cities will get a resurrection. Therefore, referring to God’s judgment and destruction of people in the past as proof that such ones will not get a resurrection in the future has no basis in the Bible.

I will consider one argument from the quotation above. The judgments in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot according to Luke 17:26-30 are referred to, and the author of the article asks: “Was Jesus illustrating just an attitude, or does the context in which he used these examples suggest that eternal judgments were involved? Jesus used these examples to “set a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come,” as 2 Peter 2:6 says. The pattern is that persons who continue to violate God’s laws will be punished. That the eternal destiny of individuals is not included in the pattern is seen by the fact that the other “ungodly persons” who violated God’s laws and were punished, like the people of Edom and Babylon and many other nations that God destroyed are said to be in sheol, and therefore will get a resurrection.

Let us look a little closer to Luke 17:26-30. According to 2 Peter 2:7, Lot was a righteous man. What about his wife and daughters? Genesis 19:15, 16 says:

15  As dawn was breaking, the angels became urgent with Lot, saying: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here with you, so that you will not be swept away in the error of the city!” 16  When he kept lingering, then because of Jehovah’s compassion for him, the men seized hold of his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, and they brought him out and stationed him outside the city.

The words in the quotation suggest that Lot’s wife and daughters also were righteous—they were taken so “you will not be swept away in the error of the city” Lot, his wife, and his daughter had no part in the error of the city, and therefore their lives were spared. However, verse 26 says:

26  But Lot’s wife, who was behind him, began to look back, and she became a pillar of salt.

The family was told to flee for their lives and not look back. Lot’s wife evidently stopped and looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. In the area around the Dead Sea there are layers of salt, sulphur and bitumen, and so it is possible that when an explosion occurred, fire and sulphur together with salt fell down in the area. When Lot’s wife stopped and looked back, she may have become encapsulated with glowing sulphur and salt, and literally became a pillar of salt.

But what about the destiny of Lot’s wife? As the text says, she had no responsibility for the wicked actions of the people of the city, and therefore it is impossible that she is eternally annihilated without any hope of a resurrection. She did not follow the angel’s advice and did something stupid. Therefore, she lost her life. But because Jehovah is righteousness, this error will not lead to eternal damnation.

The destiny of Lot’s wife is important for our discussion. The author of the article has the following arguments: 2 Thessalonians 1: 9 shows that God’s enemies in the great tribulation will “undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction” and “the goats” will according to Matthew 25:46 will experience “everlasting cutting-off.” The worldwide flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are patterns of the “everlasting destruction” that occurs in the great tribulation. Thus, those who perished in the Flood and when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed must have experienced everlasting destruction as well. But please look at the words of Jesus as quoted below.

Luke 17:26-32:

26  Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of man: 27  they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all. 28  Likewise, just as it occurred in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building.29  But on the day that Lot went out of Sod’om, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed them all. 30  It will be the same on that day when the Son of man is revealed. 31  “On that day let the person who is on the housetop but whose belongings are in the house not come down to pick these up, and likewise, the person out in the field must not return to the things behind. 32  Remember the wife of Lot.

Matthew 24:39, 40:

For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 38  For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39  and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 40  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. 41  Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned.

When Jesus comes as the judge in the great tribulation, then a person who is on the housetop must not come down and pick up his belongings, and a person who is in the field must not return to the things behind. For two will be in the field, one will be taken along and the other abandoned. In order to stress his point, Jesus said: “Remember the wife of Lot.”

Which conclusion can we draw from the words of Jesus? Those who will be taken along will survive the great tribulation, and those that are abandoned will “undergo judicial punishment of everlasting destruction.” And the wife of Lot is a pattern for those who will be abandoned to everlasting destruction. The wife of Lot, who was a illustrative pattern of those who would get everlasting destruction, did not get everlasting destruction, herself, but will be resurrected. Similarly, those who died in the Flood and when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, who are a pattern of those who will get everlasting destruction, did not get everlasting destruction but will get a resurrection. Clearly, the people who died in the Flood and in Sodom, and who thereby serve as a pattern of the future destruction of the wicked, are no more condemned to eternal destruction for serving in this illustrative sense than is “the wife of Lot”.  Therefore, Jesus’ mention of the wife of Lot is a death blow to the view that those who died in the Flood and in Sodom and Gomorrah were eternally destroyed with no hope of a resurrection.

Supporting this is the fact that Jesus, by his ransom sacrifice, bought all Adam’s descendants. Because of God’s righteousness, all descendants of Adam must get a minimum chance to accept or reject the ransom. Neither those who died in the Flood nor the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had had this minimum chance. Therefore, they will be resurrected and have this chance on Judgment Day.[3]

 

Hymenaeus and Philetus were disfellowshipped because they spread the false teaching that the resurrection had already occurred. Anyone who willfully and unrepentantly spread the false teaching that the inhabitants of Sodom and many other ancient peoples will not get a resurrection should be subject to judicial action and possible disfellowshipping as apostates.

 [1]. For a detailed discussion of the application of the ransom sacrifice and God’s righteousness in connection with the resurrection, see the article “Participating in Interfaith Activities in the category “Apostasy.”

[2]. The NWT13 was translated under the guidance of the GB, and the note to Luke 10:11 shows that the members of the present GB believe in the false teaching about the resurrection.

[3]. See the article “Participating in interfaith Activities” in the category “Apostasy”

THE FALSE TEACHING OF THE GOVERNING BODY THAT THE BIBLE IS NOT FULLY INSPIRED

According to The Watchtower of 1 April 1986, a Witness who believes in Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible, can become an apostate and deserve to be disfellowshipped if he spreads one false teaching. Because the Christian Greek Scriptures show that spreading false teachings is a disfellowshipping offense, the conclusion of the article is correct.

At the beginning of this article, I used the illustration that a person who says that he believes that the whole Bible is God’s word but who also says that the creation account in Genesis 1 is an illustration rather than a historical account, and that “Adam and Eve” are only symbols of humankind, is an apostate because this is false teaching.

For 120 years, the Bible Students and JW have believed that the whole Bible is inspired by God, that every account is included with a particular purpose, and that all the nuances and the subtleties of the original text are important. The eight members of the present GB say that they believe in the inspiration of the whole Bible. But they have rejected important aspects of the original 120-year old belief.

Most importantly, the view of the GB is that large portions of the Hebrew Scriptures have no meaning for us today, except for a few general lessons and principles of Christian living that can be gathered from these accounts. This is quite similar to the person who claims to believe that the whole Bible is God’s word but who rejects the creation account as a literal historical account. The view that the nuances and the subtleties of the original text are important is also rejected. This is seen by the idiomatic and interpretative nature of NWT13 and of the articles in the Watchtower literature in recent years where deep Bible studies of the text of the Bible with a focus on details are practically non-existent.

I will not give any details of the new view of the Bible by the GB. But I refer to my webpage article “The Governing Body Rejects the Full Inspiration of the Bible” where details are discussed.

That article describes how the GB has been teaching that different parts of the Hebrew Scriptures have no meaning for us today. The article has a detailed study of the song of Solomon, showing how the GB claims that most of this book has no meaning for us today. It is also shown how the members of the GB have elevated themselves to the status of “prophets”. This is seen by the new method of interpretation they have introduced which explains Bible texts, not based necessarily on what the text was originally and specifically meant to convey, but rather on what the text happens to remind the GB of. This is particularly the case in the book, Pure Worship Of Jehovah —Restored At Last (2019). The Hebrew text in the book of Ezekiel is not analyzed, and the intended meaning of each  part is not always  presented. Even when the intended meaning of the text is mentioned, the GB believes that this is mere happenstance—this is not necessarily the meaning God intended to convey, but it just happens to align with what the GB was reminded of when they read it. But this method of interpretation is allegorical.  What the different parts of the text reminds the members of the GB of is what is presented to the readers. And because JW are now being taught what the members of the GB are merely reminded of when they read Bible accounts, instead of the meaning God specifically intended to convey, the GB have, in effect, elevated themselves nearly to the level of inspired prophets.

Lastly, I will make a comparison. If the rejection of the full inspiration of the Bible is correct, the Watchtower literature has previously presented false teaching about the Bible. And if the view that the people of Sodom and other peoples will not get a resurrection, the Watchtower literature has contained false teachings about the resurrection.

I give the following details: The web article “The Governing Body rejects the full inspiration of the Bible” lists 38 books published by the Watchtower Society between 1886 and 2001 and refers to hundreds of articles in the Watchtower. If the present view of the GB that the Bible is not fully inspired inasmuch as many parts of the Hebrew Scriptures have no meaning for us, then all these books and articles present false teachings. But of course, the reverse is true. These books and articles present true and healthful teachings regarding the Bible, and the GB’s present view of the Bible represents false teaching.

In The Watchtower of 1965, five articles dealing with the resurrection were published.[1] These articles contain deep analytical Bible study at its very best, and if the GB’s present view of the resurrection is correct, these articles contain false teachings. But of course, the reverse is true. These articles present the true and healthful teachings of the Bible, and the GB’s present view of the resurrection has become adulterated with false teaching.

The view of the Bible presented in more than 38 books published by the Watchtower Society and in hundreds of Watchtower articles represents the true doctrine, and the view of the GB that the Bible is not fully inspired represents a false doctrine. The view of the resurrection presented in five articles in The Watchtower in 1965 represents the true doctrine, and the GB’s present view of a partial resurrection represents a false doctrine.

 

[1]. Five articles dealing with the resurrection appeared in The Watchtower of 1965: “Death and Hades to Give Up the Dead”; “The Dead Who Are in Line for Resurrection”; “For Whom There Are Resurrection Hopes”; “Who Will be Resurrected from the Dead?”; “Who Will be Resurrected—Why?” in The Watchtower of 15 January, 1 February, 15 February, 1 March, and 15 March 1965..

CONCLUSION

The Shepherd book claims that spreading teachings contrary to Bible truth is a disfellowshipping offense. This is one of the 11 disfellowshipping offenses listed in the Shepherd book that is based on the Bible. But 32 of the other disfellowshipping offenses that are listed are made up and invented by the GB.

Bible truth is connected with the one true religion, and the only denomination whose basic doctrines are wholly based on the Bible is Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, the GB has, since the last part of the 20th century, introduced a few false teachings. The literal meaning of Jesus’ words about the resurrection of the people of Sodom on Judgment Day is rejected, and the full inspiration of the Bible is rejected. Persons who deliberately spread false teachings deserve to be disfellowshipped. Of course, there is no one on earth who will hold the GB accountable for the false teachings they have propagated. This is yet another weakness of being an autocratic organization, as JW have become, and as I have argued in my book and web articles. However, it is sobering to reflect that if the current GB were simply a group of local elders in a congregation of JW and had introduced such teachings, the former GB would have disfellowshipped such ones. That said, the current members of the GB are at least still accountable to Jehovah, and if they are truly sincere, they should re-examine their stance on the aforementioned teachings and make the needed corrections. I have presented an abundance of scholarly evidence against such teaching both in my book, My Beloved Religion—And the Governing Body, and these web articles. The GB should act quickly to remove such unscriptural, false teachings from the otherwise accurate body of truths held by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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