Jehovah`s Witness/What is not seen by JWS- A difference in Biblical Understanding and Prophecy
Hello Mr. Jones. We have never corresponded before so please allow me to introduce myself. I am Rev. Darryl Murphy, a fellow expert on this site on the Biblical studies side.
I initially contacted you because of the continual discussion concerning Dee. However when I read your profile and some of the past answers, I find we have some things in common. I too survived 1975, in a manner of speaking.
I remember it as if it were yesterday. My Grandfather, an Elder and My Grandmother sitting at the table for a Saturday Bible Study, or should I say "watchtower" and "Awake" study. They asked me and my siblings what we wanted to be. My Sister said " a nurse" I stated "I want to go to college"; my brother said "a policeman".
My Grandfather turned to my sister and said "being a nurse would'nt be pleasing to Jehovah" and then began to state nor would a policeman and that there was no reason to go to college or any other place for the world was near end. My sister cried because her hopes had been shot down.
The conversation went to the article in the Watchtower that stated by end of 1975 or a few months after the world would be at end. Later articles praised those Witnesses that had quit thier jobs etc., sold off property and devoted all thier time to Witnessing.
Imagine in 1977 sitting at the table hearing a different take on things. Was 1975 a prophecy? Yes and no. It was not a prophecy becuase it was taught from the perspective of understanding, however, it was a prophecy because it was given a date, and the date was said to be "certain". This date was also said to have been "revealed by scripture" by Jehovah to his servants.
Lets take another date. 1925. Rutherford stated that the Patriarchs would be resurected. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were supposed to be resurrected in 1925. The book "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" clearly stated this. It was so sure, that property was bought, remodeled and dedicated for housing of them as well as cars for travel. Was it a prophecy? Yes and no. It was a Biblical understanding or should I properly say misunderstanding, of what was thought to be in scripture. Even though stated to be an "expectation" a definite date was set, thereby making it a "Prophecy".
Re-defining of words has long kept the Witnesses from understanding. Example. The Bible says that you will know a prophet is true if the things he states comes to pass.
Holman Christian Standard Bible Deut. 18:22
When a prophet speaks in the LORD's name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."
By claiming to be "Gods visable organization", by claiming things to be "revealed by scripture" God's Word, by setting out and speaking on "behalf" of Jehovah as his representatives and claiming what is spoken is from HIS "Word" and therefore proclaiming it unto the people as truth..is to claim the office of Prophet. It is "prophecy" for a future date is set and proclaimed for the event to occur.
As I said, this correspondence took this turn because of reading your past questions, responses and of course conversations with Dee, knowing what Dees concerns were. They were all initially based on if JWS were 'False Prophets".
So this leaves only one thing to answer; What is a Prophet, Biblically.
In Old Testament, they were called 'Seers"
1 Samuel 9:9
(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)
Seers where given visions and interpretations from God to proclaim unto individuals or unto the "peoople". God would often speak to them or visit them in dreams.
The Later Prophets, recieved and spoke things directly under the inspiration of God to reveal to the people. Those things were either for rebuke, call to repentance, understanding, or of future events.
In the Hebrew the word Prophtet is "nabiy" which is defined:
as "one who speaks out" however, a Biblical prophet would be "one who speaks out on behalf of and or inspiration of Jehovah"
In the Greek we find the word: "prophetes":
1) in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things
2) one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation
a) the OT prophets, having foretold the kingdom, deeds and death, of Jesus the Messiah.
b) of John the Baptist, the herald of Jesus the Messiah
c) of the illustrious prophet, the Jews expected before the advent of the Messiah
d) the Messiah
e) of men filled with the Spirit of God, who by God's authority and command in words of weight pleads the cause of God and urges salvation of men
f) of prophets that appeared in the apostolic age among Christians
1) they are associated with the apostles
2) they discerned and did what is best for the Christian cause, foretelling certain future events. (Acts 11:27)
3) in the religious assemblies of the Christians, they were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak, having power to instruct, comfort, encourage, rebuke, convict, and stimulate, their hearers
3) a poet (because poets were believed to sing under divine inspiration)
a) of Epimenides (Tit. 1:12)
So we find that because of the use of 'partial definitions" or re-defined words things of this nature cannot be seen by the Witness.
The same is the case with the term "New Light". If there is "New Light" then it is because the "Old light" did not fulfill its purpose on helping one to see. Therefore anything seen under "Old Light" is "wrong" and not from "light" at all, but from "darkness" for it is the "New light" that made it seen.
Removing all "alleghoric" and "metaphoric" usage, simply stated, one explanation is from subjective view of man, The other from "objective view" and truely revealed by scripture and the "true Light" in which things are seen, Jesus Christ, the "Light" of the World and the Holy Spirit which guides into all Truth.
Finally, the last example would be of the FDS itself. It is claimed by the JWS, that the Biblical illustration of the "Faithful and Discrete Slave" or "Wise and Faithful Servant" as known by others, is a "prophecy". The explanation of that class has been changed 4 times since the 1800's. The last change took 23 years to come to the understanding that the "FDS" is the Governing Body" as recently proclaimed. "New Light" or evidence there was no 'Light" at all?
Mr. Jones, all these things appear to be Dees concerns. This would not be an issue if they would have seen that all was required was a humble admission of wrong instead of bolstered arguments of "righteousness".
Forgive me for being lengthy. Can you please share your thoughts on this?
Rev. Darryl Murphy
It is a pleasure to speak with you Rev. Murphy. I remember well the same things that you recall before 1975.
My family studied during 1967/1968. Talk of what 1975 might bring was constant. My older brother was a good student in school and had voiced interest in becoming a doctor. But once we became serious about studying "the truth", we got the same speech from our Pioneer study conductor that you got from your grandfather. This Pioneer brother told my parents all about Bethel and what a wonderful place it is for young men to have a career while serving Jehovah at the same time, and what a waste it would be to spend a few years pursuing a college degree when the end of this old system is so close. My brother is now close to retirement age and has an honorable profession as a cabinet maker.
You touch in something, and I will just go ahead and say it. Jehovah's Witnesses are masters of smoke and mirrors semantics. They NOW say, we are not prophets, we never have been. Their history is filled with claims of being Jehovah's sole channel and a history filled with proclaiming in God's name the timing of future events. When doing this, does the WT leadership say, "We're just speculating about how things might be. The Bible doesn't specifically say, so just take this as good guesses, understandings if you please."
Thank you for taking the time to research and provide examples of what a prophet, seer, revealer is. But let us for moment say that The Watchtower is not a prophet in the absolute sense, and is only a prophet in some diluted semantical sense, as many Jehovah's Witnesses like to say in view of so many changes in understanding. In this semantical sense of The Watchtower only announcing certain dates as God's dates, and pronouncing that certain generations would never pass away, or that people living at a certain time would never die, we are still left with the simple question of true or false. Did the announcements, pronouncements, understandings from "Jehovah's sole channel" stand the test of time?
If the evidence forces one to admit that some of this turned out to be not true, then it must be what? False? Making the announcer, pronouncer a false one. Does that make The Watchtower wicked for being wrong? I am not the judge, but I doubt it. We are all wrong. So why not just come clean and say it...we should not have been in the prophecy business. We are wrong and have been wrong. Please forgive our blundering and for leading you to false expectations about dates and for demanding that you teach and believe them. That apology has not come. In that may lie something wicked.