Page 6- ADDITIONAL POST

Revelation 1: 4,12

Revelation 1: 4,12

Is ‘Michael’ Jesus Christ’ new

Name?

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it." Rev. 2:17, ESV

 

I recently read an article published by a professed member of the chosen or elect (the body of Christ).

It is teaching that ‘Michael’ is Lord Jesus Christ’  new name that he received after his earthly mission and resurrection.

There are problems with drawing that conclusion.

After showing some comments from the article  along with brief notes of mine,  I will point out what Scriptural argues against this notion.

Comment #1 from article:

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” (Rev.3:12)

What we learn:

1. “Overcoming” is required. The name is “written” on a “white” “pebble”,

and only the receiver “knows” the “name”. Receiving the new name
is accompanied by receiving “hidden manna”.

3. “Overcoming” is again required. The new name reflects God, New Jerusalem, and Jesus Christ’s own new name (John 15:21; Mark 13:13)

(On the basis of Christ’s new name, his followers who also bear it, will be persecuted.

A closer scriptural look at each of these points, opens up the meaning further.
_______________

My note: There is no doubt or seeming disagreement that the things being spoken about are part of the new kingdom covenant._______________

Comment #2 from article:

REV.2:17

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white pebble, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

1.”Overcoming”/”conquering”
Revelation’s depictions are rife with spiritual warfare (Rev.6:4,8; 16:14,16; 6:17; 8:6 (1Cor.14:8); Rev.9:4,7,9,15,16; 11:7; 12:7,17; 13:7,10,15; 17:14; 18:24; 19:11,14,19,21; 20:8,9).

For a time, it is the unsealed Holy Ones who are conquered, trampled by Gentile Beast, and imprisoned (Rev.13:7; 11:2; :24; Rev.13:10). They must reverse their circumstances, in order to “overcome” their enemies and become sealed.

For those who do this, the new name and all the blessings that come with it, await.

How do they overcome?

We are pointedly told, at Rev.12:11.

This testimony is based upon God’s commands, which His genuine witnesses have branded on their hearts (Heb.10:16) which would be symbolized by a mark on their hand and forehead (Deut.6:6,8; 11:18; Rev.14:1; 7:3; 22:4.

Why is this “overcoming” by testimony, so great a feat?

Because any testimony that is disloyal toward the supremacy of the Beast, is punished by “death” (Rev.13:16,17,15; John 16:2; :35).

_______________
My note: Within these comments it is correctly pointed out that these new names of the covenant are kept secret and not received until after the one receiving has conquered.

_______________

Comment #3 from article:

“New Name”

God changed Abram’s name, to Abraham. Why did God give Abram a new name?

Gen.17:5 reads;

“No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”
(Neh.9:7; Rom.4:17)

Abram means [Exalted Father].
Abraham means, [Father of Many].
Abraham was the exalted father to the Jews (John 8:33; Matt.15:24; Luke 19:9,10).

However, this was not to remain the basis of salvation…

Nor the role of Abraham as father to the physical Jews only!
(Luke 3:8; Matt.21:43; John 3:3,6,5; Mark 10:14; Heb.1:7; 2:5,16; Gal.3:26,27,28,29) (Gen.28:12,13,14,17; John 1:51; Rev.22:4,3).

God made a covenant with “Abraham”, that he would become a father of “many Nations”, not just the Israelites (Gen.17:5).

This multinational group (Rev.5:9,10; 1Pet.2:9,10), would become spiritual Jews (Rom.2:28,29), and therefore, have “Abraham” as their spiritual father (Gal.3:28,29), through their imitation of Abraham’s faith (Rom.4:16,17; 3:22,24,30; 9:8; 4:11; Gal.3:7,14; 1Cor.12:13; Eph.2:15; John 10:16; Col.3:11.

The point of all this is, that when God’s purpose for one of his servants changes….

so does that servant’s name. The name is a reflection of divine designation.

To be given a new name, is to be given a new designation…a new purpose…a new responsibility.

“which no one knows except him who receives it”

This is also true of Christ (Rev.19:12)

If we learn why Jesus is the only one who knows his own “new name” [before he gives it to others -(end of Rev.3:12)], then we can understand why others have exclusive knowledge of their new name.

______________

My note: These comments like the ones above, clearly indicate a ‘change’ of circumstances leading to the new name.

________________

Comment #4 from article:

Michael” must stand up (Dan.12:1), whose “new name” means, “Who is like God ???”

Michael’s name reflects his role and purpose during Armageddon.

It is Christ’s “new name”. He is the only one to know the answer to the question his “new name” asks, because of Matt.11:27 above.

He is the only one who knows, why God alone deserves unique praise, glory, and honor; until he also gives this same name (and knowledge) to those whom he chooses (Rev.15:2,3,4,8).

Can you see why this is true, according to Matt.11:27?

_____________

My note: The above comment state that ‘Michael’ is the new name given Jesus the Christ having to do with his role at Armageddon. Is that so?

_______________

end of article comments

 

Below are two points which are scripturally verifiable by your own independent research that do not square with this teaching.

1. If it is true that ‘Michael’ is Jesus’ new name (the covenant new name) given after he conquered and his approval by God ; and if it is also true that it was kept secret until then, why is this name (Michael) revealed in identifying the angelic prince that came to the aid of the angel watching over Daniel (Daniel 10:13)?

Daniel lived hundreds of years before Christ Jesus was born on earth, executed his Divine ministry, and conquered by his death.  And, the new covenant was not in effect at that time as the covenant with physical Israel was still ongoing.

Jesus could not have been approve prior to these accomplishments. Yet the name ‘Michael’ appears centuries earlier in the book of Daniel.

And, if this name has to do with Jesus’ role at Armageddon, why is he being called this name in Daniels time period?  Wouldn’t that be premature?

This seems paradoxical.

This idea would have to mean that he received that new name before he came to Earth and that it was no secret. If that were the case, the name would have no connection with Kingdom honors as a result of overcoming, had nothing to do with his end time role, and that it was no secret.

 

2. The only begotten Son of God is one of a kind and not part of any group. Dan. 10:13 however, refers to Michael as ” ‘one‘ of the chief princes”.

Therefore, Michael’s position is not exclusive to him. Rather, being ‘one of” carries the connotation that he is one of a group of angelic princes.
Whereas, Christ is exclusive in all aspects and is separate from the angels who unlike him were fashioned by God and not taken of (begotten of) Him. Jesus is both unique in nature and in role.

Scripture teaches us that it was by and for the Son of God that All things were created. This includes the angels. They have always had a subordinate existence with the Son of God.

https://brotherjohnsite.org/2015/06/27/the-divine-nature-of-the-son-and-his-role-in-gods-arrangement-2/

These facts raise inexplicable questions about the interpretation that Jesus son of God and Michael are one and the same person.

Richard Weathers

page break largeneg

 

Tracing the Origins of the Watchtower

Society’s view of Apostasy

The written word of God or the word of man...Which do you choose?

The written word of God or the word of man…Which do you choose?

Over the history of the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), the use of the word apostasy as has had two distinct applications. At times this word has been applied accurately as a deviation from exclusive obedience to Almighty God. And at other times it has been used to describe disobedience to the commands of men, particularly the Watchtower organization and its leadership. This term has a meaning that is derived from Holy Scripture and a meaning that is derived from a human definition.

This article will examine the differences between the definition of apostasy as taught in Holy Scripture and the definition of apostasy according to the Watchtower Society. It will also trace the currently taught view of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” to its origins.

The Watchtower, through its publications, has taught two separate and distinct viewpoints based on whatever the desired effect was at the particular time. When speaking concerning other organized religions, they have tended to use the Biblical view. When speaking to those who are part of their organization, they have chosen to use the tradition humanistic view of apostasy or apostatizing.

The Watchtower’s use of the Biblical (God’s) Definition

While there are many examples of the Watchtower organization using the definition based on Holy Scripture, time will allow for just a few to be cited here. Anyone with a Watchtower Library CD can for himself or herself search past publications to determine the accuracy of what has been stated in this essay. Lover of truth will do exactly that.

Note: The Watchtower and its legal apparatus have become very shy of any reprinting of its own words. Therefore, I will not employ the use of any graphics or direct copy of their materials. I will quote from its literature with reference notation to the particular publication. (I have to wonder why anyone who believes that they are the “Truth” and are telling the truth would be ashamed to have their words reprinted.)

First, let’s examine the use of the word ‘apostasy’ as the writers of Watchtower materials have applied it to the wayward ancient nation of Israel. Those who have been associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses should recall that ancient Israel has at many times been referred to as the “apostate nation of Israel”. If one were to insert this phrase in the search box of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society’s Library CD, they will find the reference material we will consider.

According to the reference volumes “Insight on the Scriptures”, under the topic Isaiah, Book of, Historical Background, this is what is written concerning why it is appropriate to view the nation of Israel in the times of Isaiah as an apostate nation:

Historical Background. Isaiah 1:1 informs us that Isaiah visioned these things in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. This was a period of severe international tension and one in which false religious attitudes had a profound effect on the people of Judah. Near the beginning of Isaiah’s career King Uzziah died a leper because of his presumptuousness in taking over priestly duties. (2 Ch 26:16, 19-21) It is reported that during the reign of Uzziah’s son Jotham, while the king did what was right, “the people were yet acting ruinously.”—2 Ch 27:2; 2 Ki 15:34.

Next came King Ahaz, who for 16 years set a bad example for the nation, carrying on Baal worship with its rites of human sacrifice. There was “great unfaithfulness toward Jehovah.” (2 Ch 28:1-4, 19) It was at this time that the allied kings of Syria and Israel besieged Jerusalem so that Ahaz, ignoring the counsel of Isaiah the prophet, sent to Tiglath-pileser III, the king of Assyria, for military assistance. (2 Ki 16:5-8; Isa 7:1-12) By this Ahaz ‘made flesh his arm, his heart turning away from Jehovah.’ (Jer 17:5) Assyria agreed to an alliance, but, of course, was interested mainly in expanding its own power. The Assyrian army captured Damascus of Syria and apparently took into exile those inhabitants of religiously apostate Israel that lived E of the Jordan.—1Ch 5:26.

Let the reader note that the apostasy of the nation is directly linked to the behaviors of wicked leaders who had acted unfaithfully toward Almighty God and had deviated from God’s commandments. King Uzziah is mentioned here as deviating when he usurped priestly function for which he was not anointed. King Ahaz is also mentioned as showing “a great unfaithfulness toward Jehovah” by introducing the worship of false Gods (Baal worship).

Here the Watchtower writers at the time gave no difference to the leadership of the nation. In fact the whole nation is referred to as “religiously apostate Israel” from its kings on down. This publication accurately cites Jeremiah 17:5 as it speaks of King Ahaz and his apostatizing.

So the view expressed here of apostasy is not based on disobedience to a human ruler or ruling body. But rather, it is based on a concept that is in agreement with what actions Jehovah God views as apostatizing from Him. It also points out that those of the nation that followed the same course as that of those leaders were viewed as apostates by God as well. They were not able to beg off from their obligation to Jehovah God, saying in effect “Well, we were just following the Kings orders!” No. History shows they were held accountable for their own individual actions. That is no less true today.

Also, from the reference books Insight on the Scriptures, under the topic Apostasy, under the heading Apostasy in Israel we find:

Apostasy in Israel. The first two commandments of the Law condemned all apostasy. (Ex 20:3-6) And before Israel’s entry into the Promised Land, they were warned against the grave danger of apostasy resulting from marriages with the people of the land. (De 7:3, 4) Even though a person who was inciting others to apostasy was a close relative or a marriage mate, he was to be put to death for having “spoken of revolt against Jehovah your God.” (De 13:1-15) The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were quick to exonerate themselves of a charge of apostasy that arose because of their construction of an altar.—Jos 22:21-29.

Many of the kings of Israel and of Judah followed an apostate course—for example, Saul (1 Sa 15:11; 28:6, 7), Jeroboam (1 Ki 12:28-32), Ahab (1 Ki 16:30-33), Ahaziah (1 Ki 22:51-53), Jehoram (2 Ch 21:6-15), Ahaz (2 Ch 28:1-4), and Amon (2 Ch 33:22, 23). In due time a nation of apostates developed because the people listened to apostate priests and prophets (Jer 23:11, 15) and other unprincipled men who, by smooth words and false sayings, led them into loose conduct, immorality, and desertion of Jehovah, “the source of living water.” (Isa 10:6; 32:6, 7; Jer 3:1; 17:13) According to Isaiah 24:5, the very land became “polluted [cha·nephah′] under its inhabitants, for they have bypassed the laws, changed the regulation, broken the indefinitely lasting covenant.” No mercy was to be granted them in the predicted destruction.—Isa 9:17; 33:11-14; Zep 1:4-6.

Here again the publication writers are spot on in defining what real apostasy is all about. Notice the first sentence and the Scriptural support cited in the second sentence(Exodus 20:3-6).

20 And God proceeded to speak all these words, saying:

2 “I am Jehovah your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. 3 You must not have any other gods against my face.

4 “You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. 5 You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation, in the case of those who hate me; 6 but exercising loving-kindness toward the thousandth generation in the case of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Under this topic consideration,there is no assertion at all indicating a belief that the term apostasy has anything to do with human authority or anything to do with a failure to be obedient to a lesser authority than Almighty God. Deuteronomy chapter 13 verse 5 is referenced and this scripture speaks concerning a “revolt against Jehovah your God.”

Note: The kings, priest, and prophets were the source of the apostasy. The nation became apostate due to their leadership and example. A reasonable person would have to conclude that true apostasy from God’s viewpoint has nothing to do with failure to follow the edicts/commands of men. Rather, it is a deviation from the righteous commands and standards established by Almighty God himself.

The 1957 Watchtower magazine article entitled “Ancient Israel Backslides”, page 339 appears to contradict the present day teachings of the Watchtower Society:

8 The religious leaders of the apostate nation not only refused to heed the prophets themselves, they tried to prevent others from heeding the warnings. Like the dog that bites the hand trying to feed it, these religionists persecuted Jehovah’s servants, even killing many of them. The ill-treatment of the prophets by the backsliding religious leaders and the blind masses following them is summarized at Hebrews 11:36-38 (NW): “Yes, others received their trial by mocking and scourging, indeed, more than that, by bonds and prisons. They were stoned, they were tried, they were sawn asunder, they died by slaughter with the sword, they went about in sheep skins, in goat skins, while they were in want, in tribulation, under ill-treatment; and the world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth.”

Please observe that the Watchtower article refers to an “Apostate Nation” that includes both backsliding religious leaders as well as the blind masses that followed them. A reasonable person would have to conclude that, while one can be following the leadership of a nation or religious group, they could still be found to be apostate based on failure to conform to God’s commands.

The Watchtower has literally limped on two different opinions when it comes to defining apostasy. One is a Biblical, theocratically based definition as seen above. The other is an earthly, unscriptural definition that is based on a humanistic interpretation of the term.

Jehovah’s Witnesses use the term pejoratively when speaking about other professed organized Christian groups as Catholics and of Judaism. They relates its usage to mean some deviation from the truth as taught by Holy Scripture. Then when it comes to controlling the conduct of members internally, the word takes on a meaning conforming to the humanistic view. So that if one accepts this second teaching, then wouldn’t their adherents be encouraging members of other religious groups to commit apostasy since they would be rebelling against the hierarchy of their current or present religion by following Jehovah’s Witnesses and their teachings? By this latter interpretation, the meaning of ‘apostasy’ becomes quite arbitrary and it’s use quite capricious.

I do not believe there is a need to present proof of the obvious. Recent Watchtower magazines and their oral presentations reveal what the current prevailing teaching from the Organization’s Governing Body is regarding what constitutes an apostatizing. The basis upon which a great many are being thrown out of the congregation is proof of which definition they have chosen to accept.

But it is important to examine the roots of where this humanistic view of apostasy comes from. Is it possible to limp on diametrically opposed opinions with regard to these two distinct interpretations of this word and still be pleasing to God?

Lord Jesus Christ spoke aptly about the problem:

Matthew 15:1-6

15 Then there came to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes, saying: 2 “Why is it your disciples overstep the tradition of the men of former times? For example, they do not wash their hands when about to eat a meal.”

3 In reply he said to them: “Why is it YOU also overstep the commandment of God because of YOUR tradition? 4 For example, God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Let him that reviles father or mother end up in death.’ 5 But YOU say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother: “Whatever I have by which you might get benefit from me is a gift dedicated to God,” 6 he must not honor his father at all.’ And so YOU have made the word of God invalid because of YOUR tradition. New World Translation

One view invalidates the other view. One must make a choice.

As discussed earlier, ancient Israel transgressed against God by failing to offer Him their exclusive devotion and by their failure to subject themselves in complete obedience to His commandments. At the time Jesus spoke the words quoted above, the Jewish religious leaders had created a code of conduct based on their own viewpoint of what they felt satisfied God’s righteous requirements. The example that Jesus raised, showed that their tradition invalidated the very intent of God’s commandment requiring children to honor and care for their aged parents. They put on a front as if their motives were based on a desire to please God. But, it was all a screen that covered over their desire to be greedy and stingy while circumventing God’s commands.

That is why Jesus also pointedly stated what is quoted below:

Mark 7:8-9

7 It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach as doctrines commands of men.’ 8 Letting go the commandment of God, YOU hold fast the tradition of men.” New World Translation

These leaders, teachers, and those that followed them had chosen to abandon true worship of Jehovah based on God’s Divine Hierarchy and created and man-made hierarchy owing allegiance to human authority.

By examining some of the Jewish oral teachings that apply to this subject, we can best see the thinking of the teachers of Judaism both then and now. Compare them to the practices and teachings of the Watchtower Society.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees

The following oral laws which are still taught by the Jewish Rebbe (Rabbi’s), seem to lay the foundation for considering deviating from the oral laws as the same as apostasy away from God. The teachers of oral tradition put on even par the teachings of man with the teachings of the Divine One.

Torah (God’s written Law) versus Jewish Oral Tradition (Talmud)
Jewish Oral Teaching (Talmud)

Negative Commandment 312

The 312nd prohibition is that we are forbidden from disagreeing with the Sages who pass down the Oral Tradition (may they rest in peace), or from deviating from any of their instructions in Torah matters.

The source of this prohibition is G�d’s statement (exalted be He), “Do not stray from the word that they declare to you.”

The Sifri says, “The verse, ‘Do not stray…’ constitutes a prohibition.”
One who violates this prohibition, i.e. a zaken mam’re, is executed by strangulation if all the conditions described in the end of Sanhedrin are fulfilled. The details of this mitzvah are explained there.

end of Rebbe comments

The teachers of oral law cite Deut. 17:11 as the basis for this teaching. However if taken in context, the cited versus seems to refer to matters of civil or criminal nature taken before the High Court and does not refer to commands and judgments that deviate from God’s Law.

Deuteronomy 17:8-12

8 “In case a matter for judicial decision should be too extraordinary for you, one in which blood has been shed, in which a legal claim has been raised, or a violent deed has been committed, matters of dispute, inside your gates, you must also rise and go up to the place that Jehovah your God will choose, 9 and you must go to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge who will be acting in those days, and you must make inquiry, and they must hand down to you the word of the judicial decision. 10 Then you must do in accordance with the word that they will hand down to you from that place which Jehovah will choose; and you must be careful to do according to all that they instruct you. 11 In accordance with the law that they will point out to you, and according to the judicial decision that they will say to you, you should do. You must not turn aside from the word that they will hand down to you, to the right or to the left. 12 And the man who will behave with presumptuousness in not listening to the priest who is standing to minister there to Jehovah your God or to the judge, that man must die; and you must clear out what is bad from Israel.” New World Translation

Deuteronomy 17:8-12

8 If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge—whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults—take them to the place the LORD your God will choose.9 Go to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict. 10 You must act according to the decisions they give you at the place the LORD will choose. Be careful to do everything they instruct you to do.11 Act according to whatever they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left. 12 Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God is to be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.” New International Version

That this Scripture could not apply to directives that disagree with God’s directives is seen by the fact that throughout the history of the Hebrew nation, God held accountable all who chose to be disobedient to Him despite being instigated to do so by leaders (kings, priest, etc.) The words of Deuteronomy speak about civil disputes that needed to be decided judicially and not about blinding obeying higher human authorities no matter what.

Recently, the Watchtower has tried to dispel concerns of continuing members by assuring them that even if they are receiving instruction that disagrees with Scripture they will not be harmed by choosing to follow and by teaching them. These forget that Almighty God has said, “Each will be judged according to their own individual deeds”. It also brings to mind what Satan told Eve. That she could break Almighty God’s commandment and still live. The teachers of the Watchtower Society are saying this very thing.

This teaching handed down from the Watchtower governing body merely echoes the taught “traditions of men”. Let’s consider 173rd positive oral teaching of Judaism. It speaks about obedience to the sages and to the anointed king. While it teaches that the king is to be absolutely obeyed under penalty of death, in the fifth paragraph are the words, “We are required to fulfill any command the king issues unless it contradicts a command of the Torah.” (Torah refers to God’s written law)

Jewish Oral Teaching (Talmud)

The 173rd mitzvah (oral command)is that we are commanded to appoint over ourselves a Jewish king to speak for us and lead us.

The source of this commandment is G�d’s statement (exalted be He), “You shall appoint for yourselves a king.”

As we have previously, the statement of our Sages in the Sifri, “The Jewish people were commanded three mitzvos upon entering the Land of Israel: to appoint a king, to build the Holy Temple, and to destroy the descendants of Amalek.” Our Sages also said in the Sifri, 5 “The verse, ‘You shall appoint for yourselves a king,’ constitutes a positive commandment.”

This commandment is explained as follows: 6 “The verse, ‘You shall appoint for yourselves a king,’ means that you must instill in yourselves awe of him.” We should think of him with the greatest possible respect, and awareness of his great and exalted status, to the extent that in our eyes he is greater than any of the prophets of that generation.

8 We are required to fulfill any command the king issues unless it contradicts a commandment of the Torah. If a person transgressed the king’s command and does not fulfill it, the king is allowed to execute him by the sword. Our ancestors, may they rest in peace, accepted this upon themselves when they said [to Joshua], “Whoever rebels against your statement, and does not obey all your commands shall be put to death.” Anyone who rebels against a king who was appointed in accordance with the Torah, may be executed by the king.

All the details of this Mitzvah are explained in the second chapter of tractate Sanhedrin, 10 the first chapter of Kerisus, 11 and the seventh chapter of Sotah.

(end of Rebbe comments)

Were kings like Manasseh and Ahaz to be strictly followed and obeyed? Were the priests of Ezekiel’s day to be strictly listened to and obeyed? Whether or not to cooperate with another should involve considering what you are being asked to cooperate with. All authority below Heaven is relative and obedience is therefore conditional. The obedience to be given the king as stated above was on the condition that his edict does not contradict the written commands of God.

The Watchtower teachers are following the established oral tradition as taught in Judaism.

The next two examples from Jewish oral tradition will demonstrate how these traditions are put on equal par with the written commands from God and are even made superior in the matter of obedience.

Oral teaching 174

The 174th mitzvah is that we are commanded to obey the Beis Din HaGadol and act in accordance with all their instructions regarding what is prohibited and what is permitted. There is no difference whether it is something they received by Oral Tradition; derived using one of the principle of Torah extrapolation; decreed in order to correct some laxity or in response to some other situation where they found it appropriate and that it would strengthen Torah observance. We are required to obey all such directives and to act in accordance with their words, not to transgress them.

The source of this commandment is G�d’s statement1 (exalted be He), “You must keep the Torah as they interpret it for you [and follow the laws that they legislate for you].”

The Sifri says, “The verse, ‘Follow the laws that they legislate for you’ constitutes a positive commandment.”

The details of this mitzvah are explained in the end of tractate Sanhedrin.2

(end of Rebbe comments)

Here it is stated that there is to be no distinction made from teaching handed down through oral tradition and those derived directly from the Torah. According to this teaching God’s commands and man’s commands have the same weight when it comes to obedience.

Earlier, it was mentioned that the Watchtower governing body is teaching that their commands have to be followed even though what they are teaching is in contradiction to the commandments of God. They have often identified themselves as a “John class” or prophetic channel of God. As such, they demand the final say as to how Scripture is to be interpreted. If a person disagrees with this governing body’s interpretation, the WT governing body’s thoughts and behaviors mirror those found in the 172nd Jewish oral teaching. This oral tradition also applies to the “prophet”. It states that if the prophet’s words must be followed even if this temporarily requires one to transgress the written commands from God:

Oral Teaching 172
The 172nd Mitzvah is that we are commanded to obey each of the Prophets, may they rest in peace, and to fulfill all their instructions. Even if his instructions contradict one or many of these commandments, [we are commanded to obey him] as long as his instructions are temporary. This does not apply, however, if he permanently adds or subtracts [from the commandments], as we explained in the Introduction to our Commentary on the Mishneh.1

The source of this commandment is G�d’s statement (exalted be He), 2 “To him you must listen.” In the words of the Sifri: “The verse, ‘To him you must listen,’ means that even if he tells you to temporarily transgress one of the commandments of the Torah, you must listen to him.”

One who transgressed this mitzvah is punished by Mita bidei shamayim, as it says in G�d’s statement (exalted be He) 4 “If any person does not listen to My word that he declares in My name, I will punish him.” It has been explained in tractate Sanhedrin that three are punished by mita bidei shamayim: one who disobeys the prophet, a prophet who disobeys his own prophecy, and a prophet who conceals his prophecy. All of them are derived from the phrase, “If any person does not listen.” Our Sages said, “The phrase, lo yishma [‘does not listen’] can also be read, lo yishamei [‘does not listen to himself’] and lo yashmia [‘does not make others listen’].”
The details of this mitzvah have been explained in the end of tractate Sanhedrin.

(end of Rebbe comments)

As is the case among current Jehovah’s Witnesses today, the threat of death, albeit spiritual, is held out as a consequence of failing to following their sages with godly obedience.

If one were to adopt this humanistic view of what an apostate is, then they would have also agreed with those who persecuted Lord Jesus Christ to death. Because he would not subject himself to the authority of the then ruling priesthood, he was branded as an apostate in their terms. They accused him of blasphemy for stating that the Temple would be thrown down. However, he was determined on doing God’s will. He gave exclusive devotion and obedience to the Father.

This pattern is the same one that has been being played out since the first renegade made a choice to deviate from God’s righteous requirements. It always invariably involves a choice to listen to someone or something else other the voice of the commands of God. Almighty God scolded Adam for listening to another voice. Before sentencing him, God said, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife…”. Jesus stated regarding the temple priestly class, “Letting go the commandment of God, You hold fast the tradition of men”.

As professed followers of Christ, we should follow his lead. We should have his view of what real apostasy is. The Apostle Paul wrote to be on guard against deceptive reasoning:

Colossians 2:8

8 Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry YOU off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ; New World Translation

It is true that this tradition has not only affected Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower organization. After the first century, it did not take long before Christendom was formed based on honoring a human hierarchical organization.

It has been no accident that throughout the entire history of the Bible Students/Watchtower/Jehovah’s Witnesses era there have existed two distinct entities within. One is of members who were and are truth seekers and wish to be part of the Christian congregation. The other is a hierarchical corporate structure and its blind followers who are bent on maintaining and worshiping a human institution.

As is evident by the publications from the Watchtower that were cited in this essay, there have been periods when those who were intent on teaching truth held sway. There have been other periods when the teachings were at best skewed. The organizational forces won that struggle. This fit with the outcome the Bible foretold.

The Watchtower uses the word ‘apostasy’ in the sense that conforms to Jewish oral tradition and which has no basis of validity according to Holy Scripture. Like Jewish oral tradition, their teachings must be accepted as having equal weight with God’s even when theirs are in conflict with God’s written word. To teach such is to teach an apostatizing. And this is what Jehovah’s Witnesses will readily tell you; if it is about someone else. How could one be rendering exclusive devotion and obedience to God while living and teaching contrary to His word?

We will all have an accounting with Almighty God on the central question, “Whom will you obey?”

Richard Weathers

 
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Flee to The City of Refuge!

Refuge Is In Jesus

Refuge Is In Jesus

 

The cities of refuge were a provision under the Law of Moses that provided safe haven for the unintentional man-slayer. There were six major cities designated; although recorded history indicates that there were a total of 48 cities that served as cities of refuge. The map below displays their locations:

 

Map Levitical Cities Refuge"

Map Levitical Cities Refuge

 

The first mention of the establishment of such places was recorded in Scripture in the Book of Exodus in chapter 21 and verse 13. From the New International Translation (NIV) of the Holy Bible we read beginning with verse 12:

12 “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. 13 However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a “place” I will designate. 14 But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.”

That these “places” were to be cities, is clearly explained by Almighty God himself when he spoke to Joshua. Joshua 18:1-6 reads:

“The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: that the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbor unwittingly, and hated him not before time. And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.” (Josh. 20:1-6).” King James Version (KJV)

God Almighty had established laws or statues in order that the Israelites would maintain a righteous standing before Him. He gave Laws that governed how they were to respond to both deliberate murder and cases in which someone unintentionally caused the death of a fellow human being.

As we examine Scripture, we will look at the practical wisdom in the application of this provision of His justice system. This provision is a pattern of a more grand Heavenly provision that God has establish in order that we may escape bloodguilt in these all important “last days”. Today is the paramount time in human history in which to seek refuge as the fear inspiring Day of Jehovah approaches.

This provision was created with a specific circumstance in mind that would require a person to flee and seek asylum. Could the issue of unintentional manslaughter in a spiritual sense exist upon an individual or group of individuals today?

This article will highlight the parallels that should concern any Jehovah’s Witness who by ignorance and blindness have aided in teaching false and misleading doctrines. Though they have done this with no malice of forethought, a very similar situation still exist as it did with the unintentional man-slayer back in the days of Joshua. In order to escape Divine Judgement from God, they must seek the one and only City of Refuge available in these final days before Jehovah’s Day of accountability.

God’s Holy Avenger is in pursuit!!

Clear the Way

Since the city of refuge was the only safe haven for the unintentional manslayer, it was imperative that the roads to them be visible and unobstructed. The cities that served as these safe-havens would have been of no value if they were inaccessible or if their locations were unknown. Therefore, guidelines were created in order to ensure that the guilty party could indeed successfully reach them. According to Mishneh Torah, Laws Regarding Murder and the Preservation of Life 8:5, “The court is obligated to straighten the roads to the cities of refuge, to repair them and broaden them. They must remove all impediments and obstacles. . . . Bridges should be built (over all natural barriers) so as not to delay one who is fleeing to [the city of refuge]. The width of a road to a city of refuge should not be less than thirty-two cubits” (approximately 42 feet).

At each city served men who acted as a Court. The Court was to weigh the evidence in each case to determine whether or not it was a case of murder or manslaughter. It was also the Court’s responsibility to straighten the roads and broaden them where necessary. The Court of elders’ were obligated to post signs reading “Refuge, Refuge” along the way at all crossroads. However, it was the responsibility of the communities along the road to make sure there were no obstacles in the road that would be an impediment to travel. There are accounts that state that individual citizens would often shout out to the fleeing person, “City of refuge!” and point the way toward safe-haven as well.

Although Jehovah’s Witnesses were mentioned earlier in particular; all humans on Earth who seek to survive the coming Judgment need to get into the modern-day City of Refuge. Because of the sin of the first humans Adam and Eve, all their future children also came under condemnation to death from God as they did. Thus, all humanity after them fell into need of redemption.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ said of himself, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If YOU men had known me, YOU would have known my Father also; from this moment on YOU know him and have seen him.” John 14:6,7. (NWT) The only salvation held out before humankind is offered through Lord Jesus Christ. Only by accepting him and following his commands can we reach the safety of God’s Divine covering. He is the only mediator between God and humankind. He alone is the channel of God. His arrival on the earthly scene and his life was just as clearly marked as those ancient roads to refuge. And as Christ followers our teaching and preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom should be just as clear. We as Christians have a personal obligation before our Lord and our God to clear any obstructions that would prevent someone from reaching the refuge that Jehovah God has offered by means of His son Jesus Christ.

Sad to say that has not been the case anywhere in the world of organized religion. They have all failed, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses failed in this sense?It is by preaching and teaching a concoction that is a mixture of truth and lies in the name of Jehovah God. By doing so, they have not cleared the way but rather have obstructed it. By doing so, they have misdirected millions off the Way and led them away from the asylum that the true City of Refuge will provide. They have turned aside those who have come to them earnestly seeking God by misrepresenting Him and His name. They have also shut the ears of those of mankind they attempt to witness to because those people have enough Biblical understanding to know that much of what they teach is contrary to true Christian faith.

 

Stumbling blocks along the road

Stumbling blocks along the road

 

When the Watchtower teaches that its Governing Body is the exclusive source of Divine instruction they usurp Christ authority. They call the Watchtower Society; “God’s spirit directed organization”. Do you notice the complete omission of Jesus Christ in that statement? Reconsider Jesus’ words in John 14:6,7. They effectively stand at the “crossroads” and beckon would be seekers of refuge to take some course that is tangent to the correct course. Imagine unscrupulous people along the roads to the cities of refuge deliberately misguiding runners off the road! This is what the Watchtower and all false Christianity has done and is doing. How well Jesus’ word recorded in Matthew’s gospel applies to them. Matthew 23:13 states:

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (NIV)

The Messiah warned of the grave consequences to all who set stumbling blocks before his sheep. These are his words from Matthew 18:6:

6 “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” English Standard Version (ESV)

There were no doubt consequences as a result of suchlike behavior meted out to anyone who misled and impeded the passage of those fleeing on the roads to the cities of refuge. Perhaps these inferences drawn from Scripture will help you see that teaching false and misleading doctrine is no light matter in Jesus Christ eyes. Some have convinced themselves that it will all be okay and God will overlook the matter. They may think to themselves, “Surely the Lord will forgive us! After all look at all the good we have done in his name!”

But, cannot that same claim be made by all the so-called Christian denominations? Many are involved in charitable works and the like. And most of their followers have found some benefit by being associated with them. Remember that Satan is very artful at deceiving by obscuring wicked intent with a little dose of truth or good works. William Shakespeare put it well when he said, “The devil can cite scripture for his own purpose! An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek.” [Merchant Of Venice]. Apparently, Shakespeare had more spiritual awareness on this subject than current adherents to the Watchtower Society.

Lord Jesus said such “fake” Christians would be present in the last days.

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Be on your guard against false prophets; they come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are really like wild wolves. 16 You will know them by what they do. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briers do not bear figs. 17 A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. 20 So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do.

“I Never Knew You”

21 “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. 22 When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ 23 Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!”
Good News Translation (GNT)

Soon the Son of Man will return and completely reveal and destroy these workers of lawlessness. We for our part, must be involved in the work of exposing these “stumbling blocks” and these “jagged rocks” as Jude calls them.

Jude 1:12

12 “These people are like jagged rocks just below the surface of the water waiting to snag you when they join your love feasts. They feast with you without reverence. They care only for themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; fruitless autumn trees, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom the darkness of the underworld is reserved forever.”
Common English Bible (CEB)

Christian imposters inspired by the Devil seek to shipwreck the faith of those seeking the mercy Jehovah God has extended to mankind; true refuge in Jesus Christ. He is the ‘Road’ and the ‘City’ of salvation. And now we will consider his other role.

The Avenger Of Almighty God—–Run for your life!

Colossians 1:16-18 tells us:

16 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.…”
New English Translation (NET)

The verses cited above are so very, very true and are demonstrated by the lessons we glean from the ancient City of Refuge provision instituted at God’s command.

The following text from The Jewish Encyclopedia offers insight into the avenger of blood and who among the family served this role when needed: (Note: The name of the Divine One is shown accurately as the tetragrammaton was written-HWHY. For the purposes of languages that are read from left to right, such as English, the letters would appear as YHWH)

 

THE AVENGER OF BLOOD (Hebrew go’el)

1906 The Jewish Encyclopedia

(Hebrew “go’el”): The Hebrew name for the clansman, “next of kin,” upon whom devolved the duties: (1) of avenging, on the person of the murderer, the blood of a murdered kinsman—in this capacity the more specific term “go’el ha-dam” (blood-avenger) was generally used—and (2) of redeeming the property or the person of a relative that had fallen into debt.

 

Among Primitive Peoples

(1) Among primitive people of low political development—such as the ancient Greeks, Germans, and Slavs, some North American tribes, the modern Sicilians, Corsicans, and Arabs—the clan or family had to assume the right to protect itself. One of the most important clan duties then was plainly for the nearest of kin to hunt down and carry out the death-penalty on a person that had slain a member of the sept or family. That this idea of family retribution—which even today is by no means extinct in some comparatively civilized communities—was also current among the ancient Hebrews may be seen from Gen. xxvii. 45, where the existence of the custom is clearly taken for granted. It appears, furthermore, from Josh. vii. 24, and II Kings ix. 26, that, in the most primitive period, such a vendetta was extended to the entire family of the murderer, as is still the custom among the desert Bedouins. The Hebrew religious justification for the system of family blood-revenge was undoubtedly the firm belief that God, in order to insure the sacredness of human life, had Himself fixed the death penalty for murder (Gen. ix. 5 et seq.; Lev. xxiv. 17). In the earliest times blood-money was not accepted either for murder or for excusable homicide. Such a payment would have made the land “polluted by blood” (Num. xxxv. 31 et seq.). Unavenged blood “cried out” for vengeance to God (Gen. iv. 10; Isa. xxvi. 21; Ezek. xxiv. 7 et seq.; Job xvi. 18). The Avenger of Blood, then, was regarded as the representative, not only of the murdered man’s family, but of HWHY Himself, who was the highest avenger (Ps. ix. 13 [A. V. 12]).

 

The Family Executioner

In a case in which the verdict against the slayer was one of willful murder, the murderer incurred the blood-revenge without any restrictions. If he were already in a city of refuge, the elders of his own city were obliged to fetch him thence by force if necessary, and to deliver him formally to the Avenger of Blood, who thus became little more than a family executioner (Deut. xix. 11 et seq.).

Two very important restrictions should here be noticed: (a) Although the entire family or gens to which the murdered man belonged were theoretically entitled to demand the blood-revenge (II Sam. xiv. 7), still, in the practise of later times, only one member—for example, the next of kin, who was also legal heir—might assume the duty of carrying it out. According to the later Jewish tradition, when there was no heir, the court had the right to assume the position of the “go’el.” (b) The law expressly states that the blood-revenge was applicable only to the person of the guilty man and not to the members of his family as well (Deut. xxiv. 16; compare II Kings xiv. 6). This is a most significant advance on the primitive savage custom that involved two gentes in a ceaseless feud. Anent this advance, it is interesting to note that, in the time of the kings, the king himself, as the highest judicial authority, was entitled to control the course of the blood-revenge (II Sam. xiv. 8 et seq.).

 

Redeemer of His Kinsmen

(2) As indicated above, the term “go’el” had also a secondary meaning. From the idea of one carrying out the sentence of justice in the case of blood-shed, the word came to denote the kinsman whose duty it was to redeem the property and person of a relative who, having fallen into debt, was compelled to sell either his land or himself as a slave to satisfy his creditors (compare Lev. xxv. 25, 47-49). It would appear from Jer. xxxii. 8-12 that the “go’el” had the right to the refusal of such property before it was put up for public sale, and also the right to redeem it after it had been sold (see Ruth).

From the Book of Ruth (iv. 5) it would appear that the duty of the nearest of kin to marry the widow of his relative in case of the latter’s dying without issue was included in the obligations resting upon the “go’el”; but inasmuch as the term is not used in the passage in Deut. (xxv. 8-10) in which this institution is referred to—the obligation resting upon the brother to marry his deceased brother’s widow—the testimony of so late a production as Ruth cannot be pressed. The usage in the book may not be legally accurate.

From this idea of the human “go’el” as a redeemer of his kinsmen in their troubles, there are to be found many allusions to HWHY as the Divine Go’el, redeeming His people from their woes (compare Ex. vi. 6, xv. 13; Ps. lxxiv. 2), and of the people themselves becoming the “redeemed” ones of HWHY (Ps. cvii. 2; Isa. lxii. 12). The reference to God as the “go’el” and as the one who would “redeem” His people was applicable to the relationship between HWHY and Israel in the exilic period, when the people actually looked to their God to restore their land for them, as the impoverished individual looked to his kinsman to secure a restoration of his patrimony.

Hence, of thirty-three passages in which “go’el” (as a noun or verb) is applied to God, nineteen occur in the exilic (and post-exilic) sections of Isaiah—the preacher par excellence of “restoration”—for example, in xlviii. 20, xlix. 26, lii. 9, lxii. 12, etc. See Asylum; Cities of Refuge; Job; Murder.

Bibliography:
A. H. Post, Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Familienrechts, 1890, pp. 113-137;
W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 22 et seq., 38, 47, 52 et seq.;
idem, Religion of the Semites, 2d ed., pp. 32 et seq., 272 et seq., 420;
Nowack, Lehrbuch der Hebr. Archäologie, i., ch. ii., 1894;
Kohler, Zur Lehre von dèr Blutrache, 1885;
Bissell, The Law of Asylum in Israel, 1884;
Jastrow, Avenger, Kinsman, and Redeemer in the O. T., in The Independent, Aug. 27, 1896;
Benzinger, Hebräische Archäologie, p. 335.

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Jesus Christ as the Avenger of Blood

When the angel now known as the Devil and Satan rebelled against Almighty God and then proceeded to induce the first human couple into sinning against Jehovah God, he became a murderer. His actions were the result of no accident; they were intentional. Satan knew what Law God had given to Adam and Eve and what the result of disobedience would be. The question he posed to Eve is proof of that.

Scripture tells us in John 8:44:

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (KJV)

There was no refuge available to him any more than there was for the intentional man-slayer. Therefore, Jehovah God called upon the “next of kin” to perform the duties of the family executioner. Jesus is God’s only begotten son and the “firstborn of all creation”. So it is only fitting that he serve in this role. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the avenger of blood was in most cases the legal heir. This facet also applies aptly to Jesus Christ.

There are many Scriptures that portray God’s only begotten son as His appointed Avenger of Blood.

Below, we read from the Book of Revelation that the Great Justice, Jehovah God has judged what is described as the “great prostitute”, “Babylon the Great”, and “that woman Jezebel” for the spilling of the innocent blood of His servants.

Revelation 19:2

“For his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

2 Kings 9:7

“And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel (see Revelation 2:20) the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord.”

Revelation 6:10

“They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

Revelation 18:21-24

21 And a strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: “Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again. 22 And the sound of singers who accompany themselves on the harp and of musicians and of flutist and of trumpeters will never be heard in you again, and no craftsman of any trade will ever be found in you again, and no sound of a millstone will ever be heard in you again, 23 and no light of a lamp will ever shine in you again, and no voice of a bridegroom and of a bride will ever be heard in you again; because your traveling merchants were the top-ranking men of the earth, for by your spiritistic practice all the nations were misled. 24 Yes, in her was found the blood of prophets and of holy ones and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.” (NWT)

Psalm 9:12

“For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.”

We see from the Scriptures above that Jehovah God has throughout human history called for an accounting from those shedding innocent blood and that prophecy reveals He will call for an accounting in these “last days”.

Redeemer of Mankind

The Apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the congregations in Ephesus, speak to Christ Jesus’ role as “Redeemer” of all humans.

Ephesians 1:6-7

6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
King James Version (KJV)

Once again we see the pattern God set long ago.

 

Identifying the City of Refuge

There are many that believe that the modern-day City of Refuge is found in application to human religious organizations. Is that accurate? Well, if we ponder on the specific duties performed in the ancient cities of refuge, we will have to admit that this conclusion could not be correct.

The Court of elders in these cities sat in judgement. They deliberated over the evidence in each particular case to come to a decision as to an individual’s guilt or innocence. They presided over a matter concerning life and death. That authority rest in the Heavenly Supreme Court and a Heavenly Judge has been appointed to this responsibility. Note what 2 Corinthians 5:10 states very clearly:

10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (NIV)

Now, we should really be able to appreciate the words of the Apostle Paul at Colossians 1:16-18:

16 “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (NKJV)

Seek Refuge in Christ While There is Still Time

Seek Refuge in Christ While There is Still Time

 

 

 

It should be clear that Jesus Christ himself is the City of Refuge. He is the Way or Road to refuge and salvation. Lord Jesus is Almighty God’s next of kin, rightful heir, and so justly is the pursuing AAvenger of Blood.

 

Let us take up our responsibility before Jehovah God and His son Lord Christ Jesus as citizens of the Christian Nation. Let us clear the path from the obstacles that the Devil and his minions have set as stumbling block by preaching the pure Gospel of the good news. Let us shout a warning to all seeker of salvation and point them in the only direction that they can find any salvation; to only Savior and Lord Christ Jesus.

If we do not, they will be caught by the Avenger outside the City of Refuge in these Final Days and face eternal destruction.

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The Man of Lawlessness and the Operation of Error

The Man of Lawlessness and the Operation of Error

 

“THE OPERATION OF ERROR”

and

“THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS”

(New World Translation of the Bible)

2 Thessalonians 2:11, “So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie,” NWT

Or as other translations have it: “A power of deceit, a Misleading Influence, a “Working of Error or a “Strong Delusion”.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 “And for this cause, God will give them up to the power of deceit and they will put their faith in what is false.” (BBE)

2 Thess 2:11, “Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false.” (AMP)

By implication, according to context at vss 2:1-2, and 2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12, this error or delusion finds its setting at the “Coming of our Lord Jesus” which is accepted by virtually all Bible scholars to take place at or near the conclusion of an era in time which is commonly referred to as the Time of the End. Most Bible scholars have come to recognize the time we live in as that era.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” (ESV)

This makes the “Operation of Error” spoken of at vs. 2:10, 11 and 12 more than a passing curiosity. What the Apostle Paul discloses in verses surrounding vs. 11, makes this “Operation of Error or “Delusion” as some bibles have it a matter of life and death.

Thessalonians 2:10, “and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (ESV)

2 Thessalonians 2:12, “that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.” (NAB)

Paul reveals that God allows this delusion to exist among them (those perishing) for the very important reason which is that they do not have a sufficient “love” for His truth in order for them to prefer it to the misleading utterances, powerful works, lying signs and portents supplied by the “lawless one”. For this reason, he allows them to wallow in a deluded state. This delusion is not based on a single false teaching but rather on a whole body of falsehood which exemplifies the “man of lawlessness” (lawless one, verse 8 of 2nd Thess. 2.)

2 Thessalonians 2:8 “Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence.” (NWT)

Or as another translation expresses it;

2 Thessalonians 2:8 “Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” (NLT)

This lawless one, while he may indeed be portrayed as an individual with visible characteristics, more readily represents a composite entity made up of many individuals acting in concert in opposition to God’s will. In verse 2 of 2 Thess. Chapter 2, this lawless one was spoken of as appearing in the Day of the Lord and at the time of the final rebellion (GNT). (Final ‘Apostasy’, other translations). His having global influence alludes to more than one individual being involved. The fact that it is described as the “Final Rebellion”, ascribes a special historical importance to his course of rebellion.

2 Thess. 2:9, 10 a.: “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works with all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve to lie, and all the ways wickedness deceives those who are perishing.” (NIV)

Or as other versions state;

2 Thess. 2:9-10, “9 But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents 10 and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved.” (NWT)

2 Thess. 2:9-10 “9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (ESV)

In this verse we note that the man of lawlessness acts just as Satan has acted and continues to act. How? He will use all sorts of trickery, deceit, signs and wonders. These words spoken in terms of plurality clearly indicate that there are a number of falsehoods associated with this ‘man of lawlessness’.

2 Thessalonians 2:8, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” (NIV)

John chapter 1 verse 1 refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Word”. Lord Jesus Christ is also spoken of in the book of Revelation as the “faithful and true witness”. The above cited scripture clearly indicates that at a divinely appointed time, the Lord Jesus will expose the lawless one by having the truth revealed.

Although, as cited above, this “lawlessness” was already at work at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Thessalonians, verse 8 of 2 Thess. Chapter 2 states that the “lawless one” would not be overthrown until the coming of the Lord.

In defining lawless in the scriptural sense one must consider a number of variables: Lawlessness can be a lack of possessing law (that is being without law). Lawlessness can be violating existing law, ignoring or abusing it, and lawlessness can be can be going beyond or exceeding law. (Adding to it without justification). So among the first things to determine is whose law or what law is being referred to by Paul in his citation at 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

What constitutes lawlessness? Any one of the following or combination of the following;

1. Being without law can consist of being under one’s own determination of law, which is anarchy, being barbarous, uncivilized, savage, or being animalisticly selfish. (Being without law can pertain to an individual or to a group or organization composed of many individuals)

2. Disobedience to existing law is evidenced by either ignoring law or by criminal behavior in violation of law?

3. Altering law is going beyond existing law without authorization or justification, misinterpreting the law, or constantly revising the coded law to conform to one’s present desires. Interestingly, one Bible translation picked up on this aspect of lawlessness (iniquity) in the way it rendered Mtt.7:23. While most versions translate Strongs G458 avnomi, a anomia {a-om-ee’-ah} as doing lawlessness, the NLT translates it; “But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’”

In 2nd Thessalonians since Paul is speaking about a condition which affects professing Christians, the law he addresses can be none other than God’s law. God’s will is the basis for and the underlying means by which all of God’s laws are instituted. Whether we speak of the natural laws of the scientific universe or the social standards and moral laws under which men are expected to live according to his purpose, God’s will and his laws are inseparably bound together with one another. Therefore, a violation of God’s law is a violation of God’s will and a form of rebellion against it.

Therein lays the basis for Paul’s words at 2nd Thessalonians. They are directed at those who violate God’s will, who in doing so rebel against him. This is the sense in which they are seen as lawless. All three types of lawlessness described above are examples of violating God’s will.

Lawlessness has roots in both the Old and New testaments. An observation found in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology has this to contribute to our understanding of what Biblical Lawlessness is;

LAWLESSNESS:

anomia 2

 

The Old Testament

The concept of lawlessness comes to expression frequently in the Old Testament through more than twenty Hebrew terms (all of which the Septuagint translates with anomia [ajnomiva]). Although the Greek term anomia [ajnomiva], which translates all of these terms in the Septuagint, might lead one to suspect that breaking of the Mosaic Law (ho nomos) is primarily in view, the more general idea of iniquity or of acts that reflect rebellion against God is the basic one. The law as such may be the criterion or standard for determining what constitutes lawlessness (as with sin in general), but at its root lawlessness is rebellion against God, whether viewed as the condition of one’s life or as specific acts that demonstrate a determined refusal to acknowledge God.

The New Testament:
These same ideas are visible in the New Testament’s development of lawlessness (anomia [ajnomiva]). The unique circumstances that these writings addresses, however, called forth additional reflection that both confirms and enlarges on the picture drawn from the Old Testament evidence.

The Relation of Lawlessness to Sin:

First John 3:4 is perhaps the classic statement of the relation of lawlessness and sin. In asserting that “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” the author was probably correcting a misconception about sin that had crept into the community through false teaching. Sin was being disregarded or trivialized, and 3:4 counters by defining it in terms of lawlessness. Sin is thus an act of rebellion against God, and cannot be thought of as harmless, neutral, or imaginary. Through the category of lawlessness, John clarifies that one cannot knowingly sin without declaring oneself to be in direct opposition to God. Romans 4:7 (quoting Psalm 32:1 ; see also Num 14:18 ) makes the same connection between sin and acts of lawlessness. Together with passages such as Titus 2:14 and Hebrews 10:17, Romans 4:7 indicates that Acts of lawlessness and the rebellious condition of fallen humankind that issues in these acts stand in need of God’s forgiveness. Receiving the righteousness of God depends on being forgiven.

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.(NIV)

While in his preceding dissertation Baker fails to clarify a difference between “sin” (inadvertent, or unintentional) and “sin” (on-going or deliberate), when it alludes to the Mosaic law*, within that body there is contained a provision that does recognize a difference between deliberate and unintentional sin.

*According to the Law (see Leviticus Chapter 5 in Bakers book), the sin/guilt offering was in the case of “unintentional” sin; it was not for deliberate or ‘premeditated’ wrongdoing or deliberate lawlessness.

However, when exploring “lawlessness” as Paul referred to it in the context of his prophecy at 2 Thess. 2:9, we are talking about lawlessness as it existed before the law of Moses and as it exists today after the law of Moses. This describes lawlessness in a much more universal sense than Baker does in framing lawlessness in the light of the Mosaic code for it also includes what the prophets, Jesus, Jeremiah and Paul spoke of as a law written within one’s heart, mind and conscience.

Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (NLT)

Mat 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (AMP)

Galatians 3:10, “For all who depend on works of the law (Mosaic Law) are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law.” (NAB)

Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (Mosaic Law) by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” {13 Deut. 21:23} (NIV)

Romans 2:15, “They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.” (NLT)

Romans 7:6, “But now we are free from the law, (Mosaic Law) having been made dead to that which had power over us; so that we are servants in the new way of the spirit, not in the old way of the letter.” (BBE)

The Mosaic code had as it’s the main reason to point out the futility man would have in trying to comply with a long legalistic and detailed set of regulations. It served the purpose of pointing out that what was needed was a set of simple principles such as those which were taught by Jesus during his ministry on earth.

Lawlessness and Righteousness:

Righteousness is defined in its most basic terms as “what is right in God’s eyes” and Lawlessness in its most basic terms as “what is wrong in God’s eyes.” Furthermore, scripture paints “righteousness as “light and lawlessness as “darkness”.

In Baker’s Bible Dictionary we find additional useful commentary on lawlessness and righteousness:

In Romans 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:14, and Hebrews 1:9, “lawlessness” as a state or condition is contrasted with righteousness. Righteousness is the condition characteristic of faith, while lawlessness is the condition characteristic of unbelief. As the contrast continues, it becomes clear that the two categories have nothing in common; they are as different as light and darkness. Moreover, as Hebrews 1:9 (quoting Psalm 45:7) reveals, the Son distinguishes himself in manifesting the attitude of God toward these two states: he hates lawlessness but loves righteousness. Lawlessness is the state defined by sin and sinning; righteousness, both declared and bestowed by God on believers, creates the possibilities of obedience and holiness. Finally, Romans 6:19 makes it clear that the Christian has a conscious choice to make: to live in the condition of lawlessness and do its deeds, or to serve righteousness and do its deeds.

Thus, lawlessness comes to be seen in direct connection with opposition to the Messiah and his message. This connection is completed in the description in 2 Thess. 2:3, 7 of the eschatological “man of lawlessness, “who will lead the final rebellion against God that will precede Christ’s second coming. In this figure the rebellion that has exerted itself against God’s will in every prior age reaches its height in the last day.

The lawlessness which Paul speaks of in the last days finds residence in a number of abodes as it can be seen in different forms. As already mentioned it manifests itself in individuals with visible characteristics, and as composite entities made up of many individuals acting in concert in opposition to God’s will. It can also be found in the form of underlying concepts or philosophies behind their behavior. An end time example of this is found in the increasingly popular modern-day movement towards “Secular Humanism”.

The Man of Lawlessness and Secular Humanism

The spirit of lawlessness as stated began with the angel who rebelled against Almighty God by his disobedience. This spirit in humankind manifested itself in the first human pair. They were the first ones of what has been a continuous presence of humans all through history who have rejected and defied Jehovah God and relied on their own judgement and powers instead of God.

Humanism is defined as “a system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth”. Secular Humanism is a philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting God (Supernaturalism) as a basis of morality and decision-making. It postulates that human beings are capable of being moral and ethical without a “god” or worship of a “god”.

Secular Humanism is the driving ideology behind the so-called New World Order and the Illuminatus. Many may have the misconception that secular humanism is a concept that is solely a recent modern phenomenon. It is not. There is a worldwide push to centralize all humankind in opposition to the only true God, just as Nimrod did. It includes the consolidation of government authority and power, economics, religion, and morality. As one religious observer puts it, “Nimrod may have actually been the first secular humanist. It was all about him. It was all about them. God comes down to man that we might be lifted up to him. Nimrod and his religion say, “Let’s build our own way. Let’s do it on our own.”

While his great-grandfather Noah, a humble man, found grace in the eyes of the Lord, Nimrod preferred making a name for himself, and raising himself to heaven independently of God.

b. His religion was sinful.

Well known individuals such as Oprah Winfrey, T.D. Jakes,Creflo Dollar, and Joel Osteen have been teaching this philosophy, telling listeners that what is important is to be “spiritual”. These and others are the ‘pied pipers’ who teach that it does not matter ‘who’ or ‘what’ the source of your “spirituality” is. Further they suggest that simply living to a high moral standard is sufficient enough. Their words and behavior will fit into the secular humanist view (Moral Relativism). In adopting these viewpoints and behaviors, they have become a “god” and law unto themselves. From Jehovah God’s standpoint and the true worshipers of Him, they are “lawless”.

The lawlessness Paul spoke of in 2nd Thessalonians is ingrained as a “spirit” which is a motivating force behind the behavior and actions of individuals, institutions, organizations, nations and governments, who while posing as either benign or even as beneficial are in reality causing harm due to their opposition to God’s will. The lawless one may be manifest as an individual or as a group of individuals constituting an organization or even as an international ruling power such as a nation or a consortium of nations. This lawless “spirit” was prevalent prior to the flood of Noah’s day. Genesis 6:11 states: “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” This “spirit” originates in the Devil and manifested itself among humanity all the way back in the Garden of Eden.

Here are two examples of pre-flood drift to lawlessness, God-defying behavior:

1. Seth’s children;

During the life of Seth’s son Enosh, people began to make images and statues to remind them of God. Later, however, the people began to worship the idols they had made. And so, they turned away from God, and neglected the laws of right conduct which God had given to Adam. God saw the evil doings of the new generation and punished it time and again by sending great floods which destroyed a third of all the people living, and by causing other disasters such as famines and epidemics. But, none of these warnings brought the people to their senses.

2. Methuselah:

During the life of Enoch’s son, Methuselah (who lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years, longer than any other human being), the people again revolted against God, and there prevailed a state of lawlessness, cruelty, and corruption that brought doom and destruction upon the world.

All this lawlessness is traceable in its origins to the original rebel against God, Satan the Devil and his activity in the Garden of Eden.

In the book of Ezekiel in chapter 28, verses 1-20, God prophetically speaks of Satan (manifested through the “serpent” in Eden) as the “king of Trye”. Noting verses 12-20:

12“‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.[b]Your settings and mountings[c] were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.”

Thus, “the man of lawlessness” has its roots in the original spirit of rebellion exhibited and promoted by Satan the Devil to our first human parents Adam and Eve.

In latter times the “man of lawlessness” or the “lawless one” is an entity that becomes such by taking on a persona of violating God’s will, not merely in a single instance (sin) but by promoting lawlessness as a way of life based on an entire body of teachings and doctrines by which followers are misled into a deluded state.

What then constitutes the body of teachings that form the basis for this “Operation of Error” (delusion) sponsored by God’s arch enemy Satan the Devil? Scripture itself provides a unique set of characteristics which will help us recognize those teachings promoted by the lawless one.

Note the parts of the verses are highlighted below in vss 2-4 as they represent the methodology in the Lawless ones character through which his false teachings are exposed.

2 Thessalonians 2:2, “not to be quickly shaken from YOUR reason nor to be excited either through (1) an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect (2). that the day of Jehovah is here.3 Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless (3). the apostasy comes first and (4). the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.
4, (5.) He is set in opposition and lifts himself up over everyone who is called “god” or an object of reverence, so that (6.) he sits down in the temple of The God, (7). publicly showing himself to be a god.

(1.) Using the forms of “inspired expressions” to mislead. The lawless one disguises his falsehood by claiming it has as its basis the same weight as apostolic revelation, in effect being authorized by Jesus and his father God almighty.

Examples:

a. The claimed infallibility of the Catholic Pope and what he says is Truth from God

b. The so-called divine revelations given exclusively to Mormon founder Joseph Smith.

c. The Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body – who in effect claim all edicts from it are from Almighty God and must be adhered to even when not based on or in harmony with scripture.

d. Post exit “anointed” ones” who espouse doctrines and beliefs unilaterally and who have interpretations of prophecy solely given to them (contrary to two witness rule).

(2.) Using a form of verbal communications as if they have apostolic authority, and making such claims as the “Day of Jehovah” is at hand or has arrived when clearly it is not so. The use of the expression “Day of Jehovah” casts a religious aspect on its contention that a day of Jehovah’s intervention in man’s affairs has already arrived.

(3.) The “Lawlessness” is connected with an “Apostasy” against Jehovah and his Christ, not a contrived “apostasy” against any who might dissent against his own unrighteousness. The true meaning, that is the scriptural meaning of apostasy against God comes into focus in that an apostasy (abandonment from Jehovah) has become widespread among professed believers. The man of lawlessness teaches and determines his own version of what apostasy is and disregards the view Jehovah God has as to its meaning.

(4.) The man of lawlessness is revealed (exposed) through the true teaching of the Christ and the word of God. The exposure (revealing) of the lawless one occurs through the truth of scripture as revealed by Christ and his footstep followers.

(5.) He places himself in an exalted position over anyone who claims a religious nature or to be religious. He expects to be revered in a religious sense.

(6.) He takes on a public persona of representing the true God and places himself in the position which should be occupied by true worship. (God’s rightful Temple) He takes on the role of the temple itself as a means and a place where God’s worship is to be conducted.

(7.) He assumes the power and authority of the name of God, publicly showing himself to be godlike. He demands and expects the obedience due to God himself and publicly represents himself to be godlike (superior to his fellow humans). In most religious institutions, the institutions themselves and their human leaders assume the positions of god-like power and authority which they exercise as having been received by them from the Almighty.

For example:

In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church and its Pope assume the position of being the only means by which followers may receive the understanding of God’s will.

In the case of the Watchtower Society and its Governing Body, it assumes the position of being God’s exclusive channel through which followers may receive the understanding of God’s will. In the churches of Christendom, a ruling council or body of individual human participants assumes the authority to decide what is to be believed or not believed by their flocks.

In the case of a post exit “anointed” ones”, who leave their organizations, they individually often carry forward the behavior of a governing body or ruling council by asserting themselves above fellow anointed as ‘special’ messengers of God; in effect claiming to be an exclusive source of understanding God’s will themselves. This too is a form of making oneself to be godlike.

Also, this same ‘controlling’ attitude can be seen in the behavior of governmental authorities: Most recently, the United States has taken on the role as a ‘God amongst the nations’ insisting that the other world governments follow their lead constitutionally and morally. (for example, they remain insistent that their model for human rights be adapted by the rest of the word). The imperialistic rise of both the British Empire and the United States was cloaked in the moral authority of Judeo-Christian ethics. Most of the nations of the world worship the United States’ materialism, morals, etc.. As is the case with the United States and Great Britain, most world governments have their citizens swear allegiance to the State.

Along with doing this, these entities demand obedience to themselves as if it was due to God Himself. In so doing they have replaced Jesus as God’s first and rightful representative between himself and his human children. This constitutes a form of idolatry and also encompasses the sin of blasphemy in God’s eyes.

These seven broad categories are further expanded upon by adding other specific examples of teachings and doctrines which are promoted by the “Lawless One” as part of a single body of truth emanating for God;

1. The mystification of God’s true identity and nature ie; The Trinity doctrine, the Divinity of Christ, the denigration of God’s name and its meaning, etc’.

2. The interference with God’s purpose to provide a historical narrative of his thoughts in the form of the Holy inspired Bible.

3. The interference with Holy Spirit as God’s means of direct communication by formulating a belief system that excludes or supersedes its operation in the lives of believers.

4. By obscuring the true nature and purposes of God’s arch enemy, Satan the devil. They either promote the idea that he doesn’t even exist, only has power in occult quarters or they distort his nature and obscure his power and influence. In doing this they conceal the truth about him and how he affects the behavior in humans and what God’s view of him is.

5. Misinterpretation as to the timing of the fulfillment of prophecy or critical events. These also are forms of lawlessness which contribute to the “Operation of Error“, powerful delusion or deceiving power (other Bible translations) that Paul spoke of at 2nd Thessalonians 2:11. They have all played their parts in the great deception fostered on the human race by God’s arch enemy Satan the devil. The effects of the man of lawlessness and what his false teachings have had on the human family can seen in a seeming endless numbers of ways:

Just to mention a few of the ways these have affected God’s people are;

a. Created confusion in sincere Bible readers minds due to conflict between scripture and organizational doctrines. In most religious organizations, individual followers who have been led to believe their organization goes by the bible are totally confused by the disparity they see. They are lost in a wilderness of unfulfilled expectations, failed prophecy and erroneous interpretations.

In the middle ages, the Catholic (universal) Church had to resort to discouraging Bible studies by the flock in general, in order to avoid exposing the conflict between the bible’s teachings and their own institutional teachings.

In modern days similar examples can be seen in organizations such as The Watchtower where followers face a paradox between what scripture clearly states and the conflicting teachings from their governing bodies. In the case of Watchtower’s G.B., it has had to return to its pattern of discouraging personal Bible study, claiming that they cannot be understood without Watchtower literature. This is because many of their teachings do not align with Biblical teaching. Whereas in past decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been quite ready to be outspoken about the timing of end-times prophetic events. Recently they seem to have no clue as to where mankind stands in the stream of events and appear to be confused about how and why their former understanding is no longer to be believed.

b. Creating conflict and disunity among those attracted to true bible teachings. By demonizing anyone who disagrees with their own version of “truth”, organizations like the Watchtower alienate many Bible lovers from one another. Where they might benefit from one another by sharing morsels of truth from the Bible, they are discouraged from having contact with others not of their own organizational persuasion.

c. Leading sheep-like ones into behavioral patterns objectionable to God and his son Jesus Christ. They pay mere lip service to exclusive devotion to Almighty God and their behavior shows a denial that Christ Jesus is the sole Channel of God. Instead they encourage loyalty to institutions and organizations instead of God himself. They use all kinds of behavioral control devices such as requiring special reports and demanding obedience in inconsequential matters. In the W.T. organization these take the form of requiring service reports, mandatory rather than voluntary meeting attendance, quotas on service activity, and a myriad of other things which have little to do with leading a Christ like life. They distract followers from the real issues through diversions such as focusing on numbers, statistics construction projects, titles and privileges for those dedicated to the organization and showing experiences of those who are loyal followers in a favorable light. Their focusing on numbers and quotas, field service reports, building of new kingdom halls, etc.} remind Bible readers of David’s unlawful census….that the lesson of that example was both about obedience and not putting faith in ourselves or in our leaders).

d. Bringing disrepute on the name, meaning and truth of God. The mockery organizations such as the Watchtower endure is justifiable and is not the mockery referred to in 2 Peter 3:3-10, rather it is more likely attributable to the absurd prophetic announcements that these events either were scheduled to occur or already had occurred when they clearly were not and did not. Thus, they are seen as false prophets by many. In this they also have brought God’s name into disrepute among the nations.

Many churches and organizations have integrated Gods name and the name of his son with their own identities thus claiming kinship with the almighty and his son. Mormons have named themselves “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints”. Jehovah’s Witness chose to make an oath to God by assuming his divine name as their group name. By lawless behavior in the sight of Heaven and Earth, these organizations have not sanctified His name but rather, they have brought reproach on it.

What then can any of us do as individuals, standing before God, to help mitigate any harm done to us by the “Man of lawlessness” and the “Operation of Error” which he is associated with? A powerful clue is contained in Paul’s words at 2nd Thess. 2:10 where it refers to a love for truth. There it focuses light on a single ‘germinal’ element which can have a devastating effect on “the lawless ones efforts to mislead God’s people. That element is “truth”, the truth of God which Christ explained, taught and encouraged during his earthly course.

So what we can do as individuals who want to either avoid or escape from the lawless one’s powerful deception Paul referred to at 2 Thess. 2:11 follows;

1. Begin or reinstitute a search for real “truth”, God’s truth as opposed to mans truth misrepresented as God’s truth.

2. Examine true Bible teachings afresh with a prayerful plea for Holy Spirit to supply accurate understanding for the truth God provides in his inspired word.

3. Return to the absoluteness of true Bible basics
a. Inerrancy of God’s thinking as conveyed by his word, the Bible
b. Faith in God the Father
c. Faith in Jesus Christ, his son and heir designate
d. Test and affirm all presently held beliefs against the Bible.
e. Test all newly found understandings arrived at to determine that they are provided by God’s spirit and not some other spirit, or something or someone else.

This essay, while being offered by two humble servants of our lord Jesus and his father in heaven is not intended to reflect our own contrived opinion. Rather we embrace the wisdom supplied from above by means of God’s word and his holy spirit. We do this in order that we might draw attention to how God’s word and spirit has led us to under-stand who the man of lawlessness really is, how he operates and how the “operation of error he sponsors effects all humans including those who profess to be followers of the true God and his son Jesus Christ.

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