In my previous post, I told the story of talking to three JW’s who had set up their literature booth outside a library in Tucson, AZ. When I mentioned the fact that JW’s used to be a part of the United Nations, they were stunned. You can read about this particular and interesting incident at the link above.
More interesting dialogue occurred also. I asked these three JW’s if they knew that their organization teaches that the atoning blood of Jesus only applies to the 144,000 and no others.
In other words, if you are a JW and you are not one of the 144,000 “anointed class,” the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is not for you; His atoning or “ransom” sacrifice does not personally apply to you.
As astonishing and blasphemous as this teaching is, it is nonetheless true.
Before I dive deeper into this particular discussion with these three JW’s, I need to explain something of importance. I have been studying and interacting with JW’s for over 30 years, and two of the most disturbing aspects of this cult is this: your average JW is a chronic liar and full of hypocrisy.
Their blatant hypocrisy is a theme I discuss in at least two of my Youtube videos: here and here. The fascinating thing about JW’s is they seem totally oblivious to these two facts, but this should not be surprising: self-righteousness, another sad aspect of your typical JW, is quite blinding.
Back to my story of these three JW’s, when I mentioned this fact to them, that the blood of Jesus only applies to the “anointed class,” the woman immediately reacted by telling me that what I said was untrue.
She became surprisingly evangelical, and her response was so biblical that, if I did not know better, I could have just as well been talking to a typical Baptist or Presbyterian.
She immediately quoted John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life (New World Translation).”
She enthusiastically claimed that the blood of Jesus was for her, and that her sins were forgiven based on this wonderful event that happened over 2,000 years ago. So strong was she in her profession of this wonderful fact that I honestly felt that perhaps this particular JW had deep spiritual insight that was not shared by the vast majority of other JW’s.
Was it possible, I thought, that I was speaking with a JW that truly understood about the wonderful grace and mercy freely bestowed upon sinful mankind through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus? If true, I was standing face to face with a miracle: a redeemed JW. The possibility, at that moment, was simply too much for me to adequately process, and I would have to return to this later.
I also thought that perhaps the organization, in their efforts to become more mainstream and accepting to the general public, were loosening up some of their more pernicious doctrines. Could it be they were becoming a bit more ecumenical? The thought seemed too good to be true.
I knew, though, that if anything, this woman was not following proper JW thinking. To resolve the issue, I went to the official JW website, “jw.org,” and typed in “ransom sacrifice” in the search bar.
This brings up at least three articles, but here is where caution and discernment is needed. JW’s, like all cults, are masters of deception, and the writers in these articles choose their words very carefully in order to say as little as possible that would reveal the truth of what they actually believe.
For example, in the article, “How Jesus’ death can save you,” there is much that the average evangelical, bible believing Christian can find agreement with. The four chapters under the heading, “Jesus” role in God’s rescue of humanity,” contains mainstream theology.
Things begin to turn sketchy, though, as we continue reading the article underneath the heading, “Will you benefit from Christ’s ransom?” The true power of a cult comes into focus as the writer begins to expertly weave a works mentality out of this free gift of grace.
For example, this “bucket list” for obtaining this “free gift of grace” includes “appreciation for his death by commemorating it,” a “special meeting in obedience to Jesus’ command.” Here, we begin to observe how JW’s turn what is a “free gift” into a “to do” list.
This is all subtle, this “adding” to the gift of free grace by believing in the Name of Jesus, a part of the brainwashing techniques that the Governing Body expertly and so deftly uses to deceive their flock.
This particular brainwashing technique continues with the last line of the article:
“By developing love for Jesus Christ and faith in his ransom sacrifice, you can fill your life with joy now and look forward to being saved from sin and death.”
Notice the putting off of the free gift by the expertly worded phrase, “…look forward to being saved from sin and death.” Notice the subtlety? Not encouraging people to “thank God that you are saved by faith in Jesus’ name,” but JW’s must look forward to being saved…”
It is only when one reads the article, “Jehovah Provides ‘a Ransom in Exchange for Many'” that we finally get to the meat of the matter. Again, the reader is taken on a journey in this article that contains some accurate theology, but one must come to the end of the article to finally discover the heresy.
Under the heading, “Benefits of the Ransom,” we read this:
“In his letter to the Colossians, Paul explains that God saw good through Christ to reconcile to Himself all other things by making peace through the blood Jesus shed on the torture stake. Paul also explains that this reconciliation involves two distinct groups of individuals, namely, ‘the things in the heavens and ‘the things upon the earth.’ (Colossians 1:19, 20; Ephesians 1:10) That first group consists of 144,000 Christians who are given the hope of serving as heavenly priests and ruling as kings over the earth with Christ Jesus. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:4; 14:1-3) Through them, the benefits of the ransom will gradually be applied to obedient mankind over a period of a thousand years.
The WTBTS suddenly makes an incredible turn, by a twisting of scripture and lifting them out of context, and here teaches that salvation is given to two groups, as I mentioned in the first part of this post: the first group numbering 144,000, and then, through them, “the benefits of the ransom will gradually be applied to obedient mankind over a period of a thousand years.”
Two groups. Clear as crystal. And this division that separates those who initially receive salvation, the 144,000, and those who will receive it through them is as blasphemous as one can get, an evil teaching that denies the immediate cleansing blood of Jesus and the free gift of salvation to the vast majority of people.
I read portions of the above article to the three JW’s. Suddenly, the woman, who previously had said the blood of Jesus applies to anyone with faith, now backpedals and tells admits that she is hoping for salvation during the “thousand years.”
I was stunned at her complete about face and explained to them that I was very disappointed in her initial disingenuous explanation of this critical doctrinal issue. I was trying to be kind and not flat out call her a liar for deceiving me as she had clearly tried to do.
This is one example of why I have found your average JW to be such blatant liars and why they are such a dangerous and deceiving cult. Like this woman, they do not tell unsuspecting members of the public the way “things really are” with many teachings of their organization.
No, they understand clearly the importance of putting on a false front to people. To effectively do this, hot disagreement has found to be counterproductive to their recruiting efforts, so they seek to find common ground with non JW’s…like me in this particular case.
When I initially brought up the topic of salvation through the blood of Jesus, the woman lies to me and says she herself was the recipient of this wonderful act through faith. She is no fool and has no doubt been through this exact conversation countless times over the thirty years she has been an active Witness, knowing the importance of being in agreement with the person bringing up this specific issue.
Her lie, of course, is her attempt at deceiving me by not telling me how she actually believes, which is her admission that it is only during the future thousand year reign that she has actual hope of “being saved.” And of course, even the hope of this future event is predicated on her remaining an active, faithful and obedient JW during the remainder of her earthly existence.
When I pointed out to these three my disappointment with the woman’s duplicity, the conversation was over; the one man immediately said, “We have given you enough of our time—an hour already—and we need to get back to talking with other people.”
In other words, he was politely telling me it was time to take a hike. The phony smiles and false friendliness of their initial interactions towards me was now conspicuously absent.
I tried to be gracious and agreed with them that we had spent a good amount of productive time in friendly interaction, thanked them for their time, and left in peace.