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Angelic Direction?


Is The Watchtower a means or channel employed by God to transmit information to his people?... he could and would transmit information to his people... No man can properly interpret prophecy, and the Lord sends his angels to transmit correct information to his people...

The Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1936 p. 52.

Since the late 1940s the Watchtower Society has taught that only the Holy Spirit can bring about the proper understanding of Scripture. For example they have said:

Since the Bible was written under God's spirit, only his spirit can bring about understanding... [33]

Until 1930 Rutherford also taught that the remnant were enlightened by the Holy Spirit in understanding the Scriptures. In the 1929 Yearbook he said:

It has been since the Lord came to his temple that God by his spirit has revealed to the church many of the deep things that the members thereof could not understand prior to that time. [34]

However, in 1930 Rutherford began to teach that in 1918, when Jesus came to the "temple", the "holy spirit" was taken away from the remnant and was no longer their Teacher, Comforter or Advocate:

By his spirit, the holy spirit, Jehovah God guides or leads his people up to a certain time, and thus he did until the time when "the comforter" was taken away ... in 1918. [35]

...1918... in that year the Lord Jesus came to the temple of Jehovah God. The holy spirit that had been the guide of God's people, having performed its functions, was taken away... [36]

When Jesus was on earth he had no advocate, because God dealt directly with him.... It would seem that there would be no necessity for the "servant" to have an advocate such as the holy spirit, because the "servant" is in direct communication with Jehovah... [37]

Rutherford taught that since the remnant were in direct communication with Jehovah, it was Jehovah and Jesus Christ who were teaching the remnant, not the Holy Spirit:

In times past the holy spirit was the comforter and helper of God's people, and those brethren supposed to have the spirit of the Lord acted as teachers of the consecrated; but now, since the coming of Christ Jesus to the temple, Jehovah God and his great prophet, Christ Jesus, are the teachers... the faithful ones receive knowledge and understanding from the Word of God revealed to them through the Head of the temple organization. [38]

Starting in 1918, angels were used to help teach the remnant the Truth. These, to a large extent, replaced the Holy Spirit as the medium or channel through which Jehovah and Christ taught the remnant:

After the holy spirit as an advocate or paraclete ceased to function in behalf of the consecrated, then the angels are employed in behalf of those who are being made ready for the kingdom. [39]

Instead of the servant's being moved into action by the operation of the holy spirit as a helper, the Scriptures seem to teach clearly that the Lord directs his angels what to do and that they act under the supervision of the Lord in directing the remnant on earth concerning the course of action to take. [40]

Since 1918 the angels of the Lord have had to do with showing the Ezekiel class the truth... [41]

Angelic information

Being under the direction of angels meant the remnant received information and organization instructions from angels. In Rutherford's words:

Certain duties and kingdom interests have been committed by the Lord to his angels, which include the transmission of information to God's anointed people on the earth for their aid and comfort. Even though we cannot understand how the angels transmit this information, we know that they do it. [42]

These angels are invisible to human eyes and are there to carry out the orders of the Lord. No doubt they first hear the instruction which the Lord issues to his remnant and then these invisible messengers pass such instruction on to the remnant. [43]

... angels are delegated by the Lord to convey his instructions to the members of his organization on earth. Just how this is done is not necessary for us to understand. [44]

Angelic interpretations

The information from angels that was given to Rutherford and the rest of the remnant included the interpretation of Scripture that was printed in Watchtower literature:

This question is propounded for the benefit of those faithful ones of the remnant now on earth, and the angel of the Lord brings to them the needed information in answer to their questions. (Rev. 1:1) This is proof that the interpretation of prophecy does not proceed from man, but that the Lord Jesus, the chief one in Jehovah's organization, sends the necessary information to his people by and through his holy angels. [45]

Jehovah's anointed, pictured by Zechariah, inquire: "WHAT ARE THESE [THINGS] MY LORD?" showing that they seek the divine interpretation of God's Word and do not seek the conclusion of men... the angels of the Lord at the temple are used to enlighten and comfort the anointed ones and to bring them refreshing truths. Those of the remnant, being honest and true, must say, We do not know; and the Lord enlightens them, sending his angels for that very purpose.[46]

In Vindication I Rutherford said about "cherubim, seraphim and angels" that:

These invisible ones the Lord uses to put in the hands of his "faithful servant" class, that is, the man clothed with linen, the fiery message from his Word, or judgments written, and which is to be used as directed. The resolutions adopted by conventions of God's anointed people, booklets, magazines, and books published by them, contain the message of God's truth and are from the Lord Jehovah, and provided by him through Christ Jesus and his underofficers... The interpretation of prophecy, therefore, is not from man but is from Jehovah... [47]

I think it should be clear now why Rutherford said that what he wrote was not his opinion or interpretation of Scripture, but was the divine interpretation. Most JWs or ex-JWs would, I believe, be surprised that Rutherford made these claims for his literature. He claimed that the "booklets, magazines and books" by the Society, most, if not all of which were written by him, were from "the Almighty God, Jehovah, and provided by him through Jesus Christ and his underofficers", the "cherubim, seraphim and angels". Yet Rutherford claimed that this did not mean that this literature was inspired. [48]

Angelic revelations

The Society in their recent history book, Jehovah's Witnesses--Proclaimers of God's Kingdom said:

Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations or divine inspiration. [49]

What they do not mention at all in this book reviewing their history is that Rutherford did claim to receive angelic revelations and thus a form of "divine inspiration". These angelic revelations were published in the Society's literature, particularly The Watchtower magazine:

Without a doubt the Lord uses his angels to cause the truth to be published in The Watchtower... Certainly God guides his covenant people by using the holy angels to convey his message to them. [50]

Angelic mind control

How did God by angels transmit the interpretations of Scripture and prophecy to the remnant and specifically to Rutherford? He said that he did not know exactly how the angels transmitted the information to him. He said that he did not visually see these angels because they were "invisible to human eyes". [51] Nor was the information given in an audible voice:

These angels doubtless perform in connection with and toward the people of God many things that they cannot see with their natural eyes or hear with their natural ears. [52]

Rutherford said that these angels transmitted information inaudibly as thoughts into the remnant's minds. Rutherford said:

... the remnant are instructed by the angels of the Lord. The remnant do not hear audible sounds, because such is not necessary. Jehovah has provided his own good way to convey thoughts to the minds of his anointed ones. [53]

Surely the holy angels of the Jehovah God, who are under the command of Christ Jesus and accompany him at his temple as his deputies, are clothed with power to put questions in the minds of those on earth who are devoted to God. It is not necessary for us to know just how this is done, but there can be no doubt about the power of the deputies of the Lord. [54]

Rutherford believed that the Holy Spirit was the force that, in the early church, God used to enlighten Christians. He believed that the Holy Spirit was replaced by angels in 1918 and these took over controlling the minds of the remnant:

... the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of "the servant", acting by and through his holy angels, has directed and is directing that work. It was the holy spirit that operated upon the minds of men in the early church to take certain action; but now the Lord Jesus himself has returned, is in his temple, and, acting by and through his holy angels, puts into the mind and heart of the remnant class to take positive action and to do a certain work... [55]

Angelic prophecies

God also revealed to Rutherford (through angels) what was to happen or come to pass in the future:

The temple in heaven is open, and those who have been so marvelously favored by being brought into the temple now receive a vision of the prophecies that have come to pass. Jehovah graciously permits those in the temple to see other things that shall shortly come to pass. [56]

God reveals to his people the information of things that must shortly come to pass.... [57]

Rutherford believed that Jehovah God would not even start the battle of Armageddon until He first sent angels to inform the remnant that it was about to start, thus giving them the time to notify mankind of its approach. He said:

No man can properly interpret prophecy, and the Lord sends his angels to transmit correct information to his people,.... The Greater Gideon [Jesus] does not begin the Armageddon battle until the message of truth from Jehovah God concerning the same is transmitted by his angels to the faithful remnant on the earth.[58]

Good or evil spirits?

Was Rutherford receiving his interpretations of Scriptures from angels or from demons? As the Society has more recently pointed out:

Yes, the Bible shows that there are not only good angels but also wicked ones. [59]

If Rutherford was receiving information into his mind from angels, which kind were they? Good or evil? Did God really send angels to enlighten Rutherford with the "divine interpretation" of Scripture in answer to his inquiries? If so, we should believe the doctrine and chronology he received from these angels. We should certainly respect and read Rutherford's books more than the Society today says we should!

33. The Watchtower, June 1, 1957, p. 328.

34. 1929 Yearbook of the International Bible Students Association, Daily Texts and Comments, April 4.

35. Preservation, 1932, pp. 193, 194.

36. J.F. Rutherford, Salvation, 1939, pp. 216, 217.

37. The Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1930, p. 263, ∂23. See further, Preservation, pp. 202, 203, 257; The Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1932, p. 294, ∂17, 18.

38. J.F. Rutherford, Jehovah, 1934, p. 311. See further, The Watchtower, March 15, 1938, p. 89, ∂37: 1939 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, October 6.

39. Preservation, p. 51; The Watchtower, June 1, 1931, p. 167, ∂35.

40. 1931 Yearbook of the International Bible Students Association, Daily Texts and Comments, October 21; The Watchtower, September 1, 1930, p. 263, ∂ 26.

41. Vindication III, 1932, p. 316. See further, Light, book II, 1930, p. 20; Preservation, 1932, p. 152.

42. Preparation, 1933, pp. 36, 37; The Watchtower, August 15, 1933, p. 243 ∂3; The Watchtower, March 1, 1938 p. 79, ∂4.

43. Vindication III, 1932, p. 250; The Watchtower, September 15, 1938, p. 285 (Last paragraph).

44. The Watchtower, December 1, 1933, p. 364.

45. Preparation, p. 28; The Watchtower, August 1, 1933, p. 231, ∂23.

46. Preparation, pp. 66, 67; The Watchtower, August 15, 1933, p. 248, ∂ 20; The Watchtower, September 15, 1938, p. 287.

47. Vindication I, 1931, p. 120; The Watchtower, May 1, 1938 p. 143. [The 1938 Watchtower's printing of these comments are slightly different from the original ones in Vindication I .]

48. Riches, p. 316.

49. Jehovah's Witnesses&endash; Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, p. 708.

50. The Watchtower, February 1, 1935, p. 41.

51. Vindication III, 1932, p. 250; The Watchtower, September 15, 1938, p. 285.

52. The Watchtower, August 1, 1936, p. 232, ∂30; 1937 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, December 8.

53. Preparation, p. 64; The Watchtower, August 15, 1933, pp. 247, 248, ∂17; The Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1938, p. 286.

54. The Watchtower, May 15, 1938, p. 157; Light 1, pp. 61, 62. See also: The Watchtower, November 1, 1937, p. 326, ∂14; 1938 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, February 15; 1935 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, Nov. 22; The Watchtower, February 15, 1935, p. 54, ∂1.

55. The Watchtower, September 1, 1930, p. 263 ∂ 27; 1931 Yearbook of the International Bible Students Association, Daily Texts and Comments, February 17.

56. Vindication 1, p. 340.

57. Light 1, p. 120; 1931 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, October 4. See further, The Watch Tower, January 1, 1930, p. 7, ∂24; The Watch Tower, January 1, 1931, p. 5, ∂21.

58. The Watchtower, February 15, 1935, p. 52, ∂7, 8; 1935 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, November 13. See further, The Watchtower, July 1, 1938, pp. 199, 200, ∂24, 25; 1939 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Daily Texts and Comments, June 22; J.F. Rutherford, His Vengeance, 1934, p. 6.

59. Awake!, May 22, 1971, p. 28.

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