I think we all know that the Catholic Pope openly claims the position of mediator. Then there are the ministers, priests, reverends, deacons, presbyters, evangelists and self-professed prophets who claim to be the sole channel through which revelation is coming to their congregations. They will say “I'm right and I'm never wrong.” Many have taken the words of Wycliffe, Wesley, Luther and Calvin as the sole determiners, or the foundation, of modern doctrine.
Many of them, especially evangelists and the Pope, like to sit upon gold thrones and take “prayer requests”. (1 Corinthians 4:8-13, 18-21) When people ask Jehovah's Witnesses to pray for them, we say, “if you don't pray for yourself, another's prayer will mean little.” Because, while the Scriptures demonstrate praying for others, they say for all to approach Jehovah and that there is only one intercessor in prayer, Jesus Christ, our high priest. (Hebrews 7:25)
What of Jehovah's Witnesses? Have we identified Charles Taze Russell as the sole determiner of doctrine in our day? Contrary to what some would have you believe, we do not. We never have. He was just the one who happened to get us started on the right path, building upon the work of others, but it took the efforts of still more to clarify further, because we trust in Jehovah God, through Jesus Christ, to correct our understanding as needed.
While the world's religions sink further into depravity and further away from the Scriptures, we come closer and closer in line with what the Bible teaches. But our stand on upholding the Scriptural doctrine of disfellowshipping and congregational purity, and the rejection of homosexual behavior, in line with Scripture, has the world hating us. (John 15:18-21) We accept this. We certainly do not want to be friends of the world. (James 4:4)
Scriptures Misapplied by Our OpposersAllow me, now, to address some misguided points that came to my attention recently regarding the claim that the faithful and discreet slave class act as mediators for us. Be warned: all the following scripture citations will be taken into the context; the results may therefore dishearten those reading this who rely upon these scriptures to attempt discrediting Jehovah's Witnesses.
Our detractors love to take scriptures out of context and force them into their own mold, creatively reinterpreting them for us, hoping they can corrupt our thinking, twisting the Scriptures the same way Satan himself did with Jesus. (Matthew 4:3-10) Below are prime examples of this in regard to their claim that the “WTBTS” mediates between us and God and that Jesus and the holy spirit is the only channel by which we may understand the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.
Using this, some imply that we are not supposed to have an organization over us. And yet the Scriptures say that the elders, overseers and apostles were “taking the lead” in first century congregations. (Hebrews 13:7)
Jehovah's organization is made clear through the channels he has always used, through Noah, Moses, the priesthood, the prophets, the angels, the apostles, and finally the faithful and discreet slave class. All of these have been Jehovah's organization in their days. That's in the Scriptures, not an invention of men.
Jesus gave the apostles the duty of forming the first century organization. The book of Leviticus is all about establishing organization in order to administer the sacrifices. God did not cast aside organization altogether, but he set aside the former Law for its inability to bring salvation. (Hebrews 7:18-25)
Organization is demonstrated in many places throughout the Scriptures. (Revelation 5:10) In fact, 1 Timothy 3:1-10 and Titus 1:5-9 show the organization of the first century being made up of elders and overseers with a governing body of elders in Jerusalem, which is the organizational model upon which Jehovah's Witnesses faithfully adhere.
The reality is, we have a direct approach to Jehovah in Jesus' name and we submit ourselves to Christ's teachings, not some kind of extra-Biblical teachings from an unscriptural body of self-appointed men. But the Scriptures tell us to be submissive to those taking the lead among us. (Hebrews 3:17) How can we expect Jehovah to reveal anything to us if we do not submit to those he has instructed us to submit to?
In fact, in the two verses immediately prior to 1 Corinthians 11:3, what does Paul say? “Become imitators of me, just as I am of Christ. I commend you because in all things you remember me and you are holding fast the traditions just as I handed them on to you.” Based on this, I'd say that the quote at the outset of this part of the discussion was taken way out of context.
The Scriptures show how the “apostles and older men in Jerusalem” decided doctrine for the entire Christian community. (Acts 15:2, 6, 22-29) So those citing 1 Corinthians 11:3 would seem to have us believe that the “apostles and older men in Jerusalem” were wrong for deciding doctrine for all Christians through a search of the Scriptures. I personally would say that it is a far sight better for a group of men to do so than just one sinful man like Calvin, the Pope, Billy Graham and so many others today and throughout history. It is also better than every person for themselves going their own way with any number of beliefs. Instead, we should "speak in agreement" as Paul said earlier in that letter, and only by being united in doctrine can we do that, and only by being submissive to a few can we be united in doctrine. (1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Timothy 1:3; 6:3-5; Hebrews 13:17)
Jesus spoke of “the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time.” (Matthew 24:45) Is that Jesus Christ himself? Of course not. The Son is the Master, so the slave is clearly a different person or class of people. Jesus said to Peter, not to all Christians, “Feed my little sheep.” (John 21:15-17) So the faithful and discreet slave must provide spiritual food. It would not be provided directly by Jesus himself.
The faithful slave has made these teachings clear to us, but they have not added to nor distorted those teachings. Sometimes they get it wrong and make correction later, but they continue to improve their understanding, rather than sticking to teachings from one person with a limited perspective.
The faithful slave is discreet because they do not just accept any word that comes to them from anyone, especially not apostates. They carefully review evidence and pray on matters; things which apostates continually fail to do. Those who rely upon themselves get nowhere, which is why so much of the world is in darkness today. They say they don't need anyone and look where they are.
The faithful and discreet slave class has never once claimed to be “the channel to Jehovah” as some claim. They have only ever claimed to be the channel through which Jehovah and his Son clarifies the truth by means of holy spirit. This has been proven through their careful study and revealing of greater understanding than anyone outside the organization.
But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.
Our detractors use this scripture to imply that the sole means by which we all should receive the truth is through direct revelation by the holy spirit. But apparently, only the individuals who make this claim have benefited, at least, according to they themselves, but as this blog post shows, if they are taking things out of context, then they appear to be having some connection problems with the holy spirit. I suppose they would blame that on us. But now let's examine the context to see who Jesus was speaking to, about what, and concerning what period of time.
Jesus was speaking to his apostles, not all his disciples. It was his final discourse to his apostles in the upper room on the night of his death, beginning in chapter 13. He was speaking regarding words that he himself spoke to them directly. He said, “I have spoken these things to you while I am still with you.” (John 14:25)
Jesus has spoken directly to no one in our day. So clearly, he was talking about the writing of the Christian scriptures and the apostles instructing the Christian congregation. That makes another Scripture severely out of context by its abusers.
1 Tim 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.
This is where they try implying that the faithful and discreet slave class acts like a mediator. However, this ignores what Paul was actually saying, that Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant.
The faithful and discreet slave does not act in that capacity or any other capacity as a “mediator” between God and men. They are simply the avenue through which Jehovah reveals the truth to us, through the decision-making process about what doctrines to enforce and when, as well as approving publications regarding understanding of prophecy, and providing us our "measure of [spiritual] food supplies at the proper time." (Luke 12:42)
What it means for Jesus Christ to be a mediator, just as Paul himself says in the next verse, is that Christ “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—this is what is to be witnessed to in its own due time.” (1 Timothy 2:6) So it seems they missed the context again.
Now what did Paul say concerning his own role in relation to Christ? “Since you are seeking proof that Christ, who is not weak toward you but strong among you, is really speaking through me.” (2 Corinthians 13:3, 5-6) Was Christ speaking through those to whom Paul was speaking? No. While Christ was strong among them, they were looking to Jesus' word through Paul.
Jehovah said, “Hear my words, please. If there was a prophet of Jehovah among you, I would make myself known to him in a vision, and I would speak to him in a dream. But it is not that way with my servant Moses! He is being entrusted with all my house. Face-to-face I speak to him, openly, not by riddles; and the appearance of Jehovah is what he sees. Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant, against Moses?” (Numbers 12:6-8)
But are these things mediation? No. They are mouthpieces and representatives, not mediators. What about interpretation? Is this for every person? No. Paul said, “For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but [specific] men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) In other words, Jehovah chose mouthpieces to interpret, just as in the case of Joseph and of Daniel. (Genesis 40:5-8; 41:14-16; Daniel 2:25-28) So if a person thinks they can interpret the Scriptures all by their lonesome, fine, but they should not pretend that Jehovah is the one helping them. On the contrary, Daniel wrote the words of the angel, saying, "Many will rove about [in the scriptures], and the true knowledge will become abundant." (Daniel 12:4)
Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This regards faith in Jesus with accurate knowledge and prayer through his name. But I suppose they missed that in the context as well. Let's look: “Most truly I say to you, whoever exercises faith in me will also do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father. Also, whatever you ask in my name, I will do this, so that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-13)
The faithful and discreet slave does not ask for anyone to put faith in them as their saviors or to pray to Jehovah in their name. Their job is strictly to provide spiritual “food at the proper time.” (Matthew 24:45)
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I will write it. And I will become their God, and they will become my people.”
Apparently they missed the word “covenant”. This refers to the covenant made, not with the great crowd, but with the 144,000. (Revelation 14:1) There are only 144,000 who are part of that new covenant. The rest only receive the blessings of that new covenant, but are not in that covenant. This is simply saying that they would know their position within the covenant.
What does it mean to "know Jehovah" as verse 34 says they would? In verse 35, Jehovah answers, saying, "For I will forgive their error, and I will no longer remember their sin." That is, the anointed would know that Jehovah is a forgiving God and has selected them for that forgiveness by choosing them for the covenant. In other words, they would "know" they were called to be among the 144,000.
Could our opposers, who attempt to use these scriptures against us, be blind to the context? (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 4:17-19)
“I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved, and that one will go in and out and find pasturage.”
This means that Jesus alone calls them. Anyone who comes in without being called (“climbs in by another way”,) is said by him to be “a thief and a plunderer” and “All those who have come in place of me are thieves and plunderers; but the sheep have not listened to them.” (John 10:1, 8)
This is referring to false religious leaders and apostates who deny the channel through which Christ speaks, and like to pretend that they are anointed followers of Christ and like to do the thinking for you and try to lead you away in Christ's stead. If you are one of Christ's sheep, you will not listen to them. I guess the context of these Scriptures is just wreaking all sorts of havoc on their claims.
“God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”
Let's take this into the context one more time. Who was Jesus speaking with? A Samaritan woman. She knew nothing about how to serve God, saying “Our forefathers worshiped on this mountain, but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.” (John 4:20)
Being Samaritan also meant that she was an idolatress. Thus Jesus statement of worshiping in spirit and truth. Anyone who prays to Jehovah through Jesus Christ with accurate knowledge is worshiping “with spirit and truth”.
Those who reject the channel through which they received that truth are not worshiping in truth. (John 6:68-69; 2 Timothy 3:14) Does one reject their Bible teacher who taught them the truth, and say “you did not teach me”? Really, you can't worship in spirit and truth if you have been despoiled of the truth. (1 Timothy 6:2-5)
The fact that these people do not know how to take Scriptures into their context proves that they are despoiled of the truth and the truth was never in them. (John 8:44; Matthew 7:21-23) Really, can anyone who so consistently overlooks the context be trusted to help others with understanding the Bible? Besides, is it not hypocritical for them to go around speaking against having the Scriptures interpreted for them and then go trying to interpret the Scriptures for others? It seems to me that going their own way has done such ones no good.
* “Christendom” refers to the predominant tendency of the majority of nominal Christian sects to claim that God's kingdom is already on the earth, whether through their church or an existing government, or that an existing government will usher in God's kingdom, all those views contradicting Daniel 2:44 and Revelation 16:13-16 and 19:11-21.