Wolves in a sheep’s cloak

Post N.122

Wolves and sheep are linked in the Bible to prophets, true or false.

Charles T. Russell was the founder of what was later known as Bible Students Movement. After his death, Jehovah Witnesses developed from that root. Russell claimed to be guided by the Lord in the understanding of the Bible truth. In Zion’s Watch Tower 1906 July 15 pp.230, 234, he wrote:

“No, the truths I present, as God’s mouthpiece, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God’s audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880. Neither is this clear unfolding of truth due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God’s due time has come; and if I did not speak, and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out. The following history is given not merely because I have been urged to give a review of God’s leadings in the path of light, but specially because I believe it to be needful that the truth be modestly told, that misapprehensions and prejudicial misstatements may be disarmed, and that our readers may see how hitherto the Lord has helped and guided. Then I knew why the Lord had led me to it so slowly and cautiously. I needed a special preparation of heart for the full appreciation of all it (i.e. the truth, Italics mine) contained, and I was all the more assured that it was not of my own wisdom; for if of my own why would it not have come at once?” 

The remnant instructed by the angels

On the same subject, Rutherford in a book written in 1933, Preparation, p.64, wrote: “Enlightenment proceeds from Jehovah… and is given to the faithful anointed…. 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.” Preparation (1933) p.64

Three years later he wrote: “No man can properly interpret prophecy, and the Lord sends his angels to transmit correct information to his people.”  Watchtower 1936 Feb 15 p.52

Why so many teachings later proved to be wrong

This weird sounding assertion is not without antecedence, since God spoke to his messengers through angels in the course of time. Yet there is a point that cannot be avoided. And not only a few of us would ask the same question. Why so many teachings Russell or Rutherford developed, later proved to be wrong? To be guided by the spirit is not always an easy experience. A fitting description of this sort of involvement appears in the works of psychologist William James.

“Even more perhaps than other kinds of genius, religious leaders have been subject to abnormal psychical visitations. Invariably they have been creatures of exalted emotional sensitivity liable to obsessions and fixed ideas; and frequently they have fallen into trances, heard voices, seen visions, and presented all sorts of peculiarities which are ordinarily classed as pathological.”

A temporarily help

As I can understand, even on a personal basis, God’s guidance is aimed to stimulate one’s understanding in a strict relationship with a specific issue. It’s a suggestion given to face an immediate problem. The answers will be fitting for the present situation. It won’t be a solution working forever, just a temporary help  needing refinements. The proverb says: “But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light That grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.”Pr 18:4 Even more. Messages need deep meditation. They need to be understood. But always human minds are limited.

God’s power is infinitely infinite. Human understanding is only finite. We can understand only in the limits of a moment. It’s just by continuing to examine that we can understand God. By interrupting this progressive search we can obtain an incomplete truth. In the passing of time, the result will become incomplete. Times are changing. The understanding of truth always needs updating. Truth is always to be regarded in a historical context. It is progressive. I cannot understand equations if I didn’t learn the four operations. The addition is not the absolute truth. It’s a path to the truth.

Messages given in riddles

As the Bible declares, “All the scripture is inspired of God”. (2Timothy 3:16) Believing this, of course, demands faith. Since it was written under inspiration, we should be eager to know in which manner inspiration comes. The Bible states God kept talking to Moses face to face, openly, not by riddles, while with all the other prophets he would speak in a vision or in a dream. David himself, in the book of Psalms, repeats the same concept, the fact that God’s word is given in riddles. (Ps 78:2-3) This is something meant by Rutherford when he writes that truth is not revealed in visions or dreams but by conveying thought to the minds of the anointed ones. The Bible says God communicates through the giving of oracles, living words.

The way Jehovah spoke to Moses was an exception, not a general rule. God himself 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.” Numbers 12:8

Living little words

Of him Stephen, before being stoned to death, said: “This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel: ‘God will raise up for you from among your brothers a prophet like me.’  This is the one who came to be among the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our forefathers. He received living sacred pronouncements  to give us.” Acts 7:37-38  Here the Greek refers about λόγια ζῶντα or living words.

It is the conveying of thoughts, as referred by Rutherford in the above quoted passage. These are thoughts coming into the mind that the anointed one perceives as coming from outside, not from his reasoning. They can be expressed in words, visions, fragmentary sentences or riddles. They will come while sleeping or before getting completely asleep. These are sometimes impressing, but normally expressed in a very quick way and they need to be immediately recorded because they are soon forgotten. This is the reason why Russell could say “I was all the more assured that it was not of my own wisdom”.

A special preparation of the heart

As he puts it, understanding puzzles and riddles demands a special preparation of the heart and deep meditation. This is the reason why he said he didn’t understand the truth at once. “I was all the more assured that it was not of my own wisdom; for if of my own why would it not have come at once?” Truth was gradually understood and not perfectly  or at once.

A  master of intrigue

Anyway, since the prophets were dressed in a conventional cloth and the skin-mantle had become their uniform, it was from that mantle that a prophet, true or false, could be distinguished. Consequently,  prophets wearing the same uniform could be both good or bad (Acts 20:29). There were many who wore a prophet’s cloak and lived anything but a prophet’s life. Even Daniel gave a portrait of a king  able to understand dark sentences, like Russell, but a stubborn vicious and deceitful king, proficient at deception and a master of intrigue.

“And in the final part of their kingdom, as the transgressors act to a completion, a fierce-looking king who understands ambiguous sayings will stand up. His power will become great, but not through his own power. He will bring ruin in an extraordinary way, and he will be successful and act effectively. He will bring mighty ones to ruin, also the people made up of the holy ones. And by his cunning he will use deception to succeed; and in his heart he will exalt himself; and during a time of security he will bring many to ruin. He will even stand up against the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human hand.” Dan 8:23-25

A small horn with the eyes of a man

Daniel’s prophecy of the four beasts is well known. “I kept on considering the horns, and, look! another horn, a small one, came up in among them, and there were three of the first horns that were plucked up from before it. And, look! there were eyes like the eyes of a man in this horn, and there was a mouth speaking grandiose things.” (Daniel 7:8) What does the small horn represent? Even Habakkuk spoke of him. It’s about a king who has a worldly empire, branches all over the earth. Bethel offices are more than 90 and are all dependent from the USA world headquarters.

“He keeps gathering all the nations And collecting for himself all the peoples….They will wake up and violently shake you, And you will become something for them to plunder…Because you plundered many nations,  All the rest of the peoples will plunder you, Because of your shedding men’s blood And your violence to the earth, To the cities and those living in them.” Habakkuk 2:5-8

Changing the time and the law

 So, as Daniel wrote, changing the time and the law would be something possible. The holy writings are inspired. So, any altering in them would be anathema. “I am bearing witness to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things that are written about in this scroll.” Rev. 22:18-19

Daniel, the prophet, wrote about the stubborn final king: “And he will speak even words against the Most High, and he will harass continually the holy ones themselves of the Supreme One. And he will intend to change times and law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, and times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)

This is said about the small horn sprouting from the head of “a fourth beast, fearsome and terrible and unusually strong…something different from all the

[other]

beasts that were prior to it, and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:7) Who’s that? He pretends to be the faithful and wise slave appointed by Jesus himself upon all his belonging. They seem to forget the fact that Jesus did not appoint a faithful and wise slave but that he would declare him faithful only upon coming at the end of times, that is to say, during the war of Armageddon.

An evil slave

“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?  Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings.

 “But if ever that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and he starts to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and he will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his place with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.” Matthew 24:45-51

These are the last verses of Matthew 24 immediately followed by the parable of the ten virgins. How many of them fell asleep? All of them did. How could the pretended faithful slave manage to stay awake? Impossible. He just essays to impose his falsification. As Terence, the Latin writer wrote: Fallacia alia aliam trudit, a lie leads to another lie.

All of you are brothers

Jesus clearly said “But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One.  Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ.  But the greatest one among you must be your minister.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:8-12

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