Monday, September 27, 2010

The End of Evil Deeds Is Assured!

The next article in this Watchtower, The End of Evil Deeds Is Assured, must be one of the most Christ-less articles I have ever read by someone that supposedly believes in Jesus as Savior. The article rightly points out five promises found in the Bible that teaches what the end of the Age will entail.
The wicked will be completely removed. Psalm 37

The will be no more oppression. Psalm 72, Romans 8

People's material needs will be satisfied. Isa 65:21-22

Justice will prevail Luke 18:7,8

Selfishness will be replaced by righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13
Having said all of this, the foundation offered for this result of a peaceful age to come has no basis in reality nor Scripture. For instance, the very first paragraph states,
He has also given us free will and the ability to exercise self control, making it possible for us to choose not to do bad things.
And again on page 7,
It is the fact that millions of people worldwide today have already enjoyed success in ridding themselves of selfish, immoral, or violent personality traits and have learned to be honest, peaceable, and kind individuals.
So the obvious question is how does a freewill get a man better? Have we really seen men rid themselves of sin? According to the WT, it is by a knowledge of God that brings about the change in men.

Now here is the language barrier that one must scale with a Jehovah's Witness. It is true that having a proper knowledge of God is why men change, but what is meant by a JW verses one in the Reformed faith is radically different. It is the Reformed/Covenantal view that remains consistent in answering the JW. For the majority of Evangelicals, it is precisely here that their theology fails, for they are at a fundamental point, in agreement with the JW.

Earlier this summer, Russell, my JW friend and I had a long discussion about the Gospel. His definition of the Gospel is that God's Kingdom or rule will come to Earth. By believing in this message, men must choose to become righteous and learn from Jehovah how to live righteously. In doing so, eventually there will be a New Heavens and Earth.

It was here that I asked him a simple question. Based upon his views of the Kingdom, what is the difference between a 5 century BC Jew and his own view? In other words, a Jewish man living under the Mosaic Covenant already believed what he was saying. So why is his view any different? To put it yet another way, why do we need a New Covenant? What did Jesus actually come to do that Moses could not have done?

From a Covenantal viewpoint the answer is quite simple. I took Russell to Hebrews 8 where the writer deals with this exact question.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Heb 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
The problem with the First Covenant was that the people broke it. Why? Because of their union with Adam in his sin and their Original Sin nature. The assumption that man has some kind of freewill is simply not found in the text. Men are not in need of a Good moral teacher or example. Men are not in need of getting over some addiction. Men are not in need of improving their status or marriage. Men are not in need being satisfied with material things. Men are in need of someone fulfilling the Law of God externally to them and taking their sins away permanently.

The New Covenant is not just something written upon the heart because we chose Christ. It is written because God has united us to Christ through faith.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
In this chapter, we see that it is God who writes His laws upon our hearts. It is God who establishes this Covenant and forgives the sins of His people forever. As we may read from the prior chapter, it based upon the finished work of Christ. It is Christ who intercedes on behalf of men as their High Priest. This is not some hypothetical salvation. This is something Christ does in perfect union with the Father.
Heb 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
Heb 7:23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,
Heb 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
Watchtower Theology does not have a perfect Christ that saves perfectly because man is not in need of a perfect Savior. Why? Because man has some kind of freewill. Freewill reigns supreme in WT theology (as in may Evangelical circles).

So I will ask the same rhetorical question of Russell as I ask all of my Dispensational Evangelical friends. Why does man not sin in the new heavens and earth? Is it even possible? If not, why not?

1 comment:

Howard Fisher said...

Please keep in mind, I am not arguing that men just need forgiveness and remain in their old life style. I do believe that men are saved for a purpose and unto holiness of life. Yet the "transformation" of the life of a Christian to become more Christ-like is a result of God's saving work, not the means.

In other words, Christ died to save sinners externally apart from us and anything we do. The result of which we are freed from our old man and given grace to struggle in this age to live the new man.