Thursday, November 21
You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or on the earth below . . . You must not bow down to them. —Ex. 20:4, 5.
Moved by his deep love for God, Jesus worshipped Jehovah exclusively, both when he was in heaven and when he was on earth. (Luke 4:8) He taught his disciples to do likewise. Neither Jesus nor his faithful disciples ever used images in worship. Since God is a Spirit, nothing that man could possibly conceive could even come close to representing Jehovah’s glory! (Isa. 46:5) But what about making images of so-called saints and praying to them? In the second of the Ten Commandments, Jehovah said the words of today’s text. Those words are clear to those who desire to please God. Secular historians have acknowledged that the early Christians gave exclusive devotion to God. Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the pattern set by the first-century Christians. w21.10 19-20 ¶5-6
There are many and varied forms of idolatry. The worship of icons representing saints is common to the Catholic and Orthodox denominations. The pope is even regarded as a vice-god, of sorts. However, it would seem that the crucifix is Christendom’s most universally revered symbol. It is worn as sacred jewelry and graces the peaks of thousands of church spires. It is strange, that the supposed instrument of Christ’s execution has become the symbol of Christianity. The core doctrine of the churches is idolatrous since it equates Jesus with God, who has no peer and no equal.
The demons are the promoters of all forms of idolatry—including the worship of Jesus. The Devil promotes the worship of anything and everyone—except Jehovah. That is because Satan knows Jehovah is the true God and he is intent on misleading us into a form of false worship.
There are more insidious forms of idolatry than the paraphernalia associated with Christendom. There is the idolization of people such as movie stars and pop stars. They are even called idols. The worship of humans is more seductive than mere lifeless images, since people possess many talents and were originally made in God’s image. Idolizing pop stars is not so innocent. Now the concerts of the most popular idols are thinly disguised satanic rituals.
With the advent of Christianity, the Devil tried to appeal to the vanity of the apostle and his companion by causing a crowd to hail them as gods after they healed a man. The account reads as follows: “The gods have become like humans and have come down to us!” And they started calling Barnabas Zeus, but Paul Hermes, since he was taking the lead in speaking. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance of the city, brought bulls and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifices with the crowds.” — Acts 14:11-13
Paul would have none of it and explained to the crowd that they were just men with the same imperfections as all men. Yet, even so, the account says that they barely restrained the crowd from sacrificing to them.
In modern times C.T. Russell was regarded as a special messenger from God. It could be said that a cult of personality developed around him among the Bible Students. That was evident when he suddenly passed away leaving his many followers without a leader.
No such cult of personality exists today among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Instead, the Watchtower itself has subtly been elevated to become an idol. And not just any inanimate idol. The Watchtower idol can divine the future and explain deep mysteries. The Governing Body basically functions as the high priests and caretakers of the organizational idol. The Watchtower idol is virtually infallible. It is never wrong. Even when it is found to be lacking it is always a deficiency on the part of the worshippers who do not understand the ways of the idol. The idol merely emits new light to shine upon the darkened minds.
As regards the idolatry of the Watchtower, no doubt Jehovah’s Witnesses will be offended by my characterization; but ask yourself, has the Governing Body ever cautioned Jehovah’s Witnesses about placing undo importance on the organization or imputing an undeserved god-like status on the so-called faithful and discreet slave or Governing Body? You know the answer. Have the spokesmen for the Watchtower ever forthrightly admitted an error or apologized for misleading the flock? Have they ever publicly confessed to being less than honest? Again, you know the answer.
Look at the way child abuse has been covered up. Supposedly not handing pedophiles over to the civil authorities was intended to protect Jehovah’s name from reproach. Obviously, it has had the opposite effect. No doubt, though, the real reason child abuse has been covered over and victims muzzled and persecuted is to protect the idol. After all, the Watchtower is a spiritual paradise where no evil persons are allowed to harm others, especially vulnerable children. Thus, the priests’ primary obligation is to protect the object of their worship from being tarnished in any way.
Being the only true God, Jehovah knows that humans under the Devil’s influence will always gravitate towards some form of idolatry. It is a pattern repeated throughout the history revealed in the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses are no different.
At the core of the organizational idolatry is the foretold man of lawlessness. The inspired apostle revealed that prior to Christ’s coming Jehovah would allow an operation of Satan to work through a Judas-like faction. Paul warned that the man of lawlessness “stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:4
As demonstrated in the daily text above, the Governing Body routinely exalts the organization above the idolatrous parishioners of Christendom. The Watchtower is far above all of the forms of worship that comprise Babylon the Great. Jehovah’s Witnesses give exclusive devotion to God. Or do they?
Moses, the meekest man on earth by far according to God’s own opinion, was debarred from entering the Promised Land because on one occasion he failed to give glory to Jehovah for a miracle he was divinely empowered to perform. Has the Watchtower ever failed to give God his due or taken credit for something God has done? Or, has the Watchtower ever falsely claimed that Jehovah has provided something when in fact he has not—such as the deadly vaccines?
Like a message in a bottle from long ago Jehovah spoke to a point in the future when Christ comes to set matters straight—at a time when Babylon is overthrown and the keepers of the idol find themselves in sore straits. Here is the message: “Because I knew how stubborn you are —That your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead is copper—I told you long ago. Before it came about, I caused you to hear it, so that you could not say, ‘My idol did this; my carved image and my metal image commanded this.’ You have heard and seen all of this. Will you not declare it? From now on I am announcing new things to you, guarded secrets that you have not known. Only now are they being created, and not long ago, things that you never heard before today, so that you cannot say, ‘Look! I already know them.’ No, you have not heard, you have not known, and in the past your ears were not opened. For I know that you are very treacherous, and you have been called a transgressor from birth.” — Isaiah 48:4-8
What are the “guarded secrets that you have not known”? It has to do with the visible presence of Christ. The myth of the invisible presence and 1914 is what the operation of Satan is all about. The man of lawlessness is glorified for his supposed insight and interpretive prowess. Because of their adoration of the Watchtower idol—the revered knower of all things esoteric—the transgressing sons have not known Jehovah’s guarded secrets even though the truth is hidden in plain sight.
God’s intent is to refine and perfect his people and discredit their anointed idol. The 30th chapter of Isaiah confirms that Jehovah’s discipline will achieve the desired result. Verses 19 through 22 relate how the Grand Instructor will reveal himself and no longer hide so that your own eyes will see him. The result: “And you will defile the silver overlay of your graven images and the golden plating of your metal statues. You will cast them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Be gone!”
Never again will the people of God exalt an organization and give it glory as if it were the very mouth of Jehovah.