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Jehovah’s Witnesses do Socrates and Plato—with Plato, a Surprising Application.

Job 8: Bildad is the Clergy? A Blast from the Past

A publication that well-fits a certain time and place, and the needs of people at that time, may read very oddly in another. Now that we are in the Book of Job in the weekly Bible reading, an example is found in multiple links to a 1966 Watchtower series. I mean, how do you spell ‘dated’? 

Sometimes I repackage exchanges on social media for later inclusion in this blog. But by the time the run date has arrived, they are dated, some of them, or at least too niche for inclusion. I shelve a lot of them. Even though I’ve changed names, assigning words to people like Wayne Whitepebble, Vic Vomodog, or even Dr. Max “Ace” Inhibitor; it’s still not enough to gussy them up.

Did I pick up that naming technique from HQ? For, here in 1966 (it would never be done today), the clergy of Christendom become Bildad and Zophar, and the anointed Bethel brothers themselves are “Job-like.”

The 1966 article quotes a sneering Jesuit passage about a recent convention:

“It [the assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses] was an impressive demonstration of the hold that primitive—and perverted—religion exercises on simple minds in a hour of humanity’s confusion. It was an illustration also of the compelling power of a few ideas strongly held.”

Oh, man, how I’d love to shove back at that one. But it wouldn’t come from the Jesuits today. They have moved on towards “inclusion.” It might come from the secular anti-cultists, but not likely any subset of the Catholics.

Of course, if the latter have moved on, part of the reason is that Witnesses don’t attack [expose] them as they did in the World Wars and aftermath era, an era that extended into 1966, as judged by the article, though it was fading by then. All Witnesses ever wanted was a level playing field—so that people should not be so under the grip of clergy that they were afraid to entertain new ideas. That being achieved long ago, why kick the old lady (Babylon the Great) when she’s down? We kicked her when she was up! Hardly any point to it, now. Whatever account she must render is with God, not with us.

The scrappy 66 Watchtower reply is determined to incorporate Job 8—Bildad’s words, as directed at Job. It reads: 

“It is well known that many of the “man of lawlessness” class of clergy are pillars and champions of orthodoxy, holding tenaciously to early, Babylonish wisdom of the “former generations” and from the “fathers,” like Bildad of old. (Job 8:8)”

You almost can’t decipher that today. But with that introduction, the brothers print the reply they made to those Jesuits:

“In substituting ancient paganisms or modern philosophies for the truths contained in the Bible, Christendom’s religions match backsliding Israel who professed to be Jehovah’s people: ‘The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people shows no understanding.’ (Isa. 1:3, AT) They put themselves in position for stinging condemnation, which they cry out against [us] as intolerant. But does not God himself here say they have less sense than the ox and the ass?”

Ha! Yeah—It’s ‘you guys are like oxen and asses!’ How’s THAT for diplomacy?

The 1966 article continues: 

“These masters of tradition, sectarian traditionalists, charge that the religion of Jehovah’s witnesses is “primitive” and “perverted,” yet the whole focal point of the Witnesses’ Bible-based religion centers on upholding Jehovah’s Sovereign Godship. (Job 8:3) Yes, they brand the “sons” or associates of the anointed ones as being “sinners” (‘simpleminded’) who have “revolted” (‘perverted religion’) against traditions of the apostate sects, in a time of world confusion, a confusion largely brought about by the clergy themselves.—Job 8:4, 9, 10.”

That last line is a beaut: Is that 1966 world the Jesuits refer to “in a time of world confusion?” ‘Well, whose fault is that?’ the Bethel brothers hurl back in their faces. They were supposed to be teaching the Word of God. They shoved it aside so as to be abreast of the latest in human philosophy, oblivious that much of it incorporated “every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men.” (Ephesians 4:14)

These are fighting words. It’s hard to imagine them being written today, just 60 years later. Times change. The “confusion largely brought about by the clergy themselves” has become so great that large swaths of people have abandoned religion entirely. So great is the disillusionment today, they often become atheists. Some of them, in league with our own ‘apostates,’ team up with the secular agnostics and make far more trouble for us that the religionists—though most individual Witnesses are caught in a time warp and still blame Babylon the Great for it all. 

What goes on in the Brooklyn brothers’ heads to attribute these words of Bildad to the clergy: “Will God pervert justice, Or will the Almighty pervert righteousness?  4 If your sons sinned against him, He let them be punished for their revolt.” (3-4)

Is it that the clergy would say, ‘Look—we are the guys in charge! We’ve been around longer than you. You think God would pervert justice or righteousness? If we tell you something is so, it is!’ Maybe that’s the application, but it’s not real clear to me. Maybe it played clear then. And I have no idea what is the application of verse 4.

When they tie in 8-10, well, they’re nice verses and all, but I don’t know how they apply, either. “Ask, please, the former generation, And pay attention to the things their fathers found out.  9 For we were born only yesterday, and we know nothing, Because our days on earth are a shadow.  10 Will they not instruct you And tell you what they know?

Later, that 1966 article cites another group, not the Jesuits, but this time a bunch of Protestants, saying something snotty about the New World Translation. The Bethel brothers paste their ears back too, even with snark. What a scrappy bunch they were back then! 

I wondered during the congregation’s consideration of that portion of Job whether anyone would cite that article, linked to in several verses, to be commended for their 60-year-old retrieval. But nobody did. 


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


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