There are a few indications that one of the problems of the beliefs of the JWs is that too much emphasis is put on the Hebrew Scriptures. It is true that all scripture is beneficial, but when Jesus came to the earth many things changed and I feel that in some ways JWs are still stuck in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Hebrews 1:1,2 – “God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, 2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things.”
The Hebrew Scriptures are inspired of God and we can learn much of how he dealt with the nation of Israel and there are certain prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled, however, as Christians to what part of the bible should we give primary attention?
“God has spoken to us by means of a Son”, shouldn’t we therefore give preference to his teachings and the teachings of his followers? To ignore teachings of the Christian Greek Scriptures and give favor to those of the Hebrew Scriptures is not progress, it is the opposite.
I feel the JWs have in some cases given preference to the Hebrew Scriptures over the revelations of Jesus and his disciples in the New Testament. For instance the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” is straight out of the Hebrew Scriptures in Isaiah. But is that what Christ’s followers are to be called? The first century Christians were not called Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were known as Christians. They were in fact Christ’s witnesses.
Acts 1:8 – “…YOU will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Ju·de´a and Sa·mar´i·a and to the most distant part of the earth.”
If you read carefully the Christian Greek Scriptures one thing that will stand out is the emphasis that the first century Christians gave Jesus. They do not ignore Jesus’ Father however the primary attention is given to Jesus. This is how YHWH wants it to be, since all glory given to the son is given to the Father. This is just the opposite in any meeting of JWs. You will here the name Jehovah scores of times in any meeting. Jesus is mentioned much less.
In the Greek Scriptures YHWH is referred to as Our Father or the Father of our Lord Jesus which would indicate a closer relationship with Him than the Israelites had. When I speak to my earthly father I don’t use his first name. Even when I talk about him to others I refer to him as my father not by his first name. This would indicate that I feel respect for him as my father. I believe it would sadden him to hear me refer to him by his first name.
I am not trying to say we should never use the name Jehovah, but it would appear that the first century Christians used it a lot less than JWs do today. As Christians we have been offered a much closer relationship with Him than the Israelites were. That is why Jesus taught us to refer to Him as “Abba” or Father.
While realizing that Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, the organization of JWs has in many ways tried to institute another law system to JWs. In this way also they are stuck in the Hebrew Scriptures. Under the New Covenant the law for Christians would be written on their heart. The JWs however have many additional rules that must be adhered to in order to remain in good standing with the congregation. For the most part they do not enjoy freedom in Christ (Gal. 5:1). There is a highly developed system of rules and “counsel” that deal with almost every conceivable area of life.
Under the old Law Covenant the people had to go to other humans, to earthly priests, to intercede between them and God. Now under the New Covenant Jesus is the only Mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5). It is no longer necessary to turn to imperfect humans in order to have a relationship with God.
The JWs have turned back the clock to the time before Jesus came to the earth and gave his life. The JW organization insists that one must go through them in order to have a relationship with God as if they served in the position of the levitical priests of old.
The rejecting of the heavenly hope for most JWs is also typical of their giving priority to the Hebrew Scriptures. The heavenly hope was not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, but when Jesus came, he and his disciples made clear what was the hope for faithful Christians.
This preference for the Hebrew Scriptures is understandable since the organization teaches that the Greek Scriptures are not applicable to the vast majority of Christians alive today. Many JWs are being robbed of the close father/son relationship they could have with God, because of the teachings of the organization.
Although reading the Hebrew Scriptures in our personal bible reading is important, why don’t we make the reading of God’s revelation through His son, “the heir of all things”, in the New Testament a priority? Try to read it through several times using a different version of the bible each time, if possible. I believe you will find that the hope that all Christians hold in common will grow and grow in your heart. You will find that the parts you thought at one time didn’t apply to you become more and more pertinent to you. Let us never neglect this wonderful gift.