Watchtower: Fewer “Types and Antitypes”?

Articles in the March 15, 2015 Watchtower may change hundreds of teachings that were based on the use and idea of “types and antitypes.” This could stretch the organization’s definition of “new light” as this would signal a major shift in past and current doctrines – and especially the many “end times” predictions by the Governing Body.

In fact, in that particular Watchtower magazine, the writers indicate that most – if not all – of their examples of ancient “types” being equal to modern “antitypes” may be completely trashed. Remember that everything that is printed in the Watchtower magazine – especially the “study articles” – must be approved by the Governing Body or their “helpers.”

To find out more, go to the March 15, 2015 Watchtower [Link to PDF version] and read all about it for yourself in the article, “THIS IS THE WAY YOU APPROVE.” You can download a copy and discover for yourself how these changes are presented. In fact, the writers devoted almost the entire magazine to this subject.

If you want to take an easier route to find out what this change is all about, you can read for yourself a fascinating commentary about the new trends recently published in the March 15, 2015 Watchtower on the AD1914.com website. [Link to article]

The following excerpts from that same commentary provide both a background and a description of the doctrinal change:

Historically, The Watch Tower publications have consistently claimed . . . that Biblical parables . . .  should be treated as prophecies. If it was an event or circumstance from someone’s life . . . it also had to be explained as a prophetic drama where various characters and details were prophetic of some future events. Those events usually related to the history of the Watch Tower Society in the last 100 years.

The March 15, 2015 Watchtower states that we should now see a clear change to a ‘way of teaching’ . . . referred to as the ‘type and antitype’ method. Although it has not been abandoned entirely, the article indicates that it should only be used when there is a clear Biblical statement that the illustration or narrative is, in fact, a prophecy.

DECADES OF INCREASED CLARITY AND DISCRETION?
The March 15, 2015 Watchtower states that for decades these explanations have been gradually and steadily moving toward this more refined ideal of simplicity and clarity. Note:

If you have been serving Jehovah for decades, you may have noticed a gradual shift in the way our literature explains many of the narratives recorded in the Bible. How so? In times past, it was more common for our literature to take what might be called a type-antitype approach to Scriptural accounts. (pg. 9, paragraph 7)

The same issue includes a “QUESTIONS FROM READERS” which states:

Where the Scriptures teach that an individual, an event, or an object is typical of something else, we accept it as such. Otherwise, we ought to be reluctant to assign an antitypical application to a certain person or account if there is no specific Scriptural basis for doing so.” (pg. 18, emphasis added)

A MOST INTERESTING PARALLEL
In light of this change, there is an extraordinary statement made over a century ago in the July 15, 1909 Watch Tower. It is found on page 219, paragraph 5 in the article: “THE DUAL FEATURE IN RACHEL.”

We are loath to give any explanation of types not directly or indirectly referred to in the New Testament. These types seem to us to be not directly but indirectly implied by the New Testament teachings already referred to. Those who cannot receive this interpretation are entirely welcome to have as their own any better interpretation, or none at all, as they see fit. . . . If they find new and better light our sentiment towards them is, God bless you. We are glad if you have something that will do you more good than that which we present.” (emphasis added)

This turns out to be very significant.

We don’t know just how serious Charles Taze Russell was about gladly welcoming “new and better light.” Over the next 100 years, however, “explanation of types not directly or indirectly referred to in the New Testament” reached a new and glaring level of intensity. Watch Tower publications have published thousands of pages covering hundreds of “type and antitype” teachings. These doctrines have been presented as “deep truths” and as “new light” from the “faithful and discreet slave” and were to be studied in detail and accepted as “truth.”

HELPING THE DISCREET SLAVE BECOME MORE DISCREET

This supposed “new and better light” permeated almost every publication after 1919. This is a bit ironic, because, after a recent doctrinal change, Charles Taze Russell (who died in 1916) was effectively “dismissed” from the ranks of the “faithful and discreet slave” class, even though he had long been thought to have held the title himself. (Watchtower, July 15, 2013, page 23, now states that the “slave” did not exist until 1919.) Therefore, the supposedly “more discreet” discreet slave, after 1919, failed to heed the discretion and caution that had just been recommended by Russell.

Also, relegated to the scrap heap of irony, then, would be the following claims about the so-called credentials of the “faithful slave” found in the March 1, 1981 Watchtower, page 26:

The “faithful and discreet slave” has abundant credentials. Following is a partial list of Scriptural and prophetic designations applying to or being represented in the remnant of Jesus Christ’s anointed followers since the notable year 1919:

(1) Noah’s wife, Gen. 7:7; (2) angels sent to Lot, Gen. 19:15; (3) Rebekah, Gen. 24:64; (4) Joseph and Benjamin, Gen. 45:14; (5) gleanings left behind, Lev. 19:9; (6) two spies to Rahab, Josh. 2:4; (7) Barak, . . .”

The full “partial list” contains 80 examples! And, of course, these are all “types” where the “antitype” is the “faithful and discreet slave” class, since 1919, now identified specifically as the members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Therefore, we are unavoidably brought right back to the key claim in the March 15, 2015 Watchtower:

As we might expect, over the years Jehovah has helped ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ to become steadily more discreet. Discretion has led to greater caution when it comes to calling a Bible account a prophetic drama unless there is a clear Scriptural basis for doing so. (pgs. 9-10, paragraph 10)

Yet, this “discreet slave” is inadvertently admitting that they were not all that discreet over most of their own self-defined history. More than a century of the supposed “better light” that Russell referenced is now considered obsolete.

But that’s not the worst of it. What the article doesn’t mention is that the doctrine of the “faithful and discreet slave” itself must fall under the same category of currently discarded explanations. Yes, it is also based on creating a “type and antitype” out of a parable in Matthew 24 about a faithful and an unfaithful slave, where “there is no specific Scriptural basis for doing so.”

“If the light that is in you is really darkness, how great that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:23, New World Translation)

Comments

Watchtower: Fewer “Types and Antitypes”? — 5 Comments

  1. Types and anti types. Good grief! I recall the never ending ‘class’ thing. The Jonadab class etc. The ones who stood out for me were the gossiping ‘Dragon class’ elderettes who ran the cong as personal platoon.!!

  2. “As we might expect, over the years Jehovah has helped ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ to become steadily more discreet.”

    Hopefully the day will come when their discretion reaches its zenith and they completely stop spouting this effluent!

  3. Jehovah’s witnesses change so much and to often. Take 1914 and the end if the world. Jesus clearly stated that only god knew the day time and the hour. “I will come like a thief in the night. So why even try working something out that Jesus couldn’t.

    Then there was ” this generation will not pass. Wake up everyone it’s 2015 and it did pass.

    My family said they misunderstood. I said like everything you tell people.

    It’s time they got their act together or changed God, as theirs is clearly not getting the message correct

    • I have said from the beginning of my leaving this cult,that there was a file in Bethel just waiting for release at the proper time ,that would detatch the organization from the year 1914.
      This new understanding of types and antitypes is nothing more than a softening of the ground for the 1914 bombshell soon to hit.
      It’s coming, and because 1914 is the seed from which much of their dispensationanalism grows,it will reak a certain amount of havoc with their members. I so look forward to the plug being pulled. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a tub emptying.
      That suckling sound ,as the last bit of false doctrines goes down the drain…

  4. Theological acrobatics from the main church body are taking place for decades. Religion is changing, obviously. But the laws and rules of the corporation have their purpose.
    Members who are in there a long time, maybe see what happens, but most are not aware of this. Those who are in there short time period, they can not connect all aspects of historical events and time when and why something happened. Young members (by age and membership) have no interest or reason to ask questions about it.
    The saying goes; “the old joke, the new fool.” (is that in English language the same?)

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