As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses realize – and many others besides – 2014 marks 100 years since the kingdom of God is purported to have begun ruling. And apparently the Society is not waiting for October to do damage-control, but is being preemptive with the very first Watchtower of the year and two articles entitled: 100 Years of Kingdom Rule – How Does It Affect You? and “Let Your Kingdom Come.”
Instead of taking the apologetic approach to the fact that it has now been a century since C.T. Russell announced to the gathered Bethel family on the morning of October 2nd, 1914, that the kings of this world have “had their day,” as only the Watchtower can do, in the first article the writing staff have cleverly turned the 1914 debacle into a centennial celebration, of sorts; using the occasion to tout the accomplishments of the Watchtower Society over the past 100 years!
But let us now breakdown the Society’s presentation and consider more closely what is stated, and perhaps more importantly – what is not. The second paragraph states:
Jehovah will use the Kingdom to unify his family in heaven and on earth. That divine purpose will be realized. In fact, Jehovah has already become King in our day! The thrilling events of the past 100 years are proof of this. God is performing great and wonderful works in behalf of millions of loyal subjects. (Zech. 14:9) And yet, Jehovah’s becoming King is not the same as the coming of God’s Kingdom for which Jesus taught us to pray. How do these events differ, and how do they affect us?
I invite all readers to be like the noble-minded Beroeans, who carefully examined the scriptural references Paul provided to see if the things he preached were really so. So, checking the cited reference in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, what do we find? Well, it certainly uses the expression implied regarding Jehovah becoming king, stating: “And Jehovah must become king over all the earth. In that day Jehovah will prove to be one, and his name one.”
(Note to the reader: The Watchtower’s online articles provide handy hyperlinked scriptural references that allow you to go to their online Bible and read the cited verse in context. However, due to coding and formatting issues on my blog platform that arise from pasting in the entire contents of paragraphs with hyperlinked footnotes and verses, I generally delete the hyperlinks, with a few exceptions – such as above.)
Please note that the Watchtower makes the claim that Jehovah became king in 1914 and uses Zechariah 14:9 as a proof text. But does the expression “in that day” really apply to 1914? Simply read the context and the answer should become apparent. “In that day” is used twice in context of the day of Jehovah. Read: “And Jehovah my God will certainly come, all the holy ones being with him. And it must occur in that day that there will prove to be no precious light—things will be congealed. And it must become one day that is known as belonging to Jehovah. It will not be day, neither will it be night; and it must occur that at evening time it will become light.”
In the second paragraph quoted already the Society stated that “Jehovah’s becoming King is not the same as the coming of God’s Kingdom for which Jesus taught us to pray.” But the 14th chapter of Zechariah refers to Jehovah God coming in company with all the holy ones and it is clearly referring to the event known as the tribulation and Armageddon, which is obviously when Jehovah becomes king. That being the case, how is it that Jesus’ coming in his kingdom is a future event, whereas, Jehovah’s coming with all his holy ones, even accompanied by apocalyptic phenomena, supposedly occurred in 1914? Is the day belonging to Jehovah really such a non-event?
The Governing Body, of course, cannot be made to account for the things they publish. That can be demonstrated by simply writing to the Society and asking them to clarify statements such as made in the article under consideration. If any of Jehovah’s Witnesses were to actually write a letter pointing out such blatant contradictions in all likelihood Bethel’s response would be to send a letter to your local body of elders with instructions for them to counsel you for your lack of appreciation for all the nutritious spiritual food the slave has provided!
But if you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses just considering the context of the 14th chapter of Zechariah, ask yourself: Is the Society being straightforward in its exegesis?
“IN THE DAYS OF THOSE KINGS”?
The third paragraph states:
Toward the end of the 19th century, light began to shine on a 2,500-year-old prophecy recorded by Daniel: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.” The Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant. Many people at that time were optimistic. As one writer states: “The world of 1914 was full of hope and promise.”
For whatever reason, the Watchtower seems to be taking a new approach to an old topic. Instead of rehashing the seven times and the appointed times of the Gentiles, which has been entirely debunked anyway, the article inexplicably cites Daniel 2:44.
As in Zechariah, Daniel makes mention of a specific point in time - “in the days of those kings.” The Watchtower is implying that because the Bible Students tried to understand the meaning of Daniel, which, ironically, is sealed up until the time of the end, that somehow the prophecy was fulfilled – at least the part about the God of heaven setting up a kingdom.
But did you realize that the Watchtower Society did not adopt the view that the iron and clay feet of the metallic image represents the Anglo-American dyad until quite recently? If my memory is correct, it was not until the summer conventions of 2011 that the Society first identified the iron and clay feet with the Anglo-American powers. Prior to that their commentary on Daniel interpreted the iron and clay to merely symbolize a “politically divided world.” (Related article: And There Was a Great Military Force)
So, for almost a century after the time that God supposedly set up the kingdom the Watchtower had no clear understanding of the prophecy. But that is not even the point. The real problem with their interpretation is that those kings did not even exist in 1914!
Of course, the British Empire existed. And the United States of America existed too. But they were not allied into the Anglo-American world power in 1914, and that alliance is what is symbolized by the fusion of iron and clay. Not only were the two “kings” not allied, they were implacable enemies! So, how could 1914 have been the time designated in prophecy as “in the days of those kings” when God set up a kingdom, when the alliance of “those kings” did not even exist?
As a brief history lesson: In 1776 the thirteen British-held colonies declared their independence. A war was fought to subdue the colonist, but the revolutionaries prevailed. The breakaway colonies then formed a new nation – the United States of America. It might even be said that the Revolutionary War ignited a world war, since France, Spain and the Netherlands secretly supplied the Americans and fought the British navy as well. During that great conflict London began a series of provocations on the high seas, hijacking American ships and kidnapping sailors and impressing them into service. America again declared war on the British – called the War of 1812, in which the British burned down the White House. However, the Americans ultimately prevailed again. But the British did not give up.
Because the empire profited handsomely, not only from trafficking in slavery, but even after the trade in human souls was abolished in Britain, from the produce of the slaves – namely sugarcane and cotton – London supported the Confederacy during the American Civil War and was intent on exploiting the war to divide and ultimately reacquire their breakaway colonies. The British navy was about to be deployed to blockade the northern ports when Czar Nicholas of Russia threatened to intervene to assist Abraham Lincoln and the Union. London backed down and the scheme failed. (See American Almanac: How US-Russian Entente Saved the Union Also Webster Tarpley)
After the Civil War America embarked on a great nation-building program, constructing the Transcontinental railway and a network of canals, and numerous inventions common in the modern world came into existence. At that point London realized that it could never recapture America by military means. So, in the late 1800’s various schemes were hatched to subvert the U.S., one scheme being World War One.
But the so-called Special Relationship between Great Britain and the United States was not formed until the Second World War. In fact, it was after the war that Winston Churchill first used the expression “Special Relationship.” That is when the iron and clay became fused together.
To restate the point: Since the Anglo-American alliance did not exist in 1914 that year could not possibly be marked in prophecy as “the days of those kings” when the God of heaven set up his kingdom.
A WORD ON WAR AND PESTILENCE
Returning to the 3rd paragraph the Society stated:
With the outbreak of World War I later that year, however, Bible prophecy came true. The subsequent famines, earthquakes, and pestilences as well as the fulfillment of other Bible prophecies proved conclusively that Jesus Christ had begun to rule in heaven as King of God’s Kingdom in 1914.
There is no question that events of the 1914-1919 era marked a turning point in the course of history. But is it conclusive proof that the kingdom of Christ is now ruling? Hardly.
According to the Watchtower, Bible prophecy cannot fully be understood until after it is fulfilled. And obviously their method of interpretation is merely to attach the fulfillment of prophecy to events of the past. However, in doing so the Watchtower inadvertently admits that it has no insight into the possibility of future developments being the actual fulfillment of prophecy.
Reasoning From the Scripturesbook states that there cannot be another world war because it would likely involve nuclear weapons, which would destroy humanity. But such reasoning ignores the fact that Jesus indicated that the tribulation would be so severe that if God did not intervene there would not be any survivors.
So, the very thing that Christ foretold as a certainty is deemed to be out of the question by Bethel’s visionaries – all for the purpose of convincing Jehovah’s Witnesses that God’s judgments are an artifact of theocratic history! (See article:Reasoning From the Scriptures with Jehovah’s Witnesses)
And it is also incumbent upon me to point out how the Society plays fast and loose with the truth with regards to “pestilences.” Again, while there is no question the Spanish Flu pandemic that swept the globe in 1918-1919 was one of the worst outbreaks since the Black Death stalked Europe in centuries past, the Watchtower categorizes the diseases of modern civilization, like cancer, heart disease and AIDS, as pestilences too!
But is there really any comparison to a contagious plague that kills tens of millions of people in a matter of months to the preventable lifestyle diseases that are not contagious and take years to develop in individuals? Besides, does not the very word “pestilence” denote a “pest” in the form of an invading microbe?
So, the Society’s conclusive proof that Christ began ruling in 1914 is based upon the ill-founded premise that there cannot be a series of rapidly erupting wars, food shortages, earthquakes and global pandemics in the future that will surpass the tragedies and horrors of the past.
Meanwhile, in the real-world, the rumblings of world war three and global financial collapse continue to build in intensity, like a volcano that is near to exploding! (Needless to say global war and financial collapse would create food shortages, with pandemics to follow in the wake of weakened immune systems and medical shortages. Also, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that “pestilences” could be man-made weapons of biological warfare.)
In their saying “Bible prophecy came true,” this is not an accurate or truthful statement either.
In Jesus’ comprehensive discussion regarding the things to come he assured his watchful disciples that when they saw “all these things” occurring then they would know that he was near at the door. So, if “Bible prophecy came true” 100 years ago, then has anyone seen “all these things” that Jesus foretold would occur? The answer is no. Even by the Watchtower’s own reckoning the answer is still “no.”
As pointed out in the article A Closer Look at 1914 most of what Jesus said cannot be matched to anything in the past century. For example, although for years the Society insisted that the world was in the grip of fear in fulfillment of Jesus’ words, now they admit that men becoming faint with fear is an extraordinary development that has not occurred yet. And there are many other examples that could be cited where the Society has revised what they previously taught had been fulfilled. That being the case, it is not possible for any individual or group of individuals, also known as a generation, to personally witness “all these things” that comprise the sign. (See the chapter: The Sign)
So, why focus on events that occurred 100 years ago and claim that “Bible prophecy came true” then, when by the Society’s own admission there are many aspects that have not occurred?
WERE SATAN AND HIS DEMONS HURLED DOWN IN 1914?
Paragraph four states:
The first mission of God’s newly installed King was to wage war against his Father’s chief Adversary, Satan. Jesus and his angels cast the Devil and his demons out of heaven. This brought great rejoicing in heaven but a time of unprecedented calamity to the earth. (Read Revelation 12:7-9, 12.)
It is very difficult, nay impossible, to prove that something did or did not happen in another realm that is impenetrable by the human senses. The only way that earthlings could possibly discern if something as monumental as what is described in Revelation actually occurred in the invisible heavens is by developments in the visible sphere that may coincide with the foretold woe upon the earth and sea.
The Watchtower Society, of course, claims that all the troubles the world has experienced over the past 100 years are a result of Satan’s post-expulsion wrath. But is there any way to test the Watchtower’s “inspired expression” for authenticity, as believing Christians are obligated to do? Fortunately, yes, there is.
According to the same 12th chapter of Revelation after the great dragon is hurled down to the earth he will persecute the “woman” and her “seed” for a prophetic period amounting to “a time, times and half a time,” which Jehovah’s Witnesses understand to be a literal period of three and a half years.
In confirmation of that the 13th chapter of Revelation reveals that the holy ones are persecuted for a period of 42 months. However, instead of pinpointing the start of that interval with the ouster of the seven-headed dragon from heaven, Revelation 13:3 describes a seven-headed earthly beast, and states: “I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been fatally wounded, but its mortal wound had been healed, and all the earth followed the wild beast with admiration.”
It is evident that the defeat of Satan in the heavenly war will be manifest upon the earth by the fatal wounding of the seventh head of the Devil’s wild beast. So, that is how we may determine if Satan has been cast down. Of course, Bethel also makes that connection, but the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain that the seventh head of the beast was slaughtered and revived during the First World War. Despite the fact that the Anglo-American alliance was not really formed then, the British Empire was surely the prevailing power. That being the case, how did the beast appear to receive a mortal wound only to revive?
But besides that contradiction, Revelation makes clear that when the beast revives from it mortal head wound all those who hold the revived beast in admiration – yes, who worship the beast – are stamped with the irrevocable, symbolic, 666 mark of the beast, which signifies their eternal doom.
Since that is undeniably what Revelation reveals as truth, how is it that generations have come and gone since the time when the beast is supposed to have come back from the dead? Have the souls of all patriotic persons already been consigned to the perpetually burning lake of fire since 1920, or whenever? If that is the case, how is it possible that many persons who were once politically active, or who may have even served in the armed forces, have disavowed their political affiliation and become Jehovah’s Witnesses, hence, presumably, removing the mark of the beast from their foreheads or hands?
As long-time readers of e-Watchman know, this question has been raised for some time now and so far not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses has offered a sensible answer. The reason that is so is because there is no sensible explanation. Bethel’s interpretation is nonsensical and irrational and impossible to scripturally defend. (See essay: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mark of the Beast)
Not to mention the inconvenient fact that Satan’s assumed “short period of time” has now spanned a full century in duration and counting! Hardly “a short period of time” by human methods of accounting. And since the woman and her seed are no longer under intense persecution now, might we conclude that the Devil’s wrath has mellowed in recent decades?
So, given the evidence at hand, or rather, the lack of evidence that any of the leading governments of that time collapsed – be it Britain, America, France, or even the vanquished German government – there is no basis in reality for Jehovah’s Witnesses’ belief that the Devil and his demons were hurled down from heaven by Michael the archangel in 1914. The Society’s teaching bears all the earmarks of a devilish hoax.
“LOOK! HE WILL CERTAINLY COME”
The fifth paragraph suggests that the prophecy outlined in the 3rd chapter of Malachi was fulfilled during the First World War. The Society wrote:
After the enthroned King purged the heavens of the corrupting influence of Satan and his demons, Jehovah directed Jesus to inspect and refine the spiritual condition of his followers on earth. The prophet Malachi described this as a spiritual cleansing. (Mal. 3:1-3) History shows that this took place between 1914 and the early part of 1919. To be part of Jehovah’s universal family, we must be clean, or holy. We must keep free from any contamination by false religion or the politics of this world.
The Society’s method of merely citing a single passage of scripture with a suggested meaning attached to it, with the implied expectation that the meaning is obvious, is not all that dissimilar to the way, say a Trinitarian, may cite John 1:1 or some other pet verse, and imply that no further explanation is required.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize the fallacy of that sort of reasoning, they do not apply the same standard of determining the truth when it comes to the teachings of the Watchtower. But again, let’s examine the context and reason so as to determine whether these things are so.
According to the Watchtower Jesus’ coming is still in the future. However, supposedly he came as the refiner in 1914-1919. This can be easily disproven, as has already been demonstrated in the discussion of Malachi first published in Jehovah Himself Has Become King in 2005 – specifically, in the chapter entitled The Judgment. But simply put, the question posed in Malachi - “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears?” - is virtually the same as the warning Jesus gave at Luke 21:36, which says: “Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that must occur and in standing before the Son of man.”
Surely, there is only one occasion of the coming of Christ when Christians will either stand or fall before the Judge, and we may be certain it was not in 1914, nor 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, or anytime since then. The coming of the True Lord is nothing else but the stupendous revelation and manifestation of Jesus Christ in the glory of Jehovah!
Reasoning on the matter further: If Jesus came and cleansed his Father’s spiritual temple back during the First World War, how is it that the man of lawlessness is said to be sitting in the temple of The God up until the very moment the manifestation of Jesus brings him to nothing? If Christ purged the temple a century ago then shouldn’t we expect he would have thrown out the apostate man of lawlessness?
Furthermore, as an indication of the satanic nature of the Society’s invisible parousia hoax, the passage from Malachi refers to standing before Christ “when he appears.” So, in what way did Christ “appear” in 1914-1919? Is it such an insignificant detail? Why does the Watchtower Society fabricate a synthetic phrase like “invisible presence,” when the Scriptures clearly indicate that Jesus will make an appearance, at least before the ones who are in the covenant, of which he is the Messenger? To be sure, there is, besides this one passage in Malachi, ample support in the Bible for a visible parousia and revelation of Christ. For example, Paul used the expression at Hebrews 9:28, referring to “the second time he appears,” in reference to the second coming of Jesus. (See articles: The Parousia andThe Visible Presence of Christ, and Daniel and the Parousia, as well as The Visible Parousia of Jesus Christ)
Although much more could be said regarding the Watchtower’s phony application of Malachi, take note of Malachi 3:11&12, which says: “‘And I will rebuke the devouring one for you, and it will not ruin the fruit of your land, nor will the vine in your field be fruitless,’ says Jehovah of armies. ‘All the nations will have to declare you happy, for you will become a land of delight,’ says Jehovah of armies.”
The footnote on “devouring one” states that it is apparently in reference to an insect. But there is nothing else in the context that sheds light upon why God would make mention of an insect, or “devouring one.” But all prophecy is interwoven and harmonious. That being the case, Jehovah is obviously referring to the situation presented in the prophecy of Joel, in which, Jehovah’s own “vineyard” is devoured by swarms of insects, which are revealed to merely symbolize the nations. And, Jehovah does indeed rebuke the devouring swarms, also called “the northerner” (a.k.a. the king of the north), by driving them into the sea. (See commentary on Joel)
Clearly then, the coming of the Messenger of the covenant with the fire of a refiner coincides with the desolation of the holy place, which will serve as much needed discipline for those who have carelessly misinterpreted God’s prophetic word and have foolishly peddled an operation of error and artfully contrived false story. And his coming will bring about a sweeping purge of those wicked slaves who have not feared God. (See Malachi 3:5)
Paragraph six continues:
Jesus then used his kingly authority to appoint a “faithful and discreet slave.” This slave would provide a regular supply of wholesome spiritual food to all who make up the “one flock” under Jesus’ care. Since 1919, a small group of anointed brothers have loyally carried out the weighty responsibility to feed the “domestics.” The abundant spiritual food provided through this channel nourishes us so that we can grow in the faith. It fortifies our resolve to remain spiritually, morally, mentally, and physically clean. This spiritual food also educates us and equips us to have a full share in the most important work being done on earth today. Are you taking full advantage of these provisions?
What about before 1919, though? Wasn’t there also “a small group of anointed brothers” grouped around Charles Russell? And were not they doing the exact same work as was carried on after Joseph Rutherford took the reins of control? Since that is undoubtedly the case, why does the Watchtower pinpoint 1919 as the year Jesus appointed a slave? The obvious reason is to bolster the myth that Jesus came as the messenger of the covenant.
But as already considered, it is simply not true that Jesus has already come with the fire of a refiner and the lye of a laundryman. And besides, the coming of Christ in that capacity is not to appoint a slave to feed the domestics. It is to inspect the slaves as to their faithfulness in carrying out their already assigned duties!
As for the remainder of the Watchtower article highlighting the expansion of the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses as evidence that Jesus began ruling in 1914, the question ought to be posed: What about the advance of the preaching of Christ in the first century? Doesn’t the Bible say that the good news was preached back then to the entire inhabited earth? And did not the apostles make organizational improvements, such as establishing ministerial servants to care for non-preaching, but necessary work?
Obviously, both aspects were successfully carried out before 1914, before Jehovah is said to have become king. That being the case, why ought the similar accomplishments of the Watchtower Society be considered the result of the kingdom coming to power?