“What the near future holds” is the title of a talk outline presented by elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Representatives of the Watchtower Society have also delivered variations of the discourse in recent years.
Over the years the Watchtower Society has published volumes of interpretations of Bible prophecy. Aside from their saying “peace and security,” the destruction of Babylon the great and the actual war of Armageddon, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe that nearly all prophecy has already been fulfilled. In fact, the Watchtower is fond of saying that prophecy cannot really be understood until after it is fulfilled.
It is understandable why they say that, seeing that the Watchtower has never really accurately forecasted any development associated with prophecy. Take 1914, as an example. (The Watchtower boasts of having accurately predicted the re-emergence of the League of Nations based upon their understanding of prophecy, but as has been considered elsewhere on this site the notion that the scarlet-colored beast ascended from the abyss in 1945 is patently false. See chapter: An Eighth King)
In the years leading up to 1914 the Bible Students associated with C.T. Russell were led to believe that the system would end then. But nothing turned out as they had expected. The war ended and a period of relative peace set in. Instead of their being raptured to heaven as some had anticipated, their beloved Pastor Russell unexpectedly died, and his successor, J.F. Rutherford, along with seven associates, was carted off to prison for a few months. Consequently, a large percentage of those associated with the Watchtower became disillusioned and were stumbled.
In the years since then, though, the Watchtower has continually emphasized the importance of 1914 and attached a whole array of prophecies that have supposedly undergone fulfillment since then.
However, in more recent years the Watchtower has been forced by reality to revise – albeit piecemeal style over decades – numerous previously held assertions connected to 1914. Two examples: Jehovah’s Witnesses used to believe that the great tribulation actually began in 1914 but that God had cut it short in 1918, when the war ended. It was not until 1970 that the Watchtower finally readjusted their teaching. Also, Jehovah’s Witnesses used to believe that the separation of the sheep and the goats was taking place already. But in 1995 that teaching was also unceremoniously discarded and readjusted so as to apply to a future separation. (Ironically, the separation of the sheep and the goats occurs immediately after Jesus arrives with all his angels and sits down upon his glorious throne – something the Watchtower teaches took place in 1914. To patch over that gapping contradiction the Watchtower ventures into the absurd to insist that Jesus has multiple “arrivals” and that somehow his judgment throne is different from the kingly throne he is supposed to have sat down upon in 1914. Obviously, a few more “readjustments” are in order.)
Another prophecy that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe to have been accomplished already is found in the 13th chapter of Revelation, which foretells of a sword-stroke that befalls one head of a seven-headed political monstrosity. The Watchtower has added valuable insights into the identity of the beast, but is it really true that the head of the symbolic beast was slaughtered during the First World War? Is there any way to determine the authenticity of the Watchtower’s interpretation?
Generally speaking all prophecy focuses on Christ, either in connection with his earthly sojourn or his subsequent return. For example, the developments and judgments contained in the book of Revelation are slated to be realized during the Lord’s Day. Likewise, the prophecies of Daniel all culminate in revealing some aspect of Christ’s kingdom in relation to the competing earthly kingdoms. That being the case, consider the 7th chapter of Daniel.
The unusually ferocious wild beast with ten horns has a small horn that emerges and supplants three of the ten. The angel explained that the little horn would humiliate three kings. The Watchtower teaches that the little horn emerged back in the 16th century as the British Empire and the three humiliated kings were the Spanish, French and Dutch, which the British ultimately defeated over the course of two centuries in various naval engagements. (The falsity of the Watchtower’s interpretation is discussed in detail in the article: The Spanish Armada or World War Three)
But is the Watchtower’s interpretation in keeping with the established pattern; namely, that prophecy revolves around Christ? Or does God merely want to dazzle us with his ability to foretell future events even if those fulfillments are mere historic trivia, wholly unrelated to the manifestation of Christ's kingdom, as the Watchtower’s proffered interpretation would suggest? Or is it more reasonable that the emergence of the little horn and the uprooting of the three competing horns have relevance for the day of Christ? Surely, the latter is the case.
It has been stated here before, but it bears repeating: All prophecy is harmonious and complimentary, like interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – a fact the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses have not yet come to fully appreciate.
Now consider the 8th chapter of Daniel: The little horn of the Romish beast naturally corresponds to the little horn that is said to emerge from the four horns of the Hellenic hairy he-goat, which represents a king fierce in countenance that is destined to bring the mighty ones of earth and the holy ones to ruin, including the trampling of the holy place, and is himself annihilated by the Prince of peace, Christ.
Perhaps one of the most absurd aspects of the Watchtower’s interpretations of prophecy is that they teach that an Anglo king, fierce in countenance, brought the mighty ones of earth to ruin during WWII, although, admittedly they are skimpy on the details of how this may have occurred. Astonishingly, too, although the 8th chapter of Daniel foretells that the holy place associated with God’s spiritual sanctuary will be trampled upon during the time of the end the Watchtower makes no connection with Christ’s prophecy of the conclusion, when a disgusting thing will trample a holy place. (See articles: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holy Place and Let the Reader Use Discernment)
As it stands, the Watchtower has three different interpretations for three inter-related prophecies. The little horn of the ten-horned beast that uproots three established horns arose in the 16th century, while the head of the seven-headed beast was slaughtered and revived sometime during WWI, while the little horn of the hairy he-goat destroyed his rivals during WWII. Clearly, the Watchtower does not have these vital prophecies in focus. And consequently, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no clear understanding of what the near future holds.
Reasonably, though, all three prophecies are depicting the same event.
The true interpretation must take into account not only the harmony of God’s prophetic word and its focus on Christ, but also present realities. The present reality is that the entire world’s political and financial system is posed to utterly disintegrate in the coming short term. Surely the looming crash of the global system is not an insignificant event unmentioned in prophecy. The true interpreter must consider the likelihood that none of the prophecies the Watchtower insists have been fulfilled actually have been. While it may not be possible to know the details in advance, it is surely within our power to anticipate how events may unfold in the future in fulfillment of prophecies the Watchtower considers to have no future relevance.
The little horn must symbolize the eighth king – likely in the form a greatly empowered United Nations. The supplanted three horns may well symbolize the British, American and French nations, which will go down in humiliation. Already, the United Nations and other supranational imperial institutions like the IMF are calling for the replacement of the Dollar. The Euro is already considered a dead-man-walking. What a humiliation for the once mighty American kingdom to have its currency trashed and become an impoverished Third World nation.
It is not that the United Nations is of itself asserting itself over sovereign nations, although that is the case. But the real power of the empire resides with the financial oligarchy, which is essentially a vast crime syndicate, presently headquartered in the City of London. They are determined to destroy the nation-state system, once and for all, and to thereafter use the United Nations as the administrative capitol of a global government – the new world order, so-called. The Death of London’s Roman Empire – EIR
The coming crash will indeed bring the mighty ones of this system to ruin, both nations and those growing number of millionaires and billionaires, whose wealth is primarily stored in so many computer digits or paper denominations. And just think of the holders of US debt, China for example holds over a $trillion of US Treasury debt. The takedown of the financial system will turn those perceived “assets” into vapor.
Knowing the end of the present global financial system is looming there is a rush to secure ownership of the necessities of life, such as oil and gas and food, so that after the crash a handful of people associated with the final king, will virtually own the world.
The destruction of the nation-state system will usher in a time of tyranny unmatched in all of history. Just as many Bible Students were stumbled in the upheaval and uncertainty that enveloped the Watchtower during the First World War, Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to be faced with the greatest-ever challenge to their faith: The certain realization they have been misled by the Watchtower Society. As Jesus foretold, many will be stumbled and hate one another and betray one another.
From the wreckage of the present system and the rubble of what was once the proud Watchtower Society itself, Jehovah will then invigorate a chastened remnant to finish the work he has foreordained. And then the end will come.