“You people only have I known out of all the families of the ground. That is why I shall hold an accounting against you for all your errors”
All of the prophetic books of the Bible are intertwined with overlapping themes. While many of the Psalms and prophecies directly foretell events having to do with the ultimate coming of God’s kingdom and the end of this present system, other prophecies establish shadows of things to come. It is Jehovah’s preferred means of communication to establish types and patterns that are to be later repeated in different settings and circumstances. Essentially, the prophecies make up the pre-recorded judicial decisions of Judgment Day for God’s people, as well as the unbelieving world.
As an example, at Acts 15:16-17 James and the apostles quoted directly from the book of Amos and applied it to the original Christian congregation. Those verses read: “After these things I shall rebuild the booth of David that is fallen down; and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah, who is doing these things, known from of old.”
Jehovah was, of course, “known from of old” in the first century, whereas Jesus was a relative newcomer on the earthly scene at that time. So, any secondary fulfillment would similarly involve a people called by the name of Jehovah. At any rate, the “booth of David” has reference to Christ’s kingdom. The house of David fell to the Babylonians approximately 600 years before our Common Era; but Jesus, being a son of David and an heir to David’s throne, erected it again when he fulfilled the messianic prophecies and began to rule as king over the Christian “Israel of God” in 33 CE. It is clear, then, that the so-called minor prophecy of Amos had import for followers of Christ in the first century—far beyond the time when the prophecy was initially fulfilled.
But the prophecy also lends itself to a final fulfillment during the ultimate unveiling of Christ’s kingdom. How can we be sure of that? The actual prophecy of Amos, from which the apostles quoted, went on to say: ‘“To the end that they may take possession of what is left remaining of Edom, and all the nations upon whom my name has been called’; is the utterance of Jehovah, who is doing this...” However, by the time of the first century, the nation of Edom no longer existed; there was nothing “left remaining of Edom”—it had been annihilated out of existence, even as others of the prophets had foretold.
However, students of prophecy recognize that Edom, along with Ammon and Moab, have prophetic significance. This is evident from the book of Daniel, where Edom, Ammon, and Moab are mentioned in connection with the incursions of the king of the north during the time of the end. Since the prophecy at Daniel 11:41 had no minor fulfillment in ancient times, but specifically foretells events that are to occur during “the time of the end”—long after Edom, Ammon and Moab ceased to exist—it is evident that Edom, Moab and Ammonhave significance in relation to the Christian Israel—“the land of the Decoration.”
The prophecy of Amos denounces Edom for killing his brother, saying: “On account of three revolts of Edom, and on account of four, I shall not turn it back, on account of his pursuing his own brother with the sword, and because he ruined his own merciful qualities, and his anger keeps tearing away forever; and his fury—he has kept it perpetually.”
The Watchtower correctly points out that Edom, Ammon and Moab were closely related to the Hebrews. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau—Jacob’s twin brother. Ammon and Moab were the two sons that Lot had by his daughters when they were reduced to living a caveman-like existence in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The three nations that descended from Esau, Moab and Ammon had similar customs and dialects and were geographic neighbors to the sons of Jacob after the Exodus. What is the significance of that as it applies to the prophetic Edom, Ammon and Moab? The Watchtower offers no interpretation—for reasons that will become apparent. But, it should be evident that Christendom is aptly symbolized by those three nations; seeing that nearly all sects of Christendom today have evolved from the three main branches of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. And, just as Edom was the most dominant nation of the three and is mentioned most frequently in prophecy in relation to Jacob, it appropriately pictures the Catholic Church.
Relative to spiritual Israel Christendom has similar customs and speaks a comparable language of scripture, so to speak, in that, nominal Christians use the Bible and profess Jesus to be their spiritual father—even as ancient Edom, Moab and Ammon recognized Abraham as their father, or in the case of the descendants of Lot, Abraham’s father, Terah, was their common ancestor.
Because Jehovah’s Witnesses share a common heritage with Christians of all denominations, biblical stories and principles are not foreign concepts to modern-day spiritual Edomites and Moabites.
It is crucial to recognize the relationship between ancient Israel and Edom, Moab and Ammon because it has significance for the ordering of events in the judgment to come.
According to the established order in the Bible, God’s judgment begins first with his people. Ezekiel 9:6 confirms the same sequence of events, whereby, God orders the judgment to commence in his very temple sanctuary, saying: “Old man, young man and virgin and little child and women you should kill off—to a ruination. But to any man upon whom there is a mark do not go near, and from my sanctuary you should start. So they started with the old men that were before the house.”
The apostle Paul, likewise, states in the second chapter of Romans that judgment starts with the (spiritual) Jew first and then the Greek (non-anointed) secondly. Seeing that the Scriptures clearly establish that the judgment commences first with God’s household, how is it that the Watchtower dogmatically insists that the tribulation begins when Christendom and all of Babylon the Great is destroyed by the eighth king? This brings us back to the relationship between Edom and Israel and the basis for God’s judgment against false religion.
“MY PEOPLE IN THE DAY OF THEIR DISASTER”
The short prophecy of Obadiah, which follows the book of Amos, is also a record of God’s judgment directed specifically against Edom. The prophet reiterates that the reason Jehovah determined to destroy Edom was because Edom was gleeful over the disaster that befell the Israelites. Verse 10 says: “Because of violence to your brother Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will have to be cut off to time indefinite.” Similarly, the 13th verse says: “You ought not to come into the gate of my people in the day of their disaster. You, even you, ought not to peer at his calamity in the day of his disaster; and you ought not to thrust out a hand in the day of his disaster.”
For better or for worse, the Israelites were God’s people. Even when Jehovah brought disaster upon them for their many sins and transgressions, they were still his people. That is why through Obadiah Jehovah calls them “my people.” Accordingly, even though Jehovah God chastised the Jews for their sins, he also punished other nations that rejoiced and reveled in their disaster or directly participated in it.
The third verse of Obadiah describes Edom’s elevated level of haughtiness: “The presumptuousness of your heart is what has deceived you, you who are residing in the retreats of the crag, the height where he dwells, saying in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the earth?’” Edom’s presumptuous attitude smacks of the same haughty spirit exhibited by the harlot of Babylon, who similarly boasts that she will never be brought down from her precious pedestal.
Another interesting facet of the brief prophecy of Obadiah is the relationship Edom had with the eventual despoiler. Obadiah 6-8 says: ‘“O the extent to which those of Esau have been searched out! How his concealed treasures have been sought out! As far as the boundary they have sent you. The very men in covenant with you have all deceived you. The men at peace with you have prevailed against you. Those eating food with you will place a net under you as one in whom there is no discernment. Will it not be in that day?’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”
The prophets portrayed Edom, also known as Esau, as dwelling on a lofty, fortified crag, from where the Chaldeans brought him down and his great wealth was despoiled. Apparently Edom felt a false sense of security in his presumed good relations with the Babylonians. Edom was deceived. They did not discern that Jehovah had appointed the Chaldeans as the earthly executor of divine judgments.
In a similar pattern as Edom, the Vatican also possesses tremendous wealth, including priceless works of art and other treasures. The Holy See even maintains formal diplomatic relations with 174 nations and countless international organizations, including the United Nations. In fact, of all the religions of the world, only the Vatican enjoys what is called Permanent Observer Status at the United Nations. However, the Vatican is no mere passive observer. It exerts a powerful influence over policy makers as regards reproduction and overpopulation issues. The Catholic Church is so powerful and influential it must surely feel secure in its special relationship with the political rulers.
Amazingly, the modern counterpart of Edom has also forged an ill-advised “covenant of peace” with the very agency that may well become Jehovah’s executioner in the future. The more familiar prophecy of Revelation says that God will put it into the hearts of the kings of the earth to carry out their own thoughts in order to destroy false religion from the earth.
The Catholic Church is unquestionably the most prominent segment of Babylon the Great—dwelling on a craggy pinnacle, as it were, secure in its cozy relationship with the kings of the earth—oblivious to the thoughts her political paramours will be certain to think against her when the time comes for the execution of God’s judgments. Truly, “the very men in covenant with you have all deceived” the antitypical Edom as to their true intentions of eradicating Christianity from the earth— even as Jehovah’s prophet, Obadiah, foretold. But, again, what is the justification in making modern applications of such obscure prophecies?
Like Amos the prophet Obadiah prophesied of things to come that simply did not fit into the original setting. For example, the prophecy of Obadiah says: “The house of Jacob must become a fire, and the house of Esau as stubble; and they must set ablaze and devour them.”
But how could that be?
In actuality, Edom was destroyed by Babylon, not the house of Jacob. The Jews did not directly avenge themselves against the Edomites, as the prophecy seems to suggest. How could they have when the house of Jacob was in captivity in Babylon when Edom was destroyed? The only reasonable explanation is that the prophecy has much greater application than to the Israel and Edom of old.
Furthermore, the prophecy of Obadiah concludes by saying: “And saviors will certainly come into Mount Zion, in order to judge the mountainous region of Esau; and the kingship must become Jehovah’s.” Since it would be several centuries before the fallen “booth of David” would be erected in the form of the Christian congregation, how could it be true that “the kingship must become Jehovah’s” upon the destruction of ancient Edom? Besides, the Jews were held captive in Babylon for 70 years after the destruction of Jerusalem, during which time Nebuchadnezzar also annihilated the nations of Edom, Moab and Ammon. How did the kingship become Jehovah’s then when Mount Zion was a mere desolated waste? The plurality of “saviors” and judges associated with Jehovah’s asserting his own kingship can be none other than the 144,000 kings and priests as they are also depicted in Revelation standing upon the pinnacle of heavenly Mount Zion with the Lamb of God. Their judging Edom relates to Christ and his 144,000 associate saviors as they perform a grand salvation for the great crowd of Jehovah’s worshippers and avenge themselves upon Babylon the Great for having spilled the blood of God’s servants down through the centuries up to the very moment when the last one of the saints is martyred.
Revelation 6:11 establishes that God’s judgment of the present system is withheld until the full number of the brothers of Christ who are to be killed, have been killed. Presumably, that is when the sins of Babylon the Great will have finally amassed clear up to the heavens and God will then judicially call her many acts of injustice to mind. So, it is manifest that the prophecy of Obadiah relates to something much grander than literal Edom.
The kingship becoming Jehovah’s on the occasion of the destruction of Edom is really a parallel prophecy to the vision of Revelation; when, in the aftermath of the destruction of Babylon the Great, the angel proclaims: “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.”
The reason the Watchtower does not generally recognize that Edom, Moab and Ammon symbolize Christendom is because doing so would necessitate recognizing that Israel does not represent apostate Christendom in prophecy. And if the prophecies are to be interpreted correctly, then instead of Christendom being judged first during the oncoming tribulation, “the Israel of God” and those associated with the genuine Christian congregation are brought to ruin with the aid and approval of Christendom. Apparently, that is also why the prophecy of Daniel depicts Edom, Moab and Ammon escaping the initial thrusts of the king of the north during the time of the end, while the land of the Decoration succumbs to the tyrannical king. Christ will only afterwards judge Christendom for having approved of the atrocities that are yet to be committed against Jehovah’s people.
Imagine the shock and humiliation when the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses are brought to ruin while the churches of Christendom look on in smug satisfaction! But why would Jehovah allow such a thing to happen? Consider now the prophecy of Amos.
“A FAMINE, NOT FOR BREAD…”
Amos 8:11 is one of the most oft-quoted verses of Amos by the Watchtower, and which reads: “Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘and I will send a famine into the land, a famine not for bread, and a thirst, not for water, but for hearing the words of Jehovah.’”
The Watchtower always applies Amos 8:11 to Christendom’s supposedly spiritually famished condition. But, rather than a spiritual famine the exact opposite seems to be the case in some respects; inasmuch as many of Christendom’s denominations seem to be experiencing a revival of sorts. Consider a few relevant facts.
Compared to the medieval age when the Catholic Church had a stranglehold on the Bible and forbade it to be preached or even translated into the common languages of Europeans, modern churchgoers now have been given much greater access to God’s Word. Although the Catholic Church used to oppose the translation of the Bible, more recently there are numerous Catholic Bible translations and commentaries available to the public. Although shrinking in numbers relative to the growing population, where is the evidence of a modern spiritual famine in the Catholic organization?
Evangelical and fundamentalist denominations also offer in-depth Bible studies and their numbers are growing rapidly as a result. Those desirous of hearing a Bible-based message do not even have to go to church anymore to hear it since Bible preachers of various persuasions dominate the radio. Television evangelizers are also quite popular. The Internet has literally thousands of Christian-oriented websites and online Bible study programs. The rapid growth of the modern evangelical movement, particularly in Latin America, has been hailed as nothing less than a modern phenomenon. Certainly there is no evidence of spiritual famine among many of the evangelical denominations. As for the orthodox branch of Christendom, the Russian Orthodox Church has seemingly returned from the grave after having been suppressed for decades under the communistic USSR. There is no evidence of spiritual famine from that quarter either.
In the past the Watchtower has pointed to the declining numbers of churchgoers as being the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the so-called “waters” of Babylon drying up. The truth is, though, many religious denominations are much more vibrant today than in the past. While they have never taught the correct doctrines of the Bible, it is simply not in the realm of reality to insist that Christendom is more spiritually impoverished now than before.
As regards the spiritual famine foretold in Amos, since the “famine” specifically concerns “hearing the words of Jehovah,”and since the Watchtower is inseparably linked with the distinctive name of Jehovah and is the only channel recognized by Jehovah’s Witnesses as offering true spiritual nourishment, the spiritual famine must relate to the coming collapse of the Watchtower Society.
Virtually every prophecy and many of the Psalms offer foregleams of the coming judgment upon the house of God. Amos is no exception. Besides, the Watchtower seems to be overlooking the fact that the spiritual famine described in Amos is not the result of slow attrition. The verse preceding makes it very plain that the famine is caused by a sudden disaster that Jehovah brings upon his people. Amos 9:9-10 words it this way: “And it must occur in that day,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘that I will make the sun go down at high noon, and I will cause darkness for the land on a bright day. And I will turn your festivals into mourning and all your songs into a dirge, and I will bring upon all hips sackcloth and upon every head baldness; and I will make the situation like the mourning for an only son, and the end result of it a bitter day.’”
But the question arises as to why Jehovah would cause a modern-day spiritual famine to afflict his people? The prophecy of Amos sheds some light on that question.
According to Amos 3:2, the reason that God held the wayward Jews accountable—more so than any other people on earth—is because of the special relationship that Jehovah had with the nation. Of all the peoples and national groups that existed before the time of Christ, Israel is the only nation that Jehovah had direct dealings with. Hence, Jehovah spoke through Amos, saying: “You people only have I known out of all the families of the ground. That is why I shall hold an accounting against you for all your errors.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses boast of being the one true religion. If that is the case, then Jehovah’s Witnesses are as inescapably accountable before God as were the Israelites. Not as faithless faultfinders or unspiritual malcontents, but as people of God with true Christian humility, let Jehovah’s Witnesses now consider how Jehovah looks upon the modern organization, doing so through the lens of prophecy. Amos 3:13 invites your attention: ‘“Hear and give witness in the house of Jacob,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.”
Contrary to the prevailing mindset among Jehovah’s Witnesses that all internal scandals must be kept secret so as not to bring reproach upon Jehovah, Amos was commanded by God to publicize to the nations Israel’s spoiled spiritual condition. At Amos 3:9 Jehovah told Amos: “Publish it on the dwelling towers in Ashdod and on the dwelling towers in Egypt, and say: ‘Be gathered together against the mountains of Samaria and see the many disorders in the midst of her and the cases of defrauding inside of her. And they have not known how to do what is straightforward.’” It is in the same spirit of the prophecy of Amos that the Watchtower’s corruption is now exposed to public view by this publication.
YOU WHO ARE TURNING JUSTICE INTO WORMWOOD
According to the fifth chapter of Amos, Jehovah brings judgment upon his people because they became unjust and acted immorally and faithlessly. Amos 5:7 says: “O you who are turning justice into mere wormwood, and the very ones who have cast righteousness itself to the earth.”
True justice is a sweet thing. The Scriptures reveal Jehovah God to be a lover of righteousness and justice. He has deep concern for those who are afflicted and disadvantaged and he expects—yes, he demands— that his people and especially their leaders follow his laws and principles and always strive to honor the name and person of Jehovah by doing what is right and just. Because the name and reputation of Jehovah was bound up with ancient Israel it brought enormous reproach upon God’s good name when the Jews acted unjustly—as if turning justice into the bitterness of wormwood.
Today the overseers and Governing Body of the Watchtower Society are especially accountable before Jehovah to make sure that the name of God that Jehovah’s Witnesses publicize is not brought into disrepute in some way. But regrettably, Jehovah’s Witnesses have unquestionably brought tremendous reproach on the name of Jehovah. And the leading men of the organization are especially reprehensible. How has that come about?
One aspect of unfaithfulness has become manifest in the recent, widely publicized reports drawing public attention to numerous cases of seduction, rape and child abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Over the years literally thousands of children and teens have been sexually molested by adult Jehovah’s Witnesses and also by minor children of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But as shocking as the reports of child sexual abuse are, even more disturbing has been the scandalous way in which the Watchtower has dealt with the problem. Alas, though, according to the Watchtower’s media spokesmen there is no real problem with the way that child abuse has been handled in the congregations. In the view expressed by Brother J.R. Brown on an Internet media clip the scourge of child abuse is no worse among Jehovah’s Witnesses than in other religious organizations that are grappling with the problem. (The Watchtower has since removed the video from their website) Ironically, critics have said all along that Jehovah’s Witnesses are no different than other religions. But should the Governing Body really take pride in the fact that the “spiritual paradise” of Jehovah’s Witnesses is no worse than the world that the Watchtower often characterizes as the modern Sodom and Gomorrah?
The Watchtower insists that there is an effective Bible-based policy in place to justly deal with child abuse and the victims are given the highest priority. However, since both as an organization and as individuals, all are accountable to God for the way in which afflicted ones are treated within the congregations, should not the Watchtower’s claims be examined more closely? If Jehovah is in fact going to judge the leaders of his people, is it not the responsibility of each individual to honestly evaluate the policies and practices of the organization that elders are obligated to defend? After all, it is not human opinion that determines how God judges. If even one child has suffered harm due to the negligence of appointed overseers or because of their having enforced tactics and policies emanating directly from Bethel’s Legal Department, is that not reason enough for them to humbly confess and repent of such badness? That is the choice Jehovah placed before the house of Israel. Either they repent or Jehovah would set their house on fire. In fact, Jehovah pleaded with his people to repent of their wickedness so as to keep living. Amos 5:6 reads: “Search for Jehovah and keep living, that he may not become operative just like fire, O house of Joseph, and it may not devour, and Bethel may not be with no one to extinguish it, O you who are turning justice into mere wormwood...”
Surely those who fear Jehovah cannot dismiss such divine warnings as somehow applying exclusively to Christendom. Searching for Jehovah means seeking to gain his viewpoint on matters of importance and adopting and supporting his values. That requires each Christian to use their God-given thinking ability to honestly reason upon matters and arrive at righteous conclusions. With that in mind, take the matter of the Watchtower’s policy regarding two witnesses: According to the Law of Moses at Deuteronomy 19:15, “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin... At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.”
Although in other matters, such as observing a weekly sabbath, the Watchtower is quick to point out that Christians are not bound by the law that God gave exclusively to the ancient Hebrew nation, however when it comes to allegations of child sexual abuse the Watchtower has come to view the “two witness” aspect of Jewish law as more than a mere principle, but rather, as a binding law.
One reason that God gave his nation a law requiring two witnesses was so that it might work as a safeguard to prevent wicked individuals from falsely accusing an innocent person. That is why the law went on to say at Deuteronomy 19:16-18: “In case a witness scheming violence should rise up against a man to bring a charge of revolt against him, the two men who have the dispute must also stand before Jehovah, before the priest and the judges who will be acting in those days. And the judges must search thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and has brought a false charge against his brother, you must also do to him just as he had schemed to do to his brother.”
Analyzing the above verse, even the Jewish law stipulated that in case there were not the mandatory two or three witnesses to substantiate the charges the judges and priests were under obligation to “search thoroughly”and make a determination. How could the judges know if the accuser was scheming against his brother? As it says, they were to make a thorough investigation in order to determine the truth. The case was not simply dropped because there were no other witnesses. The accuser and the accused were not told to “wait on Jehovah.” It was up to the men serving as judges to establish the guilt or innocence of the accused; and consequently, the guilt or innocence of the accuser as well. So, if Bethel is going to make a pretense of following Jewish law in the administration of Christian affairs they are obligated to follow the whole law, even as Paul wrote at Galatians 5:3.
Of course, Jesus Christ also invoked the two-witness principle contained in the Law of Moses when he instructed his followers on how to resolve problems in the Christian brotherhood. At Matthew 18:15-18 the Lord Jesus said: “If your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. If he does not listen to them, speak to the congregation. If he does not listen even to the congregation, let him be to you as a man of the nations and as a tax collector.”
Jesus outlined a three-step process that is intended to make peace between Christian brothers. However, it is apparent that the judicial process is not primarily intended to establish the guilt of the accused. It is already a given that there has been a sin committed, even as Jesus said: “If your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault.” The intent of the inquest is to convince the guilty party of his guilt; laying bare his fault in order to move him to repentance. Furthermore, Jesus did not say that the one or two outside witnesses that are brought in had to be witnesses to the specific act that caused offense. The accuser brings along one or two witnesses in order that they may be witnesses to the fact that the accuser at least tried to gain his brother. They also may be witnesses to the validity of the charges and give additional reproof to the wrongness of the act committed. Also, the third step in the process Jesus outlined does not establish guilt either. It is the burden of the accused to listen to the reproof of the congregation or else face ostracism. At any step along the way if the accused admits to the accusations and takes appropriate steps toward repentance the accuser regains his lost relationship with his brother. If the accused refuses to accept guilt or responsibility the congregation may withdraw their hand of friendship.
The Watchtower claims to follow this legal precept of Christ and so therefore insists that in the absence of a confession there must be at least two witnesses to the actual crime of child abuse in order to substantiate the accusation of the abuse victim. Without a second witness and without a confession no judicial action may be taken against the accused abuser. The matter is just dropped and as the Watchtower is so very fond of saying, the victim is told to “wait on Jehovah” to set things straight. This appears to be a gross misapplication and perversion of Christ’s law to the congregation.
According to Jesus, even if the accused refuses to acknowledge the reproof of the congregation he is to be viewed as being guilty—if the evidence warrants that judgment. Jesus did not instruct his followers to simply drop the matter if the offender refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
The Watchtower has announced to the public that Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse, but Bethel’s actions belie that claim. Instead of allowing congregation elders to make their own thorough investigation of these abhorrent crimes, as was called for in the Jewish Law, perhaps even availing themselves of professional police investigators and forensic evidence, the Watchtower’s legal department has used the very law of God to tie the hands of congregational elders and has therefore denied justice and protection to thousands of victims of sexual abuse. As a result of this wicked policy pedophiles have been shielded from exposure and other innocent children have been recklessly exposed to the depredations of child molesters within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In certain cases reported by victims advocates the courts have found the crimes committed by some of Jehovah’s Witnesses (so-called) to be so heinous that the abusers were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms even though the congregations took no action whatsoever against the perpetrators. In one nationally publicized case in New Hampshire, (Silentlambs) in order to defend the Society’s coffers from a civil judgment the Watchtower even provided free legal representation to a convicted pedophile that had received a 56-year prison sentence, representation that is reputed to have cost $500,000. Meanwhile not one cent was spent ministering to the victims of his crimes. Think about the implications of the Society’s doings: They are willing to spend untold sums of money donated by hard working Jehovah’s Witnesses to the God-ordained Christian evangelizing work in order to publicly defend and support convicted pedophiles so as to avoid admitting error or compensating the victims of their harmful policies. Is that not a case of turning justice into wormwood?
Another instance, this one in Washington State, U.S.A., is the case of young Erica Rodriguez, who, while between the ages of 4-11, was raped on a weekly basis by Manuel Beliz, an elder in her congregation. When she dutifully went to the elders to report the crime, no doubt imagining she would receive some sort of justice, she was told that the matter would be handled. Nothing was ever done. The crimes were not even reported to the police—in violation of Washington state law. Apparently there was no collaborating testimony of an independent witness to verify Erica’s accusation, so the matter was just brushed aside. Not only was nothing done to the abuser, Erica was threatened with disfellowshipping if she spoke about the matter with anyone in the congregation. It seems as if poor Erica was raped again, the first time by the despicable Manuel Belize and then again by the entire body of elders and the Legal Department of Watchtower Inc. However, against the orders of her feckless congregational elders Erica eventually did report the rapes to the police and Manuel Beliz is behind bars serving an 11-year sentence. Jehovah apparently deemed it necessary to use his civil servants to do what the organization’s shepherds refused to do!
Unfortunately, the case of Erica Rodriguez is not uncommon. According to Law.com, a widely read journal for lawyers, an attorney by the name of Kimberlee Norris has been contacted by over 2,000 victims of abuse from among Jehovah’s Witnesses! (Law.com article no longer available for free)
Another case involved Amy B. VS the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Apparently, Larry Kelly was an elder in the Dumas, Texas, congregation at the time he sexually abused a child. To his credit the abuser confessed to his fellow overseers and was removed as an elder. Some time later, however, Brother Kelly moved to another congregation in Amarillo, Texas. In keeping with procedure, the Dumas elders notified the Amarillo elders of Larry Kelly’s past offense. Although Kelly was not appointed as an elder in the Amarillo congregation, he evidently was allowed to lead the field service group. By doing so, he won the trust of the unsuspecting brothers and sisters—young 8-year old Amy being one of them.
But the issue at stake is not that Larry Kelly molested another victim. The real issue is that the friends in the Amarillo congregation were not notified by their local elders that a known sexual predator had moved into their congregation from Dumas. Perhaps one could argue that it was an oversight on their part—a mistake, which, as egregious as it may have been is certainly forgivable. But in arguing the case the Watchtower’s hired lawyer claimed that congregation elders have no responsibility whatsoever to protect congregants from sexual predators! On the Law dot com website can be found the following excerpt:
“Marvin W. Jones, a shareholder in Amarillo's Sprouse Shrader Smith who represents the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization at the congregational (Amarillo-Southwest and Dumas) and national (New York and Pennsylvania) levels, has offered a spirited defense against Amy B.’s suit. Collectively representing all the “Watchtower defendants,” he wrote in a motion for summary judgment that his clients owed no duty to protect Amy B. from the crime of a congregant. Besides, he argued, the First Amendment also bars the suit.”
Just how it is that shielding sexual predators from exposure might fall under the Watchtower’s First Amendment right of freedom of religion is anyone’s guess. But if the Watchtower and her elders are not duty-bound to at least try and protect Jehovah’s little sheep from becoming the prey of greedy sexual perverts, why do they insist on being called shepherds in the first place? What are shepherds supposed to do if not protect the sheep? Jesus is called the Chief shepherd and he gave his life for Jehovah’s sheep. The Watchtower’s lawyers, on the other hand, have repudiated Christianity itself and denied God and Christ. Amos 6:12 is quite fitting: “For into a poisonous plant you people have turned justice, and the fruitage of righteousness into wormwood.”
Elders are all the more accountable before God in view of the undeniable fact that it is deeply inculcated into Jehovah’s Witnesses to trust and rely upon their congregation overseers. Jehovah’s Witnesses are trained to consult with their elders on all weighty matters of life. It would, in fact, be unthinkable for anyone in the congregation to report a sexual crime to the police without the consent of the elders. And as numerous documented court records show, the elders often ordered the victims families not to contact the police.
While the Watchtower’s Legal Department hypocritically appeals to the Law of Moses in regards to the need for two witnesses in child abuse cases, under different circumstances the Watchtower alternately argues that the Law of Moses is not binding upon Christians. Yet the Watchtower’s own policies violate key legal principles embodied in the Law.
For example, Exodus 21:28-29 states: “And in case a bull should gore a man or a woman and that one actually dies, the bull is to be stoned without fail, but its flesh is not to be eaten; and the owner of the bull is free from punishment. But if a bull was formerly in the habit of goring and warning was served on its owner but he would not keep it under guard, and it did put a man or a woman to death, the bull is to be stoned and also its owner is to be put to death.”
According to God’s law the owner of a bull who knew that the animal in his possession posed a danger to others, and yet did not take appropriate measures to protect the unwary from being gored, and someone ended up being gored to death by the bull, then, the negligent owner was held accountable for murder.
The principle certainly applies in cases where child predators are allowed to remain in congregations and the elders neglect to even warn parents and children of the lurking danger.
In the case of Larry Kelly he even confessed to the Dumas elders and the Amarillo elders knew of his crime as well but allowed Brother Kelly to serve alongside his unsuspecting brothers and sisters. Clearly, in accord with the principle of law regarding the negligent owner of a goring bull, the elders who knew of Kelly’s perverse propensities were responsible to warn the families in their charge and make sure that he was never allowed to befriend the children in the congregation. In this they failed to provide even a modicum of protection.
But alas, the local elders were not the only ones at fault. The Watchtower’s policy prevented the elders from doing what any decent person would consider to be the right and sensible thing to do. Indeed, had the elders disregarded the mandate from the Legal Department they likely would have been removed from their positions as overseers.
THE ONES WHO HAVE TURNED ASIDE POOR PEOPLE
According to the law of Christ already discussed, the offended party must first go lay bare the fault of his brother in private. If that is unsuccessful, then the brother is obligated to call upon at least one or two others to serve as witnesses to the wrongdoer. Ironically the Watchtower has been called to account in private by many individuals who have suffered due to its evil child abuse policy and have also been confronted by those serving in the capacity of two or three witnesses. So far the very judges who sit at the proverbial gate of Jehovah’s city-like organization have resolutely refused to listen.
Understandably those who have been raped and otherwise abused are often reluctant to talk to others about their shameful ordeal. It takes courage to speak out, especially when the accused is a respected elder. And to their shame the Watchtower has done everything in its power to muzzle the voice of those both within and outside the organization who might speak out against such evils. But with the popularity of the Internet sex abuse victims have found a powerful medium and are silent no more. One such outlet is the website Silentlambs.org. Having found their voice, in September of 2002 over one hundred abuse victims and their advocates showed up at the literal gates of the Bethel headquarters in Brooklyn to give witness to the Watchtower’s injustice in these matters. But instead of humbly receiving those who have legitimate grievances—some even having been molested and raped by appointed elders and ministerial servants of the Watchtower Society—Bethel was having none of it. As is often the case with criminals who become perturbed and frantic when the cameras arrive, the gates of Bethel were locked and the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to show their faces or even meet with one of their accusers. Obviously, it is much easier for the Watchtower to publish press releases touting their abhorrence of child abuse than it is for them to actually minister to the abused or admit their neglect.
Through Amos Jehovah aptly described the present situation. Amos 5:10 reads: “In the gate they have hated a reprover, and a speaker of perfect things they detest.” Who can deny that anyone who dares to correct the Watchtower is held in contempt by its leadership and subject to the most severe punishment—even being castigated as an apostate? Like the haughty Pharisees of old, those who sit at the pinnacle of power within the Watchtower organization are virtually unaccountable to those whom they rule over.
The Society frequently invokes the biblical account of the rebellious Korah, who challenged Moses’ authority and who was subsequently swallowed alive when Jehovah caused the very earth beneath his feet to fissure. The implication is that anyone who dares call Bethel to account for its behavior will be similarly plunged into Sheol, or worse—the everlasting fires of Gehenna! But, alas, in spite of the hardships that all of the Israelites must have endured in their Wilderness trek, Korah was not the victim of Moses’ heartless and hurtful policies, was he? Jehovah described Moses as being the meekest man on earth, by far. Does the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses exhibit what could be described as meekness? Although as individuals some members of the Governing Body and extended leadership of the Society may possess Christ-like humility, as an institution it has become ruthless and hypocritical. Amos 5:12 relates these additional words of God: “For I have known how many your revolts are, O you showing hostility toward someone righteous, you who are taking hush money, and the ones who have turned aside poor people even in the gate.”
There is no barrier to Jehovah’s laser-like vision. God is able to see behind any façade or pretense that may be erected by men. For a certainty, Jehovah is fully aware of the fact that not only has the Watchtower crushed the plaintive cry of the poor abused ones and arrogantly scoffed at any criticism of its unrighteousness, but as the prophecy indicates, it is also “taking hush money."”
As the outcry of complaint against the Watchtower’s failed child abuse policy grows louder and louder, as the number of lawsuits mount, the organization has enlisted the help of Jehovah’s Witness lawyers, as well as non-witness lawyers, in order to defend its financial interests. As everyone knows who is familiar with how the legal system works, the first consideration of defense attorneys is to keep a lawsuit from going to court in the first place; where the potential is usually much greater for a jury or judge to award a large sum to the plaintiff. Typically lawyers are not concerned about such things as righteousness and justice. It is all about winning the case. Of course, if it appears that the plaintiff has a good case, then the lawyers usually try to cut their losses and make some sort of out-of-court settlement for their client. Has the Watchtower done that? Yes, they have.
In the year 2008 the Watchtower Society settled out of court with 16 abuse victims—paying out over 10 million dollars. Incidentally, both Erica and Amy B. were awarded a settlement for damages by the Watchtower. One of the reasons the Watchtower capitulated and settled out of court is because a judge had ruled that the Society’s secret database of pedophiles, as well as congregation judicial committee records, could be opened in court. That would have been a public relations nightmare for Bethel and no doubt the specter of exposure struck terror into their hearts. So, after years of rebuffing abuse victims and resorting to every known lawyering tactic in the book to avoid taking any responsibility for the hideous evils that had been perpetrated against the children of their congregation, the Society quietly paid out millions, not because they wanted to compensate the victims, but because it was simply the most expedient way out for them.
Apparently it is also the standard practice in such cases to bind the recipient with a so-called “gag order,” which is intended to legally prevent the plaintiff from disclosing the terms and details of the settlement. So, that is what was done. Basically, it means that the Watchtower has paid off abuse victims with hush money to “ gag” them from speaking about the affair—and this with funds donated to advance the cause of Jehovah’s kingdom! In effect, though, the Watchtower not only pays out hush money, but it receives it as well, in that, out-of-court settlements save the Watchtower money and give it a legal pretext to keep such matters undisclosed. All the while, the public and Jehovah’s Witnesses are kept in the dark as regards the Society’s unseemly doings and led to believe that all the accusations against the Watchtower are nothing more than a media smear campaign.
Of course, the right and honorable thing to do would be to publicly acknowledge the immense pain and suffering that so many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have endured at the hands of sexual molesters in the congregations and to make some sort of above-board restitution to the victims—as the Catholic Church has recently done. But, instead of ministering to Jehovah’s battered sheep in any meaningful way the Watchtower seems bent on crushing their faith completely; abusing the victims again by unleashing their stable of attorneys to call into question the character of the victims and discredit the claims of any plaintiffs who dare to seek legal recourse for their anguish.
Jehovah’s prophet appears to precisely address the situation by saying at Amos 8:4: “Hear this, you men snapping at someone poor, even in order to cause the meek ones of the earth to cease...” Appropriately, Jehovah also says through Amos that his judgment will come against the leaders of his people “on account of their selling someone righteous for mere silver, and someone poor for the price of a pair of sandals. They are panting for the dust of the earth on the head of lowly persons; and the way of meek people they turn aside; and a man and his own father have gone to the same girl, for the purpose of profaning my holy name.”
How many meek and lowly seekers of God have been or will yet become stumbled by the Watchtower’s wicked doings and injustice? How many children have to be sacrificed in order to protect the Watchtower’s public image? The Watchtower has profaned Jehovah’s holy name in another way.
It is a fact that even known child molesters are encouraged to go out in the public ministry, door-to-door. As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have participated in the house-to-house ministry know, oftentimes young children open the door; sometimes just clad in their pajamas or even in half-naked innocence. How absolutely irresponsibly reckless of the Society to expose innocent children to the potential danger pedophiles pose! The Watchtower feels that requiring sexual predators to work in the company of another minister is an adequate safeguard; as if that should make parents more comfortable with the idea that perhaps only one of the ministers that shows up on their doorstep is a pedophile.
To Bethel’s shame, while some responsible local governments are taking measures to make the names and whereabouts of sexual predators available to the public in order to offer some sort of protection for children, the Watchtower actually sends known sexual predators into unsuspecting neighborhoods to preach the good news of God’s kingdom!
Whereas, pioneers have been instructed to use alternate means of contacting not-at-home householders through letter writing and telephone witnessing and such, the Service Department insists that pedophile ministers have the right to go door-to-door and make personal contact. What reproach Bethel has brought upon the name of God!
In the verse quoted above, Jehovah makes a connection between the immorality of prostitution and the selling of lowly persons for mere money. Today among Jehovah’s Witnesses, instead of temple prostitution between presumably consenting adults, Jehovah’s name has been profaned by the even more morally repugnant sin of child molestation. Similar to Jehovah’s condemnation of Israel in ancient times, the rebuke applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses today for tolerating and coddling child molesters while persecuting their victims and advocates and paying out millions in donated funds to buy their silence.
“LYING DOWN ON COUCHES OF IVORY”
The primary concern of the top level of the Society’s hierarchy does not appear to be the spiritual welfare of those whose faith has been shattered, but of merely keeping the status quo and protecting its public image. Above all other things, the financial welfare of the vast Watchtower publishing empire appears to be the main consideration of Bethel these days.
Therefore, it seems that these words of Amos are directed toward those who are ensconced as Bethel princes in the luxurious corporate accommodations—living at the expense of others: “You men that are lying down on couches of ivory and are sprawling on their divans, and are eating the rams out of a flock and the young bulls from among fattened calves; that are improvising according to the sound of the stringed instrument; that, like David, have devised for themselves instruments for song; that are drinking out of bowls of wine, and that with the choicest oils do their anointing, and that have not been made sick at the catastrophe of Joseph.”
It is tragic indeed, when a few mere words of humble apology could snatch untold numbers from the flames of doubt, but are haughtily denied instead. True to prophecy, Bethel is wholly unconcerned that hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses and millions of prospective witnesses have been stumbled. Like any worldly multinational, the Watchtower views individual people as mere cogs in the corporate machinery—easily replaceable.
As an example, thousands of young people have heeded the Society’s exhortation to make Bethel life their career. Foregoing an education and family and many of the niceties of life, some have served at Bethel 20 or 30 years, or more. But like many corporations now caught up in the so-called credit crunch, the Society is downsizing and hundreds and perhaps even thousands of fulltime Bethelites are being let go with nothing to show for their years of dedication. That is because all Bethelites are required to enter into a special religious order and even take a vow of poverty. And poverty is what they attain.
But the Bethel princes certainly do not live in poverty. It is as if they are sprawling on couches of ivory and enjoying the finest foods—killing the fattened calves, as it were; improvising their kingdom melodies, like David; living in palatial surroundings, enjoying all the accruements of presiding at the headquarters of Jehovah’s earthly organization; going about their service using the choicest anointing oils; unconcerned that Jehovah’s people under their oversight have been made spiritually sick.
In further exhibit of the prevailing mentality depicted in Amos, as this second edition of Jehovah Himself Has Become King goes to press, it has become the talk of the Internet that the Society is shutting down a massive branch office in Spain and moving the entire printing operation to Selters, Germany.
What makes this move potentially disheartening to the Spanish brothers is that the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Catholic Spain was not even legally recognized until the early 1970’s, and the first kingdom hall was not even dedicated until the Society gained legal status then. So the brothers and sisters in Spain were thrilled when they received the news that a branch office was going to be built in their country.
The Spanish friends were exhorted to generously contribute to the project. And many did—donating gold and jewelry and making generous cash contributions so that the branch could be constructed. As a result of their hearty response, in 1983 the Spanish branch was dedicated to God. Then just eleven years ago, in 1998, a five-year expansion project was concluded that had enlarged the facility and which had involved the volunteer labors of over 25,000 eager Christians.
Why is the Society now shutting down this recently expanded branch? Apparently the government of Spain was going to require the Society to provide retired Bethel volunteers with a small pension. Evidently that was unacceptable to the board of directors in New York. So, rather than set a precedent for other Bethel branches around the world the Society simply shut down their operation in Spain and let everyone go. What is going to happen to the facility that was built by the sweat of local volunteers and paid for by generous Spanish donors?
Undoubtedly it will be sold and the money will go into Brooklyn’s treasury in order to fund their next intended building project, which is said to involve the construction of yet another grand complex in New York State to replace their present corporate headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, which itself is being put up for sale piecemeal.
Might the chieftains of Brooklyn offer to return the funds to the Spanish friends who gave so generously so that a branch could be built in Spain? It would certainly be newsworthy if they made such an offer. It is especially unseemly, though, for the Society to be exploiting the generosity of Jehovah’s people at this particular time when families are facing so many economic uncertainties. So it is, that, in Jehovah’s justice the sprawling ones at Bethel and Patterson will be sent packing themselves. Jehovah’s judgments will force them off their ivory couches and into exile.
It would also appear as if the words of Amos 3:15 apply to that which is called “Jehovah’s organization” today. The verse reads: “I will also hold an accounting against the altars of Bethel...And I will strike down the winter house in addition to the summer house, and the houses of ivory will have to perish, and many houses will have to come to their finish.”
Time will tell if this aspect of Jehovah’s denunciation applies specifically to the sprawling proverbial “ivory towers” of Bethel headquarters and the lavish Patterson complex, as well as dozens of other assembly halls and branch houses around the world. Interestingly, one very expensive assembly hall recently built outside of Houston, Texas—complete with gigantic retractable big-screen television monitors on stage—was so extravagant that some brothers dubbed it the “Taj Ma-hall”—houses of ivory, indeed!
The exile of the sprawling ones will mean that not just one branch will be shuttered, but all of them! As virtually all the prophets foretell, the coming crash will silence the insightful faithful slave, even as Amos 5:13 states: “Therefore the very one having insight will in that time keep silent, for it will be a calamitous time.”
And those who now speak in the name of Jehovah will no longer do so when their Bethel houses are struck down, as Amos 6:10-11 foretells: “‘Keep silence! For it is not the occasion for making any mention of the name of Jehovah.’ For here is Jehovah commanding, and he will certainly strike down the great house into rubble and the small house into debris.”
And again, the prophet confirms that judgment begins at God’s house, as Amos goes on to say: “Therefore now they will go into exile at the head of those going onto exile, and the revelry of sprawling ones must depart.” (Amos 6:4-7)
WOE TO THOSE CRAVING THE DAY OF JEHOVAH
All the prophets and apostles exhort believers to keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah. But how might persons bring woe upon themselves by “craving the day of Jehovah,” as the following verse relates: “Woe to those who are craving the day of Jehovah! What, then, will the day of Jehovah mean to you people? It will be darkness, and no light, just as when a man flees because of the lion, and the bear actually meets him; and as when he went into the house and supported his hand against the wall, and the serpent bit him. Will not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light; and will it not have gloom, and not brightness?” (Amos 5:18)
It is unclear how the Israelites to whom the prophecy was originally directed may have been “craving the day of Jehovah”; as it is likewise unclear how the misguided parishioners of Christendom might be wishing the day of Jehovah upon themselves. For that matter, how could the “woe” possibly apply to true Christians who are faithfully awaiting the return of the Master and the day of Jehovah? How, then, is the verse to be understood?
It may be helpful to consider an expanded paraphrase rendering of the verse from the New Living Translation, which reads: “What sorrow awaits you who say, ‘If only the day of the Lord were here!’ You have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will bring darkness, not light.”
The reader who has arrived at this point in this publication has been presented with what this author considers to be irrefutable documentation of the Watchtower’s considerable error in interpretation as regards the nature of the day of Jehovah. Not only that, but far worse than doctrinal and interpretive error, the Society is guilty of faithlessly violating the most basic tenets of Christianity. They have failed to remain without spot from the world—having made a political alliance with the United Nations—and have refused to plead the legal case of orphans and widows.
These three errors evoke the judgment of God contained in Amos: “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘On account of three revolts of Judah, and on account of four, I shall not turn it back, on account of their rejecting the law of Jehovah, and because they did not keep his own regulations; but their lies, after which their forefathers had walked, kept making them wander. And I will send a fire into Judah, and it must devour the dwelling towers of Jerusalem.’”
In view of the irrefutable fact that the “Jerusalem” of prophecy represents the corrupted congregation of Christ and not Christendom, it is Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves who have no idea what they are wishing for! Indeed, who else but Jehovah’s Witnesses long for the day of Jehovah to arrive?
Virtually all the prophets foretell that the day of Jehovah will bring woe and desolation upon God’s people and result in a massive purge of faithless men from the midst of Christ’s congregation. Amos is no exception. Hence, Amos 5:3 says: “For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘The very city that was going forth with a thousand will have a hundred left; and the one going forth with a hundred will have ten left, for the house of Israel.’”
If the prophecy applies in a broader sense to the end of Christendom, then can it be expected that there will be a remnant of survivors? That is nonsense, of course.
But because Jehovah’s Witnesses have had their ears tickled as regards these matters, it is beyond their comprehension that the fiery destruction of Israel and later Jerusalem stand as a pattern of things to come as regards the Watchtower Society. But considering the context of the verse in question, it is apparent that it is the formal worship of Jehovah that is due to come under judgment. For example, the same paraphrase rendering goes on to say: “I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.” (Amos 5:21-24)
Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for gathering together in large conventions and solemn assemblies, which could well be described as religious festivals. But is it not hypocritical to offer praise to Jehovah, to offer up burnt offerings and grain offerings, as it were, praising him with hymns and kingdom melodies, and yet ignore the weightier matters of justice and righteousness? Jehovah does not care for an outward show of religiosity. He wants his people to worship him in sincerity and truth. Away with the religion! True religion is the practice of justice and righteous living. Anything less is sheer hypocrisy!
In view of the Watchtower’s self-serving Bible interpretations and the self-righteousness endemic to the entire organization, no wonder Amos 6:8 says: ‘“The Sovereign Lord Jehovah has sworn by his own soul,’ is the utterance of Jehovah of armies, ‘I am detesting the pride of Jacob, and his dwelling towers I have hated, and I will deliver up the city and what fills it.”’
From Jehovah’s standpoint, his people have become enamored with an organizational golden calf. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been subtly seduced into giving glory to the “faithful and discreet slave” and the Watchtower, while relegating Christ to the secondary role of organizational mascot. Just as the Israelite cities of Bethel and Gilgal became centers of calf worship, these words of God should eventually take on real meaning for Jehovah’s Witnesses in the near future: “For this is what Jehovah has said to the house of Israel, 'Search for me, and keep living. And do not search for Bethel, and to Gilgal you must not come...as regards Bethel, it will become something uncanny. Search for Jehovah and keep living, that he may not become operative just like fire...”
While the apostle Peter presciently described the Watchtower’s parousia doctrine and its arcane chronology as an artfully contrived false story, during the time of judgment Bethel itself will be revealed as something uncanny—a snare for the faithless who have not searched for Jehovah and so will not keep living when God becomes operative just like fire.
“JEHOVAH WILL NOT DO A SINGLE THING UNLESS…”
The Watchtower frequently applies to itself the verse of Amos 3:7, which reads: “For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.” But as should be evident, Jehovah’s “confidential matter” actually had to do with bringing his wayward people into judgment. And as the Bible record testifies, Jehovah did indeed notify individual Hebrew prophets as regards his intentions. However, the nation and its institutions did not accept the inspired messages of Jehovah’s prophets. That is why Jehovah said through Amos: “But you kept giving the Nazirites wine to drink, and upon the prophets you laid a command, saying: ‘You must not prophesy.’”
Amos was personally confronted with an enraged priest that commanded him to stop prophesying about the city of Bethel’s coming downfall. Amos was told: “O visionary, go, run your way off to the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and there you may prophesy. But at Bethel you must no longer do any further prophesying, for it is the sanctuary of a king and it is the house of a kingdom.”
In a similar manner today, the Watchtower is actually proud of the fact that it allows no place in the organization for individuals, whom, from Jehovah’s standpoint, may actually serve a function similar to the biblical prophets of old. The Society’s mentality was eloquently expressed in a conversation this author had about a decade ago with an individual who now serves on the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He scoffed at the suggestion that the Watchtower’s interpretation of Joel was in error and resolutely refused to reason upon the matters presented before him; saying instead, that if Jehovah wants to reveal something to the Society he will do so through one of the members of the Governing Body directly and not from some publisher on the outside.
In the first century, however, there were anointed individuals who functioned as prophets who apparently were not part of the establishment. They did not consult with the apostles before they issued their messages—being directly motivated by the roving spirit of God.
One such prophet was Agabus, who was impelled by the holy spirit to foretell a famine, which the Bible reports actually occurred in the days of Emperor, Claudius. Agabus also prophesied that Paul would be bound at Jerusalem. That also came true. Perhaps that is why Paul was also inspired to counsel the brothers not to treat prophesying with contempt.
Yet today, those whom Jehovah may anoint to serve as special Nazirites and who seek to set God’s confidential matters more clearly before the brothers will find themselves rebuked and marginalized by Bethel’s institutional priests. As in the days of Amos, the modern Bethel establishment does not allow any prophesying since it considers itself to be the hallowed “sanctuary of a king and…the house of a kingdom.”
No Bethel outsider is allowed to speak Jehovah’s prophetic word within the organization except in the manner in which the priests of Bethel have carefully scripted it. As a result, the Watchtower’s message has become completely sanitized from any of God’s rebuke or the prophetic judgments against the house of God. That does not, however, negate Jehovah’s confidential matters.
“THE BOOTH OF DAVID THAT IS FALLEN DOWN”
The very next verse of Amos says: “In that day I shall raise up the booth of David that is fallen...” As is known, the “booth of David” has reference to Christ’s kingdom.
So, the prophecy connects the restoration of the so-called Davidic kingdom to a time when calamity befalls God’s people. Even though the inspired Christian spokesman directly quoted from this prophecy and applied it to the establishment of Christ’s kingdom over the congregation, it is evident that certain aspects of the prophecy have a much broader application. That is because by the time when David’s kingdom was restored in the person of Christ, the calamity that God had originally wrought upon Judah and the Davidic kingdom was centuries into the past. Yet the prophecy says “in that day,” meaning in the day when Jehovah brings calamity on those who are saying: “The calamity will not come near or reach as far as us.”
The calamity that Jehovah refers to serves as a means of sifting those who are members of God’s household. Amos 9:9 reads: “For, look! I am commanding, and I will jiggle the house of Israel among all the nations, just as one jiggles a sieve, so that not one pebble falls to the earth.”
Surely, no reasonable person would insist that the difficulties of the Bible Students back during the First World War fulfilled the prophecy that calls for a final decisive disaster to rock the house of God. The prophecy at Haggai 2:6-7 likewise says that Jehovah is going to rock the very heavens, earth and all the nations, so that “the desirable things,” meaning godly people, come into glorify the restored house of God.
Paul quoted Haggai at Hebrews 12:27 and explained that the prophecy has reference to the institutions of this system of things being shaken into oblivion. Needless to say, WWI did not prove to be this system’s undoing. The great shaking is coming. Therefore, the “jiggling” and sifting of God’s people has not occurred yet either. But it too is coming.
The prophecy of Amos foretelling the coming crash of the “booth of David” apparently parallels many other prophecies concerning the establishment of God’s kingdom; collaborating the truth of the matter that the coming of Christ to rule the earth results first in God’s holy place being devastated.
So, the rebuilding of the “booth of David” has to do with the grand salvation, spiritual healing and recovery that will take place during the tribulation period. Numerous places in the Bible render an account of Jehovah glorifying his great name and expressing his indignation over the fact that his covenantal servants have not given him the respect and glory that he rightly deserves and have instead reproached their own God. Amos is but one of those accounts.
In view of the reproach that the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses have brought upon the name of God, and the fact that the day of Jehovah will bring desolation upon the Christian sanctuary and the Israel of God, fearers of Jehovah ought to take to heart the blood-chilling declaration of our God at Amos 4:12-13: “As a consequence of the fact that I shall do this very thing to you, get ready to meet your God, O Israel. For, look! the Former of the mountains and the Creator of the wind, and the One telling to earthling man what his mental concern is, the One making dawn into obscurity, and the One treading on earth’s high places, Jehovah the God of armies is his name.”