“Look! A calamity is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest itself will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth.”
–Jeremiah 25:32 –
When Charles Taze Russell formed the original Allegheny Bible study group in 1874 it had been less than a decade since the American Civil War had ended. To put things into some perspective, at that time the last wave of the westward-heading pioneers were still plodding across the open prairie in ox and horse drawn covered wagons and wars were still being waged using muskets, bayonets and iron cannon balls. When the Watchtower originally began publishing its message to the world it was still more than a decade before the first crude “horseless carriages” would appear on city streets and country lanes. And the Wright brothers had not even launched the era of aviation when the first International Bible Students in America and Europe began to anticipate the great and fearful sights that Jesus foretold would appear in the heavens as a sign.
There were no telephones, no radios, no televisions, no computers, no i-pads or earth-orbiting satellites back then. The man-powered printing press and the telegraph were still the state-of-the-art means of communication and the bicycle was the most modern form of personal transportation. The world was a much bigger and simpler place, or at least it must have seemed that way.
But that was the setting on the world’s stage when the forerunners of the modern movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses first came on the scene and began to announce the coming of the great tempest of Jehovah. And for a brief period during the terrible tumult of the First World War, especially as it was accompanied with the horrific Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, it surely must have seemed to many as though the horsemen of the Apocalypse had been unleashed and that civilization itself was in its death throes.
But of course, that was not the case at all. Instead of marking the start of the calamitous conclusion of the system of things, since 1914 the world has developed in ways that were unimaginable to that bygone generation.
There is no question that mankind has benefited greatly from the technological progress that has been made since the Industrial Revolution began. In the nations that have been allowed to develop at least, the ultimate benefits of applied science and innovation have been many. At the very least the world has benefited in practical terms by a reduction in infant mortality; the eradication of some diseases; the mitigation of food shortages and famines and an increase in the lifespan and quality of life over all.
At the same time, though, the peoples of the developed nations have become more and more dependent on an increasingly intricate and complex system of things. And most unsettling is the growing vulnerability of all the nations to the threat posed by a variety of fiendish weapons of mass destruction and the specter of a nuclear holocaust and ecological collapse.
But to illustrate the profound social change that has taken place as a result of industrialization, around the turn of the 20th century the majority of people in the now-developed nations still lived on small family farms or in small towns and rural villages. Although perhaps poor, people living back then were more self-sufficient, if in varying degrees. That is one reason why the Great Depression of the 1930’s did not result in mass starvation in America. Besides the government safety nets that were provided during that bleak time, such as soup kitchens, the Civilian Conservation Corp and Social Security, except for areas of the Dust Bowl many unemployed city dwellers simply migrated back to the family farm, where they were able to scratch out a living until the depression ended.
But now the majority of earth’s 6.7 billion souls live in cities and hundreds of millions of people around the world even live in sprawling mega-cities and are dependent upon the continual function of an increasingly complex but fragile labyrinthal system; such as an intricate electric grid, transportation infrastructure, just-in-time delivery schemes, fuel transport and storage systems, water purification and sewage systems and a maze of interconnected communications networks. Life’s necessities such as food, fuel, clothing and medicines may come from a myriad of different suppliers and middlemen from the farthest corners of the planet. A break in any link of the global chain means certain catastrophe.
Perhaps one of the most profound and far-reaching ways in which technology has changed the world over the most recent decades is the development of the incomprehensibly complex, computer-driven, global financial system. Although it is assumed to be beneficial to the peoples of the world, to underscore the susceptibility of the nations to risks inherent in such a system, the recent financial crash that began in earnest in September 2008 has sent shockwaves reverberating around the globe, instantaneously causing economic distress in places far-removed from the Wall Street eye of the storm, such as Iceland, Indonesia and India. Even the industrial powerhouses, like Germany, South Korea, China and Japan are reeling from the collapse of the Wall Street system.
As an indication of the critical nature of the ongoing financial crisis, although just a few weeks before the crisis erupted as front-page news, politicians and businessmen scoffed at the suggestion of a severe economic downturn, now, though, some of those same business and political leaders speak in stricken tones of the very real possibility of a systemic meltdown and the need for a global solution to the intractable difficulty that has overtaken them. And indeed, since the financial storm erupted governments and central banks around the world have been in an emergency crisis-management mode, frantically throwing trillions of Dollars, Pounds, Euros, Yen and whatever else, into the banks and markets in an effort to avert the catastrophic crash of the world’s financial and monetary systems.
But collapse, it seems, is inevitable. That is because it is a physical impossibility that the trillions upon trillions of dollars of debt and fictitious financial claims called derivatives can ever be satisfied. The present global financial system is usurious, non-productive, speculative and predatory by design. The gargantuan, must-expand-or-implode credit bubble, is rapidly reaching the end of its ability to extract any more blood from its depleted host. What is likely to happen then?
Simply put, the stage is set for an unimaginable catastrophe; namely, the collapse of the U.S. Dollar-based financial system. And because globalization has developed to the extent that it has, with the U.S. Dollar functioning as the world’s reserve currency, no nation can insulate itself from the calamity that is now engulfing the Anglo-American system.
Truly, the growing financial tempest sweeping the planet has the potential to wreck entire nations, especially the wealthiest. And with the world in such a state of crisis there is also an increasing likelihood that another world war will be launched by certain powers-that-be who are determined to stay in control in the post-crash world.
While on the one hand, scientific progress and computer technology has brought many benefits, it has also given governmental authorities nearly omnipotent powers of surveillance and empowered the money mavens to defraud and plunder on a global scale. It has also made possible a devastating electronic run on the world’s banks with a few clicks of a computer mouse. And though modern means of transportation has enabled people to travel the world with ease, it has also facilitated the swift spread of contagious diseases from isolated areas. Most disconcerting, military planners have used technology to perfect Hitler’s strategy of Blitzkrieg—lightening war—now known as “shock and awe.”
And though science has brought about a green revolution of increased harvests, the complexities of the market system and the monopolistic concentration of corporate power over all aspects of food production means that a breakdown anywhere in the chain could create massive food shortages and famines, even in the developed nations. Yes, science has given mankind many lifesaving medicines and surgical devices, but it has also developed bacteriologic and viral agents and super-toxins and empowered evil men with the ability to annihilate the human race with push-button ease.
In short, the world has unwisely constructed the means of its own destruction and the principle of Jehovah’s decree is that those who have sown the wind must in the end also reap the whirlwind. But how else ought such an ungodly and morally corrupt civilization conclude except in a maelstrom of its own madness?
“A GREAT TEMPEST ITSELF WILL BE ROUSED UP”
Although having been in expectation of it for a long time, Jehovah’s Witnesses are, nonetheless, laboring under the illusion that the great tempest of Jehovah emanates directly from heaven and will be manifest as an awesome display of divine power. While it is true that Christ will ultimately make his presence known in a supernatural manifestation of divine power during the actual war of Armageddon, that is not what the storm of Jehovah is, at least not the initial phase of it.
According to the word of God the storm originates from within the nations themselves. Jehovah merely allows it to occur and uses it to accomplish his judgments. That is apparent from the 25th chapter of Jeremiah, which reads: “A noise will certainly come clear to the farthest part of the earth, for there is a controversy that Jehovah has with the nations. He must personally put himself in judgment with all flesh. As regards the wicked ones, he must give them to the sword,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Look! A calamity is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest itself will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth.’”
In the days of Jeremiah the prophet, the “great tempest” that was “roused up from the remotest parts of the earth” came in the form of the onward-sweeping legions of mighty Babylon. Nation after nation was crushed by the Babylonian juggernaut. No nation in the region escaped the calamity—not even Judah with its charmed city on the hill, Jerusalem.
Isaiah described Babylon’s army as a ferocious, unstoppable force; commissioned by God himself, saying of it: “And he has raised up a signal to a great nation far away, and he has whistled to it at the extremity of the earth; and, look! in haste it will swiftly come in. There is no one tired nor is anyone stumbling among them. No one is drowsy and no one sleeps. And the belt around their loins will certainly not be opened, nor the laces of their sandals be torn in two; because their arrows are sharpened and all their bows are bent. The very hoofs of their horses will have to be accounted as flint itself, and their wheels as a storm wind. The roaring of theirs is like that of a lion, and they roar like maned young lions.” (Isaiah 5:26-29)
But Babylon’s conquest, as terrible and extensive as it was, was not by any means a global calamity. Nor did Jehovah “put himself in judgment with all flesh” back then, as the prophecy of Jeremiah states. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Hebrew prophecies related to the “world” conquest by imperial Babylon have a much broader application pertaining to the last king, the so-called eighth king of Revelation.
To be sure, Jeremiah 23:19-20, indicates that the whirling tempest of Jehovah will have an ultimate realization “in the final part of the days.” Those verses read: “Look! The windstorm of Jehovah, rage itself, will certainly go forth, even a whirling tempest. Upon the head of the wicked ones it will whirl itself. The anger of Jehovah will not turn back until he will have carried out and until he will have made the ideas of his heart come true. In the final part of the days you people will give your consideration to it with understanding.”
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that the final part of the days began in 1914, obviously “the windstorm of Jehovah” has not begun to rage yet. Indeed, and neither will Jehovah’s Witnesses be idle bystanders—witnessing the tempest as if from afar, as some may assume will be the case. Quite to the contrary, the coming storm of tyranny will be the means by which Jehovah will put himself in judgment with his people first—flushing out wicked and faithless men from their places of concealment within his organization. It may well be that the financial gales now buffeting the nations are but the preliminary outer squall bands extending out from the onrushing tempest of Jehovah—time will tell.
A THUNDEROUS STORM OF FLOODING WATERS
At Isaiah 28:2 God has issued a global storm warning in the form of an edict against his nation/congregation, saying: “Look! Jehovah has someone strong and vigorous. Like a thunderous storm of hail, a destructive storm, like a thunderous storm of powerful, flooding waters, he will certainly do a casting down to the earth with force.”
“Someone strong and vigorous” is in reference to the earthly agency that God will use to bring about his judgments. That the “thunderous storm of hail” will cast down that which belongs to Jehovah is evident from the fact that a faithful remnant of “his people” will not be swept away in the “thunderous storm of hail” and flooding downpour of Jehovah’s denunciation. But not only will the faithful survive the denunciatory deluge, verses 5-6 foretell that Jehovah will distinguish them as with a “garland of beauty” during the heat of battle. Those hope-inspiring verses read: “In that day Jehovah of armies will become as a crown of decoration and as a garland of beauty to the ones remaining over of his people, and as a spirit of justice to the one sitting in the judgment, and as mightiness to those turning away the battle from the gate.”
The expression—“the ones remaining over of his people”—may also be expressed as ‘the remnant of his people.’ “The remnant” is a biblical expression frequently used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in reference to the anointed— the expression being a holdover from the language of the King James Bible. Most noteworthy, though, is the similarity of this portion of the prophecy of Isaiah with the 12th chapter of Revelation. Specifically, the “flood” of persecution disgorged by the symbolic satanic dragon directed at the woman of the covenant is precisely the same event as is portrayed by the “thunderous storm of powerful, flooding waters.” How may that be conclusively determined?
The book of Revelation reveals that the Devil will be permitted to bring “woe” upon the earth and sea when he unleashes shock and awe against the remnant of the seed of the woman; which comes about as a direct result of his being forcibly cast down from heaven by the first act of Christ’s incoming kingdom. Isaiah’s prophecy is in harmony with that ordering of events.
The prophecy indicates that the tempest occurs concurrently with the establishment of the kingdom. Alluding to Jesus Christ as the foundational stone of the kingdom of Zion—Zion being the symbolic capitol of God’s heavenly kingdom—the prophecy goes on to say: “‘Here I am laying as a foundation; in Zion a stone, a tried stone, the precious corner of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will get panicky. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument; and the hail must sweep away the refuge of a lie, and the waters themselves will flood out the very place of concealment. And your covenant with Death will certainly be dissolved, and that vision of yours with Sheol will not stand. The overflowing flash flood, when it passes through—you must also become for it a trampling place. As often as it passes through, it will take you men away, because morning by morning it will pass through, during the day and during the night; and it must become nothing but a reason for quaking to make others understand what has been heard.’”
The flooding torrent of Jehovah’s condemnation will inevitably sweep away the lie that Christ’s presence began in 1914. It will flood out and expose as corrupt those who continue to perversely cling to the Society’s “artfully contrived false stories” after the actual powerful presence of Christ begins. For a certainty, the persistent belief that salvation is only attainable for those who remain loyal to the Watchtower Society, as if they have established a covenant with Death, will be dissolved and washed away. Their place of refuge within the fabricated lie of the supposed inviolability of “Jehovah’s earthly organization” will be swept away like a child’s sandcastle at high tide.
As an example of how the Society has tried to conceal itself from God’s denunciation consider how it has misapplied the 54th chapter of Isaiah. The prophecy is directed to God’s own beloved, but “tempest-tossed” woman of the covenant. Verses 7-8 say: “For a little moment I left you entirely, but with great mercies I shall collect you together. With a flood of indignation I concealed my face from you for but a moment, but with loving-kindness to time indefinite I will have mercy upon you…”
It should be apparent that the “flood of indignation” that Jehovah causes to be unleashed against his people is the same “powerful, flooding waters” referred to in the 28th chapter of Isaiah. However, that is not how the Society interprets it. According to the Watchtower, the flood of Jehovah’s indignation against the congregational “woman” was expressed in 1918 against the International Bible Students; whereas, the flood that washes away “your covenant with death” is construed as a denunciation of Christendom, to be fulfilled during the desolation of the “holy place,” during the great tribulation. Essentially, the Watchtower teaches that the prophecies of Isaiah pertain to two separate metaphoric floods of denunciation directed against two unrelated entities, both of which Jehovah claims as his own possession.
Due to Bethel having gone to such lengths to interpret the prophetic visions in such a manner so as to nullify God’s judgments against itself, it is as though the Society has affected a vision with Death and struck an agreement with the Grave to preserve itself alive. However, Jehovah has decreed that the oncoming tempest will nullify their contract with Death. As a result of Jehovah canceling their illicit pact with Death and Sheol, the Watchtower organization is destined to become a mere “trampling place”; soon to resemble the mere wreckage strewn in the aftermath of a great and terrible tempest, as it were.
Those who have been deceived into putting their faith in the Society’s deal with Death are destined for disappointment. Jehovah’s Witnesses who are cocksure of their righteousness due to their standing within the Society will be flushed out of their “place of concealment” and made to stand before the judgment throne of Christ without the buffering mediation of any earthly organization. The oncoming storm of war, global financial collapse and tyranny, will cause mere organizational men to quake in terror.
The 32nd chapter of Isaiah also correlates the coming of Christ with a great tempest of tyranny. The opening verses of that chapter read: “Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself. And each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.”
The Watchtower teaches that the prophecy has already been fulfilled in modern times within the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The princes ruling for justice who provide shelter from the storm are supposedly the congregation elders. But that cannot be the case due to the fact that the “rainstorm” has not begun yet. It seems more reasonable to conclude that the princes symbolize the holy ones of the kingdom after they have been appointed over all their master’s belongings. The princes, along with Christ—the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the Prince of princes—will, during that bleak and desperate day, provide a place of refuge for the redeemed in the post-Watchtower Society period.
The 25th chapter of Isaiah conclusively establishes the fact that the tempest of Jehovah is not a supernatural phenomenon, but it merely symbolizes a storm of tyranny that is soon to engulf the nations. Accordingly, Isaiah 25:7 says: “And in this mountain he will certainly swallow up the face of the envelopment that is enveloping over all the peoples, and the woven work that is interwoven upon all the nations.”
The mountain obviously symbolizes the established kingdom of Christ over the earth. However, “the envelopment that is enveloping over all the peoples” is not mere Adamic death, as the Watchtower wrongly teaches. The context has to do with Jehovah’s judgment against “the town of tyrannical nations,” which is in reference to the symbolic capitol city of Satan’s post-system collapse world government.
The “envelopment” that “is interwoven upon the nations” has to do the ultimate “success” of the ongoing conspiracy to enmesh the nations into a genocidal net. In harmony with that, the prophecy of Habakkuk, which is a vision yet for the time appointed, pictures the Chaldean entrapping all the nations in his net as if they were hapless fishes. Elsewhere in prophecy the Chaldean is called “the despot of the nations.”
No wonder Jesus exhorted his disciples not to be terrified by the events that will unfold with the desolation of the holy place during the conclusion of the system of things. Happily, however, although Jehovah allows the tempest of tyranny to sweep the world he also promises to provide a place of refuge for the faithful.
Isaiah further foretells: “For you have become a stronghold to the lowly one, a stronghold to the poor one in the distress that he has, a refuge from the rainstorm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the tyrannical ones is like a rainstorm against a wall. Like the heat in a waterless country, the noise of strangers you subdue, the heat with the shadow of a cloud. The melody itself of the tyrannical ones becomes suppressed.”
Just as Almighty spoke to Job and set matters straight from the midst of a tempestuous wind and Moses had an encounter with Jehovah God atop Mount Sinai, whilst the mountain quaked and was enveloped in billowing smoke and shook from bone-rattling thunder, in the same manner the coming global tempest will be the backdrop in which Jehovah breaks his silence and speaks to his people today.
The 50th Psalm points forward to the occasion when God will “speak” from the tempest to judge his people: “The Divine One, God, Jehovah, has himself spoken, and he proceeds to call the earth, from the rising of the sun until its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of prettiness, God himself has beamed forth. Our God will come and cannot possibly keep silent. Before him there devours a fire, and all around him it has become exceedingly stormy weather. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth so as to execute judgment on his people…”
Although the Watchtower Society has falsely announced the presence of Christ and the imminence of the day of Jehovah for more than a century now, and as a result has stumbled countless Christians and squandered its credibility in the eyes of many, that in no way negates the purpose of God to bring the world into judgment. On the contrary, the errors and corruption of the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses are what precipitates the very storm wind of Jehovah. As in times past, God is soon to speak to his erring people from within the swirling tempest of the world’s greatest tribulation.
The breaking storm will rouse the somnolent from their spiritual slumber and serve as the signal for the faithful to abandon that, which up until then will have served as Jehovah’s earthly organization. But instead of any longer pledging their loyalty to a visible organization, Jehovah’s true witnesses will then be called upon to rally around the invisible organization of God—the then-established heavenly kingdom of Christ.
Judging by the ripeness of the Society’s ferment and the accelerating collapse of the global financial system, it would appear that the foretold times and seasons for the culmination of Jehovah’s grand purpose has at last arrived. It is time for Jehovah to break his silence and speak!
The remainder of this publication will examine the judicial issues involved in the coming judgment upon the house of God, as well as the nature of the political convulsions that are foretold in God’s prophetic word, which will bring down the Anglo-American system of things and bring into existence the earthly agency that will execute Jehovah’s judgments and which will ultimately be executed by Christ and the 144,000 holy ones.