July 15, 2010, Watchtower carries a study article that all congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world will be studying the first week of September. The article is entitled: What Jehovah’s Day Will Reveal. For those long-time readers of e-watchmen this blog entry will cover some familiar ground, but in view of the fact that this information is being considered by Jehovah’s Witnesses this week it seems timely to reconsider it here.
The article reiterates a long-held assumption of Jehovah’s Witnesses; namely, that the great tribulation will commence when the political elements of this world suddenly turn upon and destroy all organized religion throughout the world. In the fourth paragraph the Watchtower makes this statement:
“Whereas the Flood destroyed the ungodly all at one time, the coming destruction will occur in stages during “the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14) In the first phase of that tribulation, God will move the political rulers of this world to destroy “Babylon the Great,” thus showing his contempt for that religious harlot. (Rev.17:5, 16; 18:8) Then, in the war of Armageddon, the final phase of the great tribulation, Jehovah himself will wipe out the rest of Satan’s world.—Rev.16:14, 16; 19:19-21.”
There are numerous scriptures from Revelation cited in the paragraph above, but do they indicate that the great tribulation begins with the destruction of Babylon the Great? The answer is, flatly, no!
There is no question that the symbolic harlot depicted in Revelation symbolizes the world conglomerate of false religion. Likewise, there is no reason to doubt that God can put it into the hearts of men in power to carry out his will. However, there is no reason to believe that God will not also work through an existent political framework. The question is, does such a framework exist presently?
To illustrate the point, when God determined to destroy apostate Israel and later Judah and Jerusalem, he first commissioned the king of Assyria and later Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Those two empires were rapacious in their own right; all Jehovah did was allow them to conquer his people and perhaps control the timing of their invasions. So, we should not suppose that God is going to perform some mighty miracle to move the political elements to destroy organized religion. In fact, Revelation 17:17 states that God will put it into their hearts to carry out their own thought. In other words, like the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian conquerors, the eighth king, symbolized by the scarlet-colored wild beast, will be similarly inclined.
This is a dilemma for the Watchtower Society, although, apparently most of Jehovah’s Witnesses do not see it as such. But consider: On the one hand the Governing Body has identified the United Nations as the scarlet-colored wild beast. But according to Revelation the wild beast is itself an eighth king. The question is: In what sense is the United Nations a king or kingdom? The fact of the matter is, the United Nations is a paper tiger. It has no legal authority. It has no standing army. It has no military equipment. Hypothetically, what would happen if the United Nations suddenly launched an anti-religious assault tomorrow? The answer is nothing, except perhaps an embarrassing moment for UN officials. That is not to say that the founders of the UN did not intend for it to become a world government. And without question, the bureaucratic infrastructure certainly exists for the UN to become such in the future.
Now consider the closing verses of the 17th chapter of Revelation: ‘“And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast. These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.’ And he says to me: ‘The waters that you saw, where the harlot is sitting, mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues. And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished. And the woman whom you saw means the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.”’
According to verse 12 the ten horns of the wild beast mean ten kings that receive authority to rule for one hour along with the beast. However, the 17th verse states that the ten kingdoms give their kingdom to the wild beast.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses know, each head of the seven-headed wild beast represents an empire that has ruled over God’s people. Egypt was the first followed by Assyria, then Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the present Anglo-American dual world power. The ten horns of the beast represent all of the individual kingdoms of the world – the number ten signifying earthly completeness. But in what sense do those kings receive authority to rule for one hour? It has to be something extraordinary – a development that has not taken place yet. But according to the Watchtower the United Nations became the eighth king upon its creation. But have all the nations of the earth given their authority to the UN? Hardly!
Besides the fact that the United Nations has very little authority over the nations how reasonable is it that the 65 years since the inception of the UN in 1945 has been the interval of the symbolic one-hour? It is not reasonable at all. The one-hour when all of the nations of the world are given authority must be immediate prelude to the destruction of Babylon the great. Their giving their authority to the wild beast can only mean that the nations of the world will at some point empower the United Nations to become a genuine world government and they will do so by relinquishing their own sovereignty. That which is symbolized in the 17th chapter of Revelation is the end of the present nation-state system and the imposition of a totalitarian world government – most likely to be manifest in a form of global communism. Once empowered for the symbolic one-hour, the eighth king will initiate the destruction of the whore of Babylon.
But in what sense do the ten kings receive authority? Evidently they will receive authority as a result of the collapse of the Anglo-American kingdom, symbolized as the death-stroke upon the head of the beast. (See An Eighth King)
The transition from the present ordering of nations to that described in Revelation is the great tumult of the nations, foretold in the second Psalm, which forces the nations to band together as one (world government) against Jehovah and his anointed one.
Rather than the great tribulation commencing with the destruction of Babylon the Great, according to Revelation the opening of the sixth seal initiates the crash of the global system. That event will mark the beginning of the great tribulation and initiate the judgment of the house of God. In actuality, the day of Jehovah will reveal that the Watchtower Society is dominated by the man of lawlessness and his 1914 “operation of error” and related fallacies.