This is a continuation of the previous blog entry on this page considering the July 15th Watchtower study article.
Paragraphs 12 and 13 of the same article correctly make the point that the day of Jehovah suddenly erupts “whenever it is that they are saying: ‘peace and security!’” But thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses would do well to consider this: There is now a concerted push by the United States to bring Israel and Palestine together in order to bring peace to the war-torn Middle East. Given the history of conflict in that region and the deeply ingrained animosity between the Jews and the Arab community, achieving peace and security would certainly be an accomplishment. Politically, the Barack Obama administration is increasingly seen as a failed presidency. It may well be that his motivation in bringing the warring factions in the Middle East together at this time has more to do with his securing an honorable legacy for himself than anything else. Be that as it may, if the Obama administration is "successful" and these efforts actually lead to their “saying: ‘peace and security’” sometime in the near future, how does that fit in with what the Watchtower Society teaches in regards to the political elements destroying false religion as the next major event scheduled in prophecy?
Expressed another way, since Jehovah’s Witnesses will likely be paying more and more attention to the ongoing efforts to establish peace in the Middle East, what evidence is there that the political powers are going to destroy organized religion in the near term? Obviously something is askew in the Watchtower’s prophetic picture. But what is it?
What is wrong is 1914!
“Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘peace and security!’” is not an immediate prelude to the outbreak of the war of Armageddon, as Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to imagine. The destruction that comes upon those who will be saying “peace and security” will signal the beginning of "the time of the end." The destruction will be that which is symbolized in the 13th chapter of Revelation as the sword stroke upon the head of the beast, which will come about as a result of Satan’s ouster from heaven.
Consider, too, the fact that the verse states that Jehovah’s day is coming as a thief in the night and it will be initiated whenever they make this peace and security declaration. Now, Jesus also warned his disciples that he was coming as a thief and that they had better stay awake and ready for his unexpected arrival. In the 12th chapter of Luke Jesus illustrated his coming this way: “But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would have kept watching and not have let his house be broken into. You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely the Son of man is coming.”
What is to occur when Jesus comes like a thief? Well, the preceding verses say that the master will come alongside and minister to his faithful slaves. The word “parousia” literally means ‘to come alongside.’ And the context of Jesus’ other remarks concerning the judgment of the faithful and unfaithful slaves indicates that Jesus’ thief-like coming will result in the punishment for the wicked slave, but the faithful slave, after being beaten with a few strokes for his ignorant disobedience, will be appointed over all of his master’s belongings. In other words, the faithful slave will inherit God’s kingdom and sit down on the throne with the Lord. (See chapter: The Parousia)
Of course, the Watchtower Society teaches that the presence of Christ began in 1914 and the faithful slave was appointed over all the master’s belongings then. Along with that, supposedly the wicked slave was put out of the master’s house in 1918, ostensibly evidenced by the exodus of disgruntled Bible Students from Bethel and throughout the congregations after the death C.T. Russell in 1916.
In yet another contradiction of their own teaching the last sentence of the 15th paragraph and the first sentence of the 16th paragraph makes the following statement:
“Never will the faithful slave class and its Governing Body take a casual view of those earnest words! Indeed, it is the “evil slave” who concludes that the Master is delaying. (Matt. 24:48) That evil slave is part of a group described at 2 Peter 14, 15.”
According to Jesus’ illustration in the 12th chapter of Luke the evil slave does indeed conclude that the master is delaying and he is thus emboldened to begin beating the menservants and maidservants and getting drunk. But, when the master arrives the wicked slave is punished with the greatest severity and thrown out of the master’s house. Again, if this took place in 1918 how is it that an evil slave can still influence Jehovah’s Witnesses today?
The obvious answer to this contradiction is that the master did not arrive in 1914 and the evil slave has not been put out yet. The Watchtower's declaration that the Governing Body has already been declared by Christ to be "faithful and discreet" is an audacious presumption.
Given the fact that the Society's 1914 parousia doctrine is clearly an "artfully contrived false story" and it has now been almost a century since the parousia is supposed to have begun, the ridiculers may well be the ardent 1914 supporters themselves, since, in reality, they have made a mockery of Christ's presence by insisting that Jesus has already set things right within the house of God. That this same Watchtower article bemoans the fact that many do not respect the Governing Body's due to their insistence that Christ began ruling in 1914, articles such as this may well be an evidence of their beating the menservants and maidservants of Jesus' illustration.
(Jehovah's Witnesses do well to take note that there are two appointments of the slave by the master. The first appointment is to feed the slaves with food at the proper time. The second appointment is when the faithful slave is appointed over all of his master's belongings. See last subheading: Who is the faithful and discreet slave?)
"FALSE TEACHERS WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION"
It is fair to say that this particular article is riddled with contradictions. Consider the fact that in paragraph 11 the Watchtower makes the hackneyed remark regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses being in spiritual paradise, but down just two paragraphs the Watchtower makes the astonishing and blatantly contradictory comment:
“So let us stay in the light, far away from the darkness of Satan’s world. Peter wrote: ‘Beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them [false teachers within the Christian congregation] by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your own steadfastness.’”
Please notice the bracketed comment: “false teachers within the Christian congregation.” It is certainly amazing that the Society is implying, perhaps inadvertantly, that there are false teachers within the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as the Watchtower Society does not recognize any other Christian congregation but itself. But who are these false teachers? Are they individual elders? Surely not. Any elder who strays from the Society’s guidelines would be swiftly removed from his position. Are these false teachers within the Bethel establishment itself? That would seem to be what is intimated by this comment. But why would the Governing Body hint at such a thing? It is mystifying. Perhaps someone in the Writing Department has been reading The Watchman’s Post? It is unclear. But certainly the Watchtower has never made a comment such as that before, at least not to my knowledge anyway.
In any case, Jehovah’s Witnesses are only left to quizzically scratch their heads in bewilderment over such a statement. That is especially so since Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to be enjoying spiritual paradise. And according to the Bible’s description of what has been termed as "spiritual paradise" there will be found no predators of any kind among Jehovah’s redeemed people. That means no deceivers or wolves cloaked in sheepskin. It means that there could not be any false teachers within Christ's congregation in spiritual paradise. (See chapters The Harvest and Spiritual Paradise)
But, sadly, most of Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the spiritual wherewithal to question these contradictory statements. Or if they do they draw the wrong conclusions. We may be sure that none among the attendance during the Watchtower Study will raise their hand to ask the Watchtower conductor how Jehovah’s Witnesses could possibly be influenced by an evil slave or “false teachers within the Christian congregation” if Christ has already put the evil slave out and ushered God’s sheep into a predator-free spiritual paradise. Instead, no doubt the rank and file publishers and elders who study this information will praise the "faithful and discreet slave class" for providing such wonderful spiritual food at the proper time.
Perhaps, though, the candid and somewhat disturbing admission that there are false teachers within the organization is the most truthful statement in the entire July 15, 2010, Watchtower Magazine. But it is hard to believe that the editorial staff could be so oblivious to the many contradictory statements made. Maybe the numerous contradictions in this article is a reflection of a running battle between the faithful and unfaithful slaves with Bethel. Whatever the case, it is certainly fascinating to watch and gives bloggers like myself much fodder for print.
I would like to encourage any of Jehovah's Witnesses or those who may be attending meetings at the kingdom hall to take this issue of the Watchtower and ask an elder to explain some of these contradictions. Or, if anyone may be so bold, why not write to the Watchtower Society in New York and ask them to clarify their statement regarding how it is that Jehovah's Witnesses ought to be on guard against false teachers within the Christian congregation.