Sunday, October 15
They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.—John 17:16.
We should not be surprised if the world hates us for our neutral stand; Jesus warned us that it would. Most opposers do not appreciate the importance of the issues involved in Christian neutrality. For us, though, these are matters of utmost importance. Loyalty to Jehovah requires that we be steadfast in the face of threats. Fear of man can affect people of all ages, but young people may find it especially difficult to go against the flow, so to speak. If your children are facing such issues as the flag salute or nationalistic celebrations, do not hesitate to assist them. Use Family Worship sessions to help your children understand the issues involved so that they can meet those challenges courageously. Help them to express their personal convictions clearly and respectfully. Take the initiative to speak with their teachers about these matters if necessary.
Humans are fascinating creatures. We have such potential —such mind power to comprehend the natural world and even contemplate the infinite. Yet, for the most part humanity is characterized —not by their intelligence, but rather, by the lack of.
Take evolution for example. Everything in nature, from whirling atoms and even smaller bits of energy, to the cosmos and the myriad of amazing life forms on earth, is arranged in such a marvelous way that bespeaks of an intelligence far beyond our capacity to even fully comprehend.
In spite of all of the harmonization of staggering complexity, otherwise intelligent people have allowed themselves to be convinced that the great ordering of the universe and the miracle of conception and reproduction just happened. Amazing!
How did this stupidity become institutionalized? Basically, scientists unearthed some pieces of scattered bone fragments and then they sent the fossilized bits to the art department and paid some artists to re-construct an apelike creature based upon the bone bits, which they did. And the artists’ works of imagination have been displayed in text books ever since as a family history of the human race. They even gave their fictional cartoon characters official-sounding names, like Cro-Magnon Man and Neanderthal Man. And there you have it —seeing is believing, which is why magician’s tricks work.
How true the apostle’s words: “Although claiming they were wise, they became foolish and turned the glory of the incorruptible God into something like the image of corruptible man and birds and four-footed creatures and reptiles.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses may pride themselves on not being taken in by the evolutionist’s trickery; nevertheless, sadly, the Watchtower has perpetrated a similar form of deception and otherwise serious and knowledgeable Bible students are taken in by the ruse. I am referring, of course, to the 1914 hoax. But more specifically, in line with today’s text consider the issue of our being tested in regards to neutrality.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses know, in Revelation Jesus spoke to the symbolic Philadelphian congregation about the hour of test that is coming upon the entire world — “to put to the test those dwelling on the earth.” In his very next statement Jesus also said: “I am coming quickly. Keep holding fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown. The one who conquers—I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will by no means go out from it anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations.’”
Sensibly, Jesus has not come yet. Surely, no one will doubt that. Or, if we suppose Jesus came in 1914, what is the point of continuing to hold fast? To emphasize the point of his future coming Jesus closed out the book of Revelation —indeed, the concluding admonition of the entire Bible reiterates what Christ said to the Philadelphians: “Look! I am coming quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.”
Surely, no sensible person will suppose that Jesus has already fulfilled his promise to come again. And since Jesus connected his coming quickly with the hour of test that is coming upon the world, neither has the hour of test arrived. It too is coming.
But is that what Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught? No. The Watchtower teaches that the hour of test began in 1914. Here is a sampling of relevant statements:
*** w02 4/1 pp. 27-28 Stay Awake, Move Ahead Courageously! ***
Brother Theodore Jaracz delivered a stirring talk entitled “Stand Firm Under Test.” Referring to Revelation 3:10, Brother Jaracz asked: “What is ‘the hour of test’?” That test comes “in the Lord’s day,” where we find ourselves. The test revolves around the key issue—are we for God’s established Kingdom or for Satan’s wicked system of things? Until that hour of test ends, we are bound to face trials or difficulties. Are we going to remain loyal to Jehovah and his organization? ‘We will have to display such loyalty as individuals,’ noted Brother Jaracz.
*** w03 5/15 p. 18 par. 14 Listen to What the Spirit Says! ***
Jesus gave Christians in ancient Philadelphia this promise: “Because you kept the word about my endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of test, which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth.” Preaching calls for the kind of endurance that Jesus displayed. He never gave in to the enemy but kept on doing his Father’s will. Therefore, Christ was resurrected to immortal heavenly life. If we hold fast to our decision to worship Jehovah and we support the Kingdom by preaching the good news, we will be kept from falling during the present period of testing, “the hour of test.” We will ‘keep on holding fast what we have’ from Christ by striving to increase those Kingdom interests. Doing this will result in a priceless heavenly crown for anointed ones and everlasting earthly life for their loyal companions.
The Watchtower’s most recent comment on the verse was in 2013, and they similarly implied that the hour of test began in 1914.
But have not Christians always been tested in various ways due to living in Satan’s corrupt world? Absolutely. And besides, Jesus did not say the hour of test was intended to test Christians. Just the opposite. Jesus promised the faithful that he would keep them from the hour of test —meaning, he would make sure they did not fail to pass the test, provided they were faithful prior to the hour of test. To emphasis the point, Jesus said the hour of test was coming upon the entire world “to put to the test those dwelling on the earth.” Contrary to what the Watchtower teaches, the coming test will involve everyone living at the time Christ comes. But generations of people have come and gone since 1914 and are we to believe they have been put to the test? If so, in what way? People go about their lives without so much as a passing thought for God.
What is the hour of test then? It begins when Christ comes. His coming sets into motion a series of events —beginning first with a battle in heaven between Christ and his angels and Satan and his angels. The demons are destined to lose that battle and will be hurled down from heaven to the earth.
Thus begins the Devil’s short period of time. Immediately the dragon’s ouster from heaven impacts his beast on earth —resulting in what will appear to be a mortal wound to the head of the beast, which is the Anglo-American duo of this present age.
The seeming death blow to the world’s superpower will result in widespread panic and great fear. People will be desperate for help —depicted in Revelation as the people’s pleading with the mountains to fall over them to protect them from Jehovah’s incoming Christ. And Satan will respond to their desperate pleas by resurrecting the beast —bringing it up from the abyss of non-existence.
But the nations will fail to grasp that the resurrected beast will then be directly competing with and absolutely opposed to the Kingdom of Christ. In some yet-unknown way, the beast will require everyone’s oath of loyalty. Any who refuse to pledge their allegiance to the beast will be prevented from buying and selling. But those who do give their allegiance to Satan’s kingdom will fail the test. They will receive the symbolic mark of doom —the 666.
Now consider the fraud the Watchtower has perpetrated upon Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to the Watchtower the beast was slaughtered back during WWI. The beast revived and everyone who has not accepted the Watchtower’s 1914 Kingdom hoax has supposedly been condemned to everlasting death.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been completely snookered. There is no polite way to put it. To illustrate, the April 1st, 2004, Watchtower discusses the topic by pointing out the various absurd conjectures about what the mark of the beast signifies, implying that it alone has solved the riddle. And indeed, the article offers a rational explanation of the meaning of the 666. However, JW’s believe that not only has the Watchtower solved the riddle of the mark of the beast, the people of the world have already been marked with it! It is true. Jehovah’s Witnesses actually believe the marking began when the League of Nations became a functioning organization!
Essentially, like a skilled magician, the Watchtower has done a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t vanishing act. With the wave of its magic wand the mark of the beast has disappeared —rendered into meaningless. If you do not believe that to be true ask one of Jehovah’s Witnesses what they think about the 666 mark of doom.
So, as a suggestion, use Family Worship sessions to help your family understand the issues —the implications of the fact that Christ has not come. That the hour of test has not begun. That the beast has not suffered its mortal wound, nor has the image of the beast been fabricated. Help them appreciate how the hour of test will come about in the aftermath of the sudden collapse of the present civilization and the one-hour rule of the last king.