This post is a review of this Watchtower article. Paragraph two states:
Jehovah takes note when even one of his children stops associating with the Christian congregation and engaging in the preaching work. Think, then, of how pained he must be to see thousands of his servants become inactive each year.
The Governing Body is acutely aware of the slow exodus of “thousands” of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some may not physically leave off associating but they have faded out, so-to-speak. The next few paragraphs offer a few reasons why so many are becoming “inactive,” citing over-involvement in secular work, being overwhelmed by personal problems, and difficulties with fellow believers. There is no mention of the most obvious reason, that being the hypocrisy of Bethel.
There is no point in reviewing the Watchtower’s sordid mishandling of child abuse. It has been all over the news in recent years and will be for the foreseeable future. And there are many other stumbling blocks other than child abuse. Probably the most outrageous thing the leadership is guilty of is the ongoing sell-off of hundreds of kingdom halls, which the local brothers and sisters built and paid for with the expectation of having a permanent meeting place.
Surely, if Bethel were truly concerned about the spiritual welfare of the sheep they would make some sort of acknowledgment of their own liability in stumbling so many. The sad fact is, the Governing Body has never accepted any responsibility for stumbling untold numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses and interested persons. (In a widely-distributed open letter in 2004 I called upon the Governing Body to step up and take responsibility and say we are sorry. The mail-out resulted in a judicial hearing which ended with me being disfellowshipped.)
The Watchtower’s callous disregard for the welfare of God’s people was foreseen long ago. Through Jeremiah, Jehovah said: “And they try to heal the breakdown of my people lightly, saying, ‘There is peace! There is peace!’ When there is no peace. Do they feel ashamed of the detestable things they have done? They feel no shame at all! They do not even know how to feel humiliated! So they will fall among the fallen. When I bring punishment on them they will stumble,” says Jehovah. — Jeremiah 6:14-15
What is occurring among Jehovah’s Witnesses is a spiritual breakdown. And Watchtower study articles like this one demonstrate that the Governing Body is trying to heal it lightly. Are they ashamed that their lawlessness has spiritually sickened millions? They feel no shame at all.
I exhort you to read the 34th chapter of Ezekiel. The Governing Body implies that the prophecy applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses now, at this time, and that Jehovah is searching for the lost strays. But take note of the fact that God is addressing a stunning situation —something involving many more than a few lost sheep. According to what we read in prophecy the entire flock is going to be scattered.
“Here I am, and I myself will search for my sheep, and I will care for them. I will care for my sheep like a shepherd who has found his scattered sheep and is feeding them. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered in the day of clouds and thick gloom. I will bring them out from the peoples and collect them together from the lands and bring them into their land and feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams and by all the dwelling places of the land.”
The original shepherds of Israel were the kings and priests and tribal leaders. They were responsible for the destruction that came upon Jerusalem due to their apostasy. In His mercy, God intervened and toppled Babylon and rescued his sheep. A similar catastrophe will occur in the future. Jesus foretold that a symbolic Jerusalem will be desolated by a disgusting thing during a great tribulation that is coming upon the entire inhabited earth. That is “the day of clouds and thick gloom,” as Jesus went on to say: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
During that bleak period is when Jehovah gathers his lost sheep, as Jesus also noted when he said: “Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.”
That the prophecy pertains to the second coming of Christ is evident from what is stated at Ezekiel 34:22-24: “And I will save my sheep, and they will no longer become something to prey upon; and I will judge between a sheep and a sheep. I will raise up one shepherd over them, my servant David, and he will feed them. He himself will feed them and become their shepherd. And I, Jehovah, will become their God, and my servant David a chieftain among them. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that “David” is in reference to Jesus, who was a descendant of David through both Mary and Joseph and who was the legal heir to the throne of David, which in the grand scheme of things is the Kingdom. The Greater David began to shepherd Jehovah’s sheep in the first century. However, the prophecy has to do with the second coming of Christ, which Jehovah’s Witnesses believe has already taken place. If that were true, though, if Christ began ruling in 1914, that would mean that the day of clouds and thick gloom is in the past. It is not. Dark days are looming.
If we believe the Scriptures, it means that God has a group of people whom he recognizes as His sheep, over whom he has appointed shepherds, overseers, to feed them spiritually. Jehovah is going to hold them accountable for what happens to his people. That is why Ezekiel 34:10 states: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘I am against the shepherds, and I will demand an accounting of them for my sheep, and I will dismiss them from feeding my sheep, and the shepherds will no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouth, and they will no longer be food for them.’”