QUESTION: Please give me a detailed summary of how the end will begin and end.
Answer: A “detailed summary” appears to be an unintended oxymoron. Nonetheless, I appreciate the question and understand why someone would ask it.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, of course, believe that the so-called time of the end and the conclusion of a system – the final part of the days, began in 1914. And anyone who has studied the Watchtower’s teachings knows that, in one way or another, the Society has tied virtually all prophecy to 1914.
Except, over the ensuing decades in piecemeal fashion the Watchtower has quietly reset many things to now have a future fulfillment. But rather than being “new light” without discarding 1914 altogether the process actually dilutes and diminishes the importance and meaning of the conclusion of a system of things. Surely, they have done violence to the word of God.
As just one example, for decades the Watchtower has taught that Christ Jesus came in 1914, and then in 1918 he judged all professing Christian religions and appointed the Watchtower Society over all of his earthly belongings. However, at the 2012 Annual Meeting the Governing Body casually announced that the master has not appointed the faithful slave over all of his belongings yet.
This is surely true, but as has been pointed out in other articles on this site the appointment of the faithful slave over all of the master’s belongings takes place when Christ arrives as unexpectedly as a thief in the night. But Christ’s thief-like coming is what initiates the conclusion of a system of things, or the harvest, as Jesus referred to it. Whether intentional or unintentional, the Watchtower has now, in effect, totally repudiated their entire 1914 doctrine.
That being the case, it is time to consider what is to occur. First, there is no way to actually calculate the time of Christ’s return, which will initiate the time of the end. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been convinced that the seven times of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness is part of some prophetic algebraic formula that the priestly diviners at Bethel have used to reveal the precise month and year when Jesus was supposedly given his kingdom and began ruling the world. But none of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and certainly no one at Bethel, can offer any sensible explanation as to why Christians ought to believe that the appointed times of the nations, about which Jesus spoke, during which time Jerusalem would be trampled on by the nations, began when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem five centuries before Christ came to the earth.
Jesus’ remarks were in answer to question his apostles had asked. They wanted to know when Jerusalem and the Temple were going to be destroyed, because a few days earlier they had been stunned when Jesus told him that not a stone would be left upon the stone and not be thrown down. So, they wanted to know the future and when and how Jerusalem would be trampled down.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are thoroughly familiar with Jesus’ response to them. He told them that there would be wars and rumors of wars and that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be food shortages and pestilences here and there, along with great earthquakes. He also told them that men would become faint out of fear in expectation of the terrifying things coming upon the inhabited earth. (By the way, for decades the Watchtower taught Jehovah’s Witnesses that this aspect of the sign of Christ’s presence was clearly in evidence. But like so many other things having to do with the sign of Jesus’ presence, the Watchtower now teaches that it, too, will have a future fulfillment.)
So, it was in the context of the international war, global pestilences and food shortages, that a disgusting thing was to stand in a holy place. The appearance of the disgusting thing is the signal event to alert the disciples of Christ that the judgment is imminent. And Jesus went on to say that the nations would trample upon Jerusalem for an appointed time. But also, Jesus said that a great trumpet would sound and angels would gather the chosen ones from the four corners of the earth and that the good news of the kingdom would be preached to all the world and then the end would come.
So, that is your basic summary. Jesus outlined everything in the 24th chapter of Matthew, the 13th chapter of Mark and Luke, the 21st chapter. However, for a detailed summary we would have to consult the Hebrew prophets and the book of Revelation.
To underscore the fraud of the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine consider the fact that two of the Hebrew prophets, namely Jeremiah and Ezekiel, foretold that Jerusalem would be destroyed, or more precisely, that God would enter into judgment with his people by means of the sword, famine, and pestilence, which harmonizes precisely with what Jesus foretold would be preliminary to the nations trampling upon Jerusalem.
But according to the Watchtower the judgment of the house of God began back during World War I. But if that is the case that means that the war and famine and pestilence, like the Spanish influenza that laid low 50 million people, was the means by which God entered into judgment with the anti-typical Jerusalem –whatever you suppose that may be. But, of course, that does not fit into the Watchtower’s eschatology at all.
The point is, if the First World War had been the actual beginning of the time of the end it would have immediately segued into the appearance of the disgusting thing and the trampling of the holy place.
Of course, the Watchtower has cleverly interpreted the prophecies of Daniel, for example, where the holy ones are trampled by the beast during the time of the end, to both the world wars. While at the same time the augers of Bethel see no connection between those prophecies regarding the trampling of the holy place and what Jesus foretold concerning the disgusting thing, this in spite of the fact that Jesus advised his disciples that it would be a fulfillment of what Daniel foretold and at the reader ought to have discernment.
The fact of the matter is the Watchtower has made such a mess of Bible prophecy it is virtually impossible for Jehovah’s Witnesses to dislodge these things from their minds. And as a consequence, they are unable to comprehend what is to come as it relates to what is foretold in God’s word.
A summary of things to come, a timeline of events if you will, is of little value if the timeline does not have a starting point. To be sure, although we are not able to calculate the day and hour or year, Jesus did exhort us to stay on the watch. What are we to watch for? According to the 11th chapter of Daniel the long-running rivalry between the king of the North and the king of the South will culminate in what is described as a pushing and the king of the North will simply storm and flood
over all the nations. According to Daniel 11:40 the pushing will signal that the time of the end has begun and the flooding over and subjugation of many nations will no doubt be recognized as the Third World War. And in that setting the king of the North will enter into the land of decoration. In other words, the disgusting thing will enter into a holy place to God.
The prophecy of Joel gives a fairly detailed summary of this event. It likens the flooding over to an invasion by various sorts of creeping insects, cockroaches and locusts, and crawly caterpillars. The prophecy depicts these as going through windows and surmounting walls to enter into every home. And interestingly, Jehovah calls the insect invaders his grand military force and refers to them as the Northerner – an obvious reference to the King of the North.
It is only after God’s people are ravaged by the nations, trampled underfoot, that God will intervene. The coming calamity will serve to humble and refine the meek ones, but it will be the end of the haughty ones. God will intervene by pouring out his spirit upon the chastened, who will then give the world a final witness. That grand final witness will result in the execution of the remaining ones of the seed of the woman – the holy ones. Their martyrdom will serve to fill the complete number of 144,000 kings, who then, along with Christ himself, will avenge themselves by smashing the nations to smithereens. That will be the end of this world and the survivors of that great tribulation will then emerge to form the nucleus of the new earth society.
From the time of the nations crash as a result of the chaos of war, until the holy ones are harvested and the kingdom fully comes to power, covers the prophetic period of three and a half years, or 1,260 days, a time, times and half a time, or forty-two months, etc.
I suspect that if I were to actually commit to giving a “detailed summary” of the unveiling of God’s coming judgments that it would resemble a book in volume. For more details I would advise reading or listening to the book Jehovah Himself Has Become King.
Related articles: What is the Great Tribulation and the Holy Place?
The Day of Jehovah is Near!