This open letter is directed to Jehovah’s Witnesses and interested persons on the World Wide Web. Over the coming months it will be mailed directly to elder bodies in thousands of congregations across the United States; as well as to all assembly halls in the U.S. and 100 branch offices of the Watchtower Society around the world and to departmental heads among the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Brooklyn Bethel and the Patterson Educational facilities in New York. Admittedly, it is a challenge to present the deep things of prophecy in a few pages, but due to the limitations imposed by postage and handling of a mass mailing of this scope, this essay should be considered as merely an introduction to a much larger body of work published on the Internet over the past five years at e-watchman.com and more recently in the book Jehovah Himself Has Become King.
Nearly all of the Hebrew prophets vividly foretold it – namely: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Micah, Amos, Hosea, Joel and Zephaniah. God was determined to punish his own chosen people –Israel first, and then Judah – sending them into exile in far away lands.
Even more distressing from the standpoint of the true worshippers of God, the very city upon which Jehovah had placed his sacred name – Jerusalem – was going to be razed to the ground by the demon-worshipping Chaldeans. Also slated for destruction – the kingdom of David, with whom God had made a covenant for a kingdom; as well the magnificent temple David’s son had built for Jehovah. The very priests of God were going to be treated with contempt by men of the nations. And what was once the center of true worship in all the earth would become a mere heap of ruins – a desolate waste.
So it was, that, immediately prior to the siege of Jerusalem the command was given to have the message of the imminent end of Jehovah’s earthly organization declared: “Tell it in Judah, you men, and publish it even in Jerusalem, and say it out, and blow a horn throughout the land. Call out loudly and say: ‘Gather yourselves together, and let us enter into the fortified cities. Raise a signal toward Zion. Make provision for shelter. Do not stand still.’ For there is a calamity that I am bringing in from the north, even a great crash. He has gone up as a lion out of his thicket, and the one who is bringing the nations to ruin has pulled away; he has gone forth from his place in order to render your land as an object of astonishment. Your own cities will fall in ruins so that there will be no inhabitant.” – Jer.4:5-7
Jehovah’s Witnesses may recognize the similarity of the description of the fall of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day and the desolation of the holy place and the city of Jerusalem in the first century, which Christ indicated would have global ramifications during the conclusion of the present system of things.
For example, in both instances decisive, life-saving action had to be taken. And on both occasions the desolator came from the symbolic north. (In the first century Rome was the prophetic king of the north.)
The crucial question, though, is this: What is typified by the judgments of Jehovah against Jerusalem?
According to the teachings of the Watchtower Society, the desolation of Jerusalem, both in Jeremiah’s day and in the first century, foreshadows the coming destruction of the churches of Christendom. The reasoning behind such an interpretation is that both Jerusalems had become apostate, and hence cannot represent Jehovah’s modern organization, which is presumed to be faithful.
But is that reasoning sound? Moreover, does that interpretation agree with the inherent harmony of Bible prophecy? And is there any way to definitively determine the truth?
The answer to these questions is more then merely academic, as there is much more at stake than just the credibility of the Watchtower Society. Millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses have unreservedly put their trust in the Society’s prophetic interpretations. But, if the future does not unfold in the way that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to expect by the Governing Body there will inevitably be many who will be stumbled. Did not Jesus himself foretell that this very thing would occur during the conclusion; namely, that “many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another”?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are under the impression that simply being a member of the Watchtower Society-directed organization places them in the symbolic Ark of salvation. Even more disturbing, Bethel has subtly fostered the unfounded belief that the judgment and cleansing of the house of God began decades ago and that Jehovah’s Witnesses will be mere passive observers of the judgments to come.
However, according to Jesus Christ, the salvation of Christians will ultimately hinge upon their taking decisive action in fleeing out of the doomed antitypical Jerusalem and its holy place, when once the prophetic “disgusting thing” takes up a position where it ought not. Not only that, but Jesus foretold that the angels will, afterwards, gather God’s chosen ones from the four corners of the earth. Obviously, if there is yet to be a final gathering together of all of Jehovah’s chosen ones after the tribulation upon Jerusalem is cut short, even if it is ultimately a gathering to heaven, then, is that not suggestive of a future scattering of those very chosen ones in connection with the desolation of the holy place?
Because of such obvious discrepancies, and many others besides, it behooves us to re-examine the relevant prophecies at hand. Especially so in view of the lateness of the hour, made more urgent by the ominously gathering storm clouds of yet another world war, likely involving nuclear weapons, and the foreboding rumblings of an unprecedented global financial crash; as well as the specter of food shortages due to hyperinflation or economic collapse; also, a potential global pandemic brought on by a relentlessly mutating, virulent Avian virus. Equally disconcerting, the American republic is poised to descend into martial law or even totalitarianism at the earliest outbreak of these looming calamities.
In short, we are facing the catastrophic death-stroke upon the Anglo-American beast and the persecution of the holy ones on a scale never before seen or imagined. Most sobering of all, the stage is now set for the horsemen of the Apocalypse to burst on the scene in full gallop; signaling the sudden, thief-like visitation of Christ as the Inspector of God’s spiritual temple.
As in Jeremiah’s day, a great crash is in store for God’s self-confident people. Indeed, Jehovah’s appointed, imperial executioner is stirring – like a lion leaving his lair!
In view of Bethel’s seeming disinterest in revising their teachings, the intent of this open letter is to lay bare the Watchtower Society’s unsatisfactory interpretations of these vital prophecies and pull back the curtain upon Jehovah’s future judgments against that which is recognized as the house of God, to the end that our trust may be in God’s prophetic word and not in the staid interpretations of corporate-appointed committees of men, no matter their assumed authority and spiritual qualifications. “Make sure of all things, hold fast to what is fine” is surely timely admonition for all of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“LET THE READER USE DISCERNMENT”
Since Christians would be required to make a life-and- death decision shortly after the disgusting thing begins “standing where it ought not,” Jesus kindly advised his followers to consult the prophecy of Daniel for additional insight, saying: “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.”
What feature of Daniel’s prophecy may Jesus have had in mind? No doubt Christ intended 1st century readers to discern that the 9th chapter of Daniel had relevance for them. That is where we read: “And upon the wing of disgusting things there will be the one causing desolation; and until an extermination, the very thing decided upon will go pouring out also upon the one lying desolate.” But what may Jesus have intended for us to discern from Daniel’s prophecy – those alive during “the conclusion of the system of things”? No doubt Jesus was familiar with the passage of Daniel, where we are told: “And he will actually go back and hurl denunciations against the holy covenant and act effectively; and he will have to go back and will give consideration to those leaving the holy covenant. And there will be arms that will stand up, proceeding from him; and they will actually profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and remove the constant feature. And they will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.” – Daniel 11:30-31
Disregarding the identity of the king of the north for the moment, “the sanctuary, the fortress” and “the constant feature” have reference to that which belongs to God – being the principal features of the worship of Jehovah in the Christian era. In other words, “the sanctuary and the fortress” are a holy place to Jehovah. As the Watchtower has recognized, “the constant feature” has to do with the regular sacrifices of praise offered to God in his sanctuary. This is collaborated by Daniel 8:13 – a disclosure of developments during “the time of the end,” which refers to a king fierce in countenance “causing desolation” to the “holy place” and removing “the constant feature.” Daniel 8:13 reads: “How long will the vision be of the constant feature and of the transgression causing desolation, to make both the holy place and the army things to trample on?”
The “putting in place the disgusting thing that causes desolation” is in reference to the sanctuary of Jehovah, of which Christ is both the cornerstone and High priest. Given the similar content and wording of the prophecies of Daniel it should be evident to the discerning reader that the holy place that is destined to come to desolation and be trampled underfoot by the nations for an appointed time is the spiritual domain of the holy ones – Christ’s true congregation. And that is, of course, exactly what the Watchtower teaches. However, inexplicably, the Watchtower teaches that the king of the north profaned the spiritual sanctuary and removed the constant feature of praise when Adolf Hitler and the Fascists persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses. But not only that, the Watchtower also teaches that the king of fierce countenance profaned the same sanctuary and somehow brought the holy ones to ruin when the Anglo-American king persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Second World War. Furthermore, the 12th chapter of Daniel also refers to the putting in place of the disgusting thing and the removal of the constant feature, which the Society applies to 1918 and the creation of the League of Nations.
So, three prophecies that essentially foretell the exact same thing are interpreted by the Watchtower to have been fulfilled in three different ways – all in the past! And yet, in spite of applying the prophecies of Daniel regarding the desolation and trampling of the holy place to the persecutions of the International Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses – albeit on three different occasions – Bethel steadfastly insists that the holy place Jesus referred to, which is destined to be desolated by the disgusting thing of Daniel’s prophecy, represents Christendom! No wonder Jesus advised the reader to use discernment. Could the Watchtower be any less discerning in these vital matters?
“UNTIL THE APPOINTED TIMES OF THE NATIONS ARE FULFILLED”
The primary foundation for the Watchtower’s teaching regarding the presence of the Lord beginning in 1914 is based upon the seven times chronology that the Watchtower has connected to “the appointed times of the nations,” which Christ mentioned in relation to the desolation of the holy place.
In the context of his prophecy of the conclusion, Jesus went on to say: “Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days! For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” – Luke 21:23-24
A simple and straightforward reading of Christ’s words in their context ought to be understood to have application to the then-existing temple and city of Jerusalem and the generation of Jews then living. Surely the disciples understood Jesus to be foretelling that Jerusalem and the temple were going to be destroyed and that their fellow Jews would “fall by the edge of the sword” at a future time. After all, Jesus’ entire discussion was initiated when he told the apostles that ‘a stone would not be left standing upon a stone’ at the site of Herod’s temple. That prompted Christ’s disciples to ask him when the destruction of the temple would come about. They were not at all concerned about Solomon’s temple that had long since been destroyed, but the temple that was then standing. And Jesus answered their questions accordingly. For example, in pronouncing woe upon the pregnant and nursing women of that generation, Jesus said – “in those days” – meaning, obviously, in the days when the disgusting thing would bring desolation. Then, in the very same breath, Jesus foretold that Jerusalem would – after its desolation by the disgusting thing – continue to be trampled underfoot by the nations for a pre-determined interval; hence, “until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”
There should be no question but that Jesus was speaking of a future trampling of Jerusalem that would commence when the disgusting thing appeared. There is absolutely nothing in the context of the 21st chapter of Luke, or in any other gospel account for that matter, which would suggest that “the appointed times of the nations” was an ongoing period that began five centuries earlier when Babylon laid waste to Jerusalem. Neither is there any justification in applying the seven times of Daniel’s prophecy to “the appointed times of the nations.”
Although the Watchtower has devised a crude algebraic formula that purportedly divines all but the precise hour of the commencement of Jesus’ parousia, and millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses have unquestioningly accepted such chronology as an authentic interpretation of divine prophecy, we ought to be reminded of the fact “that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation” – meaning, that interpretation of prophecy is not determined by private individuals or by committee. Prophecy can only be understood as it relates to the over all harmony of all other prophecy. In other words – prophecy interprets itself.
Hence, as regards the appointed time for the nations to trample God’s holy city the key to unlocking the meaning of Christ’s prophecy is found in the 11th chapter of Revelation, which reads as follows: “And a reed like a rod was given me as he said: ‘Get up and measure the temple sanctuary of God and the altar and those worshiping in it. But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple sanctuary, cast it clear out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.”
Keeping in mind that Revelation was written over two decades after Jerusalem and the temple were leveled by the Romans, the prophecy undeniably pertains to the aforementioned spiritual sanctuary. The holy city that is destined to be trampled on by the nations must be the antitypical Jerusalem. Therefore, the so-called Gentile times are plainly revealed in prophecy to be forty-two months and not 2,520 years, as Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe. The forty-two months, expressed variously in Revelation and Daniel as 1,260 days and a time, times and half a time, is the short period of time following Satan’s ouster from heaven and the subsequent death stroke administered to the leading head of Satan’s seven-headed political beast, during which time the holy ones, who are the prospective residents of the New Jerusalem, are trampled underfoot by the tyrannical last king. (Daniel 8:14 explains that the holy place will be brought into its right condition after an interval of 2,300 “evenings and mornings.” Since each day has one evening and one morning, 2,300 evenings and mornings may simply be a cryptic way of expressing 1,150 days.)
Of course, the Watchtower teaches that the 11th chapter of Revelation was fulfilled back in 1918, when a few paragraphs of the long-since discarded Finished Mystery book were censored and eight Watchtower officials were incarcerated for several months in the Atlanta penitentiary on charges of sedition. But realistically, the relatively minor travails of a handful of Bible Students back then can hardly compare to the tribulation that befell earthly Jerusalem, which, according to the teachings of Christ, establishes a pattern for what is to befall the chosen ones during the Lord’s day. However, the Watchtower’s erroneous application, while off on the timing, at least establishes the concept of “Jerusalem” (the holy city) representing something other than Christendom in prophecy.
The Society reasons that the first century destruction of Jerusalem must typify Christendom’s fiery end, for the reason that Jerusalem was rejected and condemned by Christ. However, it is also true that the apostles continued to honor the temple arrangement and the Mosaic Law as something holy long after Christ’s resurrection and the inauguration of the new covenant. That is evident from the account in the 21st chapter of Acts, where the apostles instructed Paul to ceremonially cleanse himself and appear in the temple in order to quell the rumors that he had been preaching an apostasy from Moses.
And even though the first century Christians were said to have approached “the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem,” earthly Jerusalem evidently remained the unofficial headquarters for the apostles up until the disgusting thing appeared. In that respect earthly Jerusalem typifies the Watchtower Society, which has similarly served as a tutor leading to Christ and as a rallying point for those who are destined to become part of the New Jerusalem. But just as Paul had to remind the Hebrew Christians of earthly Jerusalem’s impermanence, so too, Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially those who are anointed, should consider the import of the apostles words at Hebrews 13:14 – “for we do not have here a city that continues, but we are earnestly seeking the one to come.”
“YOU BRAGGARTS, YOU RULERS OF THIS PEOPLE WHO ARE IN JERUSALEM”
The 28th chapter of Isaiah contains perhaps the most profound, yet least understood revelations of the future judgments of Jehovah in all of the prophetic Scriptures. Although cast in the primitive setting of God’s judgments against Israel and Jerusalem, the prophecy actually casts light directly upon the spiritual condition of the leadership of God’s spiritual nation at the very time of Christ’s stealth-like inspection. How so?
First, in the open verses of the 28th chapter of Isaiah the land of Ephraim is described as “the fading blossom of its decoration of beauty.” Elsewhere in prophecy, namely Daniel, the spiritual domain of Christianity is described as “the land of the Decoration.” A “fading blossom,” then, is actually a fitting designation for the Watchtower Society.
Sadly, the Society is now like a wilted flower compared to its glory in decades past. For example, gone are the days when Jehovah’s Witnesses were in the public eye because of their staunch refusal to salute the flag or their refusal to be pressured to take up arms. Gone, too, are the days when Bethel’s lawyers argued for the constitutional rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses before the Supreme Court. Now the Watchtower Society is more likely to be in the news because of some sort of internal scandal or the criminal behavior of its members. And Bethel’s lawyers are more apt to be arguing against the legal case of sexually abused plaintiffs in an effort to protect the Society’s substantial assets.
Jehovah’s Witnesses should take note of the fact that God, through Jeremiah, commanded the Jews to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar – that is, if they wanted to continue living. They were not to fight, but were to fall away to the Chaldeans. God’s instructions were as follows: “Here I am putting before you people the way of life and the way of death. The one sitting still in this city will die by the sword and by the famine and by the pestilence; but the one who is going out and who actually falls away to the Chaldeans who are laying siege against you will keep living, and his soul will certainly come to be his as a spoil.” – Jeremiah 21:8-9
Now the point: In contrast with God’s instructions at Jeremiah 21:8-9, consider what Isaiah 28:5-6 says: “In that day Jehovah of armies will become as a crown of decoration and as a garland of beauty to the ones remaining over of his people, and as a spirit of justice to the one sitting in the judgment, and as mightiness to those turning away the battle from the gate.”
Reasoning on the verses above, it becomes apparent that Isaiah’s prophecy does not strictly apply to the Assyrian siege of Israel or the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. That is evident by reason of the fact that God did not become a “crown of decoration” to the rebellious Jews who might have tried to resist the invaders and turn “away the battle from the gate.” Furthermore, the prophecy could not apply to modern Christendom; unless Bethel is willing to concede that “the ones remaining over of his people” are to be the survivors of Christendom’s future destruction.
Not only that, but the denunciation is directed specifically against both Ephraim and the “rulers of this people who are in Jerusalem.” As Jehovah’s Witnesses are aware, Israel and Jerusalem were destroyed on separate occasions, yet the prophecy speaks as if Israel and Jerusalem were destroyed at the same time. That is because the prophecy has a broader application to Jehovah’s spiritual nation.
Also noteworthy, the rulers of Jerusalem did not merely claim to have authority over God’s people, they actually had God-given authority conferred upon them by means of the Law, as in the case of the officiating priests, and by virtue of God’s covenant with David for an everlasting kingdom, in the case of the kings and princes. So, in that respect Jerusalem could hardly typify the hundreds of different sects of Christendom and their ruling clergy who falsely claim to be Christian.
“Braggarts” is an apt description of the spirit of the Bethel establishment, who claim to have already passed the test of loyalty. (See March, 1st, 2004, issue of the Watchtower) In fact, the Governing Body boasts of having already been appointed over not just the domestics, to feed them at the proper time, but over all of the master’s kingdom belongings – a reward that is only to be given when Christ finally settles accounts with all of his slaves. Could anything be more presumptuous than boasting of having already attained the ultimate reward?
Even those who are depicted as having God’s favor are nevertheless also in a spiritually drunken state, as Isaiah 28:7-8 states: “And these also—because of wine they have gone astray and because of intoxicating liquor they have wandered about. Priest and prophet—they have gone astray because of intoxicating liquor, they have become confused as a result of the wine, they have wandered about as a result of the intoxicating liquor; they have gone astray in their seeing, they have reeled as to decision. For the tables themselves have all become full of filthy vomit—there is no place without it.”
As the Watchtower Society is well aware, the verses above pertain to spiritual drunkenness and not literal intoxication. However, is it possible that the modern “priest and prophet” class of Jehovah “have gone astray because of intoxicating liquor”? Well, consider a few more examples of how the leadership of the organization “have become confused.” Take for instance the fact that the Watchtower insists that Jehovah’s Witnesses are presently living the fulfillment of the prophecies that foretell of the creation of what is called a “spiritual paradise.” According to what is written at Isaiah 35:8-9, though, not one foolish or animalistic person will be found in the company of Jehovah’s blessed people. Does that describe the condition of Jehovah’s Witnesses presently? No, it does not. By the Society’s own admission tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped every year for practicing all manner of immorality and wickedness. Many more live double lives and are never found out. Worse, thousands of children of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been victimized by rapacious sexual predators, some of them even serving as trusted elders and ministerial servants. The Watchtower’s legal department recently has even admitted to paying out millions of dollars of funds donated to the advancement of the kingdom to silence abuse victims with legally binding gag orders. Even though Bethel is well aware of these facts they continue to teach the lie that the organization is a verdant spiritual paradise. It is as if their reasoning faculties have been impaired by too much organizational wine! “They have reeled as to decision.” Their spiritual tables have indeed “become full of filthy vomit.”
As another example of the vomitous offerings of Bethel’s spiritual inebriates, consider what the Society teaches regarding the conclusion of the system of things. In the 13th chapter of Matthew Jesus explained the parable of the wheat and the weeds and likened the harvest to a conclusion of a system of things, during which time the angels are given the command to “collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness,” and then pitch them into the fiery furnace. According to the Society the harvest commenced shortly after 1914. The angels have supposedly harvested the wheat class out of Christendom. But since Jesus’ explanation indicates that the angels first remove out from Christ’s “kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons doing lawlessness,” the Society’s interpretation simply cannot be true. Just as the Society is not really a spiritual paradise, so too, no sober person would dare claim that the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is devoid of stumbling blocks and persons doing lawlessness. Over the years many tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been tripped up by Bethel’s numerous stumbling blocks, such as the 1975 debacle and the Society’s NGO affair more recently. Clearly, the harvest has not begun yet, but when the angels have been dispatched to root the weeds out from Christ’s kingdom the drunkards of Ephraim are going to be roused from their spiritual stupor by the rudest of awakenings.
Fittingly, the 28th chapter of Isaiah depicts the leaders of God’s people as having “concluded a covenant with Death.” True to God’s word the Governing Body actually imagines that the coming tribulation that will desolate “Jerusalem” will not affect them at all. Hence at Isaiah 28:15,18-19 Jehovah addresses the braggarts, saying: “Because you men have said: ‘We have concluded a covenant with Death; and with Sheol we have effected a vision; the overflowing flash flood, in case it should pass through, will not come to us, for we have made a lie our refuge and in falsehood we have concealed ourselves…’ therefore… your covenant with Death will certainly be dissolved, and that vision of yours with Sheol will not stand. The overflowing flash flood, when it passes through—you must also become for it a trampling place. As often as it passes through, it will take you men away, because morning by morning it will pass through, during the day and during the night; and it must become nothing but a reason for quaking to make others understand what has been heard.”
By means of their self-soothing interpretations of the prophetic visions regarding the presence of Christ supposedly having already become a reality and their having already gained the master’s irreversible approval, it is as if the Governing Body have attempted to strike a deal with Death and have taken refuge in a lie and have vainly tried to conceal themselves in falsehood. For a certainty, the entire 1914 doctrine and all that goes with it are what the apostle termed “artfully contrived false stories.”
Isaiah also presents another fitting illustration that vividly portrays the predicament in which the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses presently find themselves. As already stated, the Society has woven an elaborate covering for itself based upon the lie that Christ’s presence commenced in 1914. But as that date recedes further and further into the past, Bethel is forced to fabricate and publish more and more illogic to justify retaining the 1914 doctrine; such as the preposterous notion that the generation that will not pass away does not refer to the actual generation of persons who will be alive when the sign of Christ’s presence first becomes manifest.
Hence, it is as if they are trying to find their repose upon a couch that is too short for stretching out comfortably and vainly trying to cover themselves with a sheet that is too narrow, even as Isaiah 28:20 describes. The Bethel princes assigned the impossible task of trying to make the 1914 doctrine fit would do well not to scoff at God’s judgments, such as is contained in Isaiah: “For Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perazim, he will be agitated just as in the low plain near Gibeon, that he may do his deed—his deed is strange—and that he may work his work—his work is unusual. And now do not show yourselves scoffers, in order that your bands may not grow strong, for there is an extermination, even something decided upon, that I have heard of from the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, for all the land.”
Jehovah’s work is strange and unusual from the standpoint of his people, since it is against them that God acts. God’s strange deed will be manifest in the future as an onrushing storm in the form of a world-thrashing punisher, a genocidal tyrant of the nations, who will sweep away the Society’s covenant with Death and cause them to become “a trampling place”— just as Jesus said Jerusalem would be trampled on by the nations during the great tribulation.
It is evident the prophecy in the 28th chapter of Isaiah is intended to apply to spiritual Israel due to the fact that at the very time the flashflood of tyranny is unleashed against his people Jehovah lays down the messianic cornerstone for the salvation of those with faith. As verse 16 and 17 say: “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a stone, a tried stone, the precious corner of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will get panicky. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument; and the hail must sweep away the refuge of a lie, and the waters themselves will flood out the very place of concealment.’”
Again, obviously no such thing occurred during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem, nor in the first century. The Society, of course, claims that the messianic kingdom was established in heaven in 1914. But if that were actually the case why did not the accompanying symbolic tsunami sweep away Christendom’s supposed refuge of falsehood back then?
No, Jehovah’s coming downpour of indignation is directed at the teachers who hold authority over Jehovah’s people. That is evident due to the fact that Messiah’s kingdom “will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument.” This is in contrast to the “command upon command…and measuring line upon measuring line, here a little there a little” method of behavioral control the Society exercises over Jehovah’s Witnesses now. For example, take note of the pictures that proliferate in any issue of the Watchtower magazine. They depict smartly groomed models posing reading the Bible, praying, sitting in a kingdom hall or out in field service, and so forth; in short the Society is attempting to use behavioral modification techniques as a method to control Jehovah’s Witnesses. But shouldn’t the teachers of God’s word attempt to appeal to our reason and our love of God and neighbor as motivation, rather than using pictures to make suggestions that might work on a subconscious level? This is merely an example of how the teachers of God’s people use their own measuring lines and commands to control their subjects.
Truly, the instructors of God’s people treat them as infants, even as Isaiah 28:9 indicates, where it says: “Whom will one instruct in knowledge, and whom will one make understand what has been heard? Those who have been weaned from the milk, those moved away from the breasts?”
But as the letter of James forewarns, teachers will receive a heavier judgment, and according to Jesus’ words at Luke 12:47-48, even the faithful slave, who, through his own ignorance fails in his assignment, shall not escape the lash of the master’s whip.
So it is, that the coming storm will simply sweep away the Society’s 1914 refuge of a lie, it will flush out those who have concealed themselves in falsehood. But those who have accepted the love of God and who remain true under test will not panic when the organization is dissolved. Then Christ Jesus will take complete control of his kingdom. That is when the spiritual paradise will become a reality.
According to the illustration Isaiah recorded in the concluding span of verses of the 28th chapter, the divine purpose is accomplished through Jehovah’s ability to correct his wayward people using precise measures of punishment and discipline. Isaiah 28:26-29 reads: “And one corrects him according to what is right. His own God instructs him. For it is not with a threshing instrument that black cumin is given a treading; and upon cumin no wheel of a wagon is turned. For it is with a rod that black cumin is generally beaten out, and cumin with a staff. Is breadstuff itself generally crushed? For never does one incessantly keep treading it out. And he must set the roller of his wagon in motion, and his own steeds, but he will not crush it. This also is what has come forth from Jehovah of armies himself, who has been wonderful in counsel, who has done greatly in effectual working.”
It is understood that just as farmers use various methods to harvest and process different crops, so too, Jehovah knows how to apply just the right measure of discipline, in whatever situation, in order to correct his erring people. As the Scriptures say, Jehovah and Jesus discipline those whom they love. However, the Watchtower’s commentary on Isaiah states that the prophecy applies to individuals that leave Christendom. But that simply makes no sense. The context makes clear that the discipline is intended to correct the entire nation – at least those that survive the expression of Jehovah’s indignation.
What we are facing then, brothers, is the complete collapse of the Watchtower Society. Exactly how it will come about is unknowable, but one thing is clear: Large scale war and a financial crash would make it virtually impossible for the Society to carry on their printing operations. Not only that, under wartime conditions the U.S. and other so-called free nations will likely tumble into military dictatorships and Jehovah’s Witnesses may well find themselves to be declared enemies of the state without any legal recourse.
But it is in that setting that the prophecies have foretold there will be greatest outpouring of spirit ever. Consider the import of Isaiah 32:14-19, which reads: “For the dwelling tower itself has been forsaken, the very hubbub of the city has been abandoned; Ophel and the watchtower themselves have become bare fields, for time indefinite the exultation of zebras, the pasture of droves; until upon us the spirit is poured out from on high, and the wilderness will have become an orchard, and the orchard itself is accounted as a real forest.”
The abandoned city on the hill – Ophel – is otherwise known as Jerusalem. But the context of the prophecy has to do with Messiah’s parousia. That is made plain in the 1st verse, which foretells of the coming king of righteousness along with his princes. (The princes are the sons of the kingdom, not elders as is presently taught) The prophecy harmonizes with the events of Christ’s presence regarding the complete desolation of “Jerusalem.” The Society, of course, teaches that the king began ruling in 1914 and the city that is due to become abased is Christendom. However, a sober reading of the prophecy reveals that “the spirit is poured out from on high” only after the city on the hill goes down.
Jehovah’s Witnesses can be grateful to have benefited from the Watchtower’s basic Bible education program, and to the extent that we individually have taken responsibility for our own spirituality and have applied what we have learned, we have been empowered to have a meaningful personal relationship with Jehovah and his son, Jesus. Jehovah’s Witnesses should also appreciate that the Watchtower has provided them with the means and direction to have a successful public ministry. But the time is coming, soon, when, as the apostle Peter said, Jehovah himself will finish your training.
To be sure, the times ahead will present difficult tests. Jehovah’s discipline is never pleasant at the time it is administered; but should we be required to abandon the Society and forsake our symbolic dwelling tower, we must not view that as an act of disloyalty, but rather, as an act of faith. Indeed, by our faith and endurance and true insight into God’s prophetic word, we may have the full assurance of our hope and ultimately attain to true salvation – after the Watchtower.