This is an edited repost of an article originally published in June 2011
Jehovah God has a purpose. That is a fundamental truth expressed in Scripture. God is not aimless, haphazard, or uninterested in the goings-on of his wayward creation down here, as some may suppose. On the other hand, neither does he choose to control every detail and facet of life as some religionists believe. To be sure, though, God’s purpose is to set up a kingdom over mankind and destroy the present ruling elements over the world, which are certain to be weighed on the balances and found wanting.
Back at the beginning of the world, on the very day the original humans defected to follow the advice of a God-slandering snake, Jehovah issued the original prophecy, speaking to the original serpent, saying to it: “Because you have done this thing, you are the cursed one out of all the domestic animals and out of all the wild beasts of the field. Upon your belly you will go and dust is what you will eat all the days of your life. And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”.
Because, in their naivete, Adam and Eve apparently imagined that the serpent could actually speak, Jehovah addressed himself to the serpent as if it were the actual source of the misleading statements. Not until many centuries later with the revelation of the foretold primary seed of the woman, Christ Jesus, would the truth be revealed; namely, that the serpent was merely a front for an angel gone bad, who became the original liar and slanderer of Jehovah. But in the concise, albeit cryptic prevision, Jehovah set into motion his dynamic purpose to produce a serpent-stomping, victorious seed.
Several centuries after the great Deluge drowned the nephilic seed of the serpent and forced the rebel angels to retreat into the invisible realm, Jehovah established a covenant with Abraham and revealed that all nations would be blessed through the seed of Abraham, through the line of Isaac and Jacob, also known as Israel. As the descendants of Abraham became populous, after about 500 years God formed the 12 tribes of Israel into a nation and established his covenant with them; giving them his law and setting up an organization of priests. In time the Israelites requested a human king to rule over them, and so God selected David, the son of Jesse and established a covenant with him, signifying that the Christ would be a descendant of David and sit upon Jehovah’s throne on Mount Zion.
Through the prophets of Israel, many more details of the coming Messiah were revealed.
Concerning him Isaiah confirmed that the Messiah would indeed come through the line of Jesse and that he would judge the nations, save the meek and lowly and kill off entirely the earthly offspring of the Serpent: “And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jesse; and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah.” — Isaiah 11:1-2.
But the same prophecies in Isaiah that foretell the coming of the twig from the stump of Jesse also decreed that the kingdom of David was going to be cut down and the seat of the kingdom, Jerusalem, would be plowed up as a mere field. That is because the enemy seed corrupted Jehovah’s nation. So, how could God fulfill his covenant to produce a kingly messiah through Judah and the line of David? Well, God corrected and restored his people to the homeland and the linage of David stayed intact. But the prophecy considered here pertains to Messiah’s second coming. Going on the prophecy states:
“And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. And he must strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the spirit of his lips he will put the wicked one to death. And righteousness must prove to be the belt of his hips, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” – Isaiah 11:1-5
The cobra is one of the most venomous and aggressive reptiles known to man. We do not know, but it may well have been a cobra that Satan used to speak to Eve in Eden. In any case, Isaiah goes on to foretell that under the reign of the Messiah the blessed ones of Jehovah will enjoy complete peace and security, such as once existed in Eden: “And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”
God’s original purpose for man and woman was for them to have in loving subjection all the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, and every animal upon the earth. But because Adam and Eve subjected themselves to Satan instead ever since then the world of humankind has taken on an animalistic character. Instead of having in subjection the animal kingdom, men have dominated their fellowmen. The cunning dominate the innocent. The aggressive dominate the passive. The wealthy dominate the poor. The strong dominate the weak. Empires dominate nations, and on and on it goes. So, according to Isaiah’s prophecy, the Messiah’s rule will establish Edenic tranquility among those who accept his reproof.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses realize, the prophecy really speaks of a changed condition among people, not animals. The aggressive, cunning, and hurtful tendencies of sinful men and women will be tamed. No one will harm another person; not physically, mentally, or emotionally. It will be an entirely new earthly system of things – nothing short of a new world. How wonderful that will be!
As strange as it may seem to the uninformed, though, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe that this new world of peace and absolute security has already come into existence in the form of the New World Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Incidentally, the condition foretold in Isaiah has been termed by the Watchtower Society as “spiritual paradise,” although that exact phrase does not appear in the Scriptures.) But the so-called spiritual paradise envisioned in prophecy is not brought about by mere doctrinal uniformity, such as exists among Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.
Spiritual paradise will be characterized by a complete absence of evil, such as existed for a fleeting moment in Eden. Needless to say, no such blissful condition exists presently among Jehovah’s Witnesses; neither did it exist among the original Christians.
But what is the significance of the fact that the twig of the stump of Jesse (Christ), who will bring about this blessed condition, will do so in the aftermath of the destruction of Israel? Surely, no such paradisiacal society came into existence when the impoverished Jewish exiles returned to Palestine from Babylon, which was before even the twig of the stump of Jesse sprouted! Hold that thought…
AGAINST AN APOSTATE NATION I SHALL SEND HIM
Reverting to the 10th chapter of Isaiah, there God declares his determination to set matters straight with his apostate nation. After issuing a chilling “woe to those enacting harmful regulations,” God announces the means through which His denunciation shall be executed, saying: “Aha, the Assyrian, the rod for my anger, and the stick that is in their hand for my denunciation! Against an apostate nation I shall send him, and against the people of my fury I shall issue a command to him, to take much spoil and to take much plunder and to make it a trampling place like the clay of the streets.”
The “apostate nation” and the people of God’s fury were originally the Israelites. In 740 B.C.E. the Assyrians plundered the Israelite capital, Samaria, and led off into exile the Northern, 10-tribe kingdom of Israel. Emboldened by his conquest of Samaria, about eight years later the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, demanded that the Judean king, Hezekiah, also surrender to him. Isaiah attributed these words to the king of Assyria before ever he initiated his campaign against Israel: “Is not Samaria just like Damascus? Whenever my hand has reached the kingdoms of the valueless god whose graven images are more than those at Jerusalem and at Samaria, will it not be that just as I shall have done to Samaria and to her valueless gods, even so I shall do to Jerusalem and to her idols?’”
(In comparing the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses to nations of the world in terms of population, with 8,000,000 “publishers” the Watchtower ranks about 100. Interestingly, according to the worldmeter website, as of 2020 the modern state of Israel has a similar population, with about 8.6 million inhabitants.).
The Assyrian made a fatal mistake in assuming that Jehovah was a mere valueless, idol god. It was on that occasion that Jehovah dispatched an angel, who slew 185,000 Assyrian troops in one night; thus thwarting the conquest of Jerusalem. But the fact of the matter is, Jerusalem too had succumbed to idolatry. There were only a few faithful Judean kings – Hezekiah being one of them – who made significant reforms and who were faithful to the God of the covenant. But in that context, Jehovah stated: “And it must occur that when Jehovah terminates all his work in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, I shall make an accounting for the fruitage of the insolence of the heart of the king of Assyria and for the self-importance of his loftiness of eyes.”
As all Bible students surely know, God eventually had Jerusalem destroyed as well by the Babylonians. But why then does God state that all his work in connection with Mount Zion and Jerusalem is terminated when the insolent Assyrian is called to account? Not only that, but the prophecy in the 10th chapter of Isaiah speaks about only the remnant of Jerusalem being saved. These questions are all the more relevant when the 28th chapter of Isaiah is considered. For example, in verse 21 God refers to his strange deed and his work in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem by the nations. Clearly, then, God’s work in connection with Jerusalem did not end with the Assyrian defeat.
Why then does Isaiah 10:12 speak of the termination of all of God’s work in connection with Mount Zion and Jerusalem? Worded differently, why did God prevent the Assyrian from taking Jerusalem only to later sanction the Chaldeans to do so?
The answer is, the conquest of Israel and the salvation of Jerusalem and the remnant of Israel depicted in the 10th chapter of Isaiah is really a pattern for the Christian Israel of God at the coming of Christ. That ought to be apparent due to the fact, that, as mentioned above, the Messiah comes for judgment in the context of Israel’s downfall.
Interestingly too, Isaiah 9:6 introduces the coming Messiah as the Mighty God and Prince of Peace, whereas Isaiah 10:21 states: “A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.”
“The Mighty God” in the context of this passage of prophecy is a prophetic reference to Christ at his second coming. The “mere remnant of Jacob” that returns to him are the so-called anointed remnant – those spiritual Jews remaining on earth after the first resurrection begins, who, together, are the true seed of Abraham.
However, a return to Christ, the Mighty God, by Christians must of necessity mean that they have left off following him. And for an anointed Christian to cease from following Christ would be tantamount to apostasy. Keep in mind that the reason for God’s denunciation in the first place is because his nation has become apostate. But God’s purpose in connection with his apostate nation will ultimately be successful due to the fact that a remnant will be saved. In other words, God’s purpose to establish a world-ruling kingdom composed of formerly sinful humans – transformed by Christ’s mediation and reproof on their behalf – is accomplished by means of the destruction of his earthly organization and the regathering of a chastened remnant into heavenly Zion. No true understanding of prophecy is possible without recognizing that vital fact.
Paul alluded to this truth of God’s purpose when he prophetically stated: “Why, do you not know what the Scripture says in connection with Elijah, as he pleads with God against Israel? ‘Jehovah, they have killed your prophets, they have dug up your altars, and I alone am left, and they are looking for my soul.’ Yet, what does the divine pronouncement say to him? ‘I have left seven thousand men over for myself, men who have not bent the knee to Baal.’ In this way, therefore, at the present season also a remnant has turned up according to a choosing due to undeserved kindness.”
Although Paul was ostensibly speaking with reference to the relatively small number of Israel who accepted Christ in the first century, the 11th chapter of Revelation similarly alludes to a return of “Elijah” and the 7,000 as an immediate prelude to Armageddon.
Not only that, but the prophecy of Malachi addresses itself to the preparatory work of Elijah prior to the end of the system. “Look! I am sending to you people Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers; in order that I may not come and actually strike the earth with a devoting of it to destruction.”
If “Elijah” returns to turn the hearts of fathers and sons back to each other, is that not an indication that their hearts have been led astray from Jehovah himself? Surely, such is the case.
While it is readily recognized by Jehovah’s Witnesses that the churches of Christendom are apostate and have been for centuries due to their many worldly entanglements – among other things – the mere suggestion that the Watchtower Society could possibly be judged by Jehovah as being apostate is unthinkable. And yet the prophecy of Isaiah (and all other prophecies for that matter), which constitute the very judgments and judicial decisions of Jehovah for the final part of the days, clearly indicate that God’s purpose is accomplished through the destruction of “Israel” by the “Assyrian.”
God always holds the leaders more accountable than the led – or the misled, as the case may be. In the instance of ancient Israel, not only were the judges guilty of enacting harmful regulations that defrauded the lowly, God indicted the leaders for faithlessly making alliances with Israel’s enemies. The purpose of God’s disciplinary action, as stated at Isaiah 10:20, is so that “it will certainly occur in that day that those remaining over of Israel and those who have escaped of the house of Jacob will never again support themselves upon the one striking them, and they will certainly support themselves upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in trueness.”
In their commentary on this chapter of Isaiah the Watchtower Society asks:
“Will Jehovah’s faithful Witnesses perish along with Babylon the Great? No. God is not displeased with them. Pure worship will survive.”
Thus, Bethel’s Bible interpreters recognize the surviving remnant of “Israel” to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. But according to the Watchtower visionaries Israel represents Babylon the Great. If that were true, though, then how is it that the surviving remnant is part of “Israel” up until the time the modern Assyrian annihilates it? Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they will have gotten out of Babylon long before it is destroyed.
This inconsistency of interpretation and lack of understanding on the part of the leaders of God’s people prior to the coming of Christ is ironically a significant feature of the prophecy of Isaiah itself. For example, Isaiah 29:10-12 states: “For upon you men Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep; and he closes your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered even your heads, the visionaries. And for you men the vision of everything becomes like the words of the book that has been sealed up, which they give to someone knowing the writing, saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ and he has to say: ‘I am unable, for it is sealed up’; and the book must be given to someone that does not know writing, somebody saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ and he has to say: I do not know writing at all.’”
In terms of their understanding, the judgments of Jehovah yet to be unveiled the prophecy of Isaiah is a closed book to the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses – sealed up, as it were.
In modern times the Watchtower Society has ingratiated itself with the modern “Assyrian.” This has been manifested in the disgusting compromise the Watchtower Society made with the United Nations, in consigning Jehovah’s Witnesses to serve as mere couriers for UN, globalist propaganda between the years 1992-2001. (Strange Bedfellows) Even in the aftermath of that fiasco, Bethel has spawned numerous subsidiary NGOs for the purpose of influencing European policymakers and courts and the OSCE in particular; even joining with Scientology and other NGOs to petition for human rights issues with the OSCE.
Still, their NGO political partnership and pandering was just a hint of the mystery of lawlessness to come.
After the Jews were repurchased from Babylon the nation never returned to the rank idolatry that characterized the land of Israel and Judah during the era of the judges and then the prophets. Nevertheless, God brought about the desolation of Jerusalem yet again in the year 70 C.E. Why? Because the Jews refused to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
The stage is now set for the “nation” to be judged on the same basis. Will Jehovah’s Witnesses accept Christ when he comes again? This will be a challenge in view of the fact that the most sacred Watchtower teaching is that Christ has already come.
To be continued