This post is part two of a review of the Watchtower’s article on spiritual paradise. (Click here for part one)

Spiritual paradise once really existed, at least for a short while. It existed in the literal paradise called the Garden of Eden. There were only two people who lived in the paradise park. It was a spiritual paradise because the two humans who lived there had direct access to God. It was said that Jehovah used to stroll through the garden during the breezy part of the day and he and Adam would have a chat. There was no evil. No danger of any kind, at least not until an angel decided to deceive Adam’s wife into disobeying God.

The next time God came through the garden Adam was hiding in the shrubbery. He couldn’t face God. And just like that, spiritual paradise came to an abrupt end. The last thing Jehovah said to the man is recorded at Genesis 3:17-19: “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Jehovah’s long-range purpose is to restore mankind to the spiritual relationship that briefly existed between the original humans and himself. The ransom sacrifice and resurrection of Christ have laid the legal groundwork for the redemption of our sinful, dying race. However, the restoration project will not commence until Christ returns. Jesus spoke of the restoration at Mathew 19:28, where he said to his apostles: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.”

Some translations use the term “regeneration” rather than “re-creation.” Either term is acceptable. Since Adam and Eve were only driven out of Eden after the spiritual relationship with God was ruined, the re-generation must begin with the spiritual. Again, when does this restoration take place? When the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne. This presents a problem in the form of a contradiction in the Watchtower’s eschatology since the Watchtower now claims that the Son of man has not yet sat down upon his glorious throne.

Why then does the Watchtower claim that spiritual paradise has already been restored? It has to do with the influence of Satan, the original disrupter of spiritual paradise. Just as Jehovah did not intervene to prevent the serpent from lyingly misrepresenting God, so too, Jehovah allows for an operation of Satan to influence Christians during the period immediately preceding the coming of the Son of man to sit down upon his glorious throne. The operation of Satan includes “every powerful work and lying signs and wonders and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved.” — 2 Thess. 2:9-10

Now let us consider some of the features of Satan’s lying signs and wonders that Jehovah’s Witnesses have embraced as the truth. Returning to the article under review, the third paragraph again cites the prophecy of Isaiah as a description of spiritual paradise and correctly explains that the re-patriated Jews fulfilled the restoration prophecy in an illustrative way.  The next paragraph states:

A second fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy began in 1919 C.E. when Jehovah’s modern-day worshippers were set free from captivity to Babylon the Great. Then the spiritual paradise started to take shape throughout the earth. Zealous Kingdom proclaimers formed many congregations and produced spiritual fruitage. Men and women who once exhibited violent, animalistic tendencies “put on the new personality that was created according to God’s will.” (Eph. 4:24) Of course, many of the blessings that Isaiah described will be fulfilled literally in the future new world. But even now there are rich benefits that we are enjoying. Let us see how this spiritual paradise affects us and why we should never leave it.

First, there is no sensible reason to believe the prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1919. When the Babylonian armies conquered Judah, destroyed Jerusalem, and dragged the survivors off to far away Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was acting as Jehovah’s executioner. The Jews’ captivity in Babylon for 70 years was punishment for all of their sins and offenses against the God with whom they were in a binding covenant.

According to the Watchtower, Christians were taken captive by Babylon the Great several centuries after Christ when Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion of the pagan Roman Empire. While it is undoubtedly true that Constantine’s brilliant ploy brought Christianity and the Bible itself under the control of Satan’s beastly empire, there is no reason to suppose that it was punishment from God. Besides, some who were taken captive to Babylon were alive when Cyrus released the Jews and allowed them to return and rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. That hardly compares to the 17 centuries of Christendom’s domination.

Why 1919, you ask? Were not the International Bible Students already recognized as a separate and distinct sect before 1919, being set apart from the various church denominations to which most had belonged? Since the Watchtower no longer teaches that the Bible Students went into captivity to Babylon the Great during the First World War, why ought we believe that Jehovah’s modern-day worshippers were set free from spiritual captivity in 1919?

The truth is, the eruption of war in 1914 along with the prosecution of Watchtower officials, followed by the global pandemic known as the Spanish Flu, were all aspects of the lying signs and wonders Satan orchestrated to impose a deceptive influence designed to create a false kingdom and parousia—including a faux spiritual paradise.

Being a zealous Kingdom proclaimer is not proof of a spiritual paradise. Were not the first-century Christians zealous preachers and teachers? They surely were. Yet, there is no mention by any of the apostles that the congregation was a spiritual paradise.

Likewise, some of those original Christians made drastic personality changes, especially the non-Jewish converts. Yet, not all. Some still exhibited “animalistic tendencies.” Keep in mind many animals use various forms of camouflage and deception to elude or catch their prey. For example, some of the overseers of the Corinthian congregation were not even genuine Christians. They were devious phonies who only pretended to be zealous Kingdom proclaimers. The inspired apostle revealed that those whom he sarcastically dubbed as “superfine apostles” were in reality agents of Satan who cunningly pretended to be ministers of righteousness to gain the trust of naive Christians.

Paul expressed his deep concern for the spiritual welfare of the Corinthians brothers and sisters who were under the influence of these wicked men.

It is most interesting that Paul evoked the Genesis account of the Devil deceiving Mother Eve in spiritual paradise when writing to the Corinthians regarding the spiritual danger that was posed by the deceivers in their midst: But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ. For as it is, if someone comes and preaches a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you receive a spirit other than what you received, or good news other than what you accepted, you easily put up with him. For I consider that I have not proved inferior to your superfine apostles in a single thing.” — 2 Corinthians 11:3-5

We should not suppose that Satan the Devil no longer disguises himself as an angel of light or that his modern ministers cannot transform themselves into zealous Kingdom proclaimers. On the contrary, the letter of Jude warns us that before the coming of Christ, men will similarly infiltrate God’s people just as had the superfine apostles in Paul’s day. Jude warned us that these wicked men are elders, shepherds who feed themselves. And they feast together with unsuspecting Christians, lurking like rocks below the water. Of these Jude wrote: “These are the ones who cause divisions, animalistic men, not having spirituality.”

Since these animalistic men devoid of spirituality are appointed elders standing shoulder to shoulder with those who boast of being pure worshippers, how is it that the Watchtower claims that the residents of spiritual paradise have no animalistic tendencies? Is it a ploy of devious men to characterize animalistic characteristics as violent, as if violence was the only type of animalistic behavior? 

Is it not rather the case that all of the evidence points to the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses are under the deceptive influence of men who have disguised themselves as spiritual Jews and apostles and have been deluded into believing that the Devil cannot exert any influence over those in spiritual paradise? How absolutely cunning of the Deceiver!

End of part two.

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