Commentary on the Daily Text of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Sunday, December 10
Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, his apostles asked the above. Jesus’ answer showed that it was not the time for them to know when God’s Kingdom would start ruling. He told his disciples to focus on the important witnessing work that they needed to do. (Acts 1:7, 8) Nevertheless, Jesus taught his followers to look forward to the coming of God’s Kingdom. So Christians since the days of the apostles have been praying for it to come. When the time approached for God’s Kingdom in the hands of Jesus to start ruling from heaven, Jehovah helped his people to understand the timing of events. In 1876, an article written by Charles Taze Russell was published in the magazine Bible Examiner. That article, “Gentile Times: When Do They End?,” pointed to 1914 as a significant year. The article linked the “seven times” of Daniel’s prophecy with “the appointed times of the nations” spoken of by Jesus.
I know I have covered this ground many times before and I hate to repeat myself; but I am compelled to because the Watchtower keeps repeating the same lies over and over and over again.
When Charles Russell and a small group of Christians began meeting regularly to study the Bible they were intent on determining if what the churches taught was true. And very quickly they realized that the underlying doctrinal foundation of Christendom was a fraud.
But what is amazing, is that, even as the Bible Students were coming to realize the elementary things, that Jehovah was not a trinity, that the soul dies, that hell is the grave, etc., they also believed that Christ’s second coming had already taken place. And although they were just beginning to understand the basic teachings of the Bible, they became convinced that they understood everything, even the deep and weighty things of prophecy. Although they were diligent in studying to discover the simple doctrine, the Bible Students apparently accepted unquestioningly the totally unfounded notion of an invisible parousia. And at the time Russell also taught that the Kingdom of God had began ruling in 1878. According to the chronology borrowed from the Adventists, the so-called Gentile times were due to expire in 1914, which would bring about the war of Armageddon.
Obviously, the world didn’t end in 1914. What Christ said to his inquiring apostles is also true in Russell’s case: “It does not belong to you to know the times or seasons that the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.”
What is ironic, though, Russell was actually right about the meaning of the end of the appointed times of the nations. How so? Although there is no scriptural justification for the Watchtower’s teaching that the appointed times of the nations began in 607 B.C.E., Russell was right as regards the expiration of the appointed times of the nations would result in the utter destruction of the present system. For example, Ezekiel 30:2-3 says regarding the fall of Egypt: “Howl, you people, ‘Alas for the day!’ for a day is near, yes, a day belonging to Jehovah is near. A day of clouds, an appointed time of nations it will prove to be.”
As regards the present beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it was long after 1914 that the Watchtower jiggered things around. They moved the beginning of the invisible presence from 1874 to 1914, and reset the Kingdom coming to power from 1878 to 1914. Also, the beginning of the time of the end was moved up from 1799 to 1914. However, the chronology attached to the appointed times was retained. The end of the Gentile times in 1914 has merely been redefined into virtual meaninglessness. Instead of the end of nations 1914 marked the start of the Great War in Europe, from which the nations have long since recovered and prospered in ways that were unimaginable just a generation ago.
Now the end of the appointed times of the nations does not mean that the nations under Satan’s domination would not continue to tyrannize mankind, it merely means that the nations could not dominate that which is represented by Jerusalem.
But the Watchtower contradicts its own implied definition of what the fulfillment of the appointed times of the nations mean. Following are just a couple is examples.
On the one hand it is insightful on the part of the Watchtower to recognize that the trampling of Jerusalem by the nations has to do with their opposition to Christ’s heavenly kingdom. And because Christ is far above the reach of the nations on earth their trampling of “Jerusalem” is expressed by their persecution of Jesus’ followers.
It is important to note that when Jesus spoke of the desolation of the holy place and Jerusalem by a disgusting thing, which would in reality commence the appointed times of the nations, he specifically referred the reader to the prophecy of Daniel and exhorted us to use discernment. Likely Jesus had in mind the 8th chapter of Daniel, the 13th verse specifically foretells the trampling of the holy place, saying: “How long will the vision of the constant feature and of the transgression causing desolation continue, to make both the holy place and the army things to trample on?”
According to the Watchtower the holy place associated with Christ’s congregation was trampled on during the Second World War. Besides the sheer absurdity of supposing that a few trifling changes to the charter of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1944 brought the holy place into its right condition, the mere fact that the Watchtower teaches that their supposed holy place was trampled upon and made desolate after the appointed times for the nations to trample “Jerusalem” ended, contradicts 1914 as the end of the appointed times.
The same folly is duplicated in the Watchtower’s explanation of the 11th chapter of Revelation. There the trampling of the holy place by the nations is said to span 42 months. However, according to the Watchtower that was fulfilled back during WWI —again, after the appointed times for the nations to trample God’s holy place had supposedly expired.
Clearly, contrary to their boast, it does not belong to the Watchtower to obtain the knowledge of times and seasons. On the contrary, because of the Watchtower’s fraud and deceit it has brought about the situation reminiscent of the Jews prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, to whom Jesus said: “You did not discern the time of your being inspected.”