Continuation of Watchtower Review – Part Two
8) On one occasion, Jesus prayed: “Father, glorify your name.” Jehovah himself answered that prayer with a thunderous voice from heaven, promising that he would glorify his name. (John 12:28) Throughout his ministry, Jesus glorified his Father’s name. (John 17:26) So it is reasonable to expect that true Christians would be proud to use God’s name and to make it known to others.
This is an important point. God glorifies His own name. Jesus seeks to do the same. Yes, it is reasonable that any sort of Christian ministry would involve the use of God’s name too, but ultimately Jehovah glorifies His own name. That is why it says in many places throughout prophecy: “And they will have to know that I am Jehovah.” That includes those who think they know.
9) In the first century C.E., shortly after the Christian congregation was established, Jehovah “turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14) Those first-century Christians were proud to use God’s name and to make it known to others. They used the divine name prominently in their ministry and in their writings. They proved themselves to be a people for God’s name. —Acts 2:14, 21.
There is very little available evidence that the early Christians used YHWH. That is because later copyists must have removed all traces of it in the New Testament, just as modern translators have removed it from the entire Bible. But it is reasonable to assume that the original Christians did use God’s personal name based upon the fact that the apostles cited the prophecy in Amos and applied it to non-Jewish disciples of Christ.
Prior to the Christian era, YHWH was exclusively associated with the Israelite nation and the city of Jerusalem especially, which was the place where God caused his name to reside.
10) Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a people for Jehovah’s name? Consider the evidence. Today many religious leaders have done everything in their power to conceal the fact that God has a personal name. They have removed it from their Bible translations and, in some cases, have banned the use of that name in their religious services. Can anyone deny that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones who give Jehovah’s name the respect and honor it deserves? We are making God’s personal name more widely known than any other religious group! In that regard, we are doing our very best to live up to our name, Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Isa. 43:10-12) We have produced over 240 million copies of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, which uses Jehovah’s name in places where it has been omitted by other Bible translators. And we produce Bible-based publications that promote Jehovah’s name in more than 1,000 languages!
What the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has done in terms of publishing and distributing Bibles and Bible-based literature is very impressive. Jesus foretold that the good news will be preached throughout the world. There is every reason to believe that the Watchtower has been instrumental in accomplishing that work.
And it is true, no other religious group has made God’s name known in as many languages as have Jehovah’s Witnesses. The downside of being exclusively associated with the divine name is that there is a heavy burden of responsibility that comes with it. The ancient Jews found out the hard way what happens when God’s sacred name is profaned. They presumed that because they were the keepers of the temple that Jehovah would never punish them for the disrespect they showed Him. How wrong they were!
Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially the leadership, are in a similar situation. No other religion has profaned the name of God like the Watchtower has. It doesn’t matter what kind of spin the Watchtower puts on it. The fact is, it has been widely publicized that the Watchtower has a huge pedophile problem. Perhaps Jehovah would not destroy the Watchtower if they made things right with the thousands of victims of child abuse. Jehovah is merciful and always ready to forgive. Jesus said that every blasphemy against himself and God can be forgiven.
But we all know the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is far too arrogant to ever issue a public apology and beg for God to pardon their sin. To date, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has never acknowledged guilt or error in any matter. That does not bode well for them because Jehovah will not allow his name to be profaned.
The paragraph above cited the account in Acts where the apostles applied the prophecy in Amos about God having a people for His name. Examining the prophecy in the ninth chapter of Amos is most instructive. It reveals that the first century was just a minor fulfillment. The prophecy really applies to when the Kingdom of Christ comes to power.
God refers to the booth of David that is fallen. The booth or house of David is a reference to the dynasty of Judean kings that ruled until Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. That is when the booth of David fell. But David’s royal lineage continued on even though no ancestor of David ever again sat upon a throne in Israel.
Both of Jesus’ parents were descendants of David. That is why when an angel appeared in a dream he addressed Joseph as the son of David. When Gabriel appeared to Mary he also spoke of the kingdom of David, saying to the blessed virgin: “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as King over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to his Kingdom.” — Luke 1:32-33
As Gabriel indicated, because of his royal heritage Jesus inherited the legal right to the fallen throne of David. No doubt the Jews were aware of the messianic prophecies and that is why his disciples were expecting Jesus to become king in some capacity. But as Jesus told Pilate, my kingdom is no part of this world.
Because Jesus was born again and begotten as a spirit Son of God his entitlement to the earthly throne of David was transferred to heaven after he was resurrected and returned to heaven. When the first disciples were anointed they were said to be transferred into the Kingdom over which Christ ruled as King. (See Colossians 1:13) Jesus became King over the spiritual Israel of God. That is why Revelation depicts the Lamb standing upon Mount Zion—Zion being where David’s throne and Solomon’s temple were located.
Jerusalem was not only the location of the original throne of David the rebuilt city was also the birthplace of Christianity. Up until the Roman army obliterated the city and temple Jerusalem was the unofficial headquarters of what the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to as the governing body—the apostles and other older men.
In the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy of Amos it is the congregation of Christ, the spiritual kingdom, that is destined to fall. The central feature of Jesus’ own extensive prophecy concerning the conclusion of the system focuses on the desolation of the city of Jerusalem and the holy place, which Jesus said would be trampled upon by the nations during a time of great tribulation.
The “Jerusalem” that is destined to be trampled on by the nations can only be the congregation over which Jesus rules as King. It is this congregation that is the booth of David that has fallen. That is made certain by the fact that Jehovah speaks in the present moment—still in our future—when He refers to the rebuilding of the ancient booth of David, which at the time Amos recorded God’s words had not even fallen but in the prophecy is said to have occurred “in the days of long ago.”
“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, I will repair the breaches, and I will restore its ruins; I will rebuild it as in the days of long ago.” — Amos 9:11
Prophecies, such as Zechariah, which was written after Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon connect the rebuilding of its ruins to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In the ninth chapter of Amos the verses preceding indicate that the crash of the house of David accomplishes a sifting work, similar to what Jesus said concerning the harvest of the wheat from the weeds, which Jesus indicated would remove from his Kingdom all stumbling blocks and all lawless persons. “For look! I am giving the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, just as one shakes a sieve, and not a pebble falls to the ground. They will die by the sword, all the sinners of my people, those who are saying, ‘The calamity will not come near us or reach us.”’
To be clear, the house of Israel destined to be shaken like a sieve is the “Israel” over which Christ rules as King. And the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly assumes that no calamity will touch them. The booth of David will rise up when the sons of God are revealed and shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of Jehovah.
To be continued…