God’s spirit animates everything. Every living thing —from angels in the highest heaven to animals, birds, fish and alas, yes, man. God’s spirit is the spark of life. Every seed ingeniously encoded, be it plant or tree or seaweed was originally infused with life by the Spirit. No spirit, no life —as the scripture says: “When you hide your face, they are disturbed. If you take away their spirit, they die and return to the dust. If you send out your spirit, they are created, and you renew the surface of the ground.” —Psalms 104
God’s spirit is also necessary for spiritual life. Like Jesus said: “God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.” The more of God’s spirit we have the closer we are drawn to God —the more alive we become. As with the physical organism though —no spirit, no life. Without God’s spirit, we are spiritually dead. A person without God’s spirit may appear to be alive, but from God’s standpoint, they are dead.
Now, let us examine the vision of Ezekiel concerning the dry bones.
Jehovah’s Witnesses realize that the vision has to do with Israel coming to life spiritually. It is also apparent that the literal nation of Israel only fulfilled the prophecy pictorially. That is most evident from the fact that the resurrection of the dead bones immediately precedes the attack of Gog of the land of Magog, which occurs in the final part of the days and involves the Christian Israel —certainly not the modern nation-state in the Middle East. The annihilation of Gog and his hordes parallels the destruction of Satan’s world at Armageddon.
As regards the vision, Ezekiel gave the command and a yard full of dry bones began to rattle and come together —sinews, flesh and skin covered the once-dry bones. Still, there was no life. Then, the four winds began to blow —symbolizing the spirit of God —and what had formerly been an open grave strewn with dry bones became a living army of God’s servants ready for battle.
According to the Watchtower’s latest revision of understanding, the Christian house of Israel went into spiritual captivity to Babylon the Great long, long ago, way back in the second century. That was a long time ago. The commentary in Pure Worship theorizes that is why the bones are described as being “very dry” —because they have been dead a very long time.
Bluntly, the Watchtower’s new light is false. God’s anger was not unleashed upon second century Christians who had begun to drift away from their Christian moorings. God’s punishment is always intended to correct his erring people. Are we to believe that God administered corrective measures all during the centuries of Christendom’s dominance? If so, who was he trying to discipline and what good was accomplished?
The Bible reveals that God corrects his erring organization with punishment to the proper degree. This correction is administered when Christ comes. Jesus indicated that even those who are ultimately judged to be faithful slaves who disobeyed out of ignorance will be flogged with a few strokes.
In view of the fact that the Watchtower has even come around to accepting what e-Watchman published long before —regarding the judgment of the household being in the future, including the casting out of the evil slave —why does the Governing Body continue to embrace the falsehood that the Master came and judged the house of God back in 1918, or whenever?
Most ironically, though, the Watchtower’s unreasoning fixation on 1914 can help us understand the dynamics of the test to come. But first, to emphasize the dishonesty the Watchtower routinely employs, consider an excerpt from the Pure Worship publication: (Paragraph 23)
During the years leading up to 1914, Charles Taze Russell and his associates acted as the “messenger” who would “clear up a way” before the Messianic Kingdom was established. (Mal. 3:1) That group also did the work of a watchman, using the magazine Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence to help warn of God’s judgment and to spread the good news about God’s Kingdom.
It is astonishing that the Governing Body immodestly claims that C.T. Russell was the foretold messenger —as if the messenger who is sent forth to prepare Jehovah’s way is different from the messenger of the covenant who comes to judge and refine, spoken if in the very next verse. Moreover, the falsity of the Watchtower’s claim is laid bare by this simple fact: From the very beginning, C.T. Russell proclaimed that the presence of Christ began in 1874 and the Kingdom had begun ruling in 1878. Not only that, but the Bible Students were taught that the time of the end had begun in 1799! That being true, how could Russell have prepared the Bible Students for any sort of future establishment of the Messianic Kingdom if they were laboring under the delusion that the Kingdom had already been established and the presence of Christ and time of the end had already begun? (See article: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ)
The fact is, Pastor Russell was instrumental in placing a massive stumbling block before the Bible Students and millions of interested persons back then who had perhaps seen the PhotoDrama or read Pastor Russell’s widely published sermons. Since nothing the Watchtower predicted came true, how can it be that the Watchtower was serving as the prophetic watchman? Did not Jesus exhort us to keep on the watch for his coming? But if the Lord has already come, why keep on the watch?
The Pure Worship publication even acknowledges the debacle that took place back then, but in typical fashion, dishonestly fails to place any of the responsibility on the organization’s leading writer and editor. For example, here is what the Society says: (Teaching box 9b)
The period of 1914 to early 1919 was a difficult time of tests and refinement for the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known. In 1914 many of God’s people on earth were disappointed when the end of the system did not arrive as they had hoped. Disappointment deepened in 1916, with the death of Charles T. Russell, who had been taking a dynamic lead among God’s people. Some who were overly attached to Brother Russell actively resisted the efforts of Joseph F. Rutherford, who succeeded Russell in taking the lead. Divisions erupted and almost split the organization in 1917. Then, in 1918, evidently at the instigation of the clergy, Brother Rutherford and seven of his associates were tried, wrongly convicted, and sent to prison. Headquarters in Brooklyn closed down. Clearly, God’s people were not yet freed from Babylon the Great!
Did you catch the Watchtower’s legerdemain? In the first quotation, the WT claimed Russell and his associates were the foretold messenger sent to prepare Christians for the establishment of the Kingdom. In contradiction of that statement, however, the citation above says that God’s people were disappointed that the world did not end in 1914. But if the Bible Students had actually been anticipating the beginning of the presence of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom —as the WT falsely claims —why were they disappointed the world did not end on time? Obviously, C.T. Russell’s message was not what the Watchtower now claims it was.
How can the Watchtower’s fabrication of history help us anticipate the things to come? Just as Russell had set up the Bible Students to be stumbled by deluding them into cultivating false expectations, which a considerable number were, so too, the Watchtower now is wielding a deluding influence over millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses using the very same repackaged falsehoods; namely, that Christ has already come and the Kingdom has already been established and the time of the end began long ago.
To further demonstrate the power of the delusion, consider a few simple verses regarding the coming of Christ. At Philippians 1:6, Paul wrote: “For I am confident of this very thing, that he who started a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” At 1 Corinthians 1:8 the apostle wrote similarly: “He will also make you firm to the end so that you may be open to no accusation in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
According to the spirit-filled apostle, the work that Christ began will be completed in the day of Jesus Christ. Likewise, according to the verse above “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” is the end of the testing period. Either one is judged to have been faithful or unfaithful and that is the end of the matter. Also, at 1 Corinthians 5:5 the apostle Paul referred to the day of the Lord as a time of salvation of the spirit. Surely, no reasonable person will claim that the day of Jesus Christ has begun. Why is it then, that Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the Watchtower’s oft-repeated claim that the Lord’s day began in 1914? Or are we so unreasoning so as to suppose the Lord’s day is different than the day of the Lord and the day of Jesus Christ?
One of the core falsehoods promulgated by the visionaries of Bethel is that God’s people have already gotten out of Babylon the Great —the assumption being, that merely learning the basic doctrinal truth of the Bible and leaving any former religious association is all there is to getting out of her.
The undeniable, scripturally-supported truth is, Jehovah’s Witnesses have not gone into captivity to the greater Babylon yet. Such “captivity” has nothing to do with believing false doctrine.
As a preview of the coming captivity, consider the situation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. In spite of the Watchtower’s insistence that since 1919 false religion has no power to restrain God’s people, the Russian Orthodox prelate —who is a close personal friend to Vladimir Putin —has brought about the liquidation of the Watchtower throughout the vast Russian realm. All of the Society’s property has been confiscated. It is illegal for Jehovah’s Witnesses to meet or publicly preach. JW dot org has been successfully blocked throughout Russia. Jehovah’s Witnesses are being arrested. Untold numbers of witnesses are fleeing the country, seeking asylum in Finland and elsewhere. In view of this development, why does the Governing Body continue to boast that false religion cannot impose any restraints on their pure worship? (Has Jehovah Turned Against the Watchtower?)
How does this relate to the dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision?
First, we might ask how the once-living creatures were reduced to a state of very dry bones? The answer is —God killed them. And in the case of Christians, death is in a spiritual sense, meaning that God withdraws his spirit and blessing, bringing about a spiritual death. This very thing is spoken about in Hosea, which says: “That is why I shall have to hew them by the prophets; I shall have to kill them by the sayings of my mouth. And the judgments upon you will be as the light that goes forth.” —Hosea 6:5
The next question: When does this spiritual death and captivity to Babylon take place? The answer: Immediately prior to the revelation of Christ —in other words, during the day of Jesus Christ, also known as the Lord’s day.
Consider the prophecy of Isaiah. The 22nd chapter refers to those who have been killed, but not by the sword —saying: “A pronouncement about the Valley of Vision: What is the matter with you that you have all gone up to the roofs? You were full of turmoil, a boisterous city, an exultant town. Your slain were not slain with the sword, nor did they die in battle. All your dictators have fled together. They were taken prisoner without need of a bow. All who were found were taken prisoner, even though they had fled far away.” —Isaiah 22:1-3
The Valley of Vision is a term applied to the city of Jerusalem for the reason the ancient holy city is the focal point of numerous prophetic visions. Needless to say, many of the Jews who were besieged by Nebuchadnezzar were killed by the sword and taken captive by force, leading to the conclusion that the prophecy really speaks to the “Jerusalem” about which Jesus foretold would be desolated by a disgusting thing during the tribulation coming upon the entire inhabited earth. Those not slain with the sword and taken captive without force, who are taken prisoner although after fleeing far away, is in respects to a spiritual condition. Those previously living towards God are killed and taken captive —being prevented from going forward in their service to God.
Isaiah speaks further on this calamity, saying: “O Jehovah, during distress they turned to you; They poured out their prayer in a whisper when you disciplined them. Just as a pregnant woman about to give birth has labor pains and cries out in pain, so we have been because of you, O Jehovah. We became pregnant, we had labor pains, but it is as if we have given birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the land, and no one is born to inhabit the land. ‘Your dead will live. My corpses will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully, you residents in the dust! For your dew is as the dew of the morning, and the earth will let those powerless in death come to life. Go, my people, enter your inner rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a brief moment until the wrath has passed by.”’ —Isaiah 26:16-20
The passage above reveals that God’s discipline comes immediately before the “dead” come to life, which immediately precedes the ultimate expression of God’s wrath.
Isaiah is even more explicit in the 59th chapter. After describing the deplorable spiritual condition that has caused a division between God and his people, Isaiah says: “That is why justice has come to be far away from us, and righteousness does not catch up with us. We keep hoping for light, but, look! darkness; for brightness, but in continuous gloom we kept walking. We keep groping for the wall just like blind men, and like those without eyes we keep groping. We have stumbled at high noon just as in evening darkness; among the stout ones we are just like dead people.” —Isaiah 59:9-10
Isaiah is speaking for Christians who are expecting a grand salvation, just like Jehovah’s Witnesses now who are anticipating being ushered into paradise under the unfailing leadership of the Governing Body. Instead, they will find themselves groping in spiritual darkness, stumbled –even the most spiritually stout coming to resemble dead people. This proves that the Watchtower’s recent new light is phony. The spiritual death from which the dry bones are revived takes place in an instant, it does not transpire over hundreds of years. Further, to place the tragedy in context, the concluding verses of the 59th chapter of Isaiah reveals the extent of God’s intervention so that his purpose may be accomplished. “And to Zion the Repurchaser will certainly come, and to those turning from transgression in Jacob,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” Jehovah has said. “My spirit that is upon you and my words that I have put in your mouth—they will not be removed from your mouth or from the mouth of your offspring or from the mouth of the offspring of your offspring,” Jehovah has said, “from now on even to time indefinite.”
Jehovah has every reason to destroy the Watchtower. The organization has practiced deception from the very beginning. It has stumbled millions and will stumble many more. It has promoted a form of idolatry as disgusting in God’s eyes as baal worship. It has persecuted child abuse victims. It has treated God with disrespect by flipping properties previously, solemnly dedicated to God. It has reproached the name of Jehovah like no one else. In his mercy, Jehovah will only kill off Satan’s seed. The rest —those with faith —will be repurchased. Then God’s spirit will be poured out in full measure. (Related article: My Corpses Will Rise Up)
The resurrection of the dry bones symbolizes the coming to life of the sons of the Kingdom –including the actual resurrection of the dead, the first resurrection that is. Since the time of Christ, no one has ever been given immortality —no one except Jesus. But God’s stated purpose is to bring into being a new creation. The failure of humans can in no way prevent God from accomplishing his purpose. For the creation of 144,000 immortals to be accomplished the remaining ones who are spiritually dead must come to life as well. That is what the vision of the dry bones pictures.
God tears down, but he builds up. God wounds, but he heals. God kills, but he brings the dead back to life. So it is, the great tribulation will destroy Christianity. From the ashes will arise the new creation. Upon it Jehovah will bestow his glory, as Jehovah states at Isaiah 60:1-3: “Arise, O woman, shed forth light, for your light has come and upon you the very glory of Jehovah has shone forth. For, look! darkness itself will cover the earth, and thick gloom the national groups; but upon you Jehovah will shine forth, and upon you his own glory will be seen. And nations will certainly go to your light, and kings to the brightness of your shining forth.”