“And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun itself will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.”
A new dark age is coming—characterized by a breakdown of civilization in its entirety. For a certainty, the now-on-rushing day of Jehovah will be the bleakest period in mankind’s tumultuous history. Its impact upon the world will be so terrifying it will seem as if the sun, moon, and stars have been snuffed out of the sky by the very hand of God.
Jehovah’s Day will be preceded by a demonically-driven human catastrophe that will envelop the nations in blood, fire, and columns of smoke; confronting all people with their own helplessness and insignificance. And our response to the globe-engulfing calamity will serve as the basis for God’s judgment, for it will force upon all humanity the unavoidable choice of either unequivocally accepting the rule of Christ’s kingdom or swearing allegiance to the last human kingdom in opposition to God’s rulership—Satan’s mimic kingdom, the so-called new world order.
The concluding verses of the prophecy of Joel indicate that the symbolic locust onslaught will serve as a precursor of Armageddon, segueing into the final judgment of the nations. Joel 3:13-14 says:“Thrust in a sickle, for harvest has grown ripe. Come, descend, for the winepress has become full. The press vats actually overflow; for their badness has become abundant. Crowds, crowds are in the low plain of the decision, for the day of Jehovah is near in the low plain of the decision. Sun and moon themselves will certainly become dark, and the very stars will actually withdraw their brightness.”
The book of Joel uses the expression “the day of Jehovah” seven times in total. It could truthfully be said that the theme of Joel is the coming day of Jehovah and the culmination of God’s judgment work and the salvation of those who pass the test that is coming upon the entire inhabited earth (Revelation 3:10).
But contrary to the present teachings of the Watchtower Society, the developments forecasted in Joel have not been fulfilled upon Christendom by the worldwide preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The prophecy actually focuses on the impact the arrival of the day of Jehovah will have upon Jehovah’s Witnesses and their mother organization.
Ultimately, the prophecy gives us a glimpse beyond the present Watchtower-centric form of worship to the thrilling outpouring of Jehovah’s spirit that will impel a chastened remnant to accomplish the final phase of God’s grand work.
While it is generally understood by Jehovah’s Witnesses that the day of Jehovah signifies the period of time when God will personally intervene in the world’s affairs in order to execute his judgments, according to Joel that fear-inspiring day is immediately preceded by the relentless attack of swarms of voracious locusts, cockroaches, and other loathsome insect pests. The bizarre coalition of insects is even called Jehovah’s mighty military force. How strange!
The prophecy of Joel stresses that the very imminence of the day of Jehovah will precipitate an emergency within the Zion-like organization of God’s people like nothing ever before experienced. Joel 2:1 describes it this way: “Blow a horn in Zion, O men, and shout a war cry in my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land get agitated; for the day of Jehovah is coming, for it is near! It is a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick gloom, like light of dawn spread out upon the mountains.
“WAKE UP, YOU DRUNKARDS”
Jehovah speaks to the leaders of his people who are to become severely distressed by the creeping and winged devourers, saying to them to them through his prophet, Joel: “Wake up, you drunkards, and weep; and howl, all you wine drinkers, on account of sweet wine, for it has been cut off from your mouths. For there is a nation that has come up into my land, mighty and without number. Its teeth are the teeth of a lion, and it has the jawbones of a lion. It has set my vine as an object of astonishment, and my fig tree as a stump. It has positively stripped it bare and thrown it away. The twigs of it have become white. Wail, as a virgin girded with sackcloth does over the owner of her youth.” – Joel 1:5-8
In modern vernacular, it is as if Jehovah is here announcing to his people that ‘the party is over’! Indeed, the unexpected despoiling from the Almighty will be so devastating, so astonishing, the effect will be as if the very bride of Christ has been left at the altar dressed in sackcloth!
Since the shocking devastation of God’s nation is destined to be a jarring, but a potentially life-saving wake-up call for those whom God addresses in prophecy as “you drunkards,” Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to no longer go on imagining that the horrific insect and lion-like invaders typify the Watchtower-sponsored preachers of the good news over recent decades or that God is somehow calling the clergy to repentance. Although many householders may view Jehovah’s Witnesses as nothing more than irritating pests, the army of locusts, cockroaches and caterpillars do not symbolize Christian ministers.
Neither should the Watchtower Society any longer continue to teach the fiction that the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses has somehow fulfilled the prophecy of Joel by stripping bare and completely denuding Christendom’s supposed once-fertile fields of operation.
What rational person would possibly believe that the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has completely despoiled the churches of Christendom?
While the influence of the old guard denominations such as Catholicism, Lutheranism and Orthodoxy, may have waned over the past century, particularly in Europe and America, it is doubtful that the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has had any significant influence on that trend. Objective observers would certainly never attribute the decline of Christendom to the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Besides, the growing influence of evangelicalism seems to have filled the void—at least that is the case in the United States and Latin America.
In reality, the prophecy of Joel foretells that God’s own sacred possession is due to become the object of devastation. As the verse previously quoted indicates, the alarm is to be sounded within God’s own“Holy Mountain,” which in prophecy pertains to Christ’s congregation. No spiritually sober Bible student could possibly conclude that that which Jehovah declares to be “my land…my vine…and my fig tree” is in reference to Christendom. No wonder God’s possession will become an “an object of astonishment.” The desolation of God’s earthly organization is considered to be impossibility by Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is indeed time to wake up!
Perhaps the most contradictory aspect of the Watchtower’s 70 year-old interpretation of Joel is that Jehovah promises to make compensation to his people for enduring the devastation wrought by the symbolic locusts and other creeping pests. Joel 2:25 foretells: “And I will make compensation to you for the years that the locust, the creeping, unwinged locust, and the cockroach and the caterpillar have eaten, my great military force that I have sent among you.”
Are we to assume that Jehovah is going to make compensation to the clergy for having endured the evangelistic assaults of Jehovah’s Witnesses over the years? Let us hope not.
Not only that, but Jehovah goes on to declare that he will ultimately drive the locust swarm, also called “the northerner,” into the sea – thereby destroying him. Joel 2:20 states: “And the northerner I shall put far away from upon you, and I shall actually disperse him to a waterless land and desolated waste, with his face to the eastern sea and his rear section to the western sea. And the stink from him will certainly ascend, and the stench from him will keep ascending; for He will actually do a great thing in what He does.”
The prophetic designation of “the northerner” ought to put us in mind of the king of the north and the Chaldean and “shining one”– who swoops down upon God’s people from the land of the north; as well as the confederation of Gog of Magog, who are destined by prophecy to descend upon God’s nation“from the remotest parts of the north.” (The king fierce in countenance also comes from the north, in that, he is said to become greater towards the south, the sea (west) and towards the decoration (east) – making the north the symbolic direction from where he launches his campaign to bring the mighty ones of earth as well the holy ones to ruin.)
Although the Society has been preaching about the nearness of the day of Jehovah for over a century now, how is it possible that those entrusted with publishing reliable interpretations of prophecy could so badly mangle and misconstrue the prophetic message in Joel regarding the nature of the day of Jehovah? For one thing, it proves that a correct understanding of prophecy cannot be arrived at by mere boardroom consensus. So while it is acknowledged that the Watchtower Society has shown deep insight in doctrinal matters, what can account for Bethel’s utter blindness when it comes to prophetic interpretation? Could it be that the leaders of God’s people today are the spiritual inebriates who are due to be rebuked by God?
Although Bethel claims to serve as a “watchman class” – presuming to be wide awake to world conditions and God’s coming judgment – there can be no other conclusion except that it is Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves and especially their anointed Bethel leadership and its Governing Body, who will soon be roused from their collective stupor by Heaven’s sobering rebuke: “Wake up, you drunkards!”
We should not suppose that it is some extraordinary thing that Christ Jesus might severely reprimand or scold his own disciples – even those whom he will ultimately judge to have been faithful and discreet. After all, in the 12th chapter of Luke did not Jesus explicitly state that the ignorant but otherwise faithful slave would be beaten with a few strokes by the inspecting master of the house and held to a higher standard as one whom others have put in charge?
In his first post-resurrection appearance to two of his disciples, one evidently being Peter, Jesus scathingly addressed them as “senseless ones and slow in heart to believe on all the things the prophets spoke!” The occasion when Christ uttered the above rebuke is when he came alongside his dejected disciples as they walked on the road and they did not recognize him. Of particular importance is that the word “parousia” literally means a “coming alongside”—as Christ came alongside his disciples on that occasion. Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to his disciples establish a portent for Christ’s presence during the conclusion of the system of things; when he will come alongside his anointed disciples to reprove and ultimately enlighten them.
Or are we to suppose that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is now fully enlightened and above the rebuke of Christ? While it is true that the Watchtower has repeatedly declared that the faithful slave already passed the test in 1918 and the Society even claims that the faithful slave has already been irrevocably appointed over all the master’s belongings, does that mean that they are now superior to the apostles, who were reproved, rebuked and otherwise humbled by the master on numerous occasions?
It is especially noteworthy that Christ’s rebuke of his two disciples (and by extension all) had to do with their slowness to comprehend the meaning of the prophecies; specifically, those prophecies that foretold the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Although the apostles accepted Jesus as the Son of God, before their enlightenment they simply could not grasp the fact that Jesus was going to die and that the kingdom was heavenly and not earthly.
Jehovah’s Witnesses today are in a similar position. Although accepting the basic doctrinal truth of the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been given no insight into the nature of the oncoming day of Jehovah due to the fact that they have been indoctrinated with the notion that the presence of Christ has already begun! Because virtually every significant prophecy in the Bible has been wrongly attributed by the Watchtower to the 1914-1919 era, or else erroneously applied to Christendom, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no scriptural basis for comprehending the divine judgments to be revealed during the awe-inspiring day of Jehovah.
The leaders of the Watchtower Society who promote the doctrine that the judgment upon the house of God has already taken place are as senseless and slow to believe the prophets as were the apostles, who erroneously imagined that Christ’s kingdom was going to instantly display itself back then. What else but the spiritual intoxication and organizational bravado of the Governing Body and the directors of the Watchtower Society can account for the nonsensical interpretations that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been fed regarding the book of Joel and related prophecies for so many years?
Who else but the actual messengers and servants of Jehovah – those who have seen and heard many wonderful things from God’s word and been rewarded in many ways by him – could be on the receiving end of the yet-to-be-revealed prophetic reproof recorded in Isaiah 42:19-20? – “Who is blind except my servant, so deaf as the messenger I send? Who is so blind as the one rewarded, so blind as the servant of Jehovah? You see many things, but you do not keep watch. You open your ears, but you do not listen.”
But if the teachers of Jehovah’s Witnesses are blind to the true meaning and significance of God’s prophetic word, as the case is here being made, we are left with the question: What do the prophecies really portend? What is the true meaning of the prophecy of Joel?
“HOWL, YOU MINISTERS OF THE ALTAR”
The devastation wrought by the onrushing locust swarm will serve as a much-needed sobering slap in the face for Jehovah’s people. It is then that Jehovah’s urgent exhortation to his anointed priests and ministers will hit home like an atom bomb: “Gird yourselves, and beat your breasts, you priests. Howl, you ministers of the altar. Come in, spend the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God; for from the house of your God grain offering and drink offering have been withheld. Sanctify a time of fasting. Call together a solemn assembly. Gather together the older men, all the inhabitants of the land, to the house of Jehovah your God, and cry to Jehovah for aid.”
It is ludicrous to suppose that God is calling the clergy to gather together in “solemn assembly” in response to the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Surely the ministers of Joel’s God who are summoned “to the house of Jehovah your God” to convene an emergency assembly and who are implored to “cry to Jehovah for aid” are formal worshippers of Jehovah God – recognized by him as his ministers.
But as another example of the Watchtower’s abject blindness when it comes to prophetic matters, it is well known that numerous prophecies call for the Christian holy place of God, his sanctuary and“constant feature,” to be brought to ruin for a specified period of time.
However, the Watchtower’s interpretation of those vital prophecies is best described as a bewildering patchwork of pseudo-prophetic interpretation. That is so because many obviously related prophecies have been applied in a variety of different ways. For instance, the Society applies some prophecies to the 1914-1919 period; others to a time during the Second World War, and still other prophecies – such as Jesus’ words concerning the holy place being trampled on by a disgusting thing – to Christendom at a future date. And the prophecy of Joel (quoted above), which calls for the “grain offering and drink offering” to be withheld from “the house of Jehovah your God,” somehow applies to Christendom from the time of J.F. Rutherford’s presidency.
But, that, the insect invasion violates what had been holy to Jehovah is evident by the concluding verses of Joel’s prophecy: “And you people will have to know that I am Jehovah your God, residing in Zion my holy mountain. And Jerusalem must become a holy place; and as regards strangers, they will no more pass through her.”
The symbolic locusts, cockroaches and caterpillars are obviously the “strangers” that “pass through her,” making it necessary for God to intervene to reclaim and sanctify that which belongs to him.
For a certainty, the prophecy of Joel presages a one-of-a-kind event; a terrifying disaster that will afflict all of mankind, the likes of which have never occurred before. Joel 1:12 verifies that everyone on earth will be afflicted – “For exultation has gone ashamed away from the sons of mankind.” And Joel 2:6: “Because of it, peoples will be in severe pains. As for all faces, they will certainly collect a glow of excitement.”
The opening words of the prophecy speak of the uniqueness of the calamity in saying: “Hear this, you older men, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land. Has this occurred in your days, or even in the days of your forefathers? Concerning it give an account to your own sons, and your sons to their sons, and their sons to the following generation. What was left by the caterpillar, the locust has eaten; and what was left by the locust, the creeping, unwinged locust has eaten; and what the creeping, unwinged locust has left, the cockroach has eaten.”
Elsewhere in Hebrew prophecy locusts are used as a symbol of plundering armies. For example, the prophecy of Nahum portrays the Assyrian army as locusts.
Jeremiah describes the invaders of mighty Babylon as a swarm of locusts. Also, at Isaiah 33:2-5 the prophet says: “O Jehovah, show us favor. In you we have hoped. Become our arm every morning, yes, our salvation in the time of distress. At the sound of turmoil peoples have fled. At your arising nations have been dispersed. And the spoil of you people will actually be gathered like the cockroaches when gathering in, like the onrush of locust swarms that is rushing against one. Jehovah will certainly be put on high, for he is residing in the height.”
Isaiah’s prophecy clearly does not pertain to the preaching work of Jehovah’s ministers. In context, the winged cockroaches, caterpillars and locusts represent the agency by which Jehovah accomplishes a purge of the apostates and sinners from his place of spiritual habitation – Zion.
“THE CHANNELS OF WATER HAVE DRIED UP”
In view of the fact that the Hebrew prophets used locusts as symbols of the devouring armies of empires, and the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses have by no stretch of the imagination stripped bare Christendom’s “religious field of operation,” as the Watchtower has called it, what then must the following prophetic passage portend? –
“Alas for the day; because the day of Jehovah is near, and like a despoiling from the Almighty One it will come! Has not food itself been cut off before our very eyes; from the house of our God, rejoicing and joyfulness? Dried figs have shriveled under their shovels. Storehouses have been laid desolate. Barns have been torn down, for the grain has dried up. O how the domestic animal has sighed! How the droves of cattle have wandered in confusion! For there is no pasturage for them. Also, the droves of the sheep have been the ones made to bear guilt. To you, O Jehovah, I shall call; for fire itself has devoured the pasture grounds of the wilderness, and a very flame has consumed all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field also keep longing for you, because the channels of water have dried up, and fire itself has devoured the pasture grounds of the wilderness.” – Joel 1:15-20
The Watchtower has for many years taught that it is the earthly channel of life-giving waters of truth and the sole source of genuine spiritual food. As the legal instrument of the faithful and discreet slave appointed to feed the household of the master, the Watchtower Society has indisputably acted upon the divine mandate to shepherd the flock of God.
To be clear, the Society’s appointment to feed the household of God is not here being called into question (only that the faithful slave has not yet been given his second appointment over all his master’s belongings). But the question being posed is this: What does it mean that “food” has “been cut off before our very eyes; from the house of God rejoicing and joyfulness” and “the channels of water have dried up”? Surely Christendom does not constitute the spiritual house of God.
Significantly, Bethel literally means “house of God” in Hebrew. As such, the prophecy of Joel is foretelling the utter desolation of the house of God – Bethel and the Watchtower Society and the entire organization, as it presently exists! There is no other reasonable interpretation. No wonder the anointed priests of the house of God are destined to weep and howl in misery and cry out to Jehovah for aid!
During Jehovah’s fear-inspiring day, the Watchtower organization will not even exist. Its worldwide printing operations will cease. Its bank holdings will simply evaporate in the culmination of what will be a global financial collapse. The voice that has for more than a century been instrumental in “announcing Jehovah’s kingdom” will become a ghostly whisper of its former self – as if impotently beckoning from beyond the grave like a spirit medium (See Isaiah 29:4).
The Watchtower Society’s function as the earthly channel of divine truth will come to an inglorious end (“The channels of water have dried up”). The spiritual food, once so abundant, will become like succulent figs that have shriveled up! The grain will have dried up!
The many printing facilities presently used by the Watchtower will become like storehouses that have been laid desolate. The thousands of kingdom halls throughout the world will resemble barns that have been torn down because of disuse!
Jehovah’s Witnesses – like domestic cattle that depend upon their human owner for feedstock – will lose their spiritual pasturage and wander about dazed and confused at the unexpected turn of events! Christ’s droves of sheep will bear the brunt of punishment for the Society’s lack of insight into the vital prophecies that foretell the very catastrophe that will soon cause the complete desolation of that which is known as Jehovah’s visible organization.
Even more distressing than the despoiling of the Watchtower Society, the world-wrecking calamity brought on by the onrushing locust and cockroach swarms will bring about the cessation of the preaching of the good news.
Do not Jehovah’s Witnesses routinely refer to the world as “the field” and to the ministry as “field service”? In that agrarian setting, the ministers of God are like farmers and vinedressers. What else is betokened by the following verses, then, except the end of the field service work of Jehovah’s Witnesses? – “The field has been despoiled, the ground has gone to mourning; for the grain has been despoiled, the new wine has been dried up, the oil has faded away. Farmers have felt shame; vinedressers have howled, on account of wheat and on account of barley; for the harvest of the field has perished. The vine itself has shown dryness, and even the fig tree has faded away.” – Joel 1:10-12
The collapse of the Watchtower institution will signal the end of the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses in its present and familiar form. The “farmers” and “vinedressers” symbolize the millions of publishers and pioneers who presently labor in field service. (See also Isaiah 61:5-6)
But because their ministry is entirely dependent upon the constant direction from and regular publications of the Watchtower Society, Bethel’s demise will have the inevitable knock-on effect of causing the worldwide work to come to a sudden halt. Tragically, those many householders who are at that time dependent upon the study aids and continual visits of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as those untold millions who have not yet been contacted, will then be lost – as the prophecy says:“the harvest of the field has perished.” (See also Isaiah 17:11 and Isaiah 24)
“RIP APART YOUR HEARTS”
The reason God allows such an unexpected disaster to befall his people is to bring about their repentance. That is why the prophecy goes on to say: “And now also, the utterance of Jehovah is, come back to me with all your hearts, and with fasting and with weeping and with wailing. And rip apart your hearts, and not your garments; and come back to Jehovah your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, and he will certainly feel regret on account of the calamity.”
Since God implores his people to return to him, does not that indicate that the prophecy is addressed to those whom God recognizes as his people? How could the religionists of Christendom return to a relationship with Jehovah that has never existed?
Although the Watchtower Society has never and would never acknowledge any need for it to repent, Jehovah has a different perspective. God does not look at the outward form of religion – such as the ripping of one’s garments in an outward display of repentance. Jehovah’s call to rip apart our hearts indicates that God sees that the worship of his people is not whole-hearted. From his exalted point of view, his people have left him—not merely as individuals, but as an organization. Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses have not denounced Jehovah or denied Christ outright, but since God requires absolute devotion from his worshippers any half-hearted attempt to honor God is unacceptable to him. Jehovah deserves whole-hearted worship—nothing less.
But could it be that the Watchtower Society’s insistence on organizational uniformity and “theocratic” procedure has created an institutional form of worship not dissimilar from that presided over by the Pharisees; and in so doing, has fostered a culture of men-pleasers who merely honor Jehovah with their lips, but whose hearts have gradually become far removed from him? (Isaiah 29:13) By means of his prerecorded judgments contained in prophecy the Almighty Judge, Jehovah – whose piercing eyes see our inmost thoughts and motivations indicate that to be the case.
Although the Watchtower’s spokesmen haughtily brush off any sort of criticism of the Society’s teachings, tactics, and policies as mere allegations by opposers and apostates, the truth is that Bethel is responsible for having stumbled hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses and non-witnesses alike. In fact, Ezekiel 36:15 indicts Jehovah’s organization for having stumbled entire “nations” of people. Sadly, many more are yet to be stumbled, as Jesus foretold (Matthew 24:10).
Consider the very last verse of the prophecy of Joel, which says: “And I will consider innocent their blood that I had not considered innocent; and Jehovah will be residing in Zion.”
In saying that God’s final verdict upon his then-properly chastised people is a declaration of their innocence, but that prior to that Jehovah had not considered their blood innocent, is that not indicative of our guilt now, as a people, and our desperate need for God’s forgiveness? Godly humility and spiritual sobriety ought to move us to answer in the affirmative.
‘FIRE HAS DEVOURED…A FLAME CONSUMES’
The onrushing insect swarm symbolizes the agents of the last empire, the eighth king of Revelation, and it will serve as Jehovah’s means to shatter the nations and discipline his people. That the locust hordes symbolize the nations that will yet plunder God’s own possession is clearly evident in Joel. For example, Joel 2:17 states: “Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, weep and say, ‘Do feel sorry, O Jehovah, for your people, and do not make your inheritance a reproach, for nations to rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples: ‘Where is their God?’”
The Israelites were frequently harassed, invaded, and even occupied by surrounding nations when they strayed from pure worship. God allowed the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, and others, to afflict Israel in order to bring them back to their senses. It is a common theme that runs through the Hebrew Scriptures.
The six imperial forerunners of the modern Anglo-American alliance, namely Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, each ruled over Israel and Judah in their turn. The Hebrew prophecies and Revelation indicate that the Christian “Israel of God” is also destined to have the same fate before being brought to glory. But how might modern nations rule over Jehovah’s people during the finale?
As is well known, during times of war and unrest even democratic nations that claim to value freedom have persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses. There is no need to recount the Watchtower Society’s well-documented fight to legally establish the good news here. However, it should also be recognized that the constitutional guarantees inherent in the legal systems of Western nations have served as a protection for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even Paul appealed to Caesar.
But the question we ought to ponder is this: What would happen to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and legal redress, and other cherished liberties if the present Anglo-American world order were to be suddenly overturned – what then? We would then be faced with a repeat of the Nazi holocaust and the Communist pogroms, only on a global scale.
Let none of Jehovah’s Witness scoff at the suggestion that America is destined to be overturned and replaced by a tyrannical, fascist regime. It is destined to occur by the very word of Jehovah.
The prophecy of Joel foretells that the relatively peaceful and secure world in which we now live will simply be devoured by Jehovah’s rapacious “military force” and its freedoms – enshrined in revered documents like the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America – will be set aflame and go up in smoke. The very institutions that serve as the foundations of modern civilization will be destroyed. Forebodingly, Joel 2:3 states: “Ahead of it a fire has devoured, and behind it a flame consumes. Like the garden of Eden the land is ahead of it; but behind it is a desolate wilderness, and there has also proved to be nothing thereof escaping.”
Contrary to the Watchtower’s Revelation exegesis, nothing remotely analogous to the symbolic death stroke upon the head of the wild beast took place during the First World War or at any time since then.
The sword-stroke and “miraculous” resurrection of the Anglo-American head of Satan’s wild beast followed by the coming to life of the image of the beast – is yet to occur. It will be a stunning, nation-shattering development. The future death-stroke upon the Anglo-American head of the seven-headed beast will initiate a global crisis like no other disaster that has occurred before – bringing an end to the present nation-state system and ushering in what is sure to be a United Nations-administered world government resembling a combination of corporate fascism and global communism. The emergence of the beast from the abyss will then initiate judgment day for the nations.
“THROUGH THE WINDOWS THEY GO IN”
What is the significance of the fact that the invading armies are said to rush into the city, scaling over every wall and entering into every dwelling like thieves through opened windows? It must betoken a total police state and conditions of martial law, where private homes may be electronically spied upon or physically entered and possessions legally seized with no protection or legal recourse for the occupant.
It may also well symbolize how earth’s inhabitants – even the wealthy who may imagine that their wealth is secure, as if behind a protective wall – are due to be plundered. Bank accounts, treasury bonds, stocks, annuities and pension funds, as well the paper currencies of the nations, may be devalued to the point of worthlessness through hyperinflation or confiscated by other forms of sophisticated financial chicanery more easily than an army of plunderers can wreak havoc upon a nation. After all, the world’s store of wealth – including the Watchtower’s multi-hundred-million dollar next egg – is largely just so many digits stored on a computer. How secure is that?
The most recent trillion-dollar bailout scheme foisted upon the American taxpayer is a striking demonstration of how private financial interests have the power to loot entire nations. The reality soon to be thrust upon the world is that no one is beyond the reach of Jehovah’s planet-plundering army of locusts!
(It is worth noting, according to the letter of James rich Christians who have dealt unjustly with their fellow believers have stored up something like fire for the last days and are due to howl over their misery as their riches rot away! The prophetic judgment of James is not at all dissimilar to the horrific cataclysm portrayed in Joel.)
Jesus foretold that the sign of his presence would be manifested in wars, food shortages, and pestilences, to the extent that mankind would become faint with fright because the symbolic luminaries of the heavens will go into eclipse. Joel 2:30-31 similarly foretells that God will provide foreboding portents. Those two verses read as follows: “And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun itself will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.”
The fact that the passage above uses similar apocalyptic phraseology as employed by Jesus in explaining the sign of the conclusion indicates that the prophecy of Joel will be fulfilled during the parousia of Christ and will be characterized by a time of unprecedented war; no doubt involving the terrifying use of nuclear weaponry producing the dreaded “columns of smoke” known as mushroom clouds. There should be no doubt that even the limited use of such horrific weapons would send shock waves around the globe – rocking civilization to its very foundation – even as Jehovah says at Joel 3:16: “And heaven and earth certainly will rock.”
“I SHALL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT”
Eventually, Jehovah’s Witnesses will awaken from the delusion that Babylon the Great has already fallen, as well as the naive notion that the many prophecies that call for God’s people to be persecuted and taken captive to a greater Babylon were fulfilled when J.F. Rutherford and seven other Bethelites were incarcerated in the Atlanta penitentiary for eight months.
The sobering truth that will inevitably confront Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the organization is destined to go into Babylonish captivity in the near future. That is because the religious system known as Babylon the great will initially survive the take-down of the present economic and political system. And rather than Christendom being destroyed by the eighth king at the beginning of the tribulation, as the Watchtower repeatedly insists, Jehovah’s Witnesses will find themselves under the bootheel of the tyrannical last king and his whorish religious consort during the initial phase of the day of Jehovah. The following scripture is yet to be fulfilled with respect to God’s people: “And for my people they kept casting lots; and they would give the male child for a prostitute, and the female child they sold for wine, that they might drink.” – Joel 3:3
If that is not the case, then let the Watchtower’s seers coherently interpret the meaning of Joel 3:1-2, which reads: “For, look! In those days and in that time, when I shall bring back the captive ones of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also collect together all the nations and bring them down to the low plain of Jehoshaphat; and I will put myself on judgment with them there on account of my people and my inheritance Israel, whom they scattered among the nations; and they apportioned out my own land.”
According to the Watchtower’s hackneyed interpretation of Joel, the clergy are the objects of devastation. Yet, the concluding chapter of the prophecy depicts Jehovah gathering back the captive ones of his people as an immediate prelude to Armageddon. Obviously, the captives are made such by the calamity described in the prophecy. So, it is apparent that the final gathering of those who will ultimately receive salvation takes place during the day of Jehovah.
The above scenario is in complete harmony with the sequence of events Jesus foretold would occur during the conclusion of the system of things. According to Jesus, Christians are going to be scattered during the time the holy place is brought to desolation. Only afterward, during the finale, will the angels gather the chosen ones from the ends of the earth.
The persecution and martyrdom of Christ’s followers will then warrant a response from Jehovah. As was the case with Assyria and Babylon, even though Jehovah had authorized those empires to punish Israel and Judah they were also eventually called to account for having reveled in the destruction and mistreatment of God’s inheritance. God’s dealings with the nations establish a pattern for the judgment to come. While the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses have brought reproach upon the name of God and will shortly have to pay the price, the nations that bring about the execution of God’s judgments will also be made to render an account before the Almighty.
Joel 3:4-6 goes on to say: “Is it the treatment that you are giving me as a reward? And if you are giving such treatment to me, swiftly, speedily I shall pay back your treatment upon your heads. Because you men have taken my own silver and my own gold, and you have brought my own desirable good things into your temples; and the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem you have sold to the sons of the Greeks…”
The period of upheaval and the desolation of Jehovah’s holy place will serve as the means by which Christ’s angels will accomplish the harvest – sifting out the faithless and wicked from among those destined to receive salvation.
But while Jehovah breaks down, he also builds up. Jehovah may break a bone, but he also binds up. Jehovah is a destroyer, but he is also the Savior. The devastation of God’s earthly organization will pave the way for God to pour out his blessing upon a chastened remnant of survivors. Joel 2:32 confirms that “the escaped ones” will receive salvation: “And it must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”
After the fiery purge, the faithful will experience a dousing by the Holy Spirit not experienced since the original outpouring of spirit on the day of Pentecost. The 2nd chapter of Joel foretells that both the anointed (sons and daughters) and non-anointed (menservants and maidservants) will receive the full measure of God’s holy spirit in order to accomplish the final phase of God’s work in the post-Watchtower period of the tribulation. Joel 2:28-29 foretells: “And after that it must occur that I shall pour out my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will certainly prophesy. As for your old men, dreams they will dream. As for your young men, visions they will see. And even on the menservants and on the maidservants in those days I shall pour out my spirit.”
However, unlike the day of Pentecost when the holy spirit begot the first sons of the kingdom, the outpouring of the holy spirit upon the sons and daughters during the day of Jehovah does not anoint them. That is because they will have already been anointed. The ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy has to do with the body of Christ becoming fully accepted into the kingdom, so that at that point, during the world’s darkest period, the chosen ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their heavenly Father. That event will mark the long-anticipated revealing of the sons of God.
The prophesying inspired by that outpouring of spirit will no doubt have to do with heralding the authentic establishment of the kingdom – not in the manner that Jehovah’s Witnesses presently preach, but with spirit and power.
The “visions they will see” will be the first-ever accurate understanding of the prophetic visions recorded in the Bible. But instead of offering the hope of salvation to the nations, Jehovah’s true witnesses will then “shout a war cry” – announcing to the nations that they must meet Jehovah “in the low plain of the decision, for the day of Jehovah is near in the low plain of the decision.” – Joel 3:14