Who has despised the day of small beginnings?
There is no need for us to be overly concerned about how the Kingdom message will reach the millions who have not yet heard it. Jehovah has everything under control. But what is our work? God’s Word answers: “Sow your seed in the morning and do not let your hand rest until the evening; for you do not know which will have success, whether this one or that one, or whether they will both do well.” Of course, at the same time, we should never forget to pray for the success of the preaching work, especially in countries where the work is restricted. Additionally, we should not be discouraged if we do not at first see results from our work. We should never despise “the day of small beginnings.” The results may eventually turn out to be a lot greater and more wonderful than we had ever anticipated!
It was said that Fred Franz was a genius. He certainly had what is called a photographic mind —meaning he apparently possessed near total recall. I remember hearing him speak at a convention in his later years when he was almost totally blind. He went through an entire chapter of Isaiah, expounding on each verse in detail —all without a Bible or notes, which he could not have read anyway.
Franz wrote extensive commentaries on Jeremiah, Daniel, Revelation, Isaiah, Zechariah and Ezekiel —authoritatively tying virtually every fulfillment of prophecy to 1914 in one way or another. It seems that Fred Franz pretty much single-handedly, or single-mindedly, as it were, constructed the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrinal wall, which has kept Bethel busy plastering and whitewashing to maintain it ever since.
To the point, Franz’s explanation of the “small beginnings,” or “small things” as the Reference Bible words Zechariah 4:10, is – not surprisingly – said to have been fulfilled in 1919. In the book Paradise Restored to Mankind By Theocracy, here is what is stated:
When this work of building up the theocratic organization for Jehovah’s worship began in the postwar year of 1919 C.E., it looked despicable in the eyes of religious Babylon the Great and her military, political paramours. It looked so impossible of realization to them. Why so? Because the surviving remnant of anointed spiritual Israelites was so small and was in international disrepute.
First, it should be understood that the setting for the prophecy of Zechariah was the post-exilic rebuilding of Jerusalem and a temple for the renewed worship of Jehovah. Those repatriated Jews who were on hand to see the rebuilt temple felt like it was nothing compared to Solomon’s magnificent temple that Nebuchadnezzar had razed to the ground. Yet, Jehovah explained to them the later house would become more glorious than the former and all the valuable things of the nations would come to it when God began shaking the nations.
Secondly, it was the Jews themselves who were told not to despise the day of seemingly insignificant beginnings —not the enemies of God, as Franz’s commentary suggests.
Foremost, though, the reason the temple was being reconstructed in the first place is because the rebellious Jews obligated God to destroy the original. Yet, there is nothing that even Fred Franz could point to in the 1914 era or before, that could even remotely compare to the epic siege that Jehovah brought upon Jerusalem five centuries before Christ.
Furthermore, the prophecy of Haggai says concerning the rebuilt temple: “For this is what Jehovah of armies says, ‘Yet once more—in a little while—and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all the nations, and the precious things of all the nations will come in; and I will fill this house with glory,’ says Jehovah of armies.”
According to Franz Jehovah began shaking the heavens and the earth in 1914 and the numerical growth of Jehovah’s Witnesses are “the precious things” that have been gathered. World War One is considered the manifestation of that shaking. Here is what the aforementioned publication states:
How, though, would earthly human society be rocked or shaken by this invisible heavenly action of the Universal Sovereign if human society was unaware of it? How would unspiritual human society feel it, feel jarred by it? This would be by his having them notified that the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations,” had ended in 1914, the year in which World War I began. Their long world domination had now ended, for now it could be said to the Sovereign Lord Jehovah: “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken you great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came.”
But as with all of the Watchtower’s interpretations, there are glaring contradictions. Because all prophecy is harmonious, consider the prophecy Christ uttered concerning the conclusion. Jesus spoke of the desolation of antitypical Jerusalem during when the very powers of the heavens will be shaken, afterwards a great trumpet will sound and the chosen ones will be gathered from the four corners of the earth. So, that is all three of the elements previously discussed: 1. The destruction of Jerusalem. 2. The shaking. 3. the gathering.
Concerning that “shaking” which Christ foretold the Watchtower rightly acknowledges that it has not occurred. That being true, that means the great tumult of nations is a future calamity. That is when men will become faint with fright, followed by a great ingathering of God’s chosen ones. That means the shaking foretold in Haggai, which also results in the gathering of “the precious things,” must likewise be a future event.
Because of being indoctrinated to such an extent, Jehovah’s Witnesses simply cannot conceive of any “small beginnings” in the future. But the commencement of the great upheaval will shake them to their senses. The post-Watchtower era will bring about a new beginning.