As Jehovah’s Witnesses consider the Bible book of Joel this week in the Life and Ministry meeting, hopefully, some at least, will give the prophecy more than a cursory reading. It is, after all, a prophecy concerning the events leading up to the great and very awe-inspiring day of Jehovah. We should all give it the deepest consideration.
It should be apparent to even a casual reader that the disaster betokened by the onslaught of the voracious locust swarm befalls God’s people –not the clergy. The very fact Jehovah’s Witnesses do not grasp what is plainly evident explains why the prophecy of Joel is addressed to the drunkards and wine drinkers —spiritual drunkards, that is.
How is it possible that the spirit-directed organization, with its Teaching and Writing and Publishing committees, and men with hundreds of years of combined experience in examining and dissecting the Scriptures, even translating the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into a multiplicity of modern languages, yes, how can it be that the Governing Body has not discerned that the symbolic locusts of Joel do not represent Jehovah’s Witnesses, but, instead symbolize the anti-God forces under the command of the king of the north?
For example, does not Jehovah refer to the locust army as the “northerner”? (Joel 2:20) And if the locusts represent the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as the Watchtower has taught since the days of J.F. Rutherford, why does Jehovah promise to make compensation for the years the locust swarms devastated his land? (Joel 2:25) Spiritual inebriation is the only thing that explains how after years and years of Bible study the Watchtower still lacks insight into the deep things of God.
Although the Watchtower has intimated via the Introduction to Joel video to be viewed by the congregations this week that the locust are the enemies of God, as they surely are, do you, the one being taught, not discern for yourself that this barely-detectable “adjustment” changes everything in the most profound way?
If, as the Watchtower has indeed hinted in their cartoon animation, the locust army of Joel, although acting as Jehovah’s military force, are, in fact, the enemies of God, that raises the question: whom do they attack and when?
Although anyone who speaks critically of the Watchtower —as I do —is cast as an apostate enemy of the truth, I wholeheartedly believe that the Watchtower Society has served as God’s spirit-directed organization and that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the ministers of the truth. I believe that the anointed sons of Zion are within the organization. And since that is what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe too, what are we to make of the fact that the prophecy of Joel attributes these words to the victims of the locust plague: “Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, weep and say: ‘Do feel pity, O Jehovah, for your people; do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, letting the nations rule over them. Why should the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?”’ —Joel 2:17
Again, how is it possible that the anointed priests of Bethel do not grasp the implications of the passage above? Is it because they have not discerned the time of a future inspection at the coming of Christ? As Paul once said, “have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”
To appreciate the enormity of the lack of discernment, since it is indisputable that the locust army represents the nations under the command of the northerner, and those nations are destined to rule over those who are identified as the priests and ministers of Jehovah —even Jehovah’s inheritance —and their rule is said to extend over years, the years for which God will compensate his people, how is it that the very foundation of the Watchtower has been built upon the dogma that the appointed times of the nations to trample Jerusalem ended in 1914?
And make no mistake: The prophecy of Joel pertains to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. That is evident by what is stated in the third chapter of Joel —“For look! in those days and in that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather together all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. I will enter into judgment with them there in behalf of my people and my inheritance Israel, for they scattered them among the nations, and they divided up my land among themselves. For my people they cast lots; they would trade a boy to hire a prostitute and sell a girl for wine to drink.”
Since the re-gathering of the captives of Judah and Jerusalem occurs as an immediate precursor to the gathering of the nations to the Valley of Jehoshaphat for the final judgment —an analogy that parallels the gathering of the nations to the place known as Armageddon —this means that the inhabitants of symbolic Jerusalem are yet to go into captivity and be scattered. And is not the desolation of Jerusalem the central feature of Christ’s extensive prophecy regarding the conclusion of the system of things? And did not Jesus also speak of the gathering of the chosen ones? Does not their being gathered indicate they must first be scattered?
In the gospel of Luke Jesus spoke of this captivity, saying: “And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”
We may be certain that when the apostles asked Jesus when the holy city and the temple were going to be destroyed they did not for one moment imagine that the trampling of Jerusalem by the nations had already begun or that the appointed times of the nations to trample upon God’s city began when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah. They wanted to know the future. They already knew the past.
And while they could not possibly have discerned the ultimate fulfillment of what Jesus said regarding the desolation of Jerusalem during a great tribulation that is destined to come upon the entire inhabited earth, there is no excuse for Jehovah’s Witnesses to any longer be ignorant regarding these vital details of the outworking of God’s purpose.
For a fact, the appointed times of the nations to trample Jerusalem parallel the years the locusts bring devastation upon Jerusalem. The 11th chapter of Revelation reveals the exact number of years that the nations will trample the holy city —it is three and a half years. For your convenience here is what is stated: “But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple sanctuary, leave it out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months.”
If you are honest in your reasoning, you know that you personally have not seen any of the things Jesus foretold would take place during the conclusion. I am confident you were not on hand during the First World War. Nor did you personally witness the horror of the Spanish Influenza. Quite likely you were not even alive during the Second World War. But did not Jesus say, “when you see all these things occur”? Again, if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we have not seen the things Jesus said will occur. We have only read about them. Yet, it is deemed by the Governing Body to be impossible that the signs signaling the beginning of the end could take place in the future. Are you sure there cannot be another world war? If so, why are you so sure?
The signs aside, is it not true that the Watchtower foremost supports the 1914 doctrine by means of the seven times chronology? And the chronological calculations are based upon the year of Jerusalem’s destruction in 607 BCE. That is supposedly the beginning of the so-called Gentile times —the appointed times of the nations to trample Jerusalem.
But, again, if we are honest in our reasoning, our thoughtful consideration of Joel reveals a future desolation of a symbolic Jerusalem, a Jerusalem which cannot symbolize Christendom, but which is associated with the sons of heavenly Zion. Consider what is also stated in the 3rd chapter of Joel concerning Jerusalem: “And you will have to know that I am Jehovah your God, residing in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will become a holy place, and strangers will pass through her no more.”
Again, the “strangers” who will no more pass through God’s holy place are the nations —symbolized in Joel as the locusts. What, then, do these things portend for the future?
(To be continued…)
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