It is natural to ponder what each new year may bring. In these beginning days of 2018 it seems especially fitting for people of faith to do so; the reason being, because, even from a casual assessment it certainly seems that the world has never been more perilously close to nuclear war.
Ironically, though, from the perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses the world’s present situation is largely irrelevant. That is because the Watchtower sets our expectations based upon the Governing Body’s understanding of prophecy. And according to the Watchtower the only thing left unfulfilled —other than the attack of Gog and the war of Armageddon —is the destruction of organized religion by the United Nations.
On that front there is nothing notable to report. It is more likely that Earth will be struck by the mythical Planet X than that the U.N. might initiate the violent destruction of Babylon the Great. Seriously, though, besides the fact that the U.N. is a toothless tiger and could not possibly bring about the eradication of all religious institutions globally, at least not in the current political environment and ordering of nations, there is no indication that the powers-that-be are even inclined to do so. On the contrary, religion does not appear to have lost any measurable influence.
In Russia, for instance, the Orthodox Church is more powerful than it has ever been in the last 100 years —since the Bolshevik revolution —evidenced by the shocking liquidation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia in 2017. Or are we to pretend that the Orthodox Church was not behind the ban?
By all accounts evangelicals in the United States are thriving too, as can be seen by the phenomenon of teeming mega churches.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. the Watchtower dissolved nearly 500 congregations in 2017 alone. (See graphic below) Dozens of fully functional kingdom halls have been shuttered and dumped on the real estate market. Far from the waters of Babylon drying up, as the brothers used to be fond of saying, it is the Watchtower that is experiencing a steady erosion of support. Surely, if it were not for the baptism of younger and younger children in recent years and the Service Department allowing 15-minute monthly field service reports, the numbers of active publishers in America and Europe would surely reveal negative “growth.” No wonder the Governing Body decided to stop publishing the Year Book. As Paul might say, your cause for boasting is not fine.
Be that as it may, what about the coming year?
While no human can foresee the future, we appreciate that Jehovah has amply demonstrated that he is fully capable of doing so. And he has published his vision of the future in the Bible. The challenge for us is to accurately interpret the enigmatic mysteries God has presented in the books of the prophets. Admittedly, that may require some imagination in such instances where the prophecies have not been fulfilled yet. The problem is, though, Jehovah’s Witnesses see no need to examine the Scriptures. The reason being, the Watchtower has convinced those under its influence that virtually everything has already been fulfilled —except the aforementioned.
But is it the sole obligation of loyal Jehovah’s Witnesses to unquestioningly accept whatever comes from Bethel? If so, why does the apostle exhort individual Christians to “not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God”? Are the teachings of the Watchtower somehow exempt from scrutiny? If so, by whose authority?
If Jehovah’s Witnesses were to test the “inspired statements” published by the Watchtower, what might the results of such a test reveal? Take the book of Daniel as an example. The seventh chapter presents a vision Daniel received concerning a succession of wild beasts, the last of which has a fatal encounter with the newly enthroned Son of man. While there is no reason to question the identity of the beasts themselves, what about the 11th horn of the unusually fearsome monster that emerges last and the three horns that are “plucked up” by it, thereby transforming the Romish creature into an eight-horned beast?
As you likely know, the Watchtower’s last commentary on Daniel was published nearly 20 years ago, entitled: Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy. (The Pay Attention commentary was largely a rehash of Your Will Be Done, published in 1958.)
According to the Watchtower the little horn is said to have been the British Empire and the United States of America. And the three horns that are plucked up before it? — Spain, France and Holland.
However, there are a number of things that do not add up. First, there is no indication in Daniel’s prophecy that the plucking up of the three horns transpires over the course of several centuries. No, the act of plucking out suggests a sudden and simultaneous fall of three kings. Yet, the defeat of the Spanish Armada took place in 1588, but France was not eclipsed by British naval supremacy until the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 —more than two centuries later!
Even more troublesome, the act of being “plucked up” suggests that those three kings no longer have any power after they are uprooted. Indeed, the King James words it: “plucked up buy the roots,” while Byington simply says “uprooted.”
The problem with the Watchtower’s interpretation arises due to the fact that Spain, Netherlands and France are still very much ruling powers. France especially, being one of the foremost military powers and a member of the exclusive G-8 economic club and a permanent member on the U.N. Security Council. Who would dispute that France wields as much national clout as Great Britain? Not only is France’s economy essentially on par with that of Britain, it has more nuclear weapons. If that is not an expression of power, what is? Not to be overlooked, France was allied with Great Britain in both world wars. So how can it be said that the great nation of France has fallen before its British rival? What rational person would believe such a preposterous thing?
If we accept the Watchtower’s “inspired statement” as being authentic, which is to say we believe that the wrecking of a few dozen wooden warships in a North Atlantic gale in 1588 fulfilled prophecy, then we must assume that the three horns have long since been grafted back into the head of the beast from where they had been “plucked up” —rendering this aspect of Daniel’s prophecy into a mere historical footnote. And most unsettling, that leaves us with no alternative but to believe that God inspired Daniel to record mere trivia that has no relevancy to the present or future. Frankly, why ought the Creator stoop to using his unlimited foreknowledge to play such parlor tricks?
We may be certain that Jehovah does not use his power to foretell irrelevant trivialities. The Watchtower’s interpretation is very much in error. The purpose of Daniel’s prophecy is to reveal events related to the establishment of God’s Kingdom. Since the little horn with eyes and a mouth speaks in opposition to the Christ at the point he comes against them, that is also when the three rival horns are uprooted.
Unfortunately, the Watchtower’s error does not end there. Since the ascendency of the big-talking little horn parallels the revival of the slaughtered head of the beast in the 13th chapter of Revelation, who is similarly depicted as being given a mouth to utter great blasphemies against heaven for precisely the same prophetic period of 42 months, alternatively expressed in Daniel as a time, times and half a time, the mortal blow to the head of the seven-headed beast must coincide with the three kings that are made to fall.
Of course, the Watchtower makes no such connection. Rivaling the absurdity of the interpretation of the three horns being plucked out, Jehovah’s Witnesses are compelled by the masters of their faith to believe that the head of the wild beast —the Anglo-American duo —suffered a fatal blow during the First World War and then miraculously recovered. It is true, the First World War changed the world and millions of young men were senselessly slaughtered, but Jehovah’s Witnesses are apparently oblivious to the fact that the Anglo-American allies were victorious in the war and experienced nothing that could even remotely be described as a fatal blow.
The reason the Watchtower is compelled to resort to extolling such nonsense is because Bethel’s visionaries well know that the head of the beast is slaughtered as an indirect result of Christ coming to power and Satan being cast down to the earth. And the doctrine that Christ began ruling the world in 1914 is considered the sacred foundation upon which the Watchtower has been built and cannot be questioned.
But it gets even worse. Did you know that America was subjugated by the Soviet Union during the Cold War? Most people do not. In fact, the only people on the planet who believe it are Jehovah’s Witnesses, although I doubt that it is something foremost in their minds. No doubt the reason the Watchtower can pass off sheer nonsense as if it were an inspired statement from God is because Jehovah’s Witnesses respect “the slave” as being from God. And it would seem that “the slave” has exploited Jehovah’s Witnesses lack of education and knowledge of modern history.
But surely no knowledgable person would agree that the Soviet communists dominated America in the way outlined in Daniel’s prophecy, so as to “rule over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the desirable things.” Yet, this is what the Watchtower has unblushingly taught for the past 60 years –even after the USSR was driven into bankruptcy by America in the arms race.
Interestingly, the verse above goes on to relate that Egypt does not escape, nor do the Libyans or Ethiopians. Those three symbolic entities must represent the same kings as the three horns that are uprooted, making the little horn the same entity as the king of the north in his final campaign.
The truth is, and there is really no polite way to say it, the Watchtower has perpetrated a massive fraud upon Jehovah’s Witnesses. Christ did not begin ruling in 1914. Furthermore, the 11th horn did not emerge in 1588. Nor was the wild beast mortally wounded in 1914. And for certain, the king of the north did not subjugate the king of the south during the Cold War. All of these things are in our immediate future. And you may be certain that the fulfillment of God’s prophetic word will not be so easily forgotten as the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The return of Christ will be immensely profound.
A GREAT CRASH IS COMING
What is symbolized in various prophecy is the utter crash of the system and afterwards —like the mythical phoenix arising from the ashes —the emergence of the last king, the eighth king —the little horn of Daniel’s prophecy. The plucking up of the three horns will undoubtedly be realized with the collapse of the United States and her supporters, probably Britain and France.
Already the move to replace the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency is well along. That means the U.S. will be swamped by a Tsunami of worthless Dollars nations no longer need. There is no way America will survive as an independent republic. It will be crushed by its own massive mountain of unpayable debt –foreclosed upon by its central bank creditors, who will likely take possession of the hidden treasures at Fort Knox and whatever else is deemed valuable. A deathblow indeed!
The significance of the impending downfall of America, at least as far as Jehovah’s Witnesses are concerned, is that America has always protected the rights of its citizens to freely assemble, to preach and publish the truth. No one has benefited from America’s guarantee of freedom more than Jehovah’s Witnesses. But all of that will change. The land of the free it will be no more.
Likely Jehovah’s Witnesses will scoff (until it happens), having been conditioned to believe the Watchtower is virtually unerring. How could ‘Bethel have it so wrong,’ many will likely retort? That is actually a good question. And Jehovah has the answer: “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.”
Jehovah’s assessment is right on the mark. Over the past century the Watchtower has published volumes on prophecy. True, most of it has long since been consigned to the rubbish bin; but in recent years the Watchtower doesn’t even concern itself with prophecy. It has turned the prophets into behavioral lessons for the learners. Now, as the world stands at the brink of a holocaust, the like of which has never occurred before or will ever occur again, the prophet class has gone mute. How true, even as Jehovah long ago said of his servant, “you see many things, but you do not keep watch.”
Amazingly, the far-seeing God foresaw the Watchtower’s 1914 hoax and describes it in the 30th chapter of Isaiah, saying: “Since you reject this word and you trust in fraud and deceit and you rely on these, so this error will be for you like a broken wall, like a bulging high wall ready to fall. It will crash suddenly, in an instant. It will be broken like a large potter’s jar, so completely smashed that no fragment among its pieces will be left to rake the fire from the fireplace or to scoop water from a puddle.”
Surely a bulging, high wall, is the perfect analogy for the Watchtower’s interpretation of prophecy, all of which has been tied to 1914. It may seem impressive to the over-awed observer. And surely the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses support themselves on it by declaring themselves to be the already appointed princes of the now-ruling Kingdom. But what happens when the cruise missiles and nuclear ICBM’s start flying? Crash!!! the wall comes down and is shattered to smithereens.
As it stands presently, a few of Jehovah’s Witnesses are waking up to the reality of a future presence of Christ during the reign of the yet-to-come eighth king —the yet-to ascend little horn. Although the leadership of the Watchtower are committed to keeping Jehovah’s people in ignorance, the wall of deceit is bulging more and more.
I take inspiration from one of the pioneer English Bible translators, William Tyndale, who said to one of his many resisters: “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou doest.”
Indeed, I defy the Watchtower and their judicial injunction against independently examining the Scriptures. And if God spares my life a few more years I am certain to see a goodly number of insignificant publishers and disfellowshipped castaways come to know more of the prophetic Scriptures than the Governing Body and all their helpers.