As regular readers of e-watchman are aware, not only is it my unwavering conviction that Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Society have heretofore played a vital role in the outworking of Jehovah’s grand purpose, but I also stand convinced that the present system of things is poised to implode in the immediate future – commensurate with the authentic arrival of Jesus Christ and the actual ouster of Satan and his demons from Jehovah’s heavens. Even though no mortal knows the precise day and hour when the Son of man will make his thief-like presence manifest, thereby plunging the world into a brief period of unimaginable chaos, the conditions are undeniably overripe for a calamity of apocalyptic proportions to suddenly overtake the present wicked system of things.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses are also in a general state of expectation of the beginning of the globe-rocking great tribulation, the Devil is in the details – as the saying aptly goes.
The Watchtower Society has for a certainty published reams of interpretation touching upon nearly every prophecy in the Bible. And as most of Jehovah’s Witnesses know, much of it has been interpreted to have already been fulfilled generations ago, in 1914. Most other aspects of prophecy are expected to be realized when Christendom is suddenly destroyed – along with all other religions of the world that comprise Revelation’s Babylon the Great – at the outbreak of the great tribulation.
Essentially, the Watchtower teaches that the only significant portion of prophecy yet to be fulfilled is the execution of the symbolic harlot of Babylon by the eighth king; and, of course, the final war at the symbolic battlefield called Armageddon. So, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to anticipate that prophecy will next be fulfilled when the great tribulation suddenly erupts and the United Nations unexpectedly turns upon and completely destroys all organized religion throughout the world.
While there is no reason for any person of faith to doubt that Jehovah God possesses the power and wisdom to skillfully maneuver the human and demonic rulers of the world to accomplish his word – doing so as easily as a grand chess master deploys pawns, bishops and knights on a checkered board – still, it ought to be apparent that the U.N. does not presently possess the capability of carrying out God’s mandate. And there is no indication that the United Nations is even disposed to launch a global, anti-religion program any time soon. It is, in fact, laughable to suppose that such a thing could ever happen under the current political system. Or are we to imagine that the armies, militias and patriotic citizens of all the nations will idly stand-by while their communities are invaded by foreigners and their cherished religious institutions are ravaged by blue-helmeted “peace keepers”? The notion that such a thing could happen without a radical change in the present political, social and economic system is absurd in the extreme.
But, while the Watchtower’s expectations may seem implausible or even preposterous at the moment, it is wise not to scoff at Jehovah’s judgments.
Just as Jehovah commandeered the formidable military machines of both Babylon and Assyria in ancient times in order to administer his punishing judgments against his people and the surrounding nations, through his prophetic word the same God who once used an earthly king to “wreck all the earth” (Isaiah 13:5) has publicized his intentions to use a modern political agency to punish the nations on a global scale.
But it is only reasonable to suppose that before ever Jehovah’s judgments are carried out in the future, first the pre-appointed imperial executioner must acquire the necessary powers to carry out his assigned task. At present, though, the United Nations is aptly described as a “paper tiger.” So, how can it possibly come about that an eighth king will acquire the “teeth” to devour the international religious harlot so that the word of God might be accomplished?
That is a question thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as the Bethel leadership of the organization are urged to seriously ponder.
Simply put, given the limitations imposed by the Watchtower’s prophetic outlook, the expectations cultivated among Jehovah’s Witnesses by the seers within the organization are presently out of the realm of reality. According to the totality of prophecy, before ever the eighth king can acquire the capability of carrying out Jehovah’s awesome judgments completely, first the nation-state system in its present form must be eliminated and the sovereignty currently exercised by individual nations must ultimately be subjected to the authority of a single world government, commonly known as the new world order. How else is it conceivable that all the kings of the earth will tremble in fear of the eighth king? (Revelation 18:9-10)
For a certainty, the conspiracy to subvert and destroy the republican form of government has been the long-range goal of the London-centered Empire and the driving force of history for many decades. And at this late stage it appears that the conspiracy to eradicate the American-system is now entering into the end-game phase.
But the suggestion that the nations of the world must first experience a catastrophic crash – preceded into the maelstrom by the Anglo-American superpower – is generally met with a mute and vacant gaze among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The conundrum confronting the anointed augur of Bethel is that there is simply no allowance in his prophetic exegesis for any sort of tectonic tumult that will give rise to a genocidal global government. After all, according to the organizational oracle, the world was thrown into a permanent tumultuous state back in 1914 – supposedly in fulfillment of the second Psalm – and both the seventh and eighth kings have since then ascended out of the symbolic abyss, albeit on different occasions.
This brings us to the crucial question of whether the prophetic interpretations espoused by the Watchtower are reliable. And if they are not, to what degree are they in error and what effect will that error have upon the many millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have unreservedly placed their faith in the trustworthiness of the Society’s interpretations? Unquestionably, not only is the Watchtower’s credibility at stake, but also the faith of millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses and interested persons who have placed their unqualified trust in the reliability of the organization. Suffice it to say, if the future does not unfold in the way the Watchtower Society has confidently lain out, then there will be dire consequences for both the organization and individual Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As already stated, over the years the Watchtower has published volumes of commentary on Bible prophecy. And since coming online in September of 2002, e-watchman has also published a considerable amount of information – so much so that it might present a challenge for new readers to plow through the entire body of published work. Because some people may not have the time, energy or interest to research these matters in depth, it might be helpful to present a more concise synopsis comparing what the Watchtower teaches with what e-watchman has published to date regarding the outworking of important prophecies, and what may lay before us on the road ahead. A diligent examination of the Watchtower Society’s seemingly inspired interpretation is not an act of disloyalty to God. It is actually the exhortation of the aged apostle John, who long ago wrote: “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired express ions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.”
THE APPOINTED TIMES AND THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST
Watchtower: The centerpiece of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ belief and gospel message is that Jesus Christ began ruling as king over the world in 1914. It is also believed Satan and the demons were hurled down from heaven to the earth in that year. The beginning of the First World War in 1914 has convinced millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the Watchtower’s interpretations are legitimate.
The Watchtower also claims that the prophetic period Christ referred to in the 21st chapter of Luke as the “appointed times of the nations” ended in 1914. Supposedly, the appointed times for the nations to trample that which is symbolized by Jerusalem spanned a period of two and a-half millennia and the expiration of that period in 1914 ushered in the rule of God’s kingdom.
e-Watchman: The presence of Christ has not begun yet. Nor have Satan and his wicked angels been cast down to the earth in anger yet. The chronology connected to the “appointed times of the nations” has been misapplied.
While there is no question that some features of the sign of Christ’s presence appear to have been fulfilled with the outbreak of the Great War and the horrific Spanish Flu of 1918, there are other aspects of the sign that are not in evidence. And as the Watchtower itself has stated, the sign of Christ’s presence is like a human fingerprint: unless all of the features of the sign are in evidence it is not a perfect match. For example, in the same context as Jesus foretold that there would be wars, pestilences and food shortages, he also prophesied that Christians would be betrayed and hated by brothers and even family members to the point of even being put to death. Although no religious community has been persecuted to the same extent as have Jehovah’s Witnesses, still, excepting the Nazi Holocaust, it is relatively rare that any are put to death. (Other aspects of the features of Christ’s presence are discussed in the essay A Closer Look at 1914)
Although the Watchtower has stated that no future developments could more precisely fit the prophetic pattern then what has already taken place, that is simply not true. That mindset betrays a lack of vision. The reality is, the world presently stands on the brink of a global war involving nuclear weapons. The relentlessly mutating Avian virus, not to mention man-made biological weaponry, poses a threat that far exceeds the carnage of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. And in recent years Wall Street and a food cartel has taken over food production and distribution; with the prices of basic commodities like wheat, rice, corn and soy soaring, global hyperinflation could easily ignite and create food shortages, especially among the poor. (Getting Used to Life Without Food) In other words, the horsemen of the Apocalypse could appear in such a way so as to make the heralded events of 1914 pale into insignificance.
One of the most prominent features of the multi-faceted sign of the parousia centers on Christ’s repeated warnings to the chosen ones to be on guard against the many false messiahs and pseudo prophets who would be heralding that the day had already arrived and that Christ was present. Paul also forewarned Christians not to be taken in by seemingly inspired messages announcing that Jehovah’s day had already commenced. So, while the Watchtower contends that anyone who rejects their interpretation is ridiculing the very presence of Christ, in truth, the Watchtower’s message – announcing that Jehovah’s kingdom came to power in 1914 and that Christ has been invisibly present for nearly a century – fits the profile of the man of lawlessness that Paul described.
Rather than commencing another multi-generational period during which time Christians are faced with the same trials and temptations as those who came before them, the actual presence of Christ is the end of our faith. Parousia literally means “coming alongside,” and it signifies the miraculous manifestation of Christ to Jehovah’s chosen ones. In fact, the Scriptures make no distinction between the presence of Christ, the manifestation of Christ, the revelation of Christ and the day of Jehovah.
On the matter of calculating the year 1914: Without having been previously indoctrinated with the Society’s seven times chronology it is highly unlikely that any reader of the 21st chapter of Luke would independently come to the conclusion that the appointed times began with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in the fifth century, B.C.E. The context of Jesus’ prophecy regarding the allotted times for Jerusalem to be trampled upon by the nations was in relation to the future desolation of the holy place by a disgusting thing.
In the 11th chapter of Revelation the holy city and the courtyard of God’s spiritual temple are said to have been given to the nations to trample underfoot for a period of 42 months – in other words, it is an appointed time for the nations to trample “Jerusalem.” In view of the fact that the context of Christ’s prophecy had to do with the desolation of Jerusalem and the trampling of the holy place during the great tribulation the only legitimate, scriptural interpretation for the value of the appointed times is 42 months. (See chapter: The Gentile Times)
THE TIME OF THE END AND THE CONCLUSION OF THE SYSTEM
Watchtower: The time of the end and the conclusion of the system of things began in 1914.
e-Watchman: The time of the end and the conclusion have not begun yet.
Jesus used the expression translated as “the conclusion of a system of things” on several occasions. In the 13th chapter of Matthew it is used in connection with a symbolic harvest. In fact, Jesus stated: “The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels.” According to the illustration the harvest is accomplished when the angels are sent forth to remove the weeds from among the standing wheat and “collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace.”
According to the Watchtower the angels only play a minor role in the harvest by directing the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although it is not taught overtly, the underlying assumption is that the harvest is brought about by the Watchtower Society itself. That’s because the Society teaches that the harvest is accomplished through the ordinary means of evangelization. When new converts are made they are said to have been harvested out from among Christendom’s weed-like imitation Christians. However, that is the exact reverse of what Jesus indicated would take place during the harvest. According to Jesus, first the weeds are separated from the wheat, then the weeds are burned in the furnace and the wheat-like sons of the kingdom shine as brightly as the sun in Jehovah’s kingdom. Surely, the sons of the kingdom shining as brightly as the sun is no ordinary occurrence. Not even the apostles were said to have shone like the sun. Yet they witnessed Christ do so during the transfiguration.
The folly of the Watchtower’s interpretation is evident by reason of the fact that the end result of the harvest brings about the complete removal of all stumbling blocks as well as lawless persons from Christ’s kingdom. But following the Watchtower’s teaching to its absurd conclusion we would have to conclude that Christendom is Christ’s kingdom and that it now has been cleansed by Jehovah’s angels. Obviously, though, that is not what the Watchtower teaches in regard to the meaning of Jesus’ illustration. Bethel would never admit to being the source of stumbling blocks or that lawless persons proliferate within the organization and hierarchy. Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposedly living in “spiritual paradise,” which according to prophecy, will be an organization completely devoid of predatory individuals – a condition Jesus said would be brought about by the physical removal of lawless persons.
Related to the events of the time of the end and the harvest is the judgment upon the house of God. The Watchtower claims that Christ already appeared as the refiner and laundryman back in 1918. However, the prophecies indicate that God’s house will be infected with apostasy up until the actual day of Jehovah commences.
WHEN IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION?
Watchtower: For over a half century following 1914 the Society taught that the First World War marked the beginning of the great tribulation but that it was “cut short” in 1918. It was not until the 1970’s that the Watchtower first published that the beginning of the great tribulation was a future event. However, the Grand Climax commentary on Revelation continues to teach that the great tribulation began back during WWI – well, sort of.
e-Watchman: The stealthy arrival of Christ will segue into the great tribulation.
In a discussion of the opening of the sixth seal, which signifies the earth-jolting collapse of the present system of things – symbolized throughout prophecy by the obscuring of heavenly luminaries and the crash of earthly mountain-like institutions – the Society’s commentary rightly observes that the seven seals are all unsealed “within the same time frame.”
So, the Watchtower teaches that the seven seals of the Apocalypse began to be unsealed in 1914 and in short order were all unsealed, thereby initiating the events symbolized. However, since it is obvious that the system did not collapse nor have all the citizens of earth become panic stricken – as the prophecies outline – the Society adroitly teaches that the unsealing of the sixth seal merely set off minor tremors as a preliminary to the Big One. How reasonable is it, though, that God’s awesome judgments were unsealed nearly a century ago but still have not been realized yet? What is the point of the unsealing if it does not initiate the actual judgments of God? The Society’s Grand Climax commentary makes Revelation anti-climatic.
And even though the Watchtower now accepts the obvious truth that the world’s greatest time of trouble has not begun yet, the Society’s seers still apply numerous apocalyptic prophecies to the recent past and present – prophecies which use similar symbolism as is employed in the phraseology associated with the opening of the sixth seal. For instance, Haggai 2:6-7, which reads: “For this is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Yet once—it is a little while—and I am rocking the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry ground. And I will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in; and I will fill this house with glory,’ Jehovah of armies has said.”
Surely the rocking of that which is symbolized by the very heavens and the earth is a unique, never-to-be-repeated occurrence. According to the Watchtower, though, Jehovah has been rocking the nations since 1914. But in view of the fact the world has enjoyed an extended period of expanding prosperity and relative stability since the end of the Second World War the Society’s interpretations do not harmonize with reality. If the prophecy were being fulfilled now we would have to conclude that Jehovah’s rocking the heavens and the earth is not that big of a deal. (See article: The Great Tribulation and the holy Place)
WHEN IS THE HEAD OF THE BEAST SLAIN AND THEN REVIVED?
Watchtower: Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the 13th chapter of Revelation was fulfilled during the First World War. That is when the leading head of Satan’s symbolic seven-headed wild beast is believed to have received a mortal death blow and then, as if by a miracle – recovered.
e-Watchman: The death blow has not occurred yet.
Again, the Society’s interpretation of a vital prophecy simply does not match the facts of history. Although many millions of young men were killed in the senseless slaughter of WWI, the respective governments of the participants were not toppled. (Czarist Russia being the exception.)
The error of the Watchtower’s interpretation is apparent due to the fact that the death and revival of the beast initiates judgment day. It is following the resurrection of the beast from the abyss of death that an image of the beast is made, to which all of mankind will be required to pay homage, upon pain of death. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe that the image of the beast first came to life in 1919 in the form of the League of Nations and later that image was resurrected as the United Nations. If that were true, though, it would mean that all persons who have in any way expressed their support or admiration for the League or the UN have already received the indelible 666 mark of the beast.
The Society does indeed teach that judgment day began on two separate occasions: First in 1919 and then again in 1945! Although Revelation clearly teaches that everyone – without exception – who receives the symbolic mark of the beast is doomed to destruction, the Watchtower’s nonsensical teaching diminishes the severity of God’s judgments and makes the Apocalypse commonplace. The Society contradicts its own teaching, in that, the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has inarguably converted many millions of persons who formally were politically active, many even having served in the military to promote and defend the interests of the wild beast. Apparently, they were able to have the mark removed. Obviously, though, no one who worships the beast or its image can afterwards be converted to the worship of Jehovah. That, after all, is the point of the 666 marking. It distinguishes those who worship Jehovah God from those who worship Satan’s idol. It is final and permanent.
By reasoning upon the prophetic scriptures it is evident that the wild beast has not received the apocalyptic sword-stroke. The seeming death of the beast will be something far more terrifying than the First World War. The abyssing of the beast signifies the sudden, catastrophic crash of the Anglo-American world power.
From the ashes of the world-shattering crash of nations will arise the eighth king – most likely in the form of the United Nations Organization. However, it will not be as the relatively impotent United Nations now. At the present moment the UN stands as a mere bureaucratic shell, waiting for the coming catastrophe to be transformed into a tyrannical world government. The sovereignty now exercised by the nations will then be transferred to that world body so that the eighth king will acquire control over the world’s means of life, as well as the military forces and nuclear arsenals of the nations. According to the prophets the last king will launch a horrific genocidal rampage – reducing the world’s population by a substantial percentage. Only then will the eighth king be empowered to carry out the word of God in annihilating the iniquitous whore of Babylon.
After the beast emerges from the abyss the sons of God will be subjected to persecution for 42 months and ultimately martyrdom. During the initial phase of the upheaval Jehovah’s earthly organization will suffer collapse.
HIS WATCHMEN ARE BLIND
As previously stated, and as Jehovah’s Witnesses well know, the Watchtower teaches that most prophecies have already been fulfilled or soon will be with the downfall of Christendom. However, since the calamitous events of September 11, 2001, the scene of this world has changed. Most ominously, the grand champion of freedom and democracy – America – is gradually being transformed into a global tyrant; manifestly intent on triggering the next world war, while the global financial system has been rigged to implode when the conclusion commences.
So, while the Watchtower Society has led Jehovah’s Witnesses to believe that the great upheaval occurred long ago – during the First World War, and that the image of the beast is now manifest in the docile and impotent United Nations Organization –meanwhile, the leading nation of the world has quietly been brought to stand at the precipice of a yawning abyss that is far more foreboding than the First or Second world wars or the Great Depression.
In view of the aforementioned deficiencies with the Watchtower’s prophetic interpretations, the question is: How could the so-called watchman-class be so blind?
Throughout the prophecy of Isaiah Jehovah speaks to his organization during the finale. One of the most notable features of Jehovah’s pre-recorded judicial decisions is that his people – particularly the leadership – are characterized by their spiritual blindness. How true this is of Jehovah’s Witnesses!
Although possessing the basic foundation of truth, Jehovah’s Witnesses are tragically ignorant of the deeper things of scripture having to do with the unveiling of Jehovah’s future judgments. This is why God will eventually silence his people with the rebuke presented at Isaiah 42:19: “Who is blind, if not my servant, and who is deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as the one rewarded, or blind as the servant of Jehovah?”
The greatest irony is that Isaiah foretold that the very prophets and visionaries among God’s organization would be unable to decipher the prophecy of Isaiah; most notably, Isaiah 29:9-12, which reads: “Linger, you men, and be amazed; blind yourselves, and be blinded. They have become intoxicated, but not with wine; they have moved unsteadily, but not because of intoxicating liquor. For upon you men Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep; and he closes your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered even your heads, the visionaries. And for you men the vision of everything becomes like the words of the book that has been sealed up, which they give to someone knowing the writing, saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ and he has to say: ‘I am unable, for it is sealed up’; and the book must be given to someone that does not know writing, somebody saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ and he has to say: ‘I do not know writing at all.’”
The context of the prophecy has to do with the fall of Ariel, which is simply another name for Jerusalem, and how he will be crushed so that his voice is muted. The spiritual application of the prophecy clearly applies to that which was represented by ancient Jerusalem and Zion – namely, Christ’s congregation. The desolation of Ariel is what Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the holy place being trampled upon by the disgusting thing.
True to the prophecy the Watchtower’s prophets and visionaries have no insight in the meaning of the prophecy. It is as if they are illiterate. The end result of Jehovah’s judgment will be that the meek ones – although presently blind to God’s future judgments – will be redeemed by the Savior; whereas, the haughty rulers who boast of their great insights will be abashed.
Isaiah continues: “And in that day the deaf ones will certainly hear the words of the book, and out of the gloom and out of the darkness even the eyes of the blind ones will see. And the meek ones will certainly increase their rejoicing in Jehovah himself, and even the poor ones of mankind will be joyful in the Holy One of Israel himself, because the tyrant must reach his end, and the bragger must come to his finish, and all those keeping alert to do harm must be cut off, those bringing a man into sin by his word, and those who lay bait even for the one reproving in the gate, and those who push aside the righteous one with empty arguments.” (Isaiah 29:18-21)
True to form the Society teaches that the deaf ones first had their ears opened in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in 1919. But that simply cannot be true. The prophecy clearly states that the deaf and blind are cured at the same time as the tyrant and the bragger come to their finish – “in that day.”
The context of the 42nd chapter of Isaiah, where the question is posed – “Who is blind as the servant of Jehovah?” – makes it plain that the eyes of the spiritually blind are not opened until such times as Jehovah speaks. And when God speaks it is as if the earth is devastated by the power of his rebuke.
Isaiah 42:13-16 foretells: “Like a mighty man Jehovah himself will go forth. Like a warrior he will awaken zeal. He will shout, yes, he will let out a war cry; over his enemies he will show himself mightier. ‘I have kept quiet for a long time. I continued silent. I kept exercising self-control. Like a woman giving birth I am going to groan, pant, and gasp at the same time. I shall devastate mountains and hills, and all their vegetation I shall dry up. And I will turn rivers into islands, and reedy pools I shall dry up. And I will make the blind ones walk in a way that they have not known; in a roadway that they have not known I shall cause them to tread. I shall turn a dark place before them into light, and rugged terrain into level land. These are the things that I will do for them, and I will not leave them.”
In view of the Society’s gross lack of understanding and perverse blindness as regards Jehovah’s oncoming judgments, Isaiah 56:9-11 applies most aptly to the shepherds of God’s people – the self-proclaimed watchman-class: “His watchmen are blind. None of them have taken note. All of them are speechless dogs; they are not able to bark, panting, lying down, loving to slumber. They are even dogs strong in soulful desire; they have known no satisfaction. They are also shepherds that have not known how to understand.”