Saturday, October 31

All your sons will be taught by Jehovah.Isa. 54:13.

How can we demonstrate that we are really being “taught by Jehovah”? By carefully heeding his commands. In the safe haven of our congregations, we find needed guidance and protection, for it is there that faithful men who serve as elders provide Scriptural help and counsel. Much of Jehovah’s tender care reaches us through these “gifts in men.” How should we respond? Willing submission and obedience result in God’s blessing. Let us be determined to be led by holy spirit and thus yield to the guidance of our heavenly Father. We also need to meditate on the life course of his Son, Jesus Christ, whose peerless example we strive to follow. For his obedience even to the point of death, Jesus received a rich reward. Like him, we will be blessed for trusting in Jehovah with all our heart.

COMMENTARY

At this year’s Annual Meeting of the the Watchtower’s corporate heads, as is their custom the Governing Body announced their latest “adjusted understanding” of prophecy. Among other things, the long held view that the Bible Students briefly went into captivity to Babylon the Great during the First World War was jettisoned.

Although retaining the fanciful notion that Jehovah performed a mighty act of deliverance in 1919, now the Governing Body claims that Christians went into exile in antitypical Babylon way back in the second century, when Constantine asserted himself over what passed for Christianity.

But is this true?

According to Stephen Lett (Annual Meeting video available here) the primary reason the Governing Body no longer teaches that the Bible Students fulfilled the numerous prophecies related to God’s people being taken into captivity to Babylon is because the Jews were led into captivity as punishment from God for their wickedness. And according to their most recent “adjusted understanding” that could not apply to Rutherford and the Bible Students because they were not guilty of offending God to such a degree that would have warranted such a severe punishment. (That cannot be said of the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses presently)

This is, of course, true. And it is something I pointed out ten years ago in the first addition of Jehovah Himself Has Become King. Just because the Watchtower compromised with the government censors and removed a few offending paragraphs from the Finished Mystery book was hardly cause for God to become enraged, considering that the book itself was some of the most preposterous nonsense ever put to print. 

But this raises several questions. First, did God allow the Roman Emperor to hijack Christianity as a means of punishing Christians back then? And, more importantly, did God’s anger span the centuries and was only appeased in 1919?

To answer that second question we merely have to turn to the 54th chapter of Isaiah, from where the theme scripture for the Watchtower’s daily text is taken. Speaking to his covenanted “woman” God speaks words of consolation, saying to her: “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great mercy I will gather you back. In a flood of indignation I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting loyal love I will have mercy on you,’ says your Repurchaser, Jehovah.”

There it is: “for a brief moment” God will abandon and hide his face from his people. And that will be when the scarlet-colored beast emerges from the abyss with the harlot of Babylon seated upon it. And according to Revelation the beast will wage war upon God’s woman for 1,260 days, or 42 months. Hence, God’s “woman” will be persecuted, not only by the beast, but by the harlot known as Babylon the Great.

Some unreasoning persons might suggest, though, that since a thousand years are as one day to God that “a brief moment” in God’s eyes might amount to 1,600 years. But the context indicates that the “brief moment” of God’s indignation will be expressed in what Jesus referred to as a great tribulation, the likes of which has never occurred before or will occur again. That is when God issues his rebuke and denunciation and only afterwards becomes the Repurchaser of that which was cast off.

That is why in the prophecy Jehovah refers to her as “O afflicted woman, storm-tossed, uncomforted…”

It is, then, in the aftermath of God’s scathing rebuke that all of her sons will be persons taught by Jehovah. That “teaching” will be painful. It is what is described in the 28th chapter of Isaiah in the following illustration: “Give ear, you men, and listen to my voice; pay attention and listen to my saying. Is it all day long that the plower plows in order to sow seed, that he loosens and harrows his ground? Does he not, when he has smoothed out its surface, then scatter black cumin and sprinkle the cumin, and must he not put in wheat, millet, and barley in the appointed place, and spelt as his boundary? And one corrects him according to what is right. His own God instructs him. For it is not with a threshing instrument that black cumin is given a treading; and upon cumin no wheel of a wagon is turned. For it is with a rod that black cumin is generally beaten out, and cumin with a staff. Is breadstuff itself generally crushed? For never does one incessantly keep treading it out. And he must set the roller of his wagon in motion, and his own steeds, but he will not crush it. This also is what has come forth from Jehovah of armies himself, who has been wonderful in counsel, who has done greatly in effectual working.”

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