Thursday, May 19

Get out of this place, because Jehovah will destroy the city!Gen. 19:14.

In the past, Jehovah was pleased to protect his people when they unitedly helped one another to face distressing times. Modern-day servants of God, whether young or old, can learn from Bible examples. One such example involved Lot. Lot and his family were in a perilous situation because destruction was going to come on Sodom, the city where they lived. God’s angels urged Lot to leave and to find safety in the mountainous region, saying: “Escape for your life!”  Lot obeyed, and his two daughters cooperated with him in leaving the city. Sadly, others close to them did not. To the younger men who were engaged to Lot’s daughters, the older man “seemed to be joking.” That cost them their lives. Only Lot and his daughters, who stuck close to him, survived.

COMMENTARY

In the near future Jehovah’s Witnesses will be required to flee from a doomed “city” too. Jesus spoke of it when he said: “However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her, because these are days for meting out justice in order that all the things written may be fulfilled.”

“Jerusalem” has symbolic significance far beyond the ancient city in Israel that was destroyed by the Roman armies in 70 C.E. However, the “Jerusalem” that will experience desolation during the tribulation is not the world empire of false religion, as the Watchtower teaches. Instead, it is Christ’s congregation. How can that be determined?

There are many prophecies that relate to it. Take the 29th chapter of Isaiah, for example. In verse three the prophecy states: “But I will bring distress on Ariel, and there will be mourning and lamentation, and she will become to me like an altar hearth of God. I will encamp on all sides against you, and I will besiege you with a palisade and raise up siegeworks against you.”

Ariel is a code name for Jerusalem. The significance is that in Isaiah Jehovah states that he will besiege Ariel with a palisade. A palisade is a fence of pointed stakes, which is exactly the imagery Jesus used when describing the fall of Jerusalem in the 19th chapter of Luke, where he said: “Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification of pointed stakes and will encircle you and besiege you from every side. They will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”

While the Romans literally built a fence of pointed stakes around Jerusalem in the first century, the setting in the prophecy of Isaiah has to do with the return of Christ. Why doesn’t the Watchtower have any insight into this aspect of prophecy? Isaiah continues: “Be stunned and amazed; blind yourselves and be blinded. They are drunk, but not with wine; they are staggering, but not from alcohol. For Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep on you; He has closed your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered your heads, the visionaries. Every vision becomes for you like the words of a sealed book. When they give it to someone who can read, saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ he will say: ‘I cannot, for it is sealed up.’ And when they give the book to someone who cannot read, saying: ‘Read this, please,’ he will say: ‘I cannot read at all.’”

It is noteworthy that in the opening chapter of Isaiah Jehovah addresses the leaders of his people as the “chieftains of Sodom.”

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