Sunday, January 22
The word of our God endures forever.
Thousands of fragments, manuscripts, and ancient translations have been compared and painstakingly studied by Bible scholars. This study validated the contents of the vast majority of Bible passages. The few verses about which there is a degree of uncertainty do not change the overall message. A study of ancient manuscripts convinces sincere Bible students that they have what Jehovah originally inspired Bible writers to record. Despite fierce opposition from enemies, Jehovah has seen to it that his Word is the most widely translated book in the history of mankind. Even at a time when many have little or no faith in God, the Bible remains a best seller and is now available, in whole or in part, in over 2,800 languages. Though some Bible translations are not as clear or as reliable as others, it is still possible to learn the Bible’s basic message of hope and salvation from nearly all translations.
Not only has God’s word endured in written form, more importantly it will accomplish what God has intended. We might think of certain messages in the Bible as if sealed in a time capsule. In fact, to illustrate the point, the prophecies of Daniel are said to be sealed up until the time of the end. Yes, we have the literal words on the page, but until they are truly understood and appreciated —indeed, until they are fulfilled —it is all just academic.
The prophecies of Isaiah are also sealed up. The 29th chapter explains it this way —speaking to the visionaries and prophets who seek to understand, God says: “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.””
Beginning with the 40th chapter of Isaiah God begins a long-running dialogue with “Jacob” that spans more than twenty five chapters. The original setting was when Israel was in captivity to Babylon and God sent his “anointed one” to deliver them. God’s anointed one —literally Christ — came in the form of the Persian king named Cyrus.
The seers at Bethel realize the prophecy has a much greater fulfillment that concerns the second coming of Christ, but as a demonstration of the fact that the book is sealed up to them they claim that Christ came in 1914 and liberated the Bible Students from spiritual captivity to Babylon the Great in 1919.
The absurdity of such a notion ought to be plainly evident to anyone who simply reads the 40th chapter. For example, verse five states: “The glory of Jehovah will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together, for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken.”
Since Christ is coming in the glory of his Father, the revelation of Jehovah’s glory is in connection with the manifestation of Jesus. So, are Jehovah’s Witnesses so unreasonable as to assert that Christ has been revealed in his glory? Was Rutherford’s release from prison really that spectacular and earthshaking? Did Jehovah reveal his glory at Cedar Park, Ohio, in 1919? What sane person would believe that?
There is another interesting connection with the coming of Christ. Isaiah 40:10 states: “Look! The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will come with power, and his arm will rule for him. Look! His reward is with him, and the wage he pays is before him.”
This passage in Isaiah is echoed in the closing words of the prophecy called Revelation, where Christ said to John: “Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to repay each one according to his work.”
For a certainty, not even the Governing Body claim that Christ has already come and given his reward to those who are faithful. That being undeniable, why does the Watchtower insist that Jehovah has already come with power and paid the wage? Here is what the blinded visionaries have written in explanation of Isaiah 40:10:
Isaiah’s words are filled with prophetic meaning for our day. In 1914, Jehovah came “even with strength” and established his Kingdom in the heavens. The ‘arm that is ruling for him’ is his Son, Jesus Christ, whom Jehovah has installed upon his heavenly throne. In 1919, Jehovah delivered his anointed servants on earth from bondage to Babylon the Great and set about completely restoring the pure worship of the living and true God. This is good news that must be fearlessly proclaimed, as if by shouting from the mountaintops so that the proclamation carries far and wide. Let us, then, lift up our voices and boldly let others know that Jehovah God has restored his pure worship on this earth!
The truth is, the prophecy of Isaiah has not been unsealed yet. When will it be? First comes war, then the demise of the Watchtower, resulting in spiritual captivity to Babylon the Great. Only then can God have everyone’s attention before he speaks. For example, the opening words of the 41st chapter of Isaiah are addressed to the nations after the collapse of the system, which is why he challenges them to “regain their strength”: “Listen to me in silence, you islands; let the nations regain their strength. Let them approach; then let them speak. Let us come together for judgment. Who has raised up someone from the sunrise, calling him in righteousness to His feet, to hand over nations to him and to make him subdue kings? Who reduces them to dust before his sword, like windblown stubble before his bow?”
The Watchtower claims that the appointed times for the nations to rule the world expired in 1914 and that Christ rode forth with his bow and began subduing nations. Jehovah’s Witnesses accept it without reservation. After all, 1,260 X 2 = 2,520. The math doesn’t lie, or does it? The reality is, there is no indication that the nations have relinquished their power. On the contrary, the earthly governments exert much more authority now than ever before. They have the power to spy on virtually every citizen and reign down fire and death on every corner of the planet. What evidence is there that Christ has subdued the nations?
Even more incredible, the Watchtower claims that God has called the nations into judgment. Supposedly since 1922 every person who has been a political supporter of the present system has already been judged and sentenced to everlasting death.
Clearly, it is going to take quite a jolt to dislodge this nonsense from the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Amen, come Lord Jesus!