Remaining in the 10th chapter of Jeremiah, Jehovah instructs his prophet to say to them: “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.”
Not all those regarded as gods are lifeless idols made of wood and covered with gold. Some gods are spirit creatures, far more powerful and intelligent than humans, but still, inferior compared to Jehovah. Then there are human gods. In ancient Egypt, the pharaohs were regarded as gods. Wicked king Herod was declared to be a god by the crowd and Jehovah’s angel instantly struck him dead. A portent perhaps?
Once when Paul and Barnabas healed a crippled man the crowds hailed them as gods, Zeus and Hermes incarnate, and even tried to offer sacrifices to them. Paul acted quickly to prevent the crowd from engaging in idolatry.
The sad fact is, people are alienated from God, and because of that estrangement we are inclined to accept substitutes for God—idols. And as hard as it may be to accept, this is what has happened among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Because the Governing Body takes the role of the faithful slave and it doesn’t help that there is no acknowledgment of the existence of an unfaithful slave whom Christ will ultimately banish to the outer darkness, every utterance of the Watchtower is regarded as the refined words of God. Gradually, subtly, those who stand as spokesmen for Jehovah have come to be regarded as gods themselves—much like a devout Catholic reveres the pope.
Paul warned his Christian brothers to be on guard for this very thing when he wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians regarding a man of lawlessness. Of him, the inspired apostle said: “Let no one lead you astray in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
What will not come unless the apostasy comes first? To answer that question we must go back to the first chapter, where Paul wrote concerning the return of Christ “…when he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder among all those who exercised faith, because the witness we gave met with faith among you.” — 2 Thess. 1:10
The glorification of the holy ones takes place during the parousia, also known as the manifestation and revelation, when Christ comes alongside the holy ones, revealing himself and ministering to them. After which occurs the revealing of the sons of God. Obviously, no such glorification of the holy ones has taken place; hence, neither has the presence of Christ begun. That is why James wrote exhorting anointed Christians to wait patiently for the presence of Christ. “Be patient then, brothers, until the presence of the Lord. Look! The farmer keeps waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, exercising patience over it until the early rain and the late rain arrive. You too exercise patience; make your hearts firm, because the presence of the Lord has drawn close.” — James 5:7-8
The presence of the Lord is the end, not the beginning of another long period requiring Christians to keep patiently waiting. And according to the inspired apostle, the parousia will not take place until the apostasy. Hold that thought.
Over the decades the Watchtower has powerfully exposed the false teachings of Christendom—particularly the hypocrisy and corruption of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church. The Watchtower has used the Bible to condemn the rank idolatry practiced, such as the worship of Mary and the saints, as well as the adoration of the crucifix. And of course, the Trinity has been shown to have been derived from pagan idolatry that predates the birth of Jesus.
By championing the truth regarding the basic doctrines it is as though the men who sit atop the Watchtower have exalted themselves above the so-called clerical gods of Christendom and all of their objects of worship. Except the Governing Body is not like Paul and Barnabas who quickly squashed the demonic ploy to have the crowd worship them as gods. No, the man of lawlessness publicly shows himself to be a god. How so?
First, the man of lawlessness does not falsely claim to sit down in the spiritual temple—as the Watchtower teaches. On the contrary, his presence among the anointed is as real as the presence of Judas was among the apostles. Not coincidentally, Jesus referred to Judas as the son of destruction—the same designation Paul gave to the man of lawlessness.
What is the primary teaching of the man of lawlessness, what Paul referred to as the operation of Satan? Paul explained that the man of lawlessness would make public announcements and write letters purportedly from the apostles, declaring that the presence has begun and the day of Jehovah is here—exactly as the Watchtower has done since its inception over 140 years ago! It would appear that Paul’s stern warning not to let anyone mislead you in any way has fallen on deaf ears.
How, though, does the man of lawlessness publicly show himself to be a god? By elevating himself above Christ, who is the head of the congregation and the only-begotten god. How has the Governing Body exalted itself above Jesus? By ordering Jehovah’s Witnesses to stop preaching and teaching and meeting together—effectively countermanding Christ. All to save lives, of course.
The daily text from August 20, 2021, stated the following: “We keep a firm hold on our shield of faith by regularly attending Christian meetings and by speaking about Jehovah’s name and his Kingdom to others.”
Bethel acknowledges that regularly attending meetings and speaking about Jehovah and the Kingdom is essential to keeping our faith strong. Yet, for the past year and a half, they have forbidden Jehovah’s Witnesses from doing either.
It would seem prudent to advise Christians to take precautions so as not to become infected. Elderly witnesses or those with existing health problems would be well advised to stay home. But no, under the guise of saving lives every Christian, young and old, healthy or ill, has been ordered to desist from gathering together or even standing on a street corner.
Paul said the man of lawlessness stands in opposition and nothing expresses that opposition to Christ more than the Governing Body’s shutting down the public ministry and Kingdom Halls globally. The Governing Body has exalted itself publicly as a god who has the power to nullify the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And now, with no cautions attached regarding the risks of taking experimental mRNA vaccines, the Governing Body has endorsed an untested, experimental program that may have unforeseen, deadly outcomes for many. Whatever reservations Jehovah’s Witnesses may have will likely be set aside because the temple god hath spoken.
Just as Jeremiah pronounced doom upon the gods who did not create the heavens or earth, so too, Paul foretold that the man of lawlessness will be brought to nothing by the powerful manifestation of Jesus Christ.