The Zoom Watchtower study this week poses a very pertinent question: How Strong Will Your Faith Be? The opening paragraph poses a couple of hypothetical questions.
Do you sometimes feel anxious when you think about the events that lie ahead of us —the destruction of false religion, the attack of Gog of Magog, and the war of Armageddon? Do you ever ask yourself, ‘When the time comes, will I be able to pass through these fear-inspiring events with my integrity intact?’
Unfortunately, these are the wrong questions. The fact is, everyone who is on the receiving end of the attack of Gog of Magog will survive with their faith intact. That is because God will intervene and protect His people by destroying Gog and all his hordes. But we shall save that discussion for another time.
A far more relevant question ought to be: How strong will your faith be when it becomes apparent that the Watchtower has deceived you? Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot even conceive of such a scenario, which is precisely why the question is relevant.
History can be a good teacher. As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know, C.T. Russell pointed forward to 1914 several decades in advance. When Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28th by August the two opposed blocs of nations in Europe declared war on each other. The declarations of war prompted Russell to announce to the Bethel family on October 2 that the Gentile times had ended. Except, nothing went down as Russell had led the Bible Students to expect.
Instead of rapture, Russell died in October 1916. His unexpected death triggered an ugly power struggle at Bethel. Under the fog of war, the leadership of the Watchtower was tried for sedition and hauled off to prison. Although millions of people were aware of the Watchtower’s message prior to 1914 by the time the war and Spanish Flu had ended Rutherford held a series of conventions to revive the work and only a few thousand Bible Students remained. The unrealized expectations the Watchtower had vigorously promoted stumbled the vast majority.
But that could never happen again, you say? Think again. As demonstrated in the study article under review the Watchtower has cultivated very specific expectations regarding the unfolding of future events in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
On the surface, it all seems scripturally sound. Yes, Revelation depicts the end of false religion symbolized as Babylon the Great. No one should doubt that God Almighty can maneuver the governments to get rid of religion. But here is the catch: The Watchtower is on record as stating (ad nauseam) that the great tribulation will begin with the beast turning upon the harlot and devouring her. For as often as that is repeated the Watchtower has never offered any biblical support for that assertion.
It is wrongly assumed that when Jesus foretold that Jerusalem would be desolated by a disgusting thing during the great tribulation he had in mind Babylon the Great. If that were true, though, why will it be necessary for Christians to flee for their lives when they first discern the disgusting thing is standing where it ought not? Haven’t Jehovah’s Witnesses already gotten out of Babylon the Great?
The Watchtower claims that Jerusalem and the holy place represent Christendom and because Christendom is part of Babylon the Great Jerusalem typifies all false religion. This is very twisted reasoning.
For one thing, the apostles and first-century Christians did not regard Judaism as an apostate religion. They regularly taught in the temple. In whatever city he was in Paul went to the synagogue every sabbath to reason with the Jews. On his return to Jerusalem, the apostles even ordered Paul to ceremonially cleanse himself and go to the temple and offer a sacrifice to quell the rumors that he was preaching an apostasy from Moses. (Acts 21:21)
Because the apostles were headquartered in Jerusalem and they regarded the temple as holy it would be especially important for them to recognize when the disgusting thing appeared so they could get out of Jerusalem and Judea before the siege began. Clearly, Jerusalem does not foreshadow Christendom, much less Babylon the Great.
There is another huge stumbling block that is sure to stumble many. Jesus did not return in 1914 nor did he begin ruling the world then. World War One and the Spanish Flu pandemic did not fulfill Jesus’ prophecy. How do I know?
Jesus made a very simple statement. He said: “Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” — Mathew 24:32-34
Have you seen all these things? Have you personally seen any of these things? Is it reasonable that the present generation has to be informed of historical events that took place long before they were born; perhaps before their parents or even their grandparents were born? Is that really what Jesus had in mind when he said: “when you see all these things”?
Besides, even the Watchtower now admits that we still do not see all these things Jesus foretold, even after 108 years! For example, Jesus said men will become faint with fear and dread because of the things coming upon the world. The Watchtower now teaches this situation has not come about.
Even more problematic, if Jesus began an invisible presence in 1914 and the manifestation of all these things in the future will indicate he is near at the door what is the point of a parousia? If Jesus is present already how could he be near at the door?
Since the first edition of Jehovah Has Become King I have pointed forward to the Second Coming of Christ accompanied by “all these things”—not the least of which is war, nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
It is not that I had any great insight into world affairs. Not at all. My point of reference is Bible prophecy. Since it is easy to disprove the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine this means that none of “all these things” have occurred yet.
Back 20 years ago when I started this website the suggestion that there could be another world war was easily dismissed. Now it does not seem so far-fetched. Still, JW’s are not at all receptive to the idea even though people of the world are quite concerned that the nations that possess the most powerful weapons ever devised are going to start shooting at each other any day.
The reason Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t pay any mind to what is going on in the world is because the Watchtower has assured them that there cannot be another world war.
Meanwhile, the Russians have demanded a written treaty to guarantee their security concerns, particularly that Ukraine does not join NATO or host offensive weaponry. The Americans have responded and said no. Putin has said very clearly that if their security concerns are not recognized then they will take military action to neutralize the threat. The nations have accelerated military preparations and wargaming and the Governing Body does not have one word to say about it.
And even more disconcerting, Ukraine is not the only flashpoint. There is Taiwan, North Korea, and Iran. On top of all that the deep state seems to be intent on plunging America into a civil war.
So, the real question is: How strong will your faith be when the missiles start flying and the Governing Body goes into hiding?