“This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘I am against the shepherds, and I will demand an accounting of them for my sheep, and I will dismiss them from feeding my sheep, and the shepherds will no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouth, and they will no longer be food for them.’” – Ez 34:10
Reading the Pure Worship publication is difficult. It is such a mess of over-simplification, contortions, contradictions and probably the most egregious –omissions. At the same time, it is faith-strengthening —at least for me. From my perspective, the Pure Worship publication is a real-time fulfillment of Bible prophecy —especially, ironically, the prophecy of Ezekiel, the very book it pretends to explain. The plastering of whitewash by the stupid prophets on their fabricated wall has never been more blatant and exposed. It has to be getting close to the time when the wall falls with a thud.
Mind you, I am still plowing through. I can only take a few pages at a time. But I don’t think I have ever read anything in any Watchtower publication as mind-bogglingly stupid as what is stated below, excerpted from the eighth chapter, paragraph 17:
What would Jehovah do? “I will demand an accounting,” he said to the harsh rulers of Israel. He further promised: “I will rescue my sheep.” (Ezek. 34:10) Jehovah always proves true to his word. (Josh. 21:45) In 607 B.C.E., he rescued his sheep by using the invading Babylonians to strip those selfish shepherds of rulership. Seventy years later, he rescued his sheeplike worshippers from Babylon and brought them back to their homeland so that they could restore true worship there. But Jehovah’s sheep remained vulnerable, for they would continue under the domination of worldly powers. “The appointed times of the nations” would run for many more centuries.
True to his word indeed, Jehovah brought on a horrific slaughter by means of the sword, famine and pestilence. The Jews who survived the calamity were dragged away in chains to faraway Babylon. What a humiliating experience for the proud Jews! The prophet Jeremiah, who was an eye-witness to the carnage, later wrote the book of Lamentations —lamenting the terrible destruction that befell Jerusalem. Jeremiah wept bitterly over the fallen temple and the people. The inspired prophet did not consider the calamity that Jehovah brought upon them as any sort of salvation. It is doubly doubtful if any of the beleaguered survivors felt “rescued.” Again, I have never read anything so astonishingly stupid, but as I say, I am still slogging through the Pure Worship book. (Read my commentary on Lamentations)
Ostensibly, the Watchtower is explaining the 34th chapter of Ezekiel. That is where Jehovah commanded his watchman to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel and tell them: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Is it not the flock that the shepherds should feed? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, and you slaughter the fattest animal, but you do not feed the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bandaged the injured or brought back the strays or looked for the lost; rather, you have ruled them with harshness and tyranny. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; they were scattered and became food for every wild beast of the field. My sheep were straying on all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the surface of the earth, with no one searching for them or seeking to find them…because my sheep have become prey, food for every wild beast of the field, for there was no shepherd, and my shepherds did not search for my sheep; rather, they kept feeding themselves and did not feed my sheep…”
It is sheer lunacy to suppose that God rescued his sheep by bringing upon them the Babylonian holocaust. The edict Ezekiel issued against the self-feeding shepherds was because they were responsible for the calamity. Remember, the rulers of God’s people were saying there was peace with God. They used the illustration of the widemouthed cooking pot to symbolize Jerusalem. The shepherds had convinced the people that as long as they stayed in the “pot” —like meat in a big iron kettle —they would be safe. The shepherds refused to listen to Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They were responsible for the calamity that ensued.
However, the sheep were not scattered, nor did they become food for the wild beasts of the field prior to the invasion. The destruction of Jehovah’s city was what caused the sheep to be “scattered over all the surface of the earth.” (Being scattered over all the earth is clearly referencing a grander fulfillment.)
Now that the Watchtower has discarded Christendom as the modern-day, apostate Jerusalem and clergy are apparently no longer the self-feeding shepherds, how might the prophecy apply today? It is hard to say, because the Watchtower has muddied the waters so much. (See Ezekiel 34:19)
Needless to say, the Pure Worship publication touts 1919 as the year when the greater David rescued Jehovah’s sheep from the self-feeding shepherds. There is a problem with that, though, because by the time of the First World War the Bible Students were already out from under the tyranny of the clergy. The sheep back then had been following their Pastor* Russell, that is up until he suddenly died and everything blew up and the tens of thousands of persons (Reportedly one million saw the Photo-Drama of Creation) who had shown interest in the message of the Watchtower were stumbled and scattered due to the false expectations fostered in them by their pastor, so that only a few thousand were on hand for the grand restoration at the first Cedar Point convention.
* “Pastor” literally means shepherd —one who leads the sheep to pasture.
Regarding the entire 34th chapter of Ezekiel and God’s extensive denunciation of the negligent shepherds, in paragraph 22 the Watchtower boils it all down to a teaspoon of pablum for Christian shepherds today.
What we can learn from the prophecy. Like his Father, Jesus deeply cares about the welfare of the sheep. The Shepherd-King sees to it that his Father’s sheep are well-fed spiritually and that they enjoy peace and security in the spiritual paradise. How reassuring it is to be under the care of such a Ruler! Those serving as undershepherds need to reflect Jesus’ concern for the sheep. Elders are to shepherd the flock “willingly” and “eagerly” and to be examples that the sheep can imitate. Never would an elder want to mistreat one of Jehovah’s sheep! Remember Jehovah’s words to the harsh shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel’s day: “I will demand an accounting.” (Ezek. 34:10) The Supreme Shepherd keeps a close eye on how his sheep are treated —and so does his Son.
One of the first essays published in on e-Watchman back in 2002 was based on the 34th chapter of Ezekiel, entitled “Woe to the Shepherds Who Have Become Feeders of Themselves.” (The dates on some of the older articles on e-Watchman do not reflect the original publishing date as I have changed servers and blogging platforms several times.)
It seems to me that the Watchtower’s Pure Worship publication is a response to the indictment I have brought against the organization. It is a concerted attempt to nullify the Scriptures by explaining them into nothingness and plaster over their own misdoings by boasting of offering a banquet of rich spiritual food. Think about it, although the Scriptures warn that the slave put in charge of much will have much demanded of him in return and that teachers will receive a heavier judgment, the Watchtower condenses the denunciation of the self-feeding shepherds into a limp admonishment that an elder would never want to mistreat one of Jehovah’s sheep. That’s it!
Back in 2006, I published a follow-up to the original 10,000+ mailout open letter to the Watchtower, encouraging them to apologize to Jehovah’s Witnesses for misleading them as regards their secret partnership with the UN and for the appalling way that the elders have dealt with child abuse. Their response? Bethel demanded my congregation convene another judicial committee. This time I was disfellowshipped for daring to ask them to say they were sorry for mistreating Jehovah’s sheep. (Is It Time to say “We Are Sorry”?)
Sadly, my case is by no means unique. I have told the story before, but a reader of e-Watchman once innocently shared an article with someone in his congregation whom he felt could use some encouragement. The article entitled Imagining Paradise encouraged JW’s to use the power of their imagination to put themselves in the new world and imagine the limitless possibilities. The result was not what he had hoped. The person with whom he shared the article was offended because I said the WT’s crude drawings of lions and people sitting around having a picnic did not give us the full picture of the glory of paradise. The elders were offended too. Consequently, he was disfellowshipped.
Another case: Timothy Kline had only been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for a few years. He was brought before a judicial committee back in 2005 because it became known to them that he was my webmaster. He explained to them that it was a business relationship, as he received a monthly fee from me. No matter. He was disfellowshipped. And on and on it goes.
I have personally heard dozens of stories and I know there are many, many others. No doubt that is why a growing number of Jehovah’s Witnesses have decided to “fade,” because there is simply no way to stay in the organization and express the slightest misgivings about the leadership of the Watchtower without being subjected to a Taliban-like inquisition and being punished by being ostracized from family members.
There are probably hundreds of thousands of cases where elders —acting upon the direction given from headquarters, have disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses for the sin of what amounts to not giving glory to the Watchtower.
Not only that, many thousands of children have been raped and molested by Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower has never given them a second thought. They are of no account. Have their wounds been bandaged? Have their scars been tended? If so, in what way? Have the elders ever sought them out or apologized for not believing them? Do you want to talk about tyranny? Look no further than the local kingdom hall.
But it really starts at the top. Those living in the Bethel palace are the self-feeding shepherds. They are eating the fat, fleecing the sheep. Slaughtering the innocent.
Jehovah will demand an accounting —you can believe that. When this system blows out with the ferocity of a nuclear blast the stupid prophets will be rendered speechless. All their delectable spiritual food will rot. Then all the sheep will be scattered over all the surface of the earth. And the self-feeding shepherds will be out of business, permanently.
What about the regathering? The fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel will not depend upon human undershepherds, as the Watchtower claims. Jehovah will personally rescue his sheep. As the scripture says: “I myself will feed my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down,” declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. “The lost one I will search for, the stray I will bring back, the injured I will bandage, and the weak I will strengthen; but the fat one and the strong one I will annihilate. I will feed that one with judgment.”
The leaders of the Watchtower truly have fattened themselves for the judgment. (See James 5:5)
To be continued…