This article was originally posted in 2013 and has been edited.
Israel had fought many wars in its tumultuous history and Jehovah often miraculously intervened to ensure they were victorious. But no foe was as formidable as the ruthless Assyrians. And, although, God could easily cause any army to fall before the Hebrews, he did not always choose to intervene. In fact, on occasion, God actually sanctified certain military powers to act as punishing agents of his wayward people. Consider it part of the instruction process. That was the situation that inspired the prophet Isaiah to write down Jehovah’s judgments, such as follows:
“Woe to the stubborn sons,” declares Jehovah, “Who carry out plans that are not mine, who make alliances, but not by my spirit, in order to add sin to sin. They go down to Egypt without consulting me, to take shelter under Pharaoh’s protection and to take refuge in the shadow of Egypt! But the protection of Pharaoh will become for you a reason for shame and refuge in Egypt’s shadow a cause for humiliation.” — Isaiah 30:1-3
The “stubborn sons” are the sons of Abraham and Jacob, (renamed Israel) with whom Jehovah had enjoined in a binding covenant. But for the most part, the sons of Israel refused to obey God or trust in him. But who really are “the stubborn sons” whom the prophecy is addressing?
To put this matter into context the previous 29th chapter of Isaiah, which is indisputably a prophecy relating to the second coming of Christ, concluded saying: “Therefore this is what Jehovah has said to the house of Jacob, he that redeemed Abraham: ‘Jacob will not now be ashamed, nor will his own face now grow pale; for when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they will sanctify my name, and they will certainly sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and the God of Israel they will regard with awe. And those who are erring in their spirit will actually get to know understanding, and even those who are grumbling will learn instruction.”
Paul indicated that the true Israel was not really the fleshly circumcised offspring of Abraham; but rather, the anointed followers of Christ. For example, in the 9th chapter of Romans the apostle wrote: “For not all who spring from Israel are really “Israel.” Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed.”
And again in Galatians Paul wrote: “The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations, that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.”
So, as regards those addressed as “the stubborn sons” they are in reality Christian men who are living at the time of the return of Christ. And in spite of their erring spirit and stubborn disposition, God still desires to correct and instruct them in his ways.
Now, as for “Who carry out plans that are not mine” consider the leadership of the Watchtower.
One can only speculate as to how many man-hours have been spent by Bethel lawyers and Governing Body members and their helpers, wrangling over and shaping a policy towards sexual predators. And their policy is the binding counsel that all elders are obligated to carry out. When the spotlight of public attention first focused on the pedophile problem festering within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses the Society’s spokesman claimed that their policy effectively treats the problem. But is it the counsel of Jehovah?
Well, consider that the primary obligation of those to whom God entrusts his people is to look after orphans and widows. In other words, Jehovah expects his shepherds to protect the disadvantaged and vulnerable, regardless of whether or not they are literal orphans or widows. Certainly, innocent children are unquestionably at a disadvantage and vulnerable to cunning adult predators.
But when it comes to sexual predators keep in mind that it is not merely a congregational matter. In civilized nations, child abuse is a crime.
According to the apostle Paul, the superior authorities are a provision of God, his ministers to serve and protect God’s people and punish wrongdoers. But according to the Watchtower’s counsel to elders when accusations of child abuse come before them they are to immediately defer to Bethel’s legal desk —not to Caesar’s ministers. Any elder who ignores that counsel will face disciplinary action. And often the legal desk instructed elders not to inform the local police when a member of the congregation has committed a crime against a child. Bethel’s policy stipulated that if the state does not require ministers to report crimes then the elders should not report them. Of course, now Bethel proudly declares that victims and their advocates are not prevented or discouraged in any way from calling the authorities, but that has not always been the case.
But clearly, this is not Jehovah’s counsel. Have children been put at greater risk by the Watchtower’s counsel? Absolutely! No doubt many, many sons of the wicked one have found safe haven and easy pickings among the children whom Jehovah has charged his elders to protect. Even “worldly” courts are now recognizing that the Watchtower has endangered children by their deliberate policy. Shall the heavenly Judge not also hold the Watchtower Society accountable?
That is just one example of how those whom God has placed in charge have carried out their own plans —not God’s counsel. As the present system under which we live begins to shift and crumble we may expect “the stubborn sons” to seek help and protection from the political rulers.
“AGAINST THE BEASTS OF THE SOUTH”
In Daniel and Revelation, the ruling powers are depicted as various sorts of wild beasts. Appropriately, God pronounces judgment upon the beasts of the south, saying: “The pronouncement against the beasts of the south: Through the land of distress and hard conditions, of the lion and the leopard growling, of the viper and the flying fiery snake, on the shoulders of full-grown asses they carry their resources, and on the humps of camels their supplies. In behalf of the people they will prove of no benefit. And the Egyptians are mere vanity, and they will help simply for nothing. Therefore I have called this one: ‘Rahab—they are for sitting still.’”
The hour of test came upon the stubborn sons in ancient times when the Assyrian army first began to menace the region. But instead of turning to God for protection and direction, they looked to the military power of Egypt. The same scenario played out when the Babylonians conquered the territory as well.
In the grander fulfillment of prophecy, Egypt typifies America. That is appropriate considering the Mediterranean civilization that was once centered in Egypt, then Greece and Rome, eventually developed into the extended modern European culture that has been dominated by the oddly yoked Anglo-American alliance. That is why in Revelation the entire system is pictured as one beast with many heads.
But contrary to the notion that the government has trampled upon Jehovah’s Witnesses in fulfillment of numerous prophecies, overall, the United States has actually served as a safe haven for Jehovah’s Witnesses to carry on their worldwide work. For example, when Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted by flag-waving, small-town mobs in the 1930s and 40s, when their children were expelled from school for not reciting the pledge of allegiance, it was the Supreme Court of the US that upheld their rights under the Constitution. And before that, when the 2nd president of the Watch Tower was railroaded off to prison in 1918 the travesty was quickly reversed. The judicial system has served to protect the Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, that shall not always be the case.
The constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom of the press are destined to be torn down in the day of tyranny. American patriots will not be able to prevent it. The great protector of freedom and liberty will simply sit still as Jehovah’s rapacious military force ravages the world. And the Watchtower’s lawyers will not have any legal recourse either. Such will be Jehovah’s judgment against the beasts of the south.
Jehovah next commands his prophet to write down his judgments, saying to him: “Now come, write it upon a tablet with them, and inscribe it even in a book, that it may serve for a future day, for a witness to time indefinite. For it is a rebellious people, untruthful sons, sons who have been unwilling to hear the law of Jehovah; who have said to the ones seeing, ‘You must not see,’ and to the ones having visions, ‘You must not envision for us any straightforward things. Speak to us smooth things; envision deceptive things. Turn aside from the way; deviate from the path. Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease just on account of us.’”
Because (sinful) human nature has not changed and because the Devil is still the god of this world, and the beastly political system is still in place too, God’s judgments written down long ago in connection with the Israelites are as valid now as they were in ancient times. In what way?
Consider, again, the leadership of the Watchtower Society. Since its inception, the Society has promoted a falsehood regarding the supposed invisible presence of Christ having already begun. For decades the Watchtower had declared that Christ began an invisible presence on earth back in 1874. But in the years following the 1914 debacle, which was originally held as the date for the end of the world, gradually the invisible presence was shifted to 1914, so that sometime in the early 1940’s the Watchtower had completely abandoned 1874 in favor of 1914. If it were possible to entirely erase their previous folly no doubt they would.
But 1914 is as much in error as 1874. Although there are numerous articles on this site debunking the Society’s multifaceted teachings connected to 1914, consider just a few aspects of why Jehovah’s denunciation of the “untruthful sons” applies to the leadership of the Watchtower.
In the book of Revelation, the unsealing of the scroll containing God’s judgments sets into motion a series of irreversible, earth-shaking events. According to the Watchtower’s own published reasoning, it is logical that all seven seals are unsealed in a rapid sequence and not over an extended period of years and certainly not over decades or a century.
But consider the sixth seal, which initiates a totally unique, never-to-be-repeated disaster, symbolized in the Apocalypse as follows: “And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and a great earthquake occurred; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the entire moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as when a fig tree shaken by a high wind casts its unripe figs. And the heaven departed as a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and every island were removed from their places. And the kings of the earth and the top-ranking ones and the military commanders and the rich and the strong ones and every slave and every free person hid themselves in the caves and in the rock-masses of the mountains. And they keep saying to the mountains and to the rock-masses: ‘Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”
Jesus used similar imagery when he spoke of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light and the stars falling from the heavens. And the prophecy of Joel also uses this symbolism. And these terrifying, symbolic, heavenly phenomena come about as a result of what Jesus described as a great tribulation, unlike any catastrophe that has ever occurred or will ever occur again!
But according to the Watchtower, the seven seals were all undone back during the First World War. And from 1925 the Society taught that the great tribulation began back then but that God had cut it short in 1918. But the January 15th, 1970, Watchtower reset the beginning of the great tribulation to the future, as it most certainly is. However, their commentary on Revelation, written 18 years later in 1988, still claims the sixth seal was unsealed back in the 1914 era.
Supposedly the upheaval back then was merely the preliminary temblors of a great metaphoric earthquake that is yet to come. But does that not trivialize the importance of the opening of the seals? We might wonder if the symbolic sun has also given a preliminary of its total eclipse or if the moon has provided a preview of its turning to blood. Surely, this is mere sophistry, typical of the untruthful sons whose desire it is to “envision deceptive things.”
In spite of their flimflam the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine and virtually every utterance emanating from Bethel, is considered sacrosanct and anyone of Jehovah’s Witnesses who points out the manifold inconsistencies, contradictions, and absurdities of their prophetic interpretation is considered to be an apostate enemy of Christ. The leadership of the organization has imposed an injunction on straightforwardness on issues related to 1914.
As another example, consider the more recent revision regarding when it is the faithful and discreet slave is appointed over all the master’s belongings. To be sure, the second appoint of the slave is the result of the master unexpectedly coming as a thief in the night to inspect the house of God. This is no pedestrian affair as Jehovah’s Witnesses suppose. It is the very reason Christ comes in the first place. But now the eight-member Governing Body have casually declared itself to be the faithful slave and even stated that they were looking forward to being appointed over all of Christ’s affairs in the near future.
The implication of this latest “adjustment” is that the judgment of the house of God did not take place in 1918 and that an evil slave is yet to be exposed and put out into the outer darkness. No matter, the Society still teaches that Christ came in 1914 and inspected the spiritual temple and appointed the slave to his feeding assignment in 1919. Jehovah’s Witnesses simply lack the spiritual insight to recognize the glaring contradictions inherent in this latest revision.
I presented the matter directly to hundreds of congregation elders in an open letter (Kingdom Bulletin #7). I also emailed the bulletin to approximately 500 district convention coordinators whose email addresses were provided to me in response to my request. In response to the message presented to them several of the recipients promptly requested to have their emails deleted from my mailing list – apparently fearful that they may receive more messages from e-watchman. It seems that merely inviting the teachers of the congregations to even objectively consider what the Society publishes and expects them to teach is too threatening to them. One elder felt compelled to denounce me as an apostate and a lying son of the Devil. When I invited him to explain how I lied he refused to respond. Such a knee-jerk reaction is typical among Jehovah’s Witnesses when they encounter anything other than the smooth and deceptive things the Watchtower promotes as the truth.
In this, the Watchtower has revealed their dogged determination to keep the judgments of God relegated to the obscurity of the past. Hypocritically, they have claimed the reward for themselves without having to endure the clarifying fire of the refiner or the sin-bleaching lye of the messianic laundryman. By attempting to nullify God’s pre-recorded judgments in this way they ironically fulfill the prophecy, as if voicing the words: “cause the Holy One of Israel to cease just on account of us.’”
Evidenced by the way the Governing Body mutilates God’s prophetic word to suit their wish it is apparent that they really do not trust God nor do they respect his word. They prefer to trust in their own powers to deviously deflect the reality of judgment day. Appropriately, as a result of their supporting themselves upon their 1914 fraud, they have at last brought God’s unavoidable judgment upon themselves.
Isaiah 30:12-14 states: “Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel has said: ‘In view of your rejecting of this word, and since you men trust in defrauding and in what is devious and you support yourselves on it, therefore for you this error will become like a broken section about to fall down, a swelling out in a highly raised wall, the breakdown of which may come suddenly, in an instant. And one will certainly break it as in the breaking of a large jar of the potters, crushed to pieces without one’s sparing it, so that there cannot be found among its crushed pieces a fragment of earthenware with which to rake the fire from the fireplace or to skim water from a marshy place.’”
It is inconceivable in the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the Watchtower could be in error on something as fundamental to the organization as 1914 and the invisible presence of Christ. And it is even more unthinkable that certain men within the leadership have knowingly misled Jehovah’s Witnesses. But from Jehovah’s standpoint such “men trust in defrauding” trusting Christians who look to them as God’s sole channel. So, God has allowed them to support themselves upon this error, as if it were a solid, impenetrable wall. But what happens when Christ suddenly, unexpectedly comes? Their wall is certain to come crashing down, “suddenly, in an instant.”
The 13th chapter of Ezekiel uses the same analogy, describing it as a whitewashed wall, erected and maintained by those whom Jehovah denounces as “the stupid prophets.” And indeed, is it not an act of sheer stupidity to attempt to relegate Christ’s powerful presence into meaninglessness, as if the Lord of the world would indefinitely allow himself to be defined and controlled by a mere earthly institution?
Furthermore, in Ezekiel Jehovah locates the “stupid prophets” as operating within his national grouping, among his people, indicating that the judgment will remove them, saying: “In the intimate group of my people they will not continue on, and in the register of the house of Israel they will not be written…” Undoubtedly, that judgment will coincide with the evil slave being cast out and the man of lawlessness being brought to nothing by the powerful manifestation of Jesus Christ.