There is such a thing as judgment day. And it is nearer than most people think.
Some five centuries before Christ there was a judgment day, at least in a pictorial way. Isaiah, the third chapter, reveals that Jehovah stood up to accuse and condemn the wicked ones among his people. Verse 13 states: “Jehovah is taking his position to accuse; He is standing up to pass sentence on peoples.”
Who were the people whom God was judging, specifically? The next verse explains: “Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people.”
The Christian writer, James, warned that not many of you should become teachers “knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.” Judgment day is unavoidable for Christian teachers —especially those who boast of being “true Christians.”
Why did God remove his support from Jerusalem, as is stated at Isaiah 3:1? Because “You have burned down the vineyard, and what you have stolen from the poor is in your houses. How dare you crush my people and grind the faces of the poor in the dirt?” declares the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies. —Isaiah 3:14-15
But it is not just the men who come under divine judgment. Jehovah says: “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, walking with their heads high, flirting with their eyes, skipping along, making a tinkling sound with their anklets, Jehovah will also strike the head of the daughters of Zion with scabs, and Jehovah will make their forehead bare.”
Before considering any modern parallel, let us consider the very brief fourth chapter —keeping in mind that when Isaiah was originally written, and every other little book in the Bible for that matter, it was not divided into chapters nor were the verses numbered. The numbering system is an invaluable aid in finding specific scriptures but the chapter divisions can be somewhat arbitrary. With that in mind, Isaiah 4:1 states: “And seven women will grab hold of one man in that day, saying: “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothing; only let us be called by your name to take away our disgrace.”
“In that day” is a continuation of the judgment that came in the form of the sword and the desolation of Jerusalem. Because they have become widowed due to the slaughter of the men by the executioner’s sword, the seven women make this very unusual request —to provide for themselves even in their married state. How very unusual. The normal arrangement in marriage is for the husband to provide for the wife —or in this case, wives. How is this to be understood then? It is obviously highly symbolic since it is only seven women who grab hold of one man in that day. This is mystifying —until we read the next verse, which says: “In that day what Jehovah makes sprout will be splendid and glorious, and the fruitage of the land will be the pride and beauty of the survivors of Israel. Whoever remains in Zion and is left over in Jerusalem will be called holy, all of those in Jerusalem written down for life.”
After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and razed Jehovah’s temple to the ground, he dragged the survivors off in chains to Babylon. However, Jeremiah, who was also in the besieged city, reported that the king of Babylon left a few behind in the ruins of Jerusalem. However, being left behind in the rubble may have been a worse punishment than being exiled in Babylon. Certainly, Isaiah’s prophecy was not fulfilled then. Those fortunate survivors were not holy nor were they even rewarded by God.
The fulfillment of the prophecy has to do with a spiritual Zion. Those who are left over in Jerusalem after the execution of Jehovah’s judgment are the holy ones —that is to say, the chosen ones who will become permanent stones in the city of New Jerusalem, which is to say the Kingdom of Christ.
What about the seven women who grab hold of one man in that day? Perhaps the more important question is —who is the one man whom they grab onto?
After Christ was resurrected the first person to see him was Mary who went to the tomb to mourn. She originally mistook him for the gardener and asked him where he had taken the body. Then Jesus revealed himself, calling her name, likely using his recognizable voice and inflection, at which point the astonished woman exclaimed: “Teacher”! But then Jesus responded: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’”
In due time the ascended Teacher is going to descend. Then it will be acceptable for his disciples to cling to him. The “man” whom the seven women cling to is none other than Jesus Christ in his glorious manifestation —his parousia. And the seven women correspond to the wise virgins of Jesus’ illustration. The Watchtower is right. Seven represents heavenly completion. The seven women who are on earth represent the entire group of the remaining ones, both men and women, who, along with the dead who come to life in the first resurrection, will make up the complete bride of Christ —heavenly perfection indeed! Then is finished the mystery of God.
But first comes their humiliation. No longer will the chastened boast of being Jehovah’s clean people. The closing verses of the brief fourth chapter say: “When Jehovah washes away the filth of the daughters of Zion and rinses away the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst by the spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning, Jehovah will also create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over the place of her conventions a cloud and smoke by day and a bright flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a shelter. And there will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for refuge and protection from storms and the rain.”
When Moses was instructed by God to go up to the top of Mount Sinai God came down to meet him. The whole mountain was enveloped in fire and smoke and the earth shook. Trumpets blared from the invisible, rising in volume as Jehovah descended. Even before that awe-inspiring spectacle, God led the Israelites out of Egypt with a visible cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.
Isaiah’s prophecy is intended to connect the second coming of Jesus Christ to the occasion when Jehovah came down and was manifest over Israel. “The spirit of burning down” will consume the earthly organization and the wicked slaves who have corrupted it. Laughably, the Watchtower’s commentary on the fourth chapter of Isaiah claims the daughters of Zion have already been cleansed:
Notice that first comes the cleansing, then the blessings. This has proved true in our day. Back in 1919 the anointed remnant humbly submitted to being refined, and Jehovah “washed away” their uncleanness. Since then, “a great crowd” of other sheep have also allowed themselves to be cleansed by Jehovah. Thus cleansed, the remnant and their companions have been blessed—Jehovah has taken them into his protective care. He does not miraculously prevent the heat of persecution or the storms of opposition from bearing down on them. But he does protect them, as if erecting over them ‘a booth for shade and for a hiding place from the rainstorm.’ How?
Consider this: Some of the most powerful governments in history have banned the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses or have tried to eliminate them completely. Yet, the Witnesses have remained firm and have continued to preach without letup! Why have mighty nations been unable to put a stop to the activity of this relatively small and seemingly defenseless group of people? Because Jehovah has placed his clean servants in “a booth” of protection that no human can tear down!
In spite of the Watchtower’s vain boast one of the most powerful governments in history, namely Russia, recently eliminated the organized presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Governing Body ought to take this to heart. Those boasters ought to consider it a portent of things to come when Jehovah stands up to accuse with the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning down.
Returning now to Isaiah 3:14-15, to better appreciate why God accuses the elders and princes of burning down the vineyard and stealing property which is found in their houses, all the while grinding the faces of his people into the dust, understand, that is exactly what the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses have done. Have they not taken property built and paid for by earnest Christians who wanted a beautiful house of worship in their communities? And why were those kingdom halls shuttered and sold like mere real estate? Because the princes of Bethel could and no one can stop them. To top off their sin they have stolen from the lowly and built themselves a grand palace in the New York countryside, far away from the crime and plague of the city.
Even more outrageous, under the guise of the totally overblown COVID shutdown, the Governing Body has declared it is foolish and dangerous to go out in public preaching the good news. And too dangerous to meet in kingdom halls as well. By their own hands, they have burned down the vineyard.
How true the opening words of the scroll of Isaiah: Hear, O heavens, and pay attention, O earth, for Jehovah has spoken: “Sons I have brought up and raised, but they have revolted against me. A bull well knows its buyer, and a donkey the manger of its owner; but Israel does not know me, my own people do not behave with understanding. Woe to the sinful nation, the people weighed down with error, a brood of wicked men, corrupt children! They have abandoned Jehovah; they have treated the Holy One of Israel with disrespect; they have turned their backs on him.”
Like the Christian prophet foretold: “they will even disown the owner who bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves.”
There is really nothing left for Jehovah to do but start the fire and let it burn! What will remain will be truly wonderful —glorious.