In the beginning, Jehovah created a garden of exquisite delight. It was a paradise of pleasure called Eden. In it God placed two perfect humans —Adam and Eve, whom he had created from the dust, that is to say —from the elements.
God planted every sort of beautiful tree in the garden, each with its own unique, delicious, life-giving power. Everything in Eden was healthy and beautiful and pleasant. God simply reserved one tree as his exclusive property. Its fruit was not to be eaten by anyone.
God endowed his earthly son and daughter with the ability to comprehend their Creator and become like him in every way. Apparently, Jehovah visited Eden on a daily basis —as if going for a leisurely stroll through the garden, during which time, around the breezy part of the day, Jehovah God conversed with Adam. Jehovah was there —in the Edenic sanctuary.
We do not know if Adam and Eve were the only godlike creatures Jehovah created in the physical realm or if there are other inhabited earths in the vast universe. We do know that other creatures exist in the spirit realm and were created long before the first two humans. They are angels. Some are seraphs, some are cherubs. There is even an archangel named Michael.
One particular angel sought to take the place of Jehovah and he hatched a scheme to deceive Eve into disobeying God. We know the tragic outcome.
As a result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, God’s angels drove the man and woman out of the garden. No human has ever set foot in paradise since then. Most tragic, God no longer walks among us as he did in paradise.
Thankfully, though, Jehovah did not cut off all dealings with Adam and Eve and their sinful offspring, but the innocent father/child relationship was ruined. The vast numbers of humanity that have descended from the once-perfect Adam and Eve have been alienated from God ever since.
The good news is, God is fully intent on restoring the relationship our original parents had with him. The Bible explains in great detail how God has gone about laying the groundwork for a grand restoration. As a guarantee, God sent his only-begotten Son who walked among us and taught many things.
The prophecy of Ezekiel foretells the restoration of the relationship that was lost long ago, where it says: “And I will conclude with them a covenant of peace; an indefinitely lasting covenant is what there will come to be with them. And I will place them and multiply them and place my sanctuary in the midst of them to time indefinite. And my tabernacle will actually prove to be over them, and I shall certainly become their God, and they themselves will become my people. And the nations will have to know that I, Jehovah, am sanctifying Israel when my sanctuary comes to be in the midst of them to time indefinite.”’” —Ezekiel 37:26-28
Meanwhile, the original usurper is still at it —pretending to be God.
In a nutshell, the book of Ezekiel is about two temples. One temple was a literal structure. The other one is figurative. The stone temple was originally constructed by Solomon. That temple was destroyed when God maneuvered Babylon to lay siege to Jerusalem. Because God authorized Nebuchadnezzar to execute his judgments it is as if God himself brought destruction. That is why Ezekiel envisioned the destruction as coming from heaven. After witnessing the awesome spectacle of the heavenly chariot Ezekiel described what he saw later: “As I was watching, I saw above the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubs something like a sapphire stone appearing above them, and its appearance resembled a throne. Then he said to the man clothed in linen: “Enter between the wheelwork, under the cherubs, and fill both your hands with burning coals from between the cherubs and toss them over the city.” So he entered as I watched.” —Ez 10:1-2
Virtually all the Hebrew prophets foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, as well as a restoration of the city. And ultimately that brings about the restoration of mankind’s lost relationship with the Creator.
Jerusalem in prophecy has a symbolic equivalent. In other words, the destruction and restoration of the literal city foreshadows something else. What?
According to the Watchtower, it doesn’t foreshadow anything. It used to, but not anymore. The Watchtower used to teach that the overthrow of Jerusalem pictures the end of Christendom. Now, though, the Pure Worship book teaches that Jerusalem does not picture Christendom. It only reminds us of certain similarities. Besides, according to the Watchtower Christians went into captivity to Babylon the Great almost immediately after Christ established his congregation. Except there is nothing in the history of Christianity that corresponds with the Babylonian conquest of Judah. So, even though a vast portion of prophecy is devoted to the end of ancient Jerusalem and there are ample reasons to believe that epic event foreshadows something in the Christian era, the seers of Bethel see no significance in it whatsoever.
Jesus, of course, also spoke about the desolation of Jerusalem during the conclusion. The desolation of the holy place would impact every Christian on earth —requiring them to make a life-and-death decision and act upon it. Contrary to the vaporous explanation the Watchtower has proffered, the destruction of Jerusalem in the days of the prophets casts a very long prophetic shadow of things to come.
It is as if the Watchtower has built a castle in the sky with no foundation. That is an apt illustration for the reason that Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to believe that the Watchtower is the restored city of God. And yet, if Bible prophecy means anything, the restoration can only come after the destruction. But, again, when was antitypical Jerusalem destroyed by God? It wasn’t. In fact, the Watchtower now claims there is no such thing as an atypical Jerusalem.
The most disconcerting aspect of the Watchtower’s explanation of the book of Ezekiel is the claim that all has been fulfilled —except the attack of Gog of Magog. Concerning the restored spiritual city of God, the very last verse of Ezekiel states: “And the name of the city from that day on will be Jehovah Is There.”
Here is what is stated in the Pure Worship publication:
What lessons can we draw from this part of Ezekiel’s prophecy? The name of this citylike administration assures us as God’s servants today that Jehovah does dwell with his faithful servants on earth now and always will. This meaningful name also stresses a vital truth: The city exists, not to give power to any men, but to implement Jehovah’s loving and reasonable ways. For instance, Jehovah has not given the administration the authority to divide the land, so to speak, as mere humans may see fit. Instead, Jehovah expects the administrators to honor the allotments, or privileges, that he himself has given to his servants, including the “lowly” ones.
The Watchtower’s fraud is self-evident. Jehovah dwelt among the Jews prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. Jehovah placed his name upon the city and his presence was represented in the temple by the miraculous, ever-shining, Shekinah light. God blessed the Jews and was always willing to protect them as long as they were faithful. Jesus also promised his followers that he would be with them all the days until the conclusion of the system.
It is no secret that the Watchtower claims that Christ has already come, that the Kingdom has been ruling since 1914. Essentially, the princes of Bethel are claiming that the Watchtower is the Kingdom of God —that Jehovah’s representative sits enthroned and administers all of earth’s affairs from Warwick, New York.
Little do Jehovah’s Witnesses realize that this is according to prophecy. As Jesus forewarned, during the conclusion many false prophets will arise to claim that Jesus is here and there. As it stands, the Watchtower has already claimed that “Jehovah is there” —in the inner sanctum of Bethel.
Given the demonstrable falsity of the Watchtower’s grandiose claim, the most important thing to take away from it is that the groundwork is laid for the real fulfillment. And we may be certain that the real city-like administration will be far grander and infinitely more righteous than the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.