Saturday, November 26

Many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob.”Isa. 2:3.

The flocking of many humans to worship Jehovah with his people in this time of the end was foretold by two ancient prophets. Isaiah prophesied the above. Likewise, the prophet Zechariah foretold that “many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek Jehovah of armies in Jerusalem and to beg for the favor of Jehovah.” He depicted them as “ten men out of all the languages of the nations” who, symbolically speaking, would take hold of the robe of spiritual Israel, saying: “We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.”  The “other sheep” “go with” the spiritual Israelites in the work of preaching the good news of the Kingdom.  They become a part of God’s people, “one flock” with the anointed, under “the fine shepherd,” Christ Jesus.

COMMENTARY

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been subtly conditioned to unquestioningly accept everything the Watchtower teaches, as if everything taught were straight from Jehovah’s mouth. The Watchtower has acquired such power due to the fact that it teaches the basic truth and stands apart from the churches in important ways.

Most notably, Jehovah’s Witnesses are distinguished from the average churchgoer by our refusal to join the military of any nation. In countries that have mandatory military service Jehovah’s Witnesses opt for prison rather than induction. In the US thousands of JW’s have gone to prison during World War Two and the Vietnam War.

Be that as it may, is the uncompromising stance that Jehovah’s Witnesses have taken a reflection of the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, which foretell that during the final part of the days “they will beat their swords into plowshares”? Well, reason on the context, which states: “He will render judgment among many peoples and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore.”

Has Jehovah really set matters straight? If so, how? So what if a few thousand young men refuse to learn war? Has that prevented the nations from warring against each other?

Conversely, the most prominent feature of the sign Jesus foretold would mark the final part of the days is that nations and kingdoms would war against each other. The book of Revelation says that the opening of the second seal results in peace being taken from the earth, so that they should slaughter one another. But how can it be that nations are embroiled in war at the very time God’s judgment causes nations not to lift up the sword against each other? Is Jehovah so ineffectual as God? Bethel obviously has no answer for this glaring discrepancy. And, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t bother to think about such things anyway. Besides, what difference would it make if they did?

Obviously, though, since the final part of the days are marked by both war and the cessation of war, the resolution to the paradox can only be that God puts an end to war after the nations slaughter one another. Or, more accurately, the intervention comes during the slaughter since Jesus foretold that God would intervene to curtail the great tribulation, otherwise no one would survive the holocaust.

Still, that does not resolve the Watchtower’s misapplication of the prophecy. The reason being, the context of both Isaiah and Micah place the ascension of the mountain of the house of Jehovah immediately after Jerusalem is destroyed. And Jesus also foretold that the “Jerusalem” would be trampled during the great tribulation, which the Watchtower identifies as the end of Babylon the Great. But even if that were true that would mean that God will set matters straight then —after false religion is destroyed.

One of the most insidious falsehoods propagated by the Watchtower is that Christ has already come to judge the house of God. The prophecy in the 3rd chapter of Malachi, which foretells the coming of the messenger of the covenant with the lye of a laundryman to cleanse and refine God’s people as if they were silver and gold, is supposedly an accomplished fact. However, the first chapter of Isaiah similarly states that God is going to set matters straight with his erring people and Jehovah uses the same analogy of a refining process using lye. Isaiah’s prophecy, though, makes it clear that the refining process eliminates wicked and faithless men entirely. They are skimmed off in the process, as if scummy dross. Here is what Jehovah has said:

“‘Come, now, and let us set matters straight between us,’ says Jehovah. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be made as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson cloth, they will become like wool. If you show willingness and listen, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken it. How the faithful city has become a prostitute! She was full of justice; Righteousness used to lodge in her, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, and your beer is diluted with water. Your princes are stubborn and partners with thieves. Every one of them loves a bribe and chases after gifts. They do not grant justice to the fatherless, and the legal case of the widow never reaches them. Therefore the true Lord, Jehovah of armies, the Powerful One of Israel, declares: ‘Ah! I will rid myself of my adversaries, and I will take revenge on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you, I will smelt away your dross as with lye, and I will remove all your impurities.”

If “Jerusalem” typifies Christendom, then are we to expect that God is going to make their scarlet sins as white as snow? But if Christ came in 1914 and subjected God’s people to the fire of the refiner, in what way did God rid himself of his adversaries back then? How did Jehovah take revenge on his enemies back then? Again, the Watchtower has no answer.

The truth is, the final part of the days has not begun. Nation rising against nation is in the future. Christ coming as a thief in the night will initiate the judgment. Then Jehovah will set matters straight. Jehovah’s Witnesses are yet to be subjected to the fire.

No lawyers or writing committee or body of elders will be able to spin things then. Then “the strong man will become tow, and his work a spark; both of them will go up in flames together, with no one to extinguish them.”

Paul alluded to this very thing coming upon Christians, when he wrote concerning the end of the matter: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will be shown for what it is, for the day will show it up, because it will be revealed by means of fire, and the fire itself will prove what sort of work each one has built. If anyone’s work that he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward; if anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved; yet, if so, it will be as through fire.”

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