When the Israelites crossed the Jordan after their 40 year wilderness trek the first fortified city they encountered in the Promised Land was Jericho. As a vivid demonstration that the invaders had the support of a powerful God the protective walls of the city fell flat when the priests blew their trumpets.
What confidence that must have inspired among the Israelites. With God fighting their battles there is no enemy that could stand before them.
Flush with the success of victory the Israelite spies recommended a small contingent of only 2-3,000 men of war to take out the next Canaanite city, Ai. But the stunning victory over Jericho was not to be repeated. The warriors of Ai inflicted defeat upon them and sent the theocratic invaders fleeing back to the Israelite camp in disgrace and humiliation.
What had happened? Why didn’t Jehovah miraculously destroy Ai like he did Jericho?
God informed Joshua that Israel had overstepped his covenant with them. It turns out that someone had stolen something that belonged to Jehovah. When the Israelites came to Jericho God had commanded them to destroy everything, except the gold and silver, which was to be put into the treasury; but everything else was devoted to destruction. But a man named Achan stole some of the silver and a bar of gold and an article of clothing —something devoted to destruction. And because the thing devoted to destruction was in the Israelite camp it brought defeat upon them. Think of it —the sin of one man brought ostracism upon Israel and as a result God would no longer fight for them, not until the thief was found out and destroyed.
This biblical account should serve as a powerful lesson for Jehovah’s Witnesses —particularly the leadership. The lesson being: Just because God may have granted success in the past is no guarantee of his continued blessing. His blessing is always contingent upon faithfulness. And as shown in many other biblical accounts, the sins of a few may bring down evil upon the whole.
Has not the Watchtower cited their many legal victories over the years as evidence of Jehovah’s support and backing? That being true, what must a significant legal defeat mean, except the opposite —that Jehovah has turned against them? Such a thing is not without scriptural precedent.
Jerusalem was once the place where Jehovah had placed his name. The city was the administrative center of the theocracy Jehovah had set up.
Jehovah defended the city from Assyrian invaders in the days of Hezekiah, dispatching an angel to slay 185,000 warriors in one night. But some 150 years after that stunning victory over the presumptuous Assyrians God turned against Jerusalem. He had had it with their hypocritical form of worship and their refusal to set matters straight with him. After giving them advanced warning through Jeremiah, from out of the north God brought the Babylonian juggernaut against them. The Chaldeans were an unstoppable force, like a flood of surging waters. As Nebuchadnezzar’s forces began to lay siege to Jerusalem the panicked leadership finally inquired of Jehovah. But it was too late. In response God said through Jeremiah: “Here I am turning around against you the weapons of war that are in your own hands, with which you are fighting the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them into the middle of this city. And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with anger and wrath and great indignation. I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast. By a great pestilence they will die.”
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES IN RUSSIA
Jehovah’s Witnesses did not just come under ban in Russia recently. Almost from the moment they received legal recognition following the collapse of the USSR Jehovah’s Witnesses have come under attack by the Russian Orthodox Church, which has merely used the legal apparatus to do its dirty work. As far back as 1995 Moscow has tried to outlaw the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The July 15, 2011, Watchtower entitled A Lengthy Legal Struggle Ends in Victory, recounts the determined efforts of the Orthodox Church to ban the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Ironically, shortly after the 2011 Watchtower article announced victory Russia declared Jehovah’s Witnesses to be an extremist group. In 2013 the Watchtower’s official website, jw.org, was blocked by Internet providers throughout the entire Russian Federation. Russia is reportedly the only country in the world to block the Watchtower’s website.
The recent Ministry of Justice ruling merely upheld the ruling imposed several years ago —effectively liquidating the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in all of Russia. At this point the Watchtower has a month to appeal the court’s decision. It also intends to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
But here is the deal —without God’s support it will not matter who the Watchtower’s lawyers appeal to for help. Nor will any amount of letter writing on the part of JW’s around the world have any effect on the outcome. As the scripture says: “Unless Jehovah guards the city, it is in vain that the guard stays awake.” —Psalms 127
The Watchtower has been quick to acknowledge their defeat in Russia —spinning it as a witness to the nations and a great shout of praise to Jehovah’s name —this, because the media has widely covered the case and been sympathetic. Governing Body member, Mark Sanderson, who is apparently fluent in Russian, was sent to Moscow along with the Watchtower’s chief counsel, Phillip Brumley. (See JW Broadcast special video) Much is made in the video of the fact that a representative of the Governing Body made a personal visit to Moscow to support Jehovah’s Witnesses.
However, in this the Watchtower is being extremely hypocritical, as less than two years ago the Watchtower was investigated in Australia by a Royal Commission set up to examine the way child abuse is dealt with by various religions. The Governing Body was represented by Geoffrey Jackson, who testified at the inquiry. And just as with Russia, the media also gave the proceedings of the commission wide coverage. However, to this day the WT has made no mention of the Australian investigation. There was no video boasting of Brother Jackson’s presence in Australia in support of Jehovah’s Witnesses. No mention of the fine witness he gave to the nations. No mention of the Royal Commission inquiry at all. The obvious reason being, it was a disgrace and a reproach.
The Watchtower’s utter disregard and shameful failure to protect children in the congregations from JW sexual predators was on full display before the world —not to mention Brother Jackson’s lying under oath, denying that the Governing Body claim to be Jehovah’s sole channel of truth.
Even quite recently certain media have taken note of the fact that some religious outfits have made public apology for their failure to protect children from abuse, in contrast to the callous intransigence of the Governing Body. As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses surely know, they have never and will never apologize for anything. Just the opposite in fact, they will declare war upon any JW who dares to suggest that the exalted leadership of Jehovah’s earthly theocracy has any reason to apologize. (See Micah 3:5)
But honestly, if the legal case in Russia resulted in a great shout of praise to the name of Jehovah, then the exposure brought upon the Governing Body by the Royal Commission investigation was a tremendous reproach upon the name of Jehovah.
As is apparent in the Watchtower’s recent Brooklyn real estate transactions, the theocratic corporation greatly values property. In the video on JW Broadcast, the Governing Body expresses its grave concern over the properties of the Watchtower being “unjustly confiscated” by the Russian Federation, including several hundred kingdom halls and the “beautiful branch office” of the Administrative Center for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
The Governing Body would do well to keep in mind that these “unjustly confiscated” properties do not really belong to the Watchtower anyway, regardless of whichever of the myriad of legal entities under the Watchtower umbrella of corporations is listed as the owner. Since all properties are dedicated to Jehovah in a solemn ceremony, they really belong to God, just as did the ancient temples that Solomon and Herod had built. That being true, Jehovah is certainly entitled to do with his property whatever he chooses and give it to whomever he wishes. And if God wishes that the Russian Federation take custody of his property, surely there is nothing the Watchtower’s lawyers can do about it.
In the case of Achan God was robbed by merely one man. More than a thousand years later, though, God accused the Jewish nation of turning his house into a cave of robbers. In context here is what Jehovah said: “But you are putting your trust in deceptive words it will bring absolutely no benefit. Can you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make sacrifices to Baal, and follow after gods you had not known, and then come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, ‘We will be saved,’ despite your doing all these detestable things? Has this house that bears my name become a cave of robbers in your eyes? Here I have seen it for myself…” —Jeremiah 7:8-11
The deceptive words in which the Jews were putting their trust was that the temple of Jehovah in their midst ensured God’s perpetual blessing. The Jews deceived themselves into believing that because they were part of Jehovah’s organization they would always have his protection. How wrong they were!
Of course, Jesus quoted this very prophecy when he threw out the money changers from the rebuilt temple in the restored city of Jerusalem —declaring the temple as his Father’s sacred house.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to know, the prophecy of Jeremiah applies foremost to “the final part of the days,” an expression that appears four times in the prophetic book of Jeremiah. So, the judgments contained in Jeremiah really pertain to the place where Jehovah has placed his name in the Christian era —in other words, to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the leadership in particular.
In a very real sense the leadership of the Watchtower has become a cave of robbers too, just like their Jewish counterparts. Like the thief, Acahn, they have broken the covenant, refusing to deal justly with the oppressed and victimized, which has always been the solemn obligation of all those with whom Jehovah has entrusted authority over his people.
Instead of offering an apology and compensation to the many children who have fallen victim to their policies, the Watchtower wheels and deals with God’s property like used car salesmen. They boast of not passing a collection plate like the detestable clergy, but the have devised every money-collecting scheme imaginable, from debit centers at assemblies, or whatever they are called now, to accepting rewards points for hotels and airlines, to very sophisticated “charitable planning,” potentially involving huge sums of money and valuable property. It turns out, the collection plates don’t hold near enough anyway!
As it stands presently, preparations are well underway for a global confrontation involving all the nuclear powers. Of special importance is the fact that the Anglo-American alliance is provoking conflict with an alliance composed of Russia, China and Iran, as of now none of which allow Jehovah’s Witnesses to operate.
The loss of the Watchtower’s valuable property in Russia is just the beginning —a preview of things to come on a grand scale. With the impending collapse of America, the enfeebled bastion of liberty, all of the Watchtower’s property —including their beautiful new headquarters in Warwick —are destined to be confiscated. Ultimately, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be brought to their knees. And they will have to be made to know that he is Jehovah and he will not allow anyone to rob him —especially those who bear his name before the world.