QUESTION: Jesus said at Matthew chapter 24 verse 9, ‘on account of my name you will be hated’, etc. Do you feel that we downplay the name of Jesus or the role of Jesus in relation to the name of Jehovah in the time of the end or during the Great Tribulation? As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are most dominantly influenced to call on the name of Jehovah, which I understand why. But why did the disciples and even Jesus himself highlight the significance of his name? Does Romans chapter 10 verse 13 refer to the Tetragrammaton, or could it have referred to Jesus name? Particularly when the gospel account speaks so much of Jesus’ name being the way to salvation? How do you get your head around that whole idea if Jesus said you will be objects of hatred on account of my name, not his Fathers, that after the Great Tribulation no doubt all religion will be destroyed, so if the chosen ones were the only ones representing Christianity, you could understand how the nations and people would hate Jesus name.
ANSWER: The 24th chapter of Matthew is probably the most frequently read, quoted and cited chapter by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the entire Bible. And, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that it has almost all been fulfilled already, except for the great tribulation.
At the present moment it is impossible for JW’s to even conceive of the possibility of a future coming of Christ to initiate the conclusion of the system of things. Yet, that is exactly what we are facing — the coming of Christ and the beginning of the time of the end.
Still, there are no words, no amount of reasoning; there is nothing that can be done to counter the deluding influence that the Watchtower has cast over Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The 1914 doctrine is appropriately described in prophecy as being like a whitewashed partition wall that is maintained by those who consider themselves to be God’s spokesmen — his prophets. However, the reality of Christ’s powerful presence will shatter it.
Certainly international war and a world-rocking crash of many great institutions that seem so permanent now, along with food shortages and pandemics, will bring Jehovah’s Witnesses into a new reality. It is in that setting that Jesus said: “Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, too, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold.”
To underscore the point, part of the grand delusion has been to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that all the things Jesus foretold have already been fulfilled, including that which is stated above. But have you personally known anyone who has been handed over to authorities or been put to death? Even in places where Jehovah’s Witnesses are banned it is rare for one to be killed for the faith.
And to put things in perspective, undoubtedly the most common reason that Jehovah’s Witnesses are imprisoned is due to their refusal to allow themselves to be conscripted into the military. But Jehovah’s Witnesses are not singled out for persecution. Other conscientious objectors suffer the same fate. It is just that Jehovah’s Witnesses are more numerous and therefore, more conspicuous. But in the Americas and in Europe and many other lands as well, Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy great freedom; freedom to pursue their ministry; freedom from governmental harassment; freedom from persecution in general – at least for the time being.
But as has been demonstrated in the past, that situation can change very quickly under conditions of war. And in the event of martial law and a military dictatorship Jehovah’s Witnesses will likely come under ban with no legal recourse.
A STRONG ANGEL DESCENDING FROM HEAVEN
Now, consider a vision from Revelation as regards ‘the things that must shortly take place’: “And I saw another strong angel descending from heaven, arrayed with a cloud, and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs were like pillars of fire, and he had in his hand a little scroll that had been unrolled. And he set his right foot on the sea, but his left one on the earth, and he cried out with a loud voice just as when a lion roars. And when he cried out, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.”
You may not be aware of it, in fact most people are not, but the “strong angel” has already set down upon this earth and roared like a lion. The seven thunders have also spoken — at least according to the Watchtower.
In spite of the fact that the vision reveals that the descent of Christ — the “strong angel” — is accompanied by the announcement that there will no longer be any delay, at which point the sacred secret of God is brought to a finish, Jehovah’s Witnesses are laboring under the belief that Christ descended to claim ownership of the earth and conclude the Christian era over 100 years ago. It is truly amazing that the seven thunders are so easily ignorable and the return of Christ is such a non-event — at least in the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But the reality is, Jesus has not roared like a lion to announce his return. The seven thunders have not spoken. And the sacred secret of God has surely not been brought to a finish. That being the case, consider the implications of what is portrayed in the vision regarding the little scroll.
“And I heard the voice out of heaven speaking again with me and saying: ‘Go, take the opened scroll that is in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the earth.’ I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. He said to me: ‘Take it and eat it up, and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet like honey.’ I took the little scroll out of the hand of the angel and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet like honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And they said to me: ‘You must prophesy again about peoples and nations and tongues and many kings.’”
The notion of a “John class” is a valid concept. The timing is simply off.
If you recall, John, along with Peter and James, was an eyewitness to the magnificent Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, which Peter said was a glimpse of the Parousia. So it is, John’s participation in the vision of Revelation was a pre-enactment of the presence of Christ too. That is evident from the fact that the strong angel’s face shone as the sun, exactly as did Christ during the Transfiguration. (The two witnesses in the following chapter of Revelation are depicted as Elijah and Moses, who also appeared in the vision of the Transfiguration. The two witnesses symbolize the chosen ones after they have seen Christ. See article: The Revelation of Christ and the Two Witnesses.)
The significance of the encounter and his ingesting the little scroll portrays the revelation of Christ to the chosen ones and their being commissioned to “prophesy again.”
Their obedience to Christ’s command to give a final witness is what will surely bring upon them the hatred of the peoples. Because the brothers of Christ will be acting directly under Christ’s command then — no longer even associated with the legal entity known as the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses — for that reason the hatred expressed towards them will be because of the name of Jesus. And as a consequence “people…will kill you.”