As the clay in the hand of the potter, so you are in my hand, O house of Israel.
What if humans stubbornly refuse to be molded by the Great Potter? Think about what happens to the clay if it becomes unsuited for the intended purpose. Why, the potter can make another type of vessel out of it or simply discard it! When the clay is useless, though, generally the potter is at fault. This is never the case with our Potter. When a person does not yield to Jehovah’s molding, the fault always lies with that person. Jehovah exercises his potterlike authority over humans by adjusting his dealings with them depending on their response to his molding. Those who respond properly are fashioned in a beneficial way. For example, anointed Christians are “vessels of mercy” who have been molded into ‘vessels for an honorable use.’ On the other hand, those who stubbornly oppose God end up as “vessels of wrath made fit for destruction.”
The verse extracted from the book of Jeremiah is an illustration Jehovah related to his prophet. After having Jeremiah go down to the house of the potter he watched as the vessel on the potter’s wheel was ruined and the potter simply fashioned another vessel instead.
God then went on to explain to Jeremiah the purpose of the demonstration, saying to him: “‘Can I not do to you just as this potter did, O house of Israel?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’”
The point is, while God can surely mold individuals as he sees fit, as the Watchtower should know, Jehovah primarily deals with an organization. In ancient times his organization was the house of Israel. And more specifically, when Jeremiah was serving as a prophet God dealt with Judah and the Jews living in Jerusalem, which was the center for true worship — to use a phrase familiar to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As a group, the Jews — from their kings, prophets, and priests — refused to allow themselves to be molded by Jehovah. Even though God pleaded with them by means of his prophet, their response was: “Come, let us devise a plot against Jeremiah, for the law will not perish from our priests or counsel from the wise men or the word from the prophets. Come and let us speak against him and pay no attention to what he says.”
As a result of their stubborn refusal to accept Jeremiah’s warning, God brought upon them the sword, famine, and pestilence. In other words, God used adversity to mold them into a vessel that he could use.
As regards the Watchtower Society — or the leadership of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses if you prefer — they imagine that their version of the truth will prevail. They suppose their word is Law. Their faithful and wise slave is virtually infallible. There is no reason to give heed to the ravings of some disfellowshipped, self-appointed “watchman,” who proclaims the day of Jehovah is coming upon them.
Because their institutional “prophets” — their touted “Jeremiah class” — has off-shifted Jeremiah’s warning onto Christendom, as if God were intent on molding them into something useful, they imagine that their mere words of interpretive sophistry can thwart the heavenly Potter.
But just as the Jews’ plot against Jeremiah failed to nullify the judgment he proclaimed, the Watchtower’s efforts to marginalize my work will not succeed either.
After illustrating his power as a potter, in the 19th chapter Jehovah had Jeremiah take a flask fashioned by a potter and take some of the elders of the city out to Topeth and shatter the flask before them to demonstrate how Jehovah intends to deal with them.
God intends to do something similar in the near future. The day of Christ will bring upon us the sword, famine and pestilence, just as Jesus foretold when he said: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences…”
The Watchtower’s “prophets” will be impotent. And just as Jerusalem and its temple were decimated, so too, Jesus also foretold a similar desolation will come upon that which is represented by Jerusalem. Jesus said: “However, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down nor go inside to take anything out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the things behind to pick up his outer garment.”
When the time arrives for the desolation of the holy place there will be nothing left of it to salvage. The faithful will be forced to flee, as it were. By that means Jehovah will finish our training and ultimately mold his people into the type of organization that he pleases.