“The Days Are Near
and Every Vision Will Take Place”
As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know, and many others besides, the Watchtower pinpoints 1914 as the critical year when God’s Kingdom began ruling the world. In one way or another nearly all Bible prophecies have been interpreted in relation to that date.
As an indication of the importance attached to 1914, over the past 66 years there have been well over 6,000 references to 1914 in various Watchtower publications. And that is not including all of the related dates of 1918 and 1919, when supposedly other aspects of prophecy were fulfilled in succession.
But in spite of all that has been written and preached from doorsteps and speaker’s platforms, after 102 years of “Kingdom rule” Jehovah’s Witnesses are in the exact same situation the International Bible Students found themselves prior to 1914 —waiting for the coming of Christ.
Unfortunately, this past century has not been without casualties. Although the Watchtower does not publish stats on Jehovah’s Witnesses who leave the faith or who have been stumbled, the numbers are undoubtedly considerable. Counting interested persons who may have lost interest, it is quite likely well into the millions. And no doubt one of the primary reasons for the slow-motion falling away is the public record of the Watchtower’s many erroneous proclamations over the past 100 years.
Ironically, though, the predicament the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses have gotten themselves into was, itself, foretold in Bible prophecy.
As is understood, one of the ways God reveals his judgments is through patterns; whereby, developments in ancient times foreshadow things to come —establishing patterns of God’s dealings for the future.
As is also understood, at least by some, the nation of Israel in Bible times has a modern counterpart in Christ’s congregation —it having been established upon the foundation of the original law covenant. For example, the prophecy of Jeremiah reveals that God will enter into a new covenant with the house of Israel. But according to Christ and the apostles the new covenant is between Jehovah God and those who are born again, not with the literal nation of Israel. That being so, the references to the house of Israel in prophecy may also apply to Christ’s congregation.
Now consider the words of God recorded in the 12th chapter of Ezekiel. Speaking to his appointed watchman, Jehovah asked him: “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have in Israel that says, ‘The days go by, and every vision comes to nothing?’”
From our vantage point in the second decade of the 21st Century the answer is, the proverbial saying is an apt description of an unspoken, yet palpable expression among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
It is undeniable —the days have certainly gone by since 1914, a whole century in fact. Entire generations have come and gone. And yet “every vision” expounded upon as being fulfilled or in the process, has ultimately come to nothing. (Keep in mind that many of the prophecies recorded in the Bible were originally transmitted as visions.)
Because the days continue to “go by,” the trend in recent years has been for the Society to shift some things from the “fulfilled” file to the “future fulfillment” folder. For example, for decades the Watchtower taught that the parable of the wise and foolish virgins was fulfilled in 1918-1919. No more. Now it is understood to be a future event.
But while these so-called adjustments in understanding may be received by Jehovah’s Witnesses as “new light,” they are really an admission that thus far every vision has come to nothing.
Consider another example. Consider the Watchtower’s interpretation of the king of the north and south and the possibility of the Cold War leading into WWIII. Back in 1981 the AWAKE! Magazine carried an article in the June 8th issue regarding the Cold War standoff between the USA and USSR in which it stated:
Will this nationalistic “pushing” match result in World War III? Possibly. The world political situation certainly looks hopeless from a human point of view. But there is another point of view to be considered. Just as God’s Word correctly predicted the present tense world situation, it also predicts the outcome. Without specifying whether or not the present arms race will touch off World War III, it does make this statement about our times: “But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Rev. 11:18.
Besides the fact that the USSR has come to nothing and as a result the Watchtower has even admitted it has no clue as to the identity of the king of the north at this point in time, on the one hand 35 years ago WWIII was presented as a very real possibility. However, elsewhere (Reasoning book -1989) the Society dismisses WWIII as an impossibility.
And to be sure, one statement is not in revision of another. The Watchtower actually holds two completely contradictory positions simultaneously to suit their purpose. But why?
Because first and foremost, as already stated, the Watchtower is committed to promoting 1914 as the most important date in history —the coming of Christ to rule the world; the beginning of the conclusion of the system, and most everything else. And because of that commitment the seers and visionaries of Bethel who are responsible for explaining the meaning of the prophets are compelled to twist and bend and tweak their teachings to reinforce 1914. Supporting 1914 is paramount.
So, in the instance of the citation above, back during the Cold War the Watchtower considered World War III a realistic possibility, but only as an immediate prelude to Armageddon and nothing more. But another world war is discounted as impossible as regards it having anything to do with the fulfillment of Jesus’ words regarding nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
In other words, according to the Watchtower, yes, world war —even nuclear war is possible; however, it is regarded as absolutely impossible that the Kingdom of God could assume power at any point in the future!
Jehovah went on to say to Ezekiel: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘I will cause this saying to cease, and they will no more use it as a proverb in Israel.”’
How will Jehovah cause the saying to cease —the saying that the days go by and nothing ever happens?
God continues, commanding his watchman to tell the “Israelites”: “‘The days are near, and every vision will take place.’ For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I, Jehovah, will speak. Whatever word I speak will be done without any more delay.”
The expression “flattering vision” used to be translated as “double-faced divination.” Double-faced divination is another way of saying hypocritical or contradictory interpretations. But “flattering divination” is also appropriate, since the Watchtower always seeks to elevate itself in the eyes of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In order to do that the Watchtower has shifted many of the unflattering denunciations found in prophecy to times past; some back to 1918, when Jesus supposedly refined the organization into gold. Or, Jehovah’s judgments are more typically directed against Christendom. In every instance, though, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses interpret prophecy to flatter themselves and the organization as the infallible mouthpiece of God.
But all of that is coming to an end. The “apocalypse delayed” —as one former JW put it —will be delayed no longer. The days are near for the visions to actually take place “without any more delay.”
What visions might that include? Virtually all of them. Foremost, the visions of Revelation, which include the unsealing of the seven seals; the second of which betokens peace being taken from the earth, so that a great slaughter ensues.
Since the Watchtower’s interpretation of Revelation is unquestionably a “false vision,” the actual opening of the seals will result in war on an unprecedented scale —yes, World War Three. And although the Watchtower once admitted that WWIII was possible, that was a long time ago. Even though the situation is much more dire now then at any time during the Cold War, the vaunted watchmen have nothing to say about the current state of affairs in the world.
The outbreak of global war will be as though Jehovah gives the command. And in rapid succession all of the visions will unfold, as if God will be speaking then in real time.
The leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses may consider themselves put on notice: The days are near. And every vision will take place.
This article is being mailed to Bethel elders via snail mail and electronically, as well as to branch offices and hundreds of congregations throughout the U.S.A.
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