This is part three of the review of the January, 2014, Watchtower.
Are you willing and able to use your mind to reason? If so, I invite you to reason upon what is published under the sub-heading Wickedness Advancing from Bad to Worse:
8) There is a second reason why we know that it will not be long before God’s Kingdom takes active control of earth’s affairs: Wickedness in human society is going from bad to worse. For nearly a century, the conditions foretold at 2 Timothy 3:1-5have been in evidence. If anything, they too have steadily increased in scope, duration, and frequency. Can you not recognize that the fulfillment of this prophecy has intensified? Let us consider some examples that well illustrate this.
9) Think about the contrast between what was found shocking in the 1940’s or 1950’s and what is taking place today in the workplace, in the field of entertainment, in sports, and in fashion. Extreme violence and immorality are now commonplace. People compete to be seen as more fierce, lewd, or ruthless than anyone else. What was considered edgy television in the 1950’s is now rated as suitable for families. And many recognize that homosexuals have a loud voice in the fields of entertainment and fashion, promoting their lifestyle in the public realm. How thankful we can be that we know God’s view!—Read Jude 14, 15.
Did you take note of the contradiction in the Society’s statement above? You may have to re-read it a few times and allow it to soak into your mind. But allow me to point out the incongruity. The 8th paragraph states: “For nearly a century, the conditions foretold at 2 Timothy 3:1-5 have been in evidence.” And in the very next paragraph the Watchtower contradicts itself by pointing out the glaring contrast in the moral condition of society from the 1940’s and 50’s and now!
But since it is obviously true, that society has been noticeably, grossly corrupted in the past half century, how is it possible that the evil characteristics Paul said would exist in the last days “have been in evidence” for a century? Think about it!
For example, the article uses the example of homosexuality becoming accepted in the mainstream in recent years. But was that the case in 1914? Of course not. Obviously, there were gay people back then, but they did not publicly disclose their sexual orientation, or disorientation, as the case may be. Since that is indisputably the case, how can it honestly be said that the evil traits outlined in 2nd Timothy were in evidence a century ago?
Now, I invite you to thoughtfully consider what the Bible actually says, taking note of a few seemingly insignificant words that may easily be overlooked, but which have a powerful bearing upon the passage. Here is what Paul wrote, in part: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal…”
Although Paul only uses the expression “men will be” once, it is understood that “men will be”lovers of money too, “men will be” boastful, “men will be” haughty, etc. The seemingly insignificant phrase is “men will be” – meaning, they will already be fully, completely in that state when the last days commence. The point being: Paul was not foretelling that the last days will be characterized by the process of the gradual degradation of society over decades of time. Rather, the last days will be dangerous times hard to deal because when the world is plunged into chaos at the coming of Christ men will already be fully hardened into a course of extreme selfishness and wickedness! In other words: civilization will come unraveled because “men will be….”
But what about what Paul stated as regards “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled”?
The Watchtower’s method of presenting scriptures in support of 1914 might best be understood by comparing it to a sleight-of-hand card trick. In the case of a card trick, the observer is tricked into seeing only what the magician wishes them to see. The same is true with this Watchtower article.
Please re-read the 8th paragraph and take note of how the writers pluck a verse out of the deck, so-to-speak, and insert it elsewhere – cleverly transplanting Paul’s expression from the 13th verse and phrasing it in such a way so as to suggest to the unwary that the process of advancement from bad to worse is what is to be in evidence during the last days. Or as the Watchtower deceptively phrases it: “the fulfillment of the prophecy has intensified.”
But please take note of the fact that Paul did not state that wicked men will advance from bad to worse during the last days. That is merely what Bethel expects you to assume. If you carefully examine the context you will note that Paul moved on from enumerating the undesirable qualities that will predominate during the critical last days and was discussing his various, personal persecutions. And it is in the context of Paul’s sufferings back then that he stated that wicked men will advance from bad to worse.
Of course, the same is also true in our day. Wicked men and impostors are similarly becoming more and more evil. Just take a look at the leadership of the Watchtower Society itself! But that is not because it is the last days. We may expect that when the last days commence wicked men will have already advanced to the worst state of wickedness, which is why there will be critical times hard to deal with then.
At this point you might rightly ask: What does it matter whether these are the last days or whether the last days will begin shortly and not extend over a long period of time? Ultimately, it will not make any difference for those with faith. Except, the Devil must think it is important, or else he would not keep pushing his “operation or error.”
But it is more than merely a semantical technicality. Obviously when the last days begin it will be a huge jolt for Jehovah’s Witnesses to come to terms with the fact that they have been so thoroughly deceived by Jehovah’s earthly mouthpiece as regards the presence of Christ and the coming of the kingdom. After all, how many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been stumbled already over comparatively trivial errors and flip-flops? The fact is, many will not be able to surmount the stumbling block the Watchtower has set before them. Doesn’t Isaiah refer to the kingdom of Christ as the “stone of stumbling”? Or, as Jesus said, many will be stumbled and hate one another and betray one another. (Matthew 24:10)
Then, critical times hard to deal with will be here, indeed!
To be continued….
Just to emphasis the contrast between the world now and the one just a century ago, take a few minutes and watch this fascinating clip of what may have been the world’s first “dash cam” mounted on a street car traveling down Market Street in San Francisco in 1906. It may be described as the crossroads of the horse and buggy era and the automobile. And you think people drive crazy nowadays? By the way, this film was shot just a few months before the city was virtually destroyed by the great earthquake…sad to think that virtually every person in this film is dead.