This is a continuation of commentary on the God’s Kingdom Rules! Bible study material for the week of October 10th, 2016.
Jehovah’s Witnesses well know the power that lies can have over people. Anyone who has ever taken up the Bible and gone out to try to engage householders, or who has simply had a conversation with an unbelieving friend or relative, knows firsthand how difficult it can be to cut through the web of lies that entangle people’s minds. Virtually everything people believe about God is a lie —especially evolution and the ridiculous belief that life just happens.
And we are well aware that the reason people believe lies upon lies upon lies, is because Satan the Devil, the father of the lie, is the god of this dark world. That is why lies are so readily accepted as truth —because of the Devil’s truth-twisting power.
It is not as though the demons inject the same lie into each person’s mind, individually. All the Big Lies are institutionalized. For example, the Jesus-is-God lie is considered an article of faith by virtually every church. That is why Jehovah’s Witnesses are cast as non-Christians by some Trinitarians. By law school children are indoctrinated with the theory of evolution, which is presented as an established fact. Serious scientists face uncertain job prospects or funding issues for research projects if they do not confess belief in the evolution myth. And on and on it goes.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are blessed to know the truth about God and Christ —life and death —and Jehovah’s wonderful purpose for the earth, for mankind, for a little flock who are destined to join Christ in heaven.
However, the same demonic, truth-bending influence that is prevalent in the world is also at work among Jehovah’s Witnesses. And because the lie is an operation of Satan, like the trinity or evolution, it is also embedded as an institutional lie within the Watchtower Society and has been from the very beginning. The lie, of course, is the invisible parousia doctrine.
It is understandable that Pastor Russell got it so wrong. Neither he nor the Bible Students had any understanding of the deep things of prophecy, which is evidenced by the fact that over the course of the decades the Watchtower has jettisoned virtually everything that was published verging on prophecy —everything, except the invisible parousia lie. Instead of rejecting the falsehood the Watchtower has made it their mission to regularly maintain and reinforce the lie, a lie that Jehovah likens to a whitewashed wall that is regularly plastered over for appearances. Now let’s consider the most recent plastering by the maintainers of the lie.
13 Consider this: Would people have been prepared for the beginning of Christ’s presence if they were not able to distinguish Jesus from his Father, Jehovah? Surely not! Nor would they have been prepared if they thought that immortality was the automatic possession of all and not a precious gift bestowed on only relatively few of Christ’s footstep followers; nor if they thought that God tormented people in hellfire for all eternity with no hope of relief! Without doubt, the “messenger” prepared the way for the Messianic King!
14 And what about us today? What can we learn from our brothers of more than a century ago? We likewise need to be avid readers and students of God’s Word. (John 17:3) As this materialistic world becomes emaciated, spiritually speaking, may our appetite for spiritual food grow ever stronger!—Read 1 Timothy 4:15.
Probably the majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are not aware, but certainly the Governing Body and their helpers know that Russell taught that the parousia began in 1874. Not only that, the original International Bible Students believed that Jesus was inaugurated as King in 1878 and that all the “saints” who were sleeping in death were resurrected then too. 1914 was merely projected to be the consummation, when the living “saints” would be raptured and Satan’s rule over the world would come to an inglorious end.
With the advent of the Internet and Google’s archived virtual library it is fairly easy to research old books. Here is a direct link to the fourth volume of Studies in the Scriptures, page 621, as displayed in this post’s graphic, which Russell published in 1897; wherein, it was stated that Christ’s presence had begun in 1874 and the Kingdom came to power in 1878. (Go to page 622 for confirmation that Russell expected the rapture and the end of Satan’s world in 1914.)
In light of all the above, how could the Bible Students “have been prepared for the beginning of Christ’s presence” in 1914 if they were laboring under the delusion that the presence of Christ had already begun and that 1914 was going to be the absolute end of it all?
It is simply a lie that “the messenger” prepared them for such. Russell did no such thing. In fact, Russell set his flock up to be stumbled when the rapture did not occur in 1914, as they had been led to expect. As events unfolded more than half of the Bible Students whom the Watchtower claims were prepared for the presence of Christ in 1914 refused to continue to follow the Watchtower after the shakeout that took place during the Great War.
In truth, being able to distinguish Jesus from Jehovah was prerequisite for the them to become anointed, since all those who will ultimately inherit the Kingdom have both the name of the Father and the Son symbolically written on their foreheads.
Let’s now examine another blatant lie.
“GET OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE”
17 In January 1900, the Watch Tower offered counsel to those who still kept their names on the denominational rolls of Christendom’s churches and who rationalized their course, saying, “My sympathies are all with the truth, and I rarely attend other meetings.” The article asked: “But is this right—to be half out and half in Babylon? Is this the obedience required . . . and pleasing and acceptable to God? Surely not. He [the church member] publicly entered into a covenant with the denomination when he joined it, and he should faithfully live up to all the conditions of that covenant until he . . . publicly renounces or cancels his membership.” Over the years, that message became stronger.* Servants of Jehovah must renounce all ties with false religion.
18 If such warnings to get out of Babylon the Great had not been sounded regularly, would Christ as the newly installed King have had a body of prepared, anointed servants on earth? Surely not, for only Christians who are free from Babylon’s grip can worship Jehovah “with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Are we today likewise determined to keep free from false religion? Let us keep obeying the command: “Get out of her, my people”!
It is an integral part of Watchtower lore that Jehovah bared his mighty arm and brought Babylon the Great down in 1919 and freed the hapless Bible Students from spiritual captivity. Here is a typical plastering found in the Isaiah commentary: (For context click here and scroll to paragraph 25)
The release of loyal Jews from exile, made possible by the fall of Babylon, foreshadowed the release in 1919 of anointed Christians from spiritual exile. That release was evidence that another Babylon, described as a harlot, Babylon the Great—a symbol of all the world’s false religions viewed collectively—had experienced a fall. As recorded in the book of Revelation, the apostle John foresaw her fall.
If anointed Christians were released from spiritual exile in 1919, how is it that churchgoers prior to 1919 got out of Babylon the Great simply by having their names stricken from a church membership roster?
Besides the fact that the Bible Students believed Christ was already ruling as King since 1878, according to the God’s Kingdom Rules! it was necessary for Christians to be free from Babylon the Great prior to 1914 in order to be able to acceptably serve the King when he was enthroned in 1914! It is implied that all faithful anointed Christians who had withdrawn from the nominal churches had already gotten out of Babylon the Great prior to 1919. But if that is true, why was it necessary for God to cause the fall of Babylon as a means of freeing his people from bondage?
The Watchtower’s lie is made all the more apparent in view of their latest “adjustment” regarding when Christians went into captivity to Babylon the Great. Prior to 2015 the Watchtower had taught that the International Bible Students went into spiritual captivity in 1918 and were released shortly thereafter. Now Bethel claims that Christianity was absorbed into Babylon the Great in the second century when emperor Constantine inserted himself as the arbiter of Christian doctrine. That makes the claim in God’s Kingdom Rules! all the more glaringly contradictory.
Perhaps you have had the misfortune of having dealings with a pathological liar. Such persons lie so frequently that their lies and contradictions become readily apparent. The same is true of the Watchtower. Bethel has become brazen in blatantly contradicting itself. Apparently, they know that they can do so with impunity since Jehovah’s Witnesses have been thoroughly conditioned to accept whatever the Watchtower utters without question.
Consider one last example of the Watchtower’s hypocrisy:
20 In 1882, an article called “Assembling Together” appeared in the Watch Tower. The article exhorted Christians to hold meetings “for mutual edification, encouragement and strengthening.” It noted: “It matters not whether there is any one learned or talented among you. Let each one bring his own Bible, paper, and pencil, and avail yourselves of as many helps in the way of a Concordance, . . . as possible. Choose your subject; ask for the Spirit’s guidance in the understanding of it; then read, think, compare scripture with scripture and you will assuredly be guided into truth.”
Presumably, if an earnest searcher for truth were to follow the exhortation in the 1882 Watch Tower and came to a living room or storefront gathering of Christians with a subject in mind and a paper and pencil in hand, and presented questions for discussion regarding the notion that Christ began his parousia in 1874, there may well have been a lively discussion of the topic. However, what about now?
Now it is an entirely different spiritual environment. If one of Jehovah’s Witnesses were to give voice expressing the slightest doubt in the Watchtower’s Talmudic teachings connected to 1914 such persons would be censored and censured swiftly. More than likely they would face a judicial inquisition and if they did not recant and embrace “the lie” they would be punished, losing any privileges and possibly even face expulsion from the synagogue. Thus, the lie is institutionalized and maintained by trickery and sheer tyranny.
But the Watchtower’s institutional lie will not prevail. Just as through Ezekiel God likened the institutional lie to a whitewashed wall that the stupid prophets built and maintain, in Isaiah Jehovah uses the same analogy of a wall that is doomed to fall, saying: “Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: ‘Since you reject this word and you trust in fraud and deceit and you rely on these, so this error will be for you like a broken wall, like a bulging high wall ready to fall. It will crash suddenly, in an instant. It will be broken like a large potter’s jar, so completely smashed that no fragment among its pieces will be left to rake the fire from the fireplace or to scoop water from a puddle.”’
Surely, the Society’s great “wall” is broken and visibly, awkwardly bulging. The latest God’s Kingdom Rules! publication merely serves as another wooden prop put in place to keep the “wall” from toppling over of its own accord. But it is only a matter of time —likely, when the first cruise missiles are launched —that it will fall with a great crash and shatter into a million bits. And neither the Governing Body nor their helpers will be able to piece it back together ever again.
Let your Kingdom come!