Wednesday, May 19
Keep in expectation of it! For it will without fail come true. —Hab. 2:3.
We naturally long for the good things that Jehovah has promised. However, when the fulfillment of our expectations appears to be delayed, it may dampen our enthusiasm. We could even lose heart. (Prov. 13:12) This happened at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, many anointed Christians expected to receive their heavenly reward in 1914. When that did not happen, how did faithful ones deal with their delayed expectations? They did not give up the race for life, because their primary focus was on faithfully doing God’s will, not on gaining their reward. They were determined to run the race with endurance. No doubt you long to see Jehovah vindicate his name and sovereignty and fulfill all his promises. Be assured that these things will happen in Jehovah’s due time. Until then, may we keep busy serving our God, never allowing postponed expectations to discourage us or slow us down. w19.08 4-5 ¶9-10
Why on earth would anyone have expected to be raptured to heaven back in 1914? That sounds totally bonkers. Oh, wait! Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Watchtower vigorously promote 1914 as the year when Christians could expect the world to end? It surely did. It is on record. In fact, the Watchtower still boasts of its prophetic prowess in being able to decipher the inscrutable seven times, day-for-a-year chronology, in order to divine the otherwise unknowable day and hour of Christ’s coming to power in his Kingdom.
And the Watchtower did it again in the early 1970s, fostering the expectation that because 1975 marked the 6,000th year since the creation of Adam we could expect the beginning of the Millennium, which, of course, would mean the end of this world. Jehovah’s Witnesses were all a-buzz with anticipation leading up to 1975. Some even quit their jobs, sold their homes and businesses, and launched themselves into the full-time ministry expecting to be through with the drudgery of making a living and all of that. When 1975 came and went over the ensuing years tens of thousands of JWs became disillusioned and left the Organization.
But it was not that God had postponed the hour of judgment. The Watchtower was simply wrong, again. Except, the Watchtower can never be wrong, as is excruciatingly demonstrated in today’s text offering. The fault lies with those who believed the Watchtower’s predictions.
What the Watchtower is saying implicitly, if you read between the lines, is that the faithful will persevere in spite of the varied and numerous stumbling blocks strewn on the path by the Watchtower! And what the Watchtower is implying is absolutely true.
The problem is the Governing Body cannot admit the Watchtower has ever been wrong. It is an anathema. Oh sure, a few adjustments here and there, it is all part of the process. You know, the light gets brighter and brighter and all that. But does it? Has it, really? (See article: Does the Light get Brighter and Brighter?)
Although individuals behind the curtain may be humble, and I am certainly not the judge of any person, the Organization itself cannot be allowed to appear as anything less than the shining city on the hill, always projecting an unfailing beacon of truth and light.
From Jehovah’s standpoint, this is idolatry. Is the Organization the Source of truth? The Watchtower has become a mythical oracle that knows all. It can do no wrong. No detractors should be believed. Child abuse? It is all “apostate-driven lies!” But the keepers of the idol betray themselves by the fact that retaining the gleaming image of the Watchtower requires constant maintenance and quite a bit of dishonesty. Such is the nature of idols. They need maintenance. It doesn’t matter if it is a lifeless statue, a person, or an organization.
Keep in mind, an idol is anything that detracts from God’s glory. Try explaining to a Catholic, for example, that their adoration of Mary as the Mother of God, or their veneration of the saints and the crucifix are idolatrous. The devoted Catholic will refuse to accept it. They will explain that these things are merely aids in worship.
It is the same with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Everything revolves around the Organization. At the core is this bigger-than-life “faithful slave.” Every meeting—back when there were meetings—you would never fail to hear worshipful honors bestowed upon the faithful and discreet slave for having provided such a bountiful supply of wonderful spiritual food at the proper time. The Slave has insight that no other human on earth has. He understands the deep and hidden prophetic mysteries. He speaks with such authority. He is never wrong even when he is wrong. And when he is wrong it is your fault if you lose your faith in him/it.
Like the devout Catholic, in spite of their worshipful praise heaped upon the Organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses would never even consider that their “pure worship” is tainted with idolatry.
The Watchtower’s ongoing lockdown really proves the point though. All of Jehovah’s Witnesses know that Christ commanded his followers to “go make disciples.” Jehovah’s Witnesses are to be commended for having done what the Lord commanded. Interestingly, the apostle Paul exhorted Christians to have their feet shod with the good news. The reason for that analogy is that in order to obey Christ’s command to “go” would typically require walking—walking on the street—walking up to a home to engage the so-called householder.
Now, though, the all-knowing Slave has commanded Jehovah’s servants to stay. Do not go! Stay home! Stay off the street! Do not visit the home of persons you have previously contacted. Do not conduct a home Bible study in the private home of your Bible student.
And meeting at the Kingdom hall?—totally out of the question. It is far too dangerous and foolhardy.
And just like that, the worship of Jehovah, which has been carried out for decades, has been overturned by the Slave. Never mind what Jesus said. The Idol has commanded. How treacherous—countermanding Christ under the guise of saving lives.
Jehovah knows people. He knows the future too. That is why almost three thousand years ago, before Christianity even existed, before anyone was ever anointed, Jehovah spoke to His people at a point far into the future when the Son of man would arrive to take over. Speaking to the slave God pointedly lays it out, saying: “The former things I told you long ago. From my own mouth they went out, and I made them known. Suddenly I took action, and they came about. Because I knew how stubborn you are —that your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead is copper—I told you long ago. Before it came about, I caused you to hear it, so that you could not say, ‘My idol did this; my carved image and my metal image commanded this.’ You have heard and seen all of this. Will you not declare it? From now on I am announcing new things to you, guarded secrets that you have not known. Only now are they being created, and not long ago, things that you never heard before today, so that you cannot say, ‘Look! I already know them.’ No, you have not heard, you have not known, and in the past your ears were not opened. For I know that you are very treacherous, and you have been called a transgressor from birth. But for the sake of my name I will hold back my anger; For my own praise I will restrain myself toward you, and I will not do away with you. Look! I have refined you, but not in the form of silver. I have tested you in the smelting furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake I will act, for how could I let myself be profaned? I give my glory to no one else.” — Isaiah 48:3-11
Although the truth regarding the visible presence of Christ was established long ago by the Transfiguration and any competent Bible student ought to be able to discern it, the exalted Slave cannot. God has hidden it from him. Why? Because the Watchtower is an idol. Had the Governing Body actually known and taught the truth concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ they would have surely claimed: “my idol did this.”