Why would the Watchtower organization invest the tremendous amount of money required to build their new facilities if they believed the end is as near as they proclaim it to be? And is this a parallel to the Jews continued pouring of money into Herod’s second Temple building project, even though it was all destroyed by Jehovah in 70CE?
History does repeat itself in various ways. Recently someone brought to my attention an interesting parallel that occurred prior to the destruction of the first temple by the Chaldeans, during the reign of Jehoiakim.
Jeremiah had already begun his stint as a prophet, announcing Jehovah’s intent to destroy the city and the temple where he had placed his name. About ten years after Jeremiah began preaching God’s judgment messages Jehoiakim became king and at some point set out on building for himself a magnificent palace.
Because the pharaoh of Egypt had already imposed a tribute on the Judean kingdom the treasury was depleted, which induced Jehoiakim to defraud the workers whom he had employed to construct his extravagant royal mansion. For this Jeremiah directed Jehovah’s denunciation to the king, saying: “Woe to the one who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice, who makes his fellow man serve him for nothing, whose wages he refuses to pay; the one saying, ‘I will build for myself a roomy house with spacious upper rooms. I will fit it with windows and panel it with cedar and paint it with vermilion.’ Will you continue reigning because you outdo others in your use of cedar? Your father also ate and drank, but he upheld justice and righteousness, and it went well with him. He defended the legal claim of the afflicted one and the poor one, so that it went well. ‘Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares Jehovah. ‘But your eyes and heart are set only on your dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood, and on committing fraud and extortion.’” —Jeremiah 22:13-17
The parallel with the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses at this time is quite striking.
Keep in mind that it was this same Jehoiakim who ripped up the scrolls of Jeremiah that his princes had read before the king. It was Jehoiakim that threw Jehovah’s words in the fire.
In a similar manner, in 2005 every member of the Governing Body, and many others besides, were sent copies of Jehovah Himself Has Become King. We may be sure that the books sent them suffered a similar fate as Jeremiah’s scroll. No matter. Over the years since then Brooklyn Bethel and branch heads have received numerous open letters and brochures that expound on Jehovah’s intent to enter into judgment with those who preside over his people. They simply cannot be unaware of my message.
But like Jehoiakim they have had a massive royal residence built for themselves at a time when God’s judgment is impending. And like Jehoiakim with his expensive cedar paneling, it was also brought to my attention that the outside walls of the main complex are made of solid granite slabs that were especially quarried from the side of a mountain in China and shipped half way around the world in giant containers!
The question is, why would the Watchtower sell off their perfectly suitable, high-profile properties in Brooklyn, in the most populous city in America, and retreat to the obscurity of the countryside? The answer should be obvious —because they could!
Since the financial bubble has been re-inflated bigger and bigger since the 2008 crash, pumping up high-end real estate in big cities especially, Bethel’s Brooklyn properties have soared in value. The board of directors of the Watchtower Society evidently decided that they could make a killing on the market by selling off the Brooklyn properties. And by exploiting the free labor of tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses they could have for themselves a luxurious new facility at a fraction of the cost of hiring outside contractors.
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses expected no pay for their labor, it is nonetheless a form of profiteering on the part of the leadership since the project was wholly unnecessary and exploited the massive labor pool of trusting volunteers they have at their disposal.
Like wicked Jehoiakim, the rulers of Bethel refuse to take up the legal claim of the afflicted. Just the opposite, in fact. They have waged a long-running war against sexually abused children. They have bullied, intimidated and slandered anyone who dares to speak against their evil policies. They have bribed victims with hush money —binding them with legal gag orders that prevent them from speaking about the crimes Jehovah’s Witness pedophiles committed against them. These are the things Jehovah is going to set straight in the near future.
So, yes, the modern parallel is extraordinary.
As for the question why engage in this massive project if they believe the end is near? The answer, again, is obvious. Some influentials don’t believe the end is near. I doubt if some prominent men within the Watchtower hierarchy even believe in Jehovah! If they do they surely do not know him, as was the case with Jehoiakim.
Long ago Jehovah spoke of the complacent men in high places in the Jewish ruling class, of whom he said: “At that time I will carefully search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will call to account the complacent ones, who say in their heart, ‘Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad.’ Their wealth will be plundered and their houses will be devastated. They will build houses, but they will not occupy them; and they will plant vineyards, but they will not drink wine from them. The great day of Jehovah is near! It is near and it is approaching very quickly! The sound of the day of Jehovah is bitter. There a warrior cries out. That day is a day of fury, a day of distress and anguish, a day of storm and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick gloom, a day of the horn and of the battle cry, against the fortified cities and against the high corner towers.” – Zephaniah 1:12-16
Although some two and a half years ago I projected that the Governing Body would never complete their move out of New York, it appears that they have. How that will factor into the prophecy in Isaiah regarding the City of Tearing Down remains to be seen. However, it seems very unwise on their part to have sold valuable facilities for mere money in the bank —a banking system that could simply vaporize on any given day. It is simply out of the question that the bankrupt banking system could endure the shock of the now-impending war.
While the princes of Bethel have gotten their country estate built in record time, they can lose it all even more quickly during the great day of Jehovah – now nearer than ever.
As if to deflect any criticism for the construction of their plush new headquarters, during the first Morning Worship program at Warwick Stephen Lett read an open letter from the Governing Body, wherein they said they were already feeling healthier having escaped the noisy city for the fresh air of the country. As a result of the healthier environment they said they were going to serve the brothers even better. Although they said they don’t deserve to live in such a beautiful place they have accepted it as an undeserved gift from Jehovah. Indeed, how could anyone refuse Jehovah? (The Governing Body letter is read about the 9:30 mark)