“Now the end is upon you, and I must send my anger against you, And I will
judge you according to your ways and bring upon you all your detestable
things.” —Ezekiel 7:3
As a priest exiled in far away Babylon, Ezekiel was an outsider in relation to the Jewish religious establishment centered in Jerusalem. But that was no obstacle to his serving as a watchman to the house of Israel since Jehovah personally enlightened Ezekiel by means of visions concerning the corrupt conditions that prevailed within the temple and its inner sanctuary in Jerusalem.
God had an assignment for Ezekiel. So, after making him aware of the deplorable situation Jehovah then tasked Ezekiel with announcing the imminent end of the entire nation, saying to him: “And as for you, O son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said to the soil of Israel, ‘An end, the end, has come upon the four extremities of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I must send my anger against you, and I will judge you according to your ways and bring upon you all your detestable things.’”
Elsewhere in the book of Ezekiel Jehovah’s denunciation was issued directly against the city of Jerusalem; however, in the seventh chapter, the judgment is against “the soil of Israel” rather than Judah or Jerusalem. At the time, though, the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel no longer even existed as such – the land having already been depopulated and the people subjugated by Assyria. No doubt the reason the prophecy was originally addressed to “the soil of Israel” is because the prophecy also applies to the Christian “Israel of God” – that which is called spiritual Israel.
Jehovah’s judgments were directed primarily against the leaders of the people –condemning them for their promoting of idolatry; their bloodguilt; for their deceiving God’s people with false prophecy; for their making unjust gain and for their hard-heartedness in maltreating the widows and fatherless boys in their midst. Moreover, worst of all, their course of conduct resulted in the profanation of God’s holy place and sacred name.
Because of their disrespect towards God, the Jews would be taught a bitter lesson and be made to know that “I am Jehovah” – as it says dozens of times in Ezekiel. But their being forced “to know that I am Jehovah” did not mean that the Jews did not at least know God’s name beforehand. It meant that God’s people would be forced to accept their individual accountability before God and acknowledge the rightfulness of Jehovah’s demand requiring their obedience and exclusive devotion. They would be forced to acknowledge that Jehovah was a God of judgment and that Jehovah was fully capable of punishing those who disrespect his name, even as Ezekiel 7:9b forewarns, saying: “And you people will have to know that I am Jehovah doing the smiting.”
The “stiff-necked” Jews, however, were unmoved by the warnings of the prophets. Even though the king of Babylon had already deported the royal family and made Judah a vassal state, the Jews were confident that Jehovah would never allow Jerusalem or its temple to be destroyed. Quite likely they falsely comforted themselves in the knowledge that more than a century before Ezekiel and Jeremiah came on the scene as prophets Jehovah’s angel had snuffed out the entire Assyrian army when King Sennacherib threatened to sack Jerusalem. Surely Jehovah would protect them from the Babylonians too, they must have reasoned. But this time it was different. Emphasizing the certainty and scope of the execution of Jehovah’s judgments against the very land he once protected, Ezekiel next issued these chilling words of God: “A calamity, a unique calamity, look! it is coming. An end itself must come. The end must come; it must awaken for you. Look! It is coming. The garland must come to you, O inhabiter of the land, the time must come, the day is near. There is confusion, and not the shouting of the mountains.” – Ezekiel 7:5-7
The end of Jerusalem was “a unique calamity” from the standpoint that God sanctioned the destruction of his own temple. Whereas previously God had blessed and protected Jerusalem, Jehovah eventually becomes their worst enemy, as Ezekiel 7:21-22 says: “And I will give it into the hand of the strangers for plunder and to the wicked ones of the earth for spoil, and they will certainly profane it. And I shall have to turn away my face from them, and they will actually profane my concealed place, and into it robbers will really come and profane it.”
The 28th chapter of Isaiah describes God’s destructive work as “strange” and “unusual.” It is indeed strange and unusual that God would destroy his own possession.
The Jews were certain to be thrown into confusion over the turn of events. Not even their wealth could buy off the execution of Jehovah’s judgments against them, as Ezekiel 7:19 foretold: “Into the streets they will throw their very silver, and an abhorrent thing their own gold will become. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury.”
It was during the fifth year from the time Ezekiel was originally appointed by Jehovah to serve as a watchman that Nebuchadnezzar began to lay siege to Jerusalem. So, after having faithfully sounded the warning of Jehovah’s judgments and the impending end, the startling report finally came to Ezekiel in far-away Babylon that after a grueling siege of some months, the city had fallen. Jerusalem – the very city where Jehovah had placed his name was no more! The once proud Jews who survived the fiery end were led off in chains to Babylon. Only Almighty Jehovah could redeem them from their pitiful plight.
The prophecy of Ezekiel is fairly straightforward. First Ezekiel forewarned of Jehovah’s coming judgments. Then the end of the Jewish system came when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem; razed the temple to the ground and dragged the surviving Jews off into exile in Babylon. Jehovah also executed judgment against other nations round about, such as Edom, Tyre and Egypt.
Next, God brought about the release and restoration of his chastened people. Upon their return from exile in Babylon Ezekiel likened Israel to lifeless bones scattered on the ground that Jehovah miraculously resurrected and clothed with fresh sinews and flesh and breathed life into. And the land of Israel that had been a desolate waste was restored to an Edenic paradise. After that, during “the final part of the days,” Gog makes an all-out assault on the redeemed people of God and Jehovah responds by destroying Gog and his entire crowd.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses know, the judgments contained in the book of Ezekiel have relevance far beyond the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. For instance, the references to the kingship of David have to do with the coming kingdom of Christ. And of course, the repatriated Israelites were not attacked by Gog. That event obviously pertains to spiritual Israel at a future time. But according to the Society’s interpretation of Ezekiel the destruction of Jerusalem portends the end of Christendom. Except that is only partially true. The Watchtower, in fact, has two entirely unrelated sets of interpretations. The Society has seemingly applied only half of the prophecy of Ezekiel to Christendom and the other half to itself.
As regards the latter, supposedly Christ’s congregation was laid low by antitypical Babylon back in 1918. In the following year, God quickly intervened to miraculously free J.F. Rutherford and the International Bible Students from the supposed spiritual captivity that had been imposed upon them. And in the ensuing years since then, the grand prophecies of restoration and the creation of a spiritual paradise have been fulfilled in the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
On the other hand, the Watchtower teaches that a significant portion of the prophecy of Ezekiel pertains to the eventual destruction of Christendom. But, obviously, there will be no restoration of Christendom afterward, as was the case with ancient Israel.
So, according to the Watchtower, apparently, God has already performed a miraculous restoration before ever the antitypical Jerusalem has even been destroyed. However, in order to reconcile that glaring discrepancy of interpretation, the Watchtower has come up with two different symbolic cities of Jerusalem that are destroyed on two separate occasions, while one is restored and the other is not.
But, alas, the Watchtower Society has never come to an end, as did Israel and Jerusalem. The relatively minor upheaval the organization experienced during WWI does not begin to compare with what befell Jerusalem when it was besieged by the Babylonians. By no stretch of the imagination were the events of 1918, however difficult they may have seemed at the time, a “unique calamity” for the tiny Society of International Bible Students back then.
The truth is, the Watchtower’s detailed interpretation of Ezekiel, not unlike all other prophecy interpretations tied to 1914, was best described by the apostle Peter as being an “artfully contrived false story.” No wonder Jehovah calls the teachers residing “in the intimate group of my people” the “stupid prophets.” In reality, the Society’s method of prophetic interpretation is what Jehovah appropriately describes as “double-faced divination.” (Ezekiel 12:24)
In truth, there is only one authentic interpretation of prophecy. No man or corporate writing committee may possibly hope to privately interpret God’s prophetic word. As the Revealer of secrets, only Jehovah can reliably interpret prophecy and he does so in his own word. Any would-be interpreters can only hope to gain sufficient insight so as to comprehend how Bible prophecy interprets itself.
As an example of how prophecy interprets prophecy, consider the harmony between the ancient Hebrew prophecy at Ezekiel 9:6 and what the Christian prophet wrote at 1 Peter 4:17. Both prophets forewarn that the judgment starts with that which God recognizes as his house or sanctuary. Of course, Nebuchadnezzar did not march directly into Jerusalem and raze Solomon’s temple. He first laid siege to the city and through attrition was finally able to conquer it. That being the case, it is apparent that the symbolism employed in the 9th chapter of Ezekiel applies to the Christian sanctuary. That is how “my concealed place” is to be understood – those who belong to Christ are concealed in him, in his spiritual sanctuary, along with those who do not belong to him but are mere agents of the Devil prior to the time they are purged.
That it is Christ’s congregation that is destined to suffer the “unique calamity” pictured by the destruction of the temple is also confirmed by the fact that Jeremiah lamented the destruction of Jehovah’s holy sanctuary at Lamentations 1:10, which reads: “The adversary has spread out his own hand against all her desirable things. For she has seen nations that have come into her sanctuary, whom you commanded that they should not come into the congregation belonging to you.”
Elsewhere in scripture the Lord Jesus himself foretold that during the critical period of the conclusion of the system of things God’s powerful angels will go forth to remove all persons doing lawlessness and all stumbling blocks out from his kingdom. Although the Watchtower insists that the harvest commenced in 1918 there is no basis in reality for believing that Christ’s spiritual kingdom has already been cleansed of lawless men or cleared of the countless stumbling blocks that clutter the way.
In view of the above, it is evident that the 7th chapter of Ezekiel is directed towards the Christian house of God. It is that which is commonly called Jehovah’s earthly, visible organization, that will come to an end. And there is reason to believe the following words of Ezekiel’s prophecy will soon be relevant in that regard: “The day is here! It has come! Doom has burst forth, the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed! Violence has grown into a rod to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of that crowd—no wealth, nothing of value. The time has come, the day has arrived.” – Ezekiel 7:10-12a (NIV)
It has now been nearly a century since the concluding harvest is assumed to have begun and yet there are many aspects of the sign of the conclusion of the system of things that are still not in evidence. As one example, quite recently even the Watchtower has begun to suggest that the scripture has not yet been fulfilled that calls for the nations to be consumed in anguish with no way out of the distressing predicament they will find themselves in; while men become faint out of fear in expectation of the things coming upon the world. Of course, for decades the Watchtower Society has taught Jehovah’s Witnesses that the nations have been in tumult and anguish ever since 1914, and that is still the common belief, but a brief comment in the November 15th, 2004, issue of the Watchtower Magazine made a significant if not subtle adjustment so as to suggest that the prophecy will have a greater fulfillment in the future.
However, either the world has entered into the concluding period of anguish and knee-buckling terror, or it has not. No reasonable interpretation of Christ’s prophecy of the conclusion allows for such conditions to go on and on for generation after generation. It is preposterous to suppose that the nations have been writhing in anguish and hopelessness and men have been faint with fear for nearly a century now.
Not only that, contradictorily, Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe that we are living in the period when men will be eating and drinking and women are being given in marriage while they are taking no note of the world’s precarious situation. Yet how can these two periods run concurrently? How can the world be going on in a business-as-usual fashion at the same time as the nations are gripped in anguish and men grow faint with fear in expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth? The Watchtower’s teaching simply defies all reason.
Since even the Watchtower has now begun to suggest, albeit timidly, that this admittedly significant aspect of Christ’s prophecy has a future fulfillment, it presents Bethel’s institutional interpreters with a dilemma. The dilemma is that if this aspect of the sign of the conclusion is not in evidence then neither are the other features of the sign in evidence either. That is because Jesus stated – “but as these things start to occur” – “these things” must surely include the aforementioned fear and anguish.
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses are thoroughly convinced that Christ was enthroned in heaven in 1914 and that the judgment upon the house of God began shortly afterwards in 1918, and that God’s people were set free from Babylon the Great back then, the Watchtower now teaches that Jesus has not yet sat down on his glorious throne to begin judging the sheep and the goats. Yet in another glaring contradiction, the Grand Climax commentary on the book of Revelation insists that the judgment upon the world commenced in 1919 and again in 1945 with the establishment of the League of Nations and United Nations, respectively. Although the 14th chapter of Revelation clearly states that everyone who receives the mark of the beast will be destroyed forever, the Watchtower continues to teach to this very day that the marking has already begun.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught that everyone who lauded the establishment of those two impotent institutions or who in any way were nationalistic or patriotic have already received the symbolic mark of the beast. Presumably, though, the multitudes of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were formerly politically active have somehow managed to have their indelibly written 666 tattoos removed and their sentences commuted!
According to the Watchtower the horsemen of the Apocalypse – war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts – have been on the gallop since 1914. However, throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel Jehovah speaks of his “four injurious acts of judgment” involving the sword of war, famine, pestilence and devouring wild beasts. The 7th chapter of Ezekiel reveals that these injurious acts of judgment were specifically directed against God’s people, where we read: “They have blown the trumpet and there has been a preparing of everybody, but there is no one going to the battle, because my hot feeling is against all its crowd. The sword is outside, and the pestilence and the famine are inside. Whoever is in the field, by the sword he will die, and whoever are in the city, famine and pestilence themselves will devour them. And their escapees will certainly make their escape and become on the mountains like the doves of the valleys, all of which are moaning, each one in his own error.” (Ezekiel 7:14-16)
According to the Society this aspect of prophecy applies to the future annihilation of Christendom, even though it is also believed that the apocalyptic sword, famine and plague have been operative since 1914. But how can that be reconciled with the fact that the verses quoted above foretell that there will be survivors – “escapees”?
Discerning readers ought to also recognize the similarity of Christ’s prophecy regarding those vigilant Christians who will flee from “Jerusalem” when once they see the disgusting thing standing in a holy place. Of course, the Society also teaches that the holy place that is destined for desolation is Christendom. Yet, no reasonable explanation has yet been offered as to how it is that true Christians, who are no part of Christendom, will be required to flee for their lives when once the disgusting thing begins to stand where it ought not.
The truth is, the symbolic sword of war, famine and pestilence are the means by which Jehovah is yet to enter into judgment with his own house at the future presence of Christ.
According to the Watchtower’s phony interpretation of Revelation, the two witnesses dressed in sackcloth came on the scene back in 1918. Whatever has become of the two anointed witnesses since then is anyone’s guess. However, Ezekiel’s prophecy sheds light upon the events surrounding the appearance of the symbolic two anointed witnesses. Verses 17 and 18 read: “As for all the hands, they keep dropping down; and as for all knees, they keep dripping with water. And they have girded on sackcloth, and shuddering has covered them; and on all faces there is shame and on all their heads there is baldness.”
Like the Jews in Ezekiel’s day, Jehovah’s Witnesses are certain that God will never punish the organization. Because the evidence abounds that God has supported and protected the Society in the past the presumption is that he always will. Jehovah’s Witnesses are in for a shock!
Jehovah’s true faithful and discreet slave is due to suffer what Ezekiel’s prophecy describes as pants-wetting shock and terror. God’s servants will be forced to acknowledge that they have unwittingly allowed themselves to become accomplices in promoting a massive fraud against those under their charge, all in the name of Jehovah.
The wearing of sackcloth represents their shame and humble contrition before God. This judgment is in harmony with what Christ foretold concerning the punishment that would be meted out upon the otherwise faithful and discreet slave who did not fully understand his master’s will and so did not act in accord with it and as a consequence is deserving to be beaten with a few strokes.
There are many other contradictions and absurdities in the Society’s interpretations of prophecy, but the few examples cited above should suffice to make the point. The point being, bluntly, the entire 1914 doctrine and everything attached to it is a fraud. But instead of discarding the error the Watchtower Society keeps sewing new patches upon an old worn out wineskin. The tragic end result of such ill-advised patchwork is well known.
As a result of Bethel’s stubborn attachment to what Paul called “an operation of error,”millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses not only believe a falsehood regarding the return of Christ, but they have unwittingly become false teachers themselves, due to the fact that the fraudulent 1914 doctrine is such an integral part of the teachings of the Watchtower Society. That is why the prophecy cited above foretells humiliation for all of God’s servants, when it says: “on all faces there is shame and on all their heads there is baldness.”
As a result of the Society’s erroneous teachings Jehovah’s Witnesses have no realistic expectation of what is to unfold in the future. So, while the Society may blow the trumpet to rally the troops in preparation for the end, as it says in the 14th verse, we may be sure that Jehovah’s Witnesses will have little heart for the fight when it becomes apparent that Jehovah’s anger is directed against them.
There are dire consequences indeed for presumptuously teaching lies in the name of Jehovah. It is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely. An end must come!
Since e-watchman came online in September 2002, the Watchtower has been called to account for their secretive 10 year partnership with the United Nations as an NGO and for the detestable way in which the Society’s legal team has denied in court that Christian elders bear any responsibility to protect the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the crimes of pedophilic congregants. More recently the organization has admitted to paying off child abuse victims and imposing gag orders upon them to legally prevent them from speaking about the crimes that were committed against them or the way the congregation elders and Bethel mishandled their cases. The leadership of the organization has also been exposed for promoting a form of organizational idolatry and for promulgating false teachings in connection with the supposed parousia of Christ in 1914.
Just as the Jews in Ezekiel’s day were punished for their bloodguilt, so too, the Watchtower Society must also render an account before God for having stumbled untold thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses by their errors and hypocrisy.
As it stands presently, the world is at the brink of the most colossal catastrophe that has ever occurred. We are facing the imminent outbreak of world war three between nuclear powers and the collapse of the global financial system. In short: the horsemen of the Apocalypse are about to be unleashed. Anguish of nations indeed! Men will become faint with fright at the terror that is soon to be unleashed.
In fulfillment of Bible prophecy the Anglo-American dual world power will undergo the foretold “sword stroke.” It will be the end of the democratic system and the beginning of a global military dictatorship.
In the ensuing chaos the Watchtower Society’s worldwide publishing enterprise will cease. Into the streets will go their worthless stocks and bonds and paper money that presently are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. At the very time when Jehovah’s Witnesses will frantically look to the Watchtower for guidance Jehovah will have put his earthly mouthpiece to silence. At that time Bethel will have no answers, even as Ezekiel 7:25-26 foretells: “There will come anguish, and they will certainly seek peace but there will be none. There will come adversity upon adversity, and there will occur report upon report, and people will actually seek a vision from a prophet, and the law itself will perish from a priest and counsel from elderly men.”
Like certain Corinthian elders in Paul’s day, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses live like kings at Bethel and Patterson, but they and their chieftain-like associates are due to become disturbed and go into mourning over the collapse of the Watchtower, in accord with Ezekiel 7:27a: “The king himself will go into mourning; even a chieftain will clothe himself with desolation, and the very hands of the people of the land will get disturbed.”
For decades the Watchtower has condemned the churches of Christendom for their false teachings and political involvement; for condoning of sexual immorality and pedophilia in their churches; for practicing idolatry and materialism and many other things. And even though the Watchtower Society is guilty of these very same things, albeit in subtler forms, they hypocritically warn Christendom of her coming judgment! It does not bode well for the Society that the concluding words of the 7th chapter of Ezekiel ensure that Jehovah will judge his organization with their own judgments.
“According to their way I shall act toward them, and with their judgments I shall judge them; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 7:27b)