Friday, May 21
Whenever it is that they are saying, “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly on them. —1 Thess. 5:3.
World leaders sometimes use similar expressions when they talk about stabilizing relationships between nations. However, the announcement of “peace and security” that the Bible describes will be different. Why? When this happens, people may think that world leaders have succeeded in making the world a safer, more secure place. But in reality, “sudden destruction” will follow as the “great tribulation” unfolds. (Matt. 24:21) We do not know what will lead up to the declaration or how it will be made. And we do not know whether it will involve just one proclamation or a series of announcements. Whatever happens, we do know this: We should not be fooled into thinking that world leaders can actually achieve world peace. Rather, it is the signal that “Jehovah’s day” is about to begin! —1 Thess. 5:2. w19.10 8-9 ¶3-4
There is a saying among Jehovah’s Witnesses that prophecy cannot be fully understood until after it is fulfilled. That is surely true. Numerous messianic Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled in the first century. Such as Micah 5:2 foretelling Bethlehem as the place of Jesus’ birth; that Jesus would heal the sick; that he would die and be buried and come back to life. And so on. We understand these things because we can read and perceive how things came together long ago.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are unique in the Christian world, in that, they believe a whole range of prophecy has been fulfilled in modern times—beginning back in 1914, which the Watchtower teaches was the starting point for the time of the end. From that perspective, the fulfillment of the “peace and security” prophecy is the end of it. The “sudden destruction” is assumed to be the end of the world.
However, from where I stand none of the things the Watchtower claims have been fulfilled in modern times actually have. And besides, as I have pointed out many times before, even if 1914 was the beginning, which it is not, but even if it were, we still have not seen “all these things” Jesus foretold.
The way I see it the declaration of “peace and security” will not be the punctuated end, but rather, the beginning—the beginning of the “critical times hard to deal with” otherwise known as the last days, the time of the end—the conclusion of the system.
I hate to repeat things, but since the Watchtower does I too am compelled to cover the same ground. First, there is an issue with the translation. As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses surely know the New World Translation is not accepted by most other Christian sects and denominations. The NWT is denounced for having inserted God’s name into the so-called New Testament when there are no Greek manuscripts in existence where the Tetragrammaton appears. Perhaps one day some fragment of a scroll bearing the Tetragrammaton might turn up. Who knows? Bear in mind, though, the critics are those who promote Bible translations that have completely expunged the name of God throughout, even though the YHWH appears in the ancient Hebrew text nearly 7,000 times. Obviously, the Jesus-is-God crowd does not wish to publicize the name of God. It might confuse Trinitarians.
I support the Watchtower’s insertion of the name of God into the New Testament on the grounds that there are dozens of quotations in the Greek from the Hebrew texts where the YHWH appears. It is highly doubtful the apostles would have followed Jewish superstition and avoided using God’s personal name in their writings. And there is anecdotal evidence the apostles did indeed put the YHWH to print in their inspired writings, which were changed into “Lord” by copiest in the centuries following, just as modern translators have done to the Hebrew.
However, there is some question about the usage of the Name in the New Testament where the Christian writers were not directly quoting from the Hebrew or where there is not a clear distinction between Jehovah and Jesus. The prophecy of “peace and security” is one of those places. In context, Paul wrote: “Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying, “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly on them, just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape.”
For comparison the King James renders it this way: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
To be sure, the Hebrew prophets referred to the day of Jehovah many times. That being said, it is not clear if Paul was quoting from any specific Hebrew text. As Jehovah’s Witnesses well know, there are similar expressions in the New Testament regarding the Lord’s day and the day of the Lord, referring to Jesus—not Jehovah. Indeed, Paul referred to “the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
So what, you ask?
Here is the problem: The Watchtower claims the Lord’s day began in 1914. The Governing Body has staked its reputation as “prophets” on it. They claim 1914 is irrefutable. But, reasoning on the matter, if Paul did not use YHWH in his letter to the Thessalonians and actually referred to the day of the Lord Jesus Christ instead, not only will the Watchtower’s entire 1914 doctrine collapse, but it places a rather large stumbling block before everyone going forward since that would mean that the road ahead presents a major twist that is not on the official, Watchtower-approved prophetic roadmap.
Also, is it a trivial detail of no significance that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night and Jesus said the Son of man is coming as a thief in the night?
To be clear, there is no difference between the Lord’s day and the day of Jehovah. The Watchtower has made them out to be two distinct periods. And believe it or not, the Watchtower used to acknowledge that they were the same thing. In fact, the organization used to teach that the day of Jehovah began in 1914. Gradually, though, they phased that out and just stuck with the Lord’s day pinned to 1914.
But what about the “sudden destruction,” isn’t that Armageddon?
No, I do not believe that is what the prophecy is about. The reason is, there are many things the Watchtower has not taken into consideration. And unfortunately, because Jehovah’s Witnesses have been deluded into believing that most things have already been fulfilled there is no point of reference in regards to the things to come. What I mean is, if the time of the end has not begun, then that means the pushing between the kings of the north and south has not taken place. It means the king of the north has not flooded over the world like an unstoppable storm. It means that “Egypt” (king of the south) has not been subjugated by his imperial rival.
There are three entire chapters in the book of Ezekiel devoted to the fall of Egypt. It is written in such a way so as to convey that the ancient land of the Pharaohs symbolizes something much greater. (See chapter: Downfall of America) Even the Watchtower recognizes this. Except, the institutional “prophets” claim that the towering cedar, the likes of which is taller and more grand than all the other trees of God’s forest, represents all the nations that will be felled at Armageddon. But their interpretation makes no sense. The heaven-high cedar stands in relation to lesser trees. How could the cedar represent all the tree-like nations?
So what you ask? What’s the big deal about a tree getting chopped down?
The tree represents the greatest nation on earth, the envy of all the other trees. The cedar symbolizes America. How do we know that is an authentic interpretation of the prophecy? Because the cedar is felled at the commencement of the day of Jehovah—or, if you prefer: the Lord’s day. Read: “And the word of Jehovah again came to me, saying: “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘Wail, ‘Alas, the day is coming!’ For the day is near, yes, a day of Jehovah is near. It will be a day of clouds, an appointed time of nations. A sword will come against Egypt, and panic will overtake Ethiopia when the slain fall in Egypt; its wealth is taken and its foundations are torn down.”’ — Ez. 30:1-4
At the moment we cannot determine who “they” is that will be “saying peace and security.” Nor is it possible to say with certainty who “them” refers to that will meet up with sudden destruction. However, from the vantage point of the aforementioned prophecies in Ezekiel and Daniel, it is my contention that the sudden destruction will come upon America. The sudden downfall of the greatest nation will send shockwaves around the earth, even as the prophecy says: “At the sound of its downfall, I will cause nations to shudder when I bring it down to the Grave along with all those going down into the pit, and all the trees of Eden, the choicest and the best of Lebanon, all that are well-watered, will be comforted in the land down below. They have gone down to the Grave with him, to those slain by the sword, together with his supporters who lived in his shadow among the nations.’” — Ez 31:16-17
Since in the actual fulfillment the fall of Egypt and its allies left Babylon as the dominant kingdom with no rival, the fall of antitypical Egypt into the pit parallels the mortal wound on the head of the seven-headed monstrosity of Revelation and the entire beast going into the abyss for a period. “All the trees of Eden” signifies that the entire present nation-state system of sovereign nations will be abolished. In its place will arise the neo-Babylonian empire, more than likely in the form of an empowered United Nations, at which point the eighth king will begin his short-lived reign of “one hour.”