A continuation of the Jeremiah series.
God spoke to Jeremiah and commanded him to go stand in a prominent place in the courtyard of the temple and speak to the people: “This is what Jehovah says, ‘Stand in the courtyard of the house of Jehovah and speak concerning all the people of the cities of Judah who are coming in to worship at the house of Jehovah. Tell them everything that I command you; do not take away a word.” — Jeremiah 26:2
The message was simple. Jerusalem was going to become like Shiloh if the Jews continued on in the same way. Shiloh was where the tabernacle and ark of the covenant were located during the time of the judges, but no longer. So, by saying Jerusalem would become like Shiloh the Jews got the message. Jeremiah was saying Jerusalem would no longer be the center of true worship, to borrow a familiar expression. As Jeremiah probably expected, the message was not well received by the Jewish establishment.
Today the Watchtower boasts of being the center of true worship and the bearers of Jehovah’s name, as was Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day. Since the advent of the Internet has revolutionized communications, it is not necessary to be in a physical location to deliver a message. Bull horns are out. I have staked out a corner on the world web and have reached many thousands of people with my message—probably more than might fill up a large stadium at a Watchtower convention. True, I have also utilized the mail service to deliver 10s of thousands of letters to congregations around the world as well as having sent books and brochures to the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Bethel and dozens of branches around the world.
For the past 20 years, I have delivered a similar message as Jeremiah did in the temple courtyard. In fact, one of the first essays that appeared on e-watchman and later in the book, Jehovah Himself Has Become King, was an article entitled Collapse of the Watchtower.
Their reaction to Jeremiah’s message was predictable. The priests and prophets demanded that he be put to death. But Jehovah was with Jeremiah, even as the prophet noted: “But Jehovah was with me like a fearsome warrior. That is why those persecuting me will stumble and will not prevail. They will be put to great shame, for they will not succeed.” — Jeremiah 20:11
The issue is the same today. Those who were the prophets and priests endorsed a false message. They claimed that God would not allow Nebuchadnezzar to devastate Jerusalem. Even though the King of Babylon had already invaded the temple and taken some of the gold and some of the leading people to Babylon, he would not complete his intended conquest—at least that is what the false prophets said. Jeremiah delivered a different message:
“Why should you and your people die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, as Jehovah has said about the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon,’ because they are prophesying lies to you. For I have not sent them,’ declares Jehovah, ‘but they are prophesying lies in my name, with the result that I will disperse you and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.’” — Jeremiah 27:13-15
No one can deny that the Governing Body speaks and publish biblical interpretation in the name of Jehovah, as do I. It is a very weighty thing to speak in Jehovah’s name, invoking His authority and reputation on matters. Like those Jewish prophets, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is prophesying lies in Jehovah’s name. What lies are those? The 1914 lie. As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know virtually all Bible prophecy has been tied to 1914 in one way or another and it is all a lie.
As for the future, the Governing Body has deluded Jehovah’s Witnesses into believing more lies. Obviously, if 1914 is false, as it most assuredly is, then that means that all the things that Jesus foretold must happen in the future. What things? War, famine and pestilence, great earthquakes—all on a global scale. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. It is even so written.
In the 27th chapter of Jeremiah, the prophet was ordered to place a yoke bar upon his neck as a portent of the subjugation Jehovah was imposing, not only on Jerusalem but on many other nations surrounding it. In the 28th chapter, a false prophet by the name of Hananiah took the yoke bar off Jeremiah and smashed it in a dramatic fashion, supposedly to negate Jeremiah’s message. It didn’t work. Jehovah ordered Jeremiah to replace the wooden yoke with an iron one. As for Hananiah, Jeremiah said he would die, which he did a few months later. Such is the penalty for prophesying lies in Jehovah’s name.
Something similar has occurred in recent years. The Watchtower is on record claiming that the Bible Students were released from spiritual captivity in 1919 and that Babylon the Great no longer has any power to restrain God’s ministers. Then, as if to demonstrate the falsity of that teaching, in 2017, no doubt under the influence of the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church, the Watchtower was entirely liquidated. All their properties were seized including the branch in St. Petersburg.
We might consider what happened to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia to be a portent of things to come.