The April 2024 Watchtower Magazine carries an article entitled: “Never Leave Spiritual Paradise.” It is a topic I have discussed before. There is a chapter in the book Jehovah Himself Has Become King entitled: Spiritual Paradise, as well as related articles on e-watchman. So, rather than covering the same ground again, as does the Watchtower, let us more closely examine and reason upon the Scriptures offered as proof texts (including the context) supporting the Watchtower’s teaching that Jehovah’s Witnesses are residing in spiritual paradise. We must make sure of all things and test the inspired expressions to see if they originate with God.

First, although the phrase “spiritual paradise” is not found in the Bible the concept is. What is it, according to the Book of Truth? It is a condition marked by the complete absence of wicked persons. Does that describe the condition of Jehovah’s Witnesses? You decide.

The second paragraph cites Isaiah 4:6 and 58:11 and implies that the prophecies are fulfilled in the Watchtower organization, as it is presumed to be both a safe “refuge” and a “well-watered garden.” Let us first consider the 4th chapter of Isaiah in its entirety. It is one of the shortest chapters in the Bible, and one of the most profound. The opening verse states: “And seven women will grab hold of one man in that day, saying: “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothing; only let us be called by your name to take away our disgrace.”

Taken as a stand-alone verse the passage is inscrutable. Considered in context and overlain on everything revealed in Scripture, the “seven women” represent the anointed remnant who are engaged to marry Jesus. Seven is symbolic of heavenly perfection, even as the Watchtower has taught. The man to whom the seven women grab hold is none other than Jesus when he returns. But why are the seven women in a state of disgrace, isn’t the marriage of the Lamb the most joyous and glorious wedding ever? Yes…but…

In Bible times bearing children was regarded as the primary purpose for women. It was considered to be a reproach to be childless, even a punishment from God, as was the case with David’s wife, Michal. Christ’s return will result in the implosion of the Watchtower’s “spiritual paradise.” Everyone associated with it will be humiliated.

As Paul revealed, the dead in union with Christ will be resurrected first when the Lord descends with the commanding voice of an archangel. What about those in union with Christ who are still on earth? They will have to walk through the fire. It will seem as though they have been left behind—as if their betrothal to Christ has been nullified. Their reproach will be as if they were childless. The seven women will have to plead with Jesus to just let them take his name to take away their disgrace. Heaven will not come easy for them. They will eat their own bread, not wishing to impose any further upon their master. 

“In that day what Jehovah makes sprout will be splendid and glorious, and the fruitage of the land will be the pride and beauty of the survivors of Israel. Whoever remains in Zion and is left over in Jerusalem will be called holy, all of those in Jerusalem written down for life.”

When the Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem almost all of the survivors were dragged off in chains to far-away Babylon. The few who were left behind were certainly not holy nor did they endear themselves to God. Jeremiah was one who was left behind and he issued Jehovah’s orders to the ones left behind not to seek refuge in Egypt. Keeping with Jehovah’s characterization of the Jews as being a stiff-necked people those who remained in Jerusalem refused to obey and fled down to Egypt. As a result, Jehovah sent his executioner after them. Again, the prophecy of Isaiah could not have been fulfilled then.

Jehovah’s Witnesses know, or at least they used to know, that much of Bible prophecy is written using analogies and symbols. For example, the book of Revelation foretells the deaths of the symbolic two witnesses, saying: “And their corpses will be on the main street of the great city that is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also executed on the stake.” (11:8)

Jesus was executed outside the city walls of Jerusalem, not in Sodom or Egypt. Sodom and Gomorrah did not even exist in Jesus’ day. That is just an example of how cities and places are used cryptically. Needless to say, the city of Jerusalem, the most important city in ancient times due to the fact that Jehovah resided there in a representative way, is used in a spiritual sense too. Did not Paul speak of the Jerusalem above?

Zion and Jerusalem are used interchangeably since Zion was the highest peak within the hilled city of Jerusalem. As already established, the Jews who were left over in Jerusalem were in no way considered to be holy. The holy ones are those who are anointed and chosen by God to be in union with Christ Jesus. They are made holy by their faith. What then does Jerusalem represent? It symbolizes Christ’s congregation. Christianity originated in an upper room in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E.

The destruction of Jerusalem prefigures the the fiery purge of Christ’s congregation, which up until the return of the Lord is not as it should be. For one thing, there are wicked men within, lurking like rocks below the waterline while they feast together with those who imagine they are in spiritual paradise.

In the third chapter of Malachi Christ is called the messenger of the covenant—obviously, the new covenant. Concerning his coming, the second verse poses the question: “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen.”

Did not Jesus urge his followers to be sober-minded in expectation of his coming so that they may succeed in standing before the Son of man? The unspoken truth is that many will not be able to stand when he appears and they will not survive the fiery refining process. But those who do will be called holy and they will be written down for life in the heavenly Kingdom and resurrected in the twinkling of an eye when they die. Their reproach will be taken away when they join Christ in the air.

Now consider the concluding span which is the immediate context of the verse the Watchtower article cites: “When Jehovah washes away the filth of the daughters of Zion and rinses away the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst by the spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning, Jehovah will also create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over the place of her conventions a cloud and smoke by day and a bright flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a shelter. And there will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for refuge and protection from storms and the rain.”

When Jehovah brought the Israelites and mixed company out of Egypt the angels led them by a miraculous cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. No doubt the nation of the exodus felt secure under the manifestation of Jehovah’s presence. In the same way, after the purge, Jesus will manifest himself among the chosen. That is what the parousia is. Christ will create holy people by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning down. After rinsing away the filth and bloodshed, the holy ones of the Supreme One will emerge.

Has Christ rinsed away the filth and bloodshed of the Watchtower and those associated with it? Hardly.

End of part one.

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