This article appears under WT Review
The concluding study article of the March 2015, Watchtower, entitled Loyally Supporting Christ’s Brothers discusses Jesus’ illustration of the sheep and the goats.
Basically, the article reiterates that the sheep and the goats are not separated until some point in the future; specifically, after the great tribulation. This is not new light. However, the basis for that judgment is supposedly whether or not persons have engaged in the preaching work sponsored by the Watchtower Society now.
How does Bethel arrive at that conclusion? Here is an outtake from the eighth and ninth paragraphs:
In the illustration of the sheep and the goats, Jesus does not directly mention the preaching work. Why, then, can it be said that it emphasizes the importance of preaching?
…Likewise, he is not saying that each individual judged to be a sheep must literally feed, clothe, nurse, or visit one of his brothers in prison. Rather, he is illustrating the attitude that the figurative sheep display toward his brothers. He describes the sheep as “righteous” because they recognize that Christ has a group of anointed brothers still on earth, and the sheep loyally support the anointed during these critical last days.
By claiming that the sheep are rewarded for merely having engaged in the ministry or given monetary support, the Watchtower has essentially rendered Jesus’ illustration into meaninglessness. As the article correctly notes, Jesus said nothing about the preaching work. In the illustration the sheep are distinguished because they gave Jesus’ brothers food when they were hungry and something to drink when they were thirsty. They clothed them in their nakedness and tended to them when they were ill. They visited them in prison.
Obviously, though, those who are directing the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have declared themselves to be the brothers of Christ, are not hungry nor do they suffer from thirst. After all, they have at their disposal a multimillion dollar corporation. Neither are they homeless. Far from it. They live in quite comfortable quarters with chefs and maids and house-servants who tend to their every need. If they are ill the Bethel infirmary is staffed by highly trained volunteer medical personnel. And none of the leadership of the Society have seen the inside of a prison since 1918.
But the question thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to consider is this: If Jesus intends to judge persons according to the Watchtower’s explanation, why didn’t he simply say so in the illustration? Why would Jesus tell a story that has no relation to the reality it supposedly illustrates?
The Society’s most flagrant violation of interpretation is in regards to the timing of the fulfillment. According to the opening words of the story the judgment commences when Christ comes in his kingdom. Jesus plainly stated: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
The reason Jehovah’s Witnesses used to teach that the separating of the sheep and the goats was already taking place is because the Watchtower has always claimed that Jesus sat down on his throne back in 1914. So, it was logical to assume the preaching work was the instrument Jesus was using to separate people for salvation or destruction.
And, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses are still operating under the assumption that Jesus has already begun ruling. But if Christ arrived in kingdom glory in 1914 and the nations were gathered before him why – after more than a century – has the separation of the sheep and goats not taken place? Entire generations have come and gone after the time the nations were supposed to have been gathered before Christ for the judgment!
To reconcile that obvious contradiction the latest revision claims that Jesus comes in his glory after the tribulation. But, alas, does not Jesus indicate that his coming in glory is also when “he will sit down on his glorious throne”? Does Jesus have two thrones?
The sad fact is, the Watchtower will say anything to keep the 1914 delusion intact. It has to. Satan will not permit them to do otherwise. And Jehovah himself has chosen to conceal matters for the time being. Jehovah’s Witnesses simply have no choice but to accept this obvious jerry-rigging of the Scriptures. To do otherwise would be tantamount to apostasy!
Ironically, it is the blindness of Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially those who are anointed, that has lain the foundation for the true fulfillment of the separating of the sheep and the goats.
As is apparent in the account, Jesus gave a series of illustrations regarding the faithful and wicked slaves, the wise and foolish virgins and the industrious and sluggish slaves. He concluded his discourse on the Mount of Olives with the illustration of the sheep and goats.
In each illustration there are two outcomes. One group is judged to be faithful and the other unfaithful. The difference is, the first three illustrations apply to those who have been called into the Kingdom – also called the “little flock.” The last illustration relates to the “other sheep.” Jehovah’s Witnesses would not object to this explanation. It is essentially what the Watchtower teaches.
However, there is a massive disconnect – a glaring incongruity, which cannot be reconciled. Although the Watchtower now teaches that the anointed will be judged and rewarded in the future, along with the separation of the sheep and the goats, contradictorily, it has relegated the judgment of the house of God to the distant past. In doing so it has diminished Jehovah’s judgments into irrelevancy and subsequently blinded Jehovah’s Witnesses to the significance of a whole range of prophecies.
As an example of the depth to which the Society has gone to obscure Jehovah’s judgments consider the 11th chapter of Revelation – or more specifically, the Watchtower’s interpretation of it.
The book of Revelation reveals that God’s two anointed witnesses will be killed by a wild beast that ascends from the abyss after they have finished their witnessing. The Grand Climax commentary says nothing as regards the identity of the beast from the abyss, for obvious reasons.
Elsewhere in the same publication, though, the Society identifies the beast from the abyss as the United Nations, which supposedly went into the abyss in the form of the League of Nations. However, an obscure footnote in the chapter explaining the killing of God’s two witnesses states that the sea may also be referred to as an abyss – implying that the beast from the abyss that kills the two witnesses is not the same beast from the abyss depicted in the 17th chapter of Revelation. This is, of course, done to allow the humiliation and killing of the two witnesses to be placed back during the timeframe of the First World War.
But numerous articles on the Watchman’s Post have demonstrated the falsity of the Watchtower’s interpretation of Revelation and Daniel. That the appearance of the two witnesses is a future event can be discerned from the fact that they are killed after the 42 month period of their witnessing. That same period of time is expressed in the last chapter of Daniel as three and a half times, after which the power of the holy ones is dashed to pieces – coinciding with the killing of the two witnesses. And according to the revelatory angel the conclusion of the appointed times is “the end of these marvelous things” – meaning the revelation of all truth is accomplished at that point. The Kingdom is complete. The Christian era is concluded. Only an agent of Satan would imply that the marvelous things of God’s prophetic word were all accomplished in 1919!
In short, the humiliation of God’s anointed sons is what is foretold in prophecy. It will come as much needed and long overdue discipline.
“WHO AMONG YOU WILL HEAR THIS?”
In the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, the very chapter that Jehovah calls on his people to serve as his witnesses, the same people whom God declares to be blind and deaf, are those who, at the time God speaks to them are in captivity – having been plundered by their enemies. Then these words of Isaiah will apply to them: “But this is a people plundered and pillaged; all of them are trapped in the holes and hidden in the prisons. They have been plundered with no one to rescue them, and pillaged with no one to say: ‘Bring them back!’ Who among you will hear this? Who will pay attention and listen for the time to come? Who has given Jacob for pillage and Israel to the plunderers? Is it not Jehovah, the One against whom we sinned?”
Needless to say the actual commencement of the presence of Christ will come as a stunning and humiliating development for Jehovah’s Witnesses, and especially the leadership. It will create a situation that will bring about the parting of ways between the wise and foolish virgins and the faithful and unfaithful slaves. Those judged to have been faithful – in spite of their having blindly embraced the 1914 delusion and all of the hokum attached to it, will then be granted entry into the Kingdom and commence the final phase of witnessing to the world as sealed sons of God – the true brothers of Christ.
But the final witness will be given while they are in their lowly condition – some literally in prison. No doubt those presently associated with Bethel who are judged to be faithful will find themselves on the street, homeless and hungry. That is the situation in which the sheep and the goats will be judged as to how they treat those who are crushed by the disciplinary hand of Jehovah during the judgment of the house of God.