Thursday, June 30
You were once not a people, but now you are God’s people.
Pentecost 33 C.E. was a milestone in the history of Jehovah’s people on earth. A radical change took place. On that day, by means of his spirit, Jehovah brought forth a new nation—spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God.” For the first time since the days of Abraham, God’s people would no longer be identified by fleshly circumcision. Instead, regarding each member of that new nation, Paul wrote: “His circumcision is that of the heart by spirit.” The first members of God’s new nation were the apostles and over a hundred other disciples of Christ who had met together in an upper room in Jerusalem. These received the outpouring of the holy spirit, which made them spirit-begotten sons of God.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Watchtower has interpreted virtually all prophecy as having been fulfilled already, or in the process of fulfillment. Of course, there are a few things that are obviously still in the future, like the destruction of Babylon the Great, the attack of Gog, etc. But for the most part the initial statement is true.
The Watchtower article from where today’s text is taken demonstrates the point. For example, the 10th paragraph asserts that the harvest has already begun, that the wheat and the weeds have been separated. The 11th paragraph states:
“The conclusion of the system of things” began in 1914. During the war that broke out that year, the few thousand anointed Christians, “the sons of the Kingdom,” were in spiritual captivity to Babylon the Great. In 1919, Jehovah delivered them, making a clear distinction between them and “the weeds,” or imitation Christians. He gathered “the sons of the Kingdom” into an organized people, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Will a land be brought to birth in one day?
There are innumerable problems with the Watchtower’s teaching. Foremost, Jesus elaborated on what exactly is involved with the weeds being uprooted. He explained it, saying: “Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out from his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be.”
The most glaring difficulty with the Watchtower’s teaching is that Jesus said that the angels will remove all stumbling blocks and lawless persons “out from his Kingdom.” Jehovah’s Witnesses understand that the “Kingdom” in that setting signifies Christ’s congregation before the chosen become ruling members of the Kingdom government. Essentially, the congregation of the Firstborn becomes the Kingdom.
But if the weeds were common churchgoers that would mean that Christendom was Christ’s congregation – “his Kingdom.” But why would the angels remove churchgoers from their churches? Why would Jesus remove stumbling blocks from Christendom, as if to make it more acceptable to God? And in what way were the weeds made to weep and gnash their teeth? Is there any reason to believe that the religionists of Christendom have any sense of loss over not being allowed to be part of the Watchtower, because that is what is implied by the WT’s explanation. And just how are we to understand the weeds have been bundled and burned? Were Catholics or Episcopalians, or whoever, that were supposedly winnowed out of the Kingdom in 1919 sentenced to the everlasting flames of Gehenna? And what about all the succeeding generations that have come and gone since then? In the natural world the harvest occurs at the end of the growing season. It does not go on and on and on.
Of course, these are all absurdities and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe any of the above, but again, this is what the Watchtower’s teaching unavoidably implies.
On the other hand, a question that is more appropriate is this: since the WT teaches that the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the true religion; hence, the congregation of Christ —“his Kingdom” —can anyone honestly say that the organization has been cleared of stumbling blocks? Are there any persons practicing lawlessness in the organization? Keep in mind Jesus said the angels will remove “all” such things and persons.
Clearly, Bethel’s interpretation of Jesus’ illustration of the wheat and the weeds cannot stand up to serious scrutiny.
IN THE FINAL PART OF THE DAYS
The harvest of the wheat and the weeds is, as Jesus said, the conclusion of the system of things. Likewise, the nations streaming to the house of Jehovah on Mount Zion is to occur during the final part of the days. The last days, or “the final part of the days,” is a relatively short period of time. That is why it is expressed as “days” and not years.
However, the present grouping of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not the fulfillment of the “streaming.” How do we know? Again, if we are honest in our reasoning, we merely have to consider a few questions, such as: How has Jehovah set matters straight respecting many peoples? Are there not many unsettled issues among Jehovah’s Witnesses? Since, as is undeniably true, there are many stumbling blocks and lawless persons among Jehovah’s Witnesses, ought not Jehovah’s setting matters straight coincide with the removal of wicked persons and deal with issues such as the fact that there are literally thousands of pedophiles in the organization and even more victims of their crimes who have never received justice?
Furthermore, the prophecy foretells that the nations will beat their swords into plowshares, so that “nation will not lift up sword against nation.”
It is a wonderful thing that the few million of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world refuse to learn war, but has our refusal to take up arms prevented the nations from going to war? True, thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses went to prisons during the last world war, but that did not hinder the nations from slaughtering one another, did it?
Now we stand at the brink of a third world war. And will the peace-loving stance of Jehovah’s Witnesses be of any consequence when the missiles are launched? The answer is no.
In truth, the prophecy will find fulfillment in the future —after the utter crash of this system. The reason the nations will not slaughter each other is because ultimately the only nations that will exist will be composed of Jehovah’s people from all the nations. That is what the second chapter of Isaiah is about. The mountain of the house of Jehovah will be lifted up after the mountain-like institutions of this world are brought low, including the institution of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Consider a few verses: “Enter into the rock and hide yourself in the dust because of the terrifying presence of Jehovah and his majestic splendor. The haughty eyes of man will be brought low, and the arrogance of men will bow down. Jehovah alone will be exalted in that day.”
“Man’s haughtiness will be brought down, and the arrogance of men will bow low. Jehovah alone will be exalted in that day. The worthless gods will completely disappear. And people will enter into the caves of the rocks and into the holes in the ground, because of the terrifying presence of Jehovah and his majestic splendor, when he arises to make the earth tremble in terror.”
The passage of Isaiah coincides with the opening of the sixth seal of the Apocalypse, which the Watchtower claims was unsealed during the First World War but only resulted in “preliminary temblors.”
With the Watchtower’s phony 1914 teaching in mind Jehovah’s words to conclude the chapter will be most applicable then: “For your own sakes, quit trusting in mere man, who is only the breath in his nostrils. Why should he be taken into account?”
And that is really what it is all about. God has allowed the Watchtower to set itself up as the sole repository of all truth. But with the coming of Christ in the glory of Jehovah, or as Isaiah refers to it in the new NWT, “the terrifying presence of Jehovah and his majestic splendor,” the Kingdom will present an alternative reality to which the nations will stream.
The Watchtower will be among the things brought low, as Isaiah 29:3-4 indicates as regards Ariel: “I will encamp on all sides against you, and I will besiege you with a palisade and raise up siegeworks against you.You will be brought low; from the ground you will speak, and what you say will be muffled by dust. Your voice will come from the ground like the voice of a spirit medium, and your words will chirp from the dust.”
Jesus foretold that the holy place would be desolated, surrounded by pointed stakes —a palisade. Thus, the proud organization will be muted and become something uncanny. Such will be the end of Jehovah’s earthly mouthpiece. Jehovah’s Kingdom will have come.