I recently watched Kenneth Cook’s revised view on the judgment of the sheep and the goats. It has changed four times only to revert back to Russell’s teaching. Would you give your interpretation as to when the judgment begins? (Video is part of the Annual Meeting program)
It has been a quarter of a century since the Watchtower last revised their understanding of the parable, so it is not likely that very many JW’s would even remember the previous “adjustment.” On the one hand, the WT reaffirms that the sheep and the goats are separated in the future. The new aspect is, even though the judgment takes place in the future the sheep and the goats will be judged then by what they do now. Ironically, that is true, but not in the sense the WT implies.
It seems to me, the Governing Body is responding to the growing awareness among JW’s of their many perfidies. That is the reason Kenneth Cook warned the flock that they will be judged by their words. They are trying to insulate themselves from any sort of criticism.
Criticism is justified though. No doubt one reason many of Jehovah’s Witnesses might be disturbed or give voice to complaint is that the Watchtower is in the process of selling off hundreds of perfectly fine kingdom halls that were built and paid for by the local brothers. I have called it what it is— theft. An increasing number of JW’s may be inclined to agree. Hence, the GB have revised their interpretation of the sheep and the goats to try to instill fear. Mr. Cook pointedly warned that Jehovah’s Witnesses could very well be condemned as goats for the words they might utter now— implying that any criticism of them, as the brothers of Jesus, will be avenged in the judgment. Strong words indeed! Might the Governing Body be judged by their own words? They would have you believe that Jesus will send you off into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels if you dare speak of the evils being perpetrated by the self-proclaimed “brothers” of Christ.
The Watchtower is like any other large corporation. It has a legal department and a public relations department, etc. The difference between the Watchtower and a big business is that the Watchtower uses the Bible to project its public image. For instance, it is claimed that Jehovah’s Witnesses exclusively practice “pure worship” and that the Organization is a spiritual paradise.
The GB is tasked with interpreting the Scriptures to convince JW’s that the Watchtower is the earthly embassy of the Kingdom of God. Above all else, Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to speak of the Organization in worshipful tones. Anyone who does not offer such flatteries is viewed as unfaithful— soon to be banished to oblivion with the goats.
How fitting the words of Ezekiel: “For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.” — Ez 12:24
The very core of the Watchtower is the belief that Jesus returned in 1914. It is a false vision. And, as stated above, the “visionaries” who promote what is politely described by the apostle as “artfully contrived false stories,” interpret prophecies to flatter themselves as the keepers of sacred secrets.
The falsity of the Watchtower’s new light ought to be apparent by the simple fact that the brothers of Christ have not been distinguished yet. Even Kenneth Cook acknowledged as much. Since the Master has not come to judge his household the faithful and evil slaves are still working shoulder-to-shoulder. Since that is undeniably true, why would Jesus condemn the slaves who suffer beatings at the hand of an evil slave? Ought it be considered an act of unfaithfulness if the slaves who are beaten complain?
According to the Watchtower’s long-held interpretation, the sheep will inherit the Kingdom because they assisted Christ’s brothers in the preaching work. If that is true, why didn’t Jesus just say so? Instead, Jesus said the sheep will be blessed because they ministered to his brothers when they were sick, naked, hungry, thirsty, and in prison.
The Governing Body certainly appears to be well-fed. I doubt if any of them have ever missed a meal. They are waited on by quite a large body of servants. Truly, they live like kings. Their every need is attended to. If they do fall ill they have their own private infirmary and in-house medical professionals. Bethel even provides nursing home facilities for the aged. Surely, none of them has ever been in prison.
Besides, the Governing Body has ordered all of Jehovah’s Witnesses to stop preaching anyway. Are we to suppose the sheep will receive the blessing of everlasting life because they mailed a few letters to strangers?
The “valueless vision” the Watchtower has ardently promoted all these years has effectively blinded them from seeing the future. None of them has the slightest inkling of what the arrival of the Son of man will involve.
Isaiah is all about the coming of Christ. In the 42nd chapter, Jehovah refers to him as “my servant” who will bring justice to the nations. Jehovah’s servant is also tasked with the mission to “open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoner out of the dungeon and those sitting in darkness out of the prison.” (vs 7)
Isaiah goes on to say: “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?” (vs 22-23)
Sadly, very few are listening or paying attention. How true the statement recorded in verses 19-20: “Who is blind except my servant, so deaf as the messenger I send? Who is so blind as the one rewarded, so blind as the servant of Jehovah? You see many things, but you do not keep watch. You open your ears, but you do not listen.”
The coming of Jesus will initiate an unprecedented global crash and the ascendency of the last king— an eighth king. Under those circumstances, Christians will find themselves quite literally in prison, hungry, naked, and sick. After the wicked slaves are dismissed Jesus will manifest himself to the chosen. Their blindness will be remedied by the glorious manifestation of the Lord. They will then shine as brightly as the sun as the true brothers of Christ. Then the revealing of the sons of God will take place.
The sheep and the goats will be judged as to how they treat the chosen ones. In that regard what we do now will have a bearing on the outcome, in that, if our faith is strong now it will survive the coming collapse of civilization and we will then be in a position to recognize and minister to the brothers of Christ; whereas, the goats will have no basis or inclination to do so.