“Is it really so that God has said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?”
With that seemingly innocuous question the father of the lie – the original manslayer – slyly implied that mankind’s Creator was untrustworthy. Ever since then the slanderer has heaped up a mountain of lies to cause mankind to distrust God. However, on the very day the Devil tricked Eve into tempting her husbandly head into disobeying God, Jehovah announced his far-reaching purpose to provide a forthcoming seed of the woman who would be bruised in the heel and ultimately crush the skull of the serpent.
In furtherance of that purpose God organized the nation of Israel, which ultimately produced the promised messianic seed. The tribe of Judah was specifically selected for that privilege.
With the appearance of Jesus, “the lion of the tribe of Judah,” the first aspect of the edenic prophecy was fulfilled when Satan maneuvered to have Jesus executed. Jesus’ trust in God was tested to the limit when he submitted himself to the torturous death the original serpent inflicted upon him. But his trust was not misplaced. As promised, God resurrected Jesus from the grave. Hence, the wound the serpent had inflicted upon Jesus proved to be temporary – as if a mere bruise upon his heel.
But it is also God’s will that the seed of the woman be composed of many others besides Christ – ultimately, 144,000 others, to be exact. These are to share with Christ – ruling the world with him in a heavenly, city-like kingdom. But these must also be tested as to whether or not they will trust Jehovah the same as their Lord.
In the first century Christians were put to the test in numerous ways. Perhaps the biggest test of faith for the Jewish Christians was that they would eventually be required to part ways with the Jewish religious system, even physically leaving the holy city of Jerusalem in obedience to Jesus’ command.
Paul’s letter to the Hebrews explained that the Jewish system of worship had accomplished its purpose in producing the Messiah and had consequently become obsolete and was due to be phased out of existence. In reference to the city of Jerusalem, which was not only the center of worship for all Jews, but it was also the unofficial headquarters for the apostles too, Paul reminded his spiritual brothers: “We do not have here a city that continues.”
In that same letter to the Hebrews Paul explained that Abraham was awaiting the city with a real foundation, the builder and maker of which is God. It is, then, in reference to that heavenly city that Isaiah wrote: “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: ‘We have a strong city. He sets salvation itself for walls and rampart. Open the gates, you men, that the righteous nation that is keeping faithful conduct may enter. The inclination that is well supported you will safeguard in continuous peace, because it is in you that one is made to trust. Trust in Jehovah, you people, for all times, for in Jah Jehovah is the Rock of times indefinite.’”
Just as Paul wrote concerning Christians not having a city here on earth that continues, should we not expect the same is true today? That would certainly be reasonable. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe that the Watchtower Society itself is the earthly embodiment of the “strong city” that provides salvation for the righteous.
Granted, their commentary is scant and vague, no doubt intentionally so, but the intended suggestion ought to be evident. Here is the Society’s brief commentary on the verse above, as expressed in the first Isaiah volume on page 276:
“While these words no doubt had a fulfillment in ancient times, they also have a clear fulfillment today. Jehovah’s “righteous nation,” spiritual Israel, is endowed with a strong, citylike organization. What a cause for rejoicing, for song!”
On the one hand the inspired apostle clearly states that Christians do not have any permanent, earthly, citylike organization. The Watchtower Society, on the other hand, claims that it is a “strong, citylike organization.”
As if anticipating the Watchtower’s fraudulent claim of being the strong city of salvation, Isaiah goes on, as if speaking for anointing Christians living now: “O Jehovah our God, other masters besides you have acted as owners of us. By you only shall we make mention of your name.”
In the first century the Jewish rulers acted as owners of God’s anointed sons. For example, the Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop preaching about Christ. A few centuries later the Roman emperor, Constantine, inserted himself as the decider of Christian doctrine. For centuries afterwards any who dared to teach the truth were subject to execution by the clergy. But even as Russell and the original Bible Students ostensibly broke free from the Empire’s control over Christendom, the Watchtower Society itself now acts like the owner of God’s people – increasingly so. For example, every person baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses now must declare in their sacred baptismal vows that they belong to “Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization.”
As an article of faith, upon pain of ostracism and disfellowshipping, every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses must accept the Watchtower’s 1914 hoax and the related fraud that Christ judged the house of God in 1918 and that the faithful slave has already been rewarded with his second appointment over all the master’s belongings.
How does Jehovah intend to deal with this situation? Isaiah continues: “O Jehovah, during distress they have turned their attention to you; they have poured out a whisper of prayer when they had your disciplining.”
As highlighted throughout the book of Isaiah and all the prophets, including Christ, the coming tribulation will destroy that Watchtower Society. Certainly, the future advent of Christ will discredit it beyond repair. The collapse of the claimed strong city of salvation will result in severe disciplining for all of Jehovah’s Witnesses whose faith survives the destruction of the earthly organization. Never again will they attribute salvation to anyone or anything but Jah, Jehovah.
To further demonstrate the great deception the Watchtower has perpetrated against Jehovah and against Jehovah’s Witnesses, as commentary on the verse above Bethel states:
“In the modern fulfillment, a remnant of chastened spiritual Israel was set free from Babylon the Great and restored to Jehovah’s service in 1919. Revitalized, anointed Christians threw themselves into their preaching work.”
Interestingly, like a magician skilled in the art of slight-of-hand, in their supposed verse-by-verse commentary on Isaiah, the Watchtower omits quoting or explaining the following verses of the 26th chapter of Isaiah: “Just as a pregnant woman draws near to giving birth, has labor pains, cries out in her birth pangs, so we have become because of you, O Jehovah. We have become pregnant, we have had labor pains; as it were, we have given birth to wind. No real salvation do we accomplish as regards the land, and no inhabitants for the productive land proceed to fall in birth.”
Again, speaking for those who belong to Jehovah during the time of distress (great tribulation), Isaiah confesses that although they had expected to give birth to salvation in themselves, they prove to be powerless – completely helpless.
Surely, in their ardent belief that the Watchtower Society is the strong city of salvation, Jehovah’s Witnesses will eventually be faced with the discomforting reality that “Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization” has served its purpose and has become obsolete and will ultimately be discarded by God. Only those who whole-heartedly trust God will inherit the salvation only he can provide.
To be sure, the city of salvation is no earthly institution. It is the heavenly Jerusalem – the very kingdom of God.