Friday, August 21
Let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall. —1 Cor. 10:12.
As Paul pointed out, even true worshippers could become involved in wrong practices. Those who give in to temptation may think that they still have a good standing with Jehovah. But merely wanting to be Jehovah’s friend or claiming to be loyal to him does not always mean that one is actually approved by Jehovah. (1 Cor. 10:1-5) Just as the Israelites became anxious over Moses’ delay in coming down from Sinai, Christians today may feel anxious over the seeming delay of Jehovah’s day of judgment and the coming of the new world. The fulfillment of these promises may seem too far off in the future or too good to be true. Left unchecked, such thinking can lead us to put fleshly pursuits ahead of Jehovah’s will. In time, we could drift away from Jehovah and eventually engage in practices that we would never have considered being involved in when we were in good spiritual health. w18.07 21 ¶17-18
When Moses came down from the mountain with the stone tablets he found that Aaron had led the Israelites in making a golden calf. Filled with rage Moses stood in the camp and said: “Who is on Jehovah’s side? Come to me!” Next, he commanded those who stood with him to gird on their sword and kill their brothers who had apparently been the ringleaders of the idolatrous bacchanal. When Moses spoke with Jehovah again about the situation God said that he would wipe out the names of the idolaters from his book. (Exodus 32)
Moses was the mediator of the covenant between Jehovah and the Hebrews. He pictures Jesus, who is the mediator of the new covenant. And when the messenger of the new covenant comes down from heaven to commence the inspection he is going to find a similar situation. He is going to find a form of idolatry focused on jw.org —the supposed font of all truth.
There is another pattern to consider as well. God required that each Israelite make a public demonstration of whose side they were on. Jesus foretold that during the conclusion brother will hate brother and rise up and have them put to death. That is the opposite of what took place on Moses’ order. Nevertheless, no doubt the reason children will hand their parents over and parents their own children is because those who will be put to death will have unequivocally taken their stand for Jehovah and those who will hand them over will be filled with the spirit of Satan, as was Judas when Christ handed him the morsel during the Passover and he betrayed the Son of man with a tender kiss. Just as Jehovah told Moses that he would wipe the names of the transgressors out of his book all those who decline to stand with Jehovah during the hour of test will have their names permanently blotted out of the book of life.
Moses took the golden calf and crushed it and burned it in the fire. He then scattered the ashes on the water and made the Israelites drink it. Does this strange deed correspond to anything? Yes, just as Jehovah told Moses that He would hold an accounting and send the angels out to root out the sinners among the people, Revelation indicates a similar judgment. The 8th chapter reveals four angels blow their trumpets in succession. “The third angel blew his trumpet. And a great star burning like a lamp fell from heaven, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The name of the star is Wormwood. And a third of the waters turned into wormwood, and many of the people died from the waters, because these had been made bitter.” (For a deeper discussion on the meaning of the trumpet blasts see Revelation in Jehovah Himself Has Become King)
Sometimes water symbolizes life-giving truth. For example, when Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a literal drink of water he took the opportunity to speak to her about the water of life that he could provide. The blowing of the third trumpet turns previously drinkable water into wormwood and those who thereafter drink it die. What does this signify?
Well, consider what the Watchtower says of itself:
To obtain a good harvest, farmers also need to water their crops. In order to cultivate the fruitage of the spirit, you need the waters of truth found in the Bible and available through the Christian congregation today. You have likely pointed out to many people that the Holy Scriptures are a product of holy spirit. Also, the faithful and discreet slave class provides much-needed understanding of the pure waters of Bible truth. (click here for Watchtower article paragraph seven)
As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know the Governing Body has declared itself to be the faithful and discreet slave. They are feeding the many through the hands of a few. And even though everyone has access to the Bible Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that without the Watchtower they cannot understand it. So, the pure waters of Bible truth are exclusively channeled through the Watchtower.
It is this “water” source that will become as bitter as wormwood when the burning star plunges from heaven. And all who continue to drink from that source after it is turned to wormwood will die, spiritually. That is because a new source of living water will then be available. To establish the harmony of prophecy in the 30th chapter of Isaiah Jehovah explains that he is going to give his people water in the form of oppression —similar to the wormwood symbolism. At that point Jehovah will reveal himself —in reality, Jesus will become manifest as the Wonderful Counselor.
“And Jehovah will certainly give you people bread in the form of distress and water in the form of oppression; yet your Grand Instructor will no longer hide himself, and your eyes must become eyes seeing your Grand Instructor. And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: “This is the way. Walk in it, you people,” in case you people should go to the right or in case you should go to the left.”
The Scriptures often use the metaphor of walking to simply mean our life course. If God’s people are walking together in a certain direction and they hear the voice of God emanating from behind them that means they are going the wrong direction. If they wish to be blessed they have to turn around. Change course. Repent. Now, look at how Isaiah ties in with the idolatry debacle in Moses’ day. Isaiah 30:22-23 states: “And you people must defile the overlaying of your graven images of silver and the close-fitting covering of your molten statue of gold. You will scatter them. Like a menstruating woman, you will say to it: “Mere dirt!” And he will certainly give the rain for your seed with which you sow the ground, and as the produce of the ground bread, which must become fat and oily. Your livestock will graze in that day in a spacious pasture.”
No one should imagine that Jehovah is speaking literally in terms of agriculture. This is highly symbolic language denoting an outpouring of God’s blessing in a spiritual way. But first God’s people must be moved to get rid of their idol. In this case, it is the Watchtower. It is the modern molten statue of gold.
Reinforcing the previous comment regarding a new source of “water” verse 25-26 states: “And upon every high mountain and upon every elevated hill there must come to be streams, water ditches, in the day of the big slaughter when the towers fall. And the light of the full moon must become as the light of the glowing sun; and the very light of the glowing sun will become seven times as much, like the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah binds up the breakdown of his people and heals even the severe wound resulting from the stroke by him.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses often speak of receiving “new light” from the Watchtower. Light and water are similarly used to symbolize the truth. We often hear the expression “the light of truth.” The Governing Body often claims that their numerous adjustments in understanding are proof that the light is getting brighter. Well, just think of the moon becoming as bright as the sun and the sun becoming seven times brighter. What does that symbolize?
When Jesus was transfigured he began to shine like the sun. Peter, who was an eyewitness to the resplendent vision later explained that he witnessed a foregleam of Jesus’ power and presence (parousia.) The revelation of Jesus will be new light indeed! Blindingly enlightening!
Those chosen ones who will see the glorious Lord will be transformed. They too will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father, which was foreshadowed by Moses when he came down from the mountain after a face-to-face encounter with Jehovah, when his own face afterward emitted rays of light.
Indeed, as the text says, beware he who thinks he is standing. Or, as stated in Malachi: “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears?”