Saturday, August 7
We are not ignorant of [Satan’s] designs. —2 Cor. 2:11.
Satan appeals to natural desires. We have a natural desire to learn skills that can help us provide for ourselves and our families. (1 Tim. 5:8) Often, we can gain those skills by attending school and being diligent students. But we must be cautious. The educational system in many countries teaches students not only practical skills but also human philosophy. Students are encouraged to question the existence of God and to disregard the Bible. They are told that the theory of evolution is the only intelligent explanation for the origin of life. (Rom. 1:21-23) Such teachings are opposed to “the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:19-21; 3:18-20) Be determined never to be taken captive “by means of the philosophy and empty deception” of Satan’s world. (Col. 2:8) Continually guard against Satan’s tactics. (1 Cor. 3:18) Never allow him to blur your view of Jehovah. Live by Jehovah’s high moral standards. And do not let Satan trick you into ignoring Jehovah’s advice. w19.06 5 ¶13; 7 ¶17
It is true, Satan appeals to natural desires. Spiritually inclined people have a natural desire to learn the Bible in order to come to know God. Over the many decades of its existence, the Watchtower has developed an effective teaching program. In a relatively short period of time, a receptive student may progress from being totally ignorant of the Bible’s contents to possess a working knowledge of the good news, even to the extent of being able to teach others.
A fundamental teaching of Christ is that Satan the Devil, otherwise known as the wicked one, is the ruler of the world. Our only protection against being misled by the demonic spirit that permeates everything is to be no part of the world. That is a Bible precept too of which we are not ignorant.
Enter the Watchtower. Along with the teaching program of basic Bible doctrine, the Watchtower has delved deeply into what is otherwise an inscrutable aspect of the Bible—prophecy.
In decades past the Society has published many volumes of commentary on the deep things of the prophetic books, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation.
Personally, when I was about 20 years old I began a search for God—a quest to find the truth. I began reading the gospels and was very moved by the works of Christ. It wasn’t long before two acquaintances who had been associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses gave me boxes loaded with Watchtower books and bound volumes, which I devoured. So, I had read most everything the Watchtower had published back into the 50s before I even began a formal study.
If it were possible to condense the Watchtower’s voluminous interpretation of prophecy into a couple of sentences it would read something like this: Virtually all things have already been fulfilled. Jesus Christ returned in 1914 and appointed the Watchtower to oversee his work. The organization of Kingdom preachers speak the pure language and reside in spiritual paradise. As for the future, the next event to unfold is the outbreak of the great tribulation initiated when the nations destroy Babylon the Great. Then, the gates of the new world will be opened before the great crowd.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not realize what they have been brought under a delusion. After all, if persons know they have been deceived then they are no longer deceived. But it is simply incomprehensible to Jehovah’s Witnesses that what is regarded as the repository of all truth could also be the source of deception. Admittedly, it is a lot to get one’s mind around. Essentially, in a nutshell, the men behind the curtain have used Bible prophecy to fashion the Watchtower into the Kingdom of God. If you do not believe that to be true consider a very familiar prophecy found in both Isaiah and Micah, which says: “In the final part of the days, the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will be raised up above the hills, and to it all the nations will stream. And many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For law will go out of Zion, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem.” — Isaiah 2:2-3
Jehovah’s Witnesses firmly believe this prophecy is being fulfilled now, evidenced by the growing numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are evidently the people from the nations streaming up to the elevated house of Jehovah, which, in reality, is the Watchtower. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the basic Bible lessons they receive are the instructions and law that emanate from heavenly Zion, teaching them to beat their swords into plowshares.
The Watchtower’s interpretation can be easily refuted. The only obstacle is that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not receptive to any sort of critical analysis of the Watchtower’s teachings. Their minds have been conditioned to believe whatever “the slave” says is true. Thus, Satan is given a free hand to wield his insidious influence over “true Christians,” undetected.
Still, I am obligated to tell the truth. Consider the context. Read the rest of the second chapter of Isaiah if you dare and use your God-given powers of reason. It reveals that the terrible day of Jehovah is coming upon the world and especially upon “Israel.”
For your convenience here is what Jehovah has said: “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. For it is the day belonging to Jehovah of armies. It is coming upon everyone who is haughty and lofty, upon everyone, whether exalted or lowly, upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and exalted and upon all the oaks of Bashan, upon all the lofty mountains and upon all the high hills, upon every high tower and every fortified wall, upon all the ships of Tarshish and upon all desirable boats. 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.” — Isaiah 2:10-19
The ascension of the mountain of Jehovah—signifying the coming of the Kingdom of Christ—will be manifested on earth in the globe-rocking great tribulation. The prophecy of Isaiah harmonizes with what is symbolized in Revelation with the opening of the 6th seal, which depicts the heavenly luminaries going dark and every mountain being rocked from its place, causing terrified humanity to seek shelter in the caves and crevices. In other words, both Isaiah and Revelation envisage the collapse of civilization. The exalted oaks and lofty cedars symbolize spiritual stalwarts who proudly preside over God’s spiritual estate. (I have written about this in more detail in the chapter of Revelation.)
How could the Watchtower be Jehovah’s earthly organization and simultaneously be so rife with error, so unenlightened? It has to do with the influence of Satan. But wait a minute! We are not ignorant of Satan’s designs, right? That is only true to an extent. If God Almighty sanctions a satanic deception mere men will have a hard time sorting through it. But why would the God of truth sanction a lie? Paul explains: “But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
God lets a deluding influence mislead those who believe the lie. What is the lie that is the core of the operation of Satan? Read the context. Paul warned the brothers not to believe official-sounding messages, even inspired pronouncements and letters (magazines) written with apostolic authority, declaring that the presence of Christ has begun and the day of Jehovah is here; which, not coincidently has been the message of the Watchtower from the beginning. So, the man of lawlessness resides within Christ’s congregation up until the moment the glorious manifestation of the Son of man does away with him.
To underscore the point, the towering trees of Bethel have boasted of speaking the pure language. It is mentioned once in Zephaniah and hundreds of times in Watchtower literature. There was even a Pure Language-themed convention some 30 years ago. But, again, read the context, if you dare! Jehovah places Himself within the company of men whom God acknowledges as his people who are presided over by treacherous prophets and priests. Nevertheless, Jehovah faithfully imparts His instructions to them. But they do not obey. Again, here is what Jehovah has said: “Woe to the rebellious, the polluted, the oppressive city! She has obeyed no voice; she has accepted no discipline. In Jehovah she has not trusted; she has not drawn near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions. Her judges are wolves in the night; they do not leave even a bone to gnaw until morning. Her prophets are insolent, treacherous men. Her priests defile what is holy; they do violence to the law. Jehovah is righteous in her midst; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he makes known his judgments, as unfailing as the daylight. But the unrighteous one knows no shame.” — Zephaniah 3:1-5
Keep in mind that the Watchtower frequently cites Zephaniah 2:1-3, which states: “Gather together, yes, gather yourselves, O nation that feels no shame. Before the decree takes effect, before the day passes by like chaff, before the burning anger of Jehovah comes upon you, before the day of Jehovah’s anger comes upon you, seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who observe his righteous decrees. Seek righteousness, seek meekness.”
Obviously, the day of Jehovah’s anger has not arrived. It will be impossible to not notice it when it commences. But take note that God’s wrath will be directed toward “the nation that feels no shame.” That “nation” is Christ’s congregation and according to the third chapter of Zephaniah previously quoted, that “city” is dominated by the unrighteous one who “knows no shame.”
As regards the revelation of the pure language, read on if you dare: “So keep yourselves in expectation of me,’ declares Jehovah, ‘Until the day when I rise up to take plunder, for my judicial decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them my indignation, all my burning anger; for by the fire of my zeal the whole earth will be consumed. For then I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.’” — Zephaniah 3:8-9
When does God change the language of the people to a pure language? It is a simple question. Is it before Jehovah rocks all the nations or in the immediate aftermath? Honesty is all that is required to arrive at the correct answer.
As regards the exhortation to “keep yourselves in expectation of me,” Jesus said the same thing in slightly different terms. Addressing his own disciples who would be living prior to the outbreak of the great tribulation, Jesus said: “But know this, if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely, the Son of man is coming.” — Luke 12:39-40
What will be the result of the change to a pure language? God goes on to say: “On that day you will not be put to shame because of all your deeds with which you rebelled against me, for then I will remove the haughty boasters from among you; and you will never again be haughty in my holy mountain. I will allow a humble and lowly people to remain in your midst, And they will take refuge in the name of Jehovah. Those remaining of Israel will practice no unrighteousness; they will not speak a lie, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; they will feed and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.” — Zephaniah 3:11-13
As it stands presently, the Watchtower claims it has embarked on a new lifesaving work. No, it doesn’t involve preaching or teaching people God’s lifesaving message of truth as in the former days. Just the opposite. The Watchtower is saving lives by prohibiting Jehovah’s Witnesses from publicly preaching and teaching and meeting together in assembly. This is an outright rebellion against God. All the while the haughty boasters claim to be the faithful and discreet slave imparting nothing but healthful words of truth.
Indeed, the unrighteous one knows no shame!