It has now been nearly a century since Charles Taze Russell made the bold proclamation: “The Gentile times have ended. Their kings have had their day.” For nearly four decades before that fateful year Russell’s Watch Tower had been pointing forward to 1914 as a year marked in prophecy that would see the beginning of anarchy and the collapse of civilization.
When Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, along with his wife Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28th, it resulted in all the Great Powers of Europe choosing up sides and declaring war against each other in a matter of a few weeks – setting the stage for the bloodbath that became known as the First World War. Those tragic developments led C. T. Russell to make his historic announcement on October the 2nd of that year.
Of course, civilization did not collapse then. And the Great War did not lead into the Battle of Armageddon, as the Bible Students had been eagerly anticipating. And the Gentile kings, whose “day” had supposedly come in 1914, have in the decades since then gone on to dominate the world in ways that would have been hard for anyone living back then to even imagine. Oddly enough, though, the year 1914 has ever since become solidified in the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses as the most important date in all human history.
In spite of the disappointed expectations of those early Bible Students, in 1930 J.F. Rutherford – Russell’s successor as president of the Watchtower Society – made a profound revision of the organization’s eschatology. Previously, the Bible Students had been taught that Jesus began an invisible presence in 1874 – presumably, becoming king then too. However, without any fanfare, in 1930 the Watchtower casually moved the beginning of the invisible parousia up to 1914.
The Watchtower, of course, has largely glossed over that “adjustment,” as if it were a trivial matter. But Jehovah’s Witnesses would do well to ponder the question: Is the powerful parousia of Jesus Christ of such a nature that its advent can be shuffled like a deck of playing cards?
The “adjustment” reveals that from the very beginning the leadership of the organization pushed a phony parousia of Christ. This is no insignificant detail of the Watchtower’s history given the fact that Jesus himself foretold that there would be those who would come in the name of Jesus falsely declaring: “The due time has approached.” The Watchtower even published a book nearly forty years ago with the title – God’s Kingdom of a Thousands Years Has Approached.
To expand on what Christ had foretold, the apostle Paul issued a prophetic warning to Christians, cautioning them not to allow themselves to be seduced in any manner by authoritative announcements, whether written or vocalized, heralding the parousia and the day of Jehovah. Paul went on to explain how Satan would perform great signs and wonders and use every unrighteous deception to give credence to a man of lawlessness, who is the source of apostolic-like declarations claiming the presence of Christ and day of Jehovah have begun.
So, 1930 was arguably the beginning of a phenomenon foretold in prophecy that has continued down to this day. And what phenomenon is that? The plastering of whitewash on the symbolic wall! Unquestionably, the 1914 doctrine stands as a towering edifice in the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Society frequently boasts of its great insights in discerning such esoteric matters. Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses are overawed by the Watchtower’s seeming interpretive prowess.
But according to the prophecy in the book of Ezekiel the leaders of God’s people will erect a partition wall and plaster it with coat upon coat of whitewash. The prophecy is directed against “the prophets of Israel,” whom Jehovah denounces, saying to them: “Woe to the stupid prophets, who are walking after their own spirit, when there is nothing that they have seen! Like foxes in the devastated places are what your own prophets have become, O Israel. You men will certainly not go up into the gaps, neither will you build up a stone wall in behalf of the house of Israel, in order to stand in the battle in the day of Jehovah. They have visioned what is untrue and a lying divination, those who are saying, ‘The utterance of Jehovah is,’ when Jehovah himself has not sent them, and they have waited to have a word come true. Is it not an untrue vision that you men have visioned, and a lying divination that you have said, when saying, ‘The utterance of Jehovah is,’ when I myself have spoken nothing?”’
True to God’s words recorded in 13th chapter of Ezekiel, the Watchtower does indeed claim to be a prophet. Perhaps not in the sense of being inspired in the same way as the biblical prophets, but they indisputably claim sole authority to interpret the Bible and prophetically speak for Jehovah. In essence, their proclamations – as stated in prophecy – are as if they say: “The utterance of Jehovah is…”
To be sure, the Watchtower claims to be the mouthpiece for a Jeremiah class and an Ezekiel class of prophet, and so forth. So in that sense they are rightly addressed by Jehovah as the prophets of Israel, albeit “stupid prophets.”
Importantly, just as Jesus foretold that the activity of false prophets would precede the parousia and that during the parousia there would be a misleading influence directed against the very chosen ones of God, and Paul likewise foretold the man of lawlessness would operate within the spiritual temple of The God up until the manifestation of the Lord Jesus would do away with him, the stupid prophets reside within the “intimate group” of God’s people up until the day of Jehovah. That is when Jehovah enters into judgment with the lying visionaries of Israel. The next span of verses read:
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘For the reason that you men have spoken untruth and you have visioned a lie, therefore here I am against you,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. And my hand has come to be against the prophets that are visioning untruth and that are divining a lie. In the intimate group of my people they will not continue on, and in the register of the house of Israel they will not be written, and to the soil of Israel they will not come; and you people will have to know that I am the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, for the reason, yes, for the reason that they have led my people astray, saying, ‘There is peace!’ when there is no peace, and there is one that is building a partition wall, but in vain there are those plastering it with whitewash.’”
Again, true to the prophecy, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses has declared that there is peace between them and God. And this is directly tied to 1914. How so?
In the decades since 1914 the Watchtower has developed a rather extensive body of prophetic interpretation, all tied to 1914 in one way or another. Probably the most far-reaching aspect is their oft-preached assertion that Christ made an unseen inspection of God’s house and appointed the Society over all of his belongings in 1918. That means, in effect, that Jesus has already given them his irrevocable approval. Related to that, the Watchtower claims that since 1919 Babylon the Great has fallen and that now all of Jehovah’s Witnesses reside in a spiritual paradise; this, in spite of such irreconcilable evils as the prevalence of thousands of pedophiles submerged within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Many of God’s prophetic denunciations and rebukes, which are directed to the leaders of his people, have been cleverly applied by the leadership of the organization to the period of 1916-1919. As a result, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no scriptural basis for anticipating any sort of day of reckoning or judgment from above. They have been led astray, having been assured that there is peace with God and that Jehovah could not possibly have any issues with his cleansed earthly organization.
But the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine is provably false. And those who promote it as an authentic Bible truth and as the “utterance of Jehovah” are most certainly “visioning untruth and divining a lie.”
Jehovah next commanded his prophet, saying to him: “Say to those plastering with whitewash that it will fall. A flooding downpour will certainly occur, and you, O hailstones, will fall, and a blast of windstorms itself will cause a splitting. And, look! the wall must fall. Will it not be said to you men, ‘Where is the coating with which you did the plastering?’”
With each passing year and each decade further removed from 1914, the Society’s prophets have waited in vain to have a word come true, as Ezekiel foretold. As a result of the obvious failure of their prophesying they have found it necessary to plaster more and more coats of whitewash on their organizational wall, to keep up appearances. For example, since 1995 the Watchtower has liberally applied several coats of plaster to cover over the gapping fact that the generation that would not pass away has in fact passed away.
But it is in vain that Jehovah’s Witnesses have worked so hard to promote an untruth. The wall is doomed to fall! Their unreality will meet up with the truth! But who will bring down the wall? Jehovah will. The wall will be toppled when the day of Jehovah commences. The prophecy continues:
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘I will also cause a blast of windstorms to burst forth in my rage, and in my anger there will occur a flooding downpour, and in rage there will be hailstones for an extermination. And I will tear down the wall that you men have plastered with whitewash and bring it into contact with the earth, and its foundation must be exposed. And she will certainly fall, and you must come to an end in the midst of her; and you will have to know that I am Jehovah. And I will bring my rage to its finish upon the wall and upon those plastering it with whitewash, and I shall say to you men: ‘The wall is no more, and those plastering it are no more, the prophets of Israel that are prophesying to Jerusalem and that are visioning for her a vision of peace, when there is no peace,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.”
The flooding downpour and hailstorm of Jehovah’s rage will bring down the Watchtower’s whitewashed wall. That is because the storm will be an expression of the authentic parousia of Jesus Christ, at which point everything associated with 1914 will be revealed as one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon a trusting people. The prophecy of Isaiah confirms that the prophecy of Ezekiel under consideration here does indeed speak to the future parousia of Christ. The 28th chapter of Isaiah is also addressed to the rulers of God’s people, who have concealed themselves in a lie. But God’s flood of rage will sweep away their refuge of falsehood.
Specifically, Isaiah 28:14-18 states: “Therefore hear the word of Jehovah, you braggarts, you rulers of this people who are in Jerusalem: Because you men have said: ‘We have concluded a covenant with Death; and with Sheol we have effected a vision; the overflowing flash flood, in case it should pass through, will not come to us, for we have made a lie our refuge and in falsehood we have concealed ourselves’; therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a stone, a tried stone, the precious corner of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will get panicky. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument; and the hail must sweep away the refuge of a lie, and the waters themselves will flood out the very place of concealment. And your covenant with Death will certainly be dissolved, and that vision of yours with Sheol will not stand. The overflowing flash flood, when it passes through—you must also become for it a trampling place.”
The significance of the prophecy of Isaiah is not merely that it is in harmony with Ezekiel, but that it places the flood of God’s indignation against the leaders of his people in the context of the arrival of Christ, the “sure foundation” – as opposed to a shabbily constructed, whitewashed wall. Noteworthy too, the “trampling” must coincide with the trampling of the holy place (antitypical Jerusalem) by the disgusting thing, which is a prominent feature of the sign of Christ’s presence.
The leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is certainly well described as braggarts. They repeatedly have declared themselves to be faithful and discreet and the big trees of righteousness, towering over all others. And as already discussed, they have interpreted the prophecies so as to give the impression that Jehovah has declared the Watchtower to be righteous. In this way they have taken refuge in a lie and concealed themselves in falsehood.
Returning to Ezekiel, in the closing words of the 12th chapter Jehovah told his watchman that there would be no more postponement of his word. That is why Ezekiel told the stupid prophets the wall was going to fall.
So, at this late date – as the global system lurches towards inevitable catastrophe – it may confidently be stated that there will be no more postponement of Jehovah’s judgments. The leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society and all those associated with it, are hereby put on notice that “the wall must fall” – your whitewash-plastered organizational wall is coming down, soon!