Noah “was a righteous man” who “proved himself faultless among his contemporaries.” Because “Noah walked with the true God,” Jehovah instructed him to build a huge ark. Its design was well-suited for the preservation of human and animal life. Obediently, “Noah did everything that Jehovah had commanded him,” and with the cooperation of his family, he completed the building work in an organized way. After living things were brought into the ark, “Jehovah shut the door.” In 2370 B.C.E. when the Flood came, Jehovah “wiped every living thing from the surface of the earth,” but he kept faithful Noah and his family safe in the ark. Everyone on earth today is a descendant of Noah, his sons, and their wives. But all the faithless people outside the ark perished because they had refused to listen to Noah, “a preacher of righteousness.”
For over 75 years Jehovah’s Witnesses have believed that the Watchtower Society is the modern ark of salvation. No one will survive the coming end of the world unless they are in good standing within the organization. Here are a few quotes taken from various Watchtower magazines over the years.
The ark of salvation that we enter is not a literal ark but is God’s organization… WT 1950 6/1
Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the ark, survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization. WT 2006 5/15
But what about the human realm? Well, the Deluge of Noah’s day brought an end to all antediluvian organizations that might have existed on earth—except one. Noah and the seven other Flood survivors emerged from the ark as a family organization. WT 1984 7/15
Every member of that organization advanced with it to this new form of work. None became disgruntled about this change in work and held back from it. That organization was even informed in advance when the Flood would begin and how long the downpour of waters would last. All eight members had to stay close to the organization and advance with it in order to be preserved with it in the ark. WT 1965 7/15
What is the scriptural basis for the notion that the Watchtower is the spiritual ark of salvation? One aspect is the belief that the Kingdom began ruling the world in 1914 and it is assumed that the Watchtower Society is the earthly part of that Kingdom.
The primary scriptural support is found at 1 Peter 3:21. After referring to the survivors of the flood Peter said: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
So, baptism, full water immersion and faith in Christ’s resurrection is what corresponds to the ark. Obviously those Christians in the first century were not part of the Watchtower, nor did they believe that Christ had already begun ruling the world; yet, according to the apostle those believers were in the antitypical ark of salvation. On the other hand, those original Christians did not experience the end of the world, which corresponds to the actual deluge.
Complicating matters and further blurring the distinction of Christian baptism, for the past 30 years every person who has been baptized by Jehovah’s Witnesses has been required to recite a vow recognizing that their baptism brings them “into association with God’s spirit-directed organization.”
There is considerable evidence to show that first century Christians were both individually and collectively directed by holy spirit, but there is no record that they were ever required to publicly vow that their baptism brought them into association with any organization. So, why now? Why the emphasis on the importance of the organization? The answer is troubling.
Here is another quote that is particularly disturbing:
Has it not always been the same? There was no deliverance apart from Noah and his God-approved family organization for constructing the ark of deliverance…It is the same at this consummation of the system of things, the destruction of a world now near at hand. The good news of the Kingdom arrangement for deliverance is being preached by Jehovah’s visible organization, and through the organization has come a wonderfully full understanding of Jehovah’s arrangement for deliverance. WT 1953 2/1
Although written more than 60 years ago there is no doubt that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been thoroughly inculcated with the teaching that the organization has imparted “a full understanding” of everything they need to know about the truth.
But as long-time readers of this site well know, the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine is a complete fraud. There is no polite way to say it. Jesus did not come in 1914, nor did his Kingdom begin ruling the world then. That being the case the suggestion that the Watchtower has imparted a full understanding to Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cynical disregard for truth and for Christ himself, who is the Truth.
But if the Watchtower is not the special ark of salvation why does it claim to be? And what hope is there for Jehovah’s Witnesses who are laboring under the delusion that it is?
Irony of ironies, the prophecies do speak of the time immediately preceding the coming of Christ when men who wield authority over God’s people will claim to have a special place of refuge from the coming flood of God’s indignation.
In the 28th chapter of Isaiah Jehovah addresses the boasters, the spiritually drunken prophets and priests who rule over his people in “Jerusalem,” saying to them: “For you men say: ‘We have made a covenant with Death, and with the Grave we have made an agreement. When the raging flash flood passes through, it will not reach us, for we have made a lie our refuge and we have hidden ourselves in falsehood.”’
To establish the setting for the fulfillment of this extraordinary prophecy the very next verse states: “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a tested stone, the precious cornerstone of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will panic.”’
The cornerstone is, of course, none other than Jesus Christ. He became the founding cornerstone of God’s figurative temple in heavenly Zion when he was baptized and anointed as the Messiah. However, in the context of Isaiah the cornerstone is spoken of as being laid during the time of the expression of God’s anger, which is likened to a flood. So, the laying of the “tested stone” is in relation to the actual coming of the Kingdom.
On the one hand there are the priests and prophets claiming to have a secret place of refugee apart from the “sure foundation.” On the other hand, there will be those who have faith in the “tested stone” who will not panic.
So, the false refuge is the same as the “deluding influence,” the operation of error, the lie that God allows to mislead those who do not love the truth. At the coming of Christ the Watchtower will not only not be a place of refuge, it will be a death trap for those who cling to it then.
And what will happen to the false ark of salvation? The prophecy continues: “And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling tool. The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will flood out the hiding place. Your covenant with Death will be dissolved, and your agreement with the Grave will not stand. When the raging flash flood passes through, you will be crushed by it. As often as it passes through, it will sweep you away; for it will pass through morning after morning, during the day and during the night. Only terror will make them understand what was heard.”