In the previous article the Watchtower’s teaching regarding the beast of Revelation having already received the death-stroke was put to the test and demonstrated to be untrue. This blog entry more closely scrutinizes the brief comments from the September 15th, 2012, Watchtower, and Jehovah’s Witnesses belief that the holy place destined for desolation is Babylon the great.
In accord with the wise apostle’s exhortation, again, let us put this “inspired expression” to the test. Here is an excerpt from paragraph five of the leading article:
What yet unseen event will take place next? Paul stated: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.” The first phase of this “sudden destruction” is the attack against “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, also known as “the harlot.” (Rev. 17:5, 6, 15) That attack against all forms of false religion, including Christendom, is the start of the “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21; 2 Thess. 2:8)
The article merely cites Matthew 24:21, the context of which says: “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment. Woe to the pregnant women and those suckling a baby in those days! Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the sabbath day; for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.”
Clearly, Jesus’ words of warning were directed to his followers who would be living during times of judgment and who would be required to obey his command to abandon what had been held to be sacred when a certain development occurs.
In the first century the appearance of the disgusting thing proved to be the Roman army when it entered into Jerusalem in the year 66. Prior to that event the Jews had rebelled against Rome, forcing king Agrippa II to flee the city. But when soldiers under Cestus Gallus fought their way back into Jerusalem, bearing the imperial ensigns (comparable to modern day national flags) and began to undermine the temple wall, that was the signal – a disgusting thing was standing where it ought not, in a holy place. When the Romans inexplicably withdrew that was the window of opportunity for Christians to obey Christ’s words of warning.
The Watchtower has long-taught that Jerusalem and its temple correspond with modern Christendom and even all of Babylon the great – the global system of organized religion. The reasoning behind that is the fact that the Jews, for the most part, were displeasing to God because they did not accept Jesus; consequently, God no longer considered the Jewish temple to be holy and therefore he had Jerusalem and the temple destroyed, in what Jesus foretold would be a great tribulation. However, let us put the Watchtower’s assertion to the test.
One of the only accounts of Jesus’ life as a child was when he went up to Jerusalem with his parents for the Passover festival. Jesus was twelve at the time. Imagining that the boy was in the company of other family or acquaintances, his parents traveled an entire day before realizing Jesus was not with them. In a panic Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem and after making inquiries three days later found Jesus in the temple. When his mother scolded him for putting them through mental anguish, Jesus responded: ‘“Why did you have to go looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?’ However, they did not grasp the saying that he spoke to them.”
So, Jesus considered the Jewish temple to be the house of his Father. This was all the more apparent after Jesus was baptized to become the Messiah, when he first threw the moneychangers out of the temple, which he also did on the occasion of his last sojourn to the holy city. When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane he reminded the club and torch-wielding mob that day after day he publicly taught in the temple. Jesus obviously considered the temple to be something holy.
The apostles and disciples considered the temple to be holy as well. After Jesus had left the earth and returned to heaven his disciples followed his pattern – daily teaching in the temple. Apparently, they went there to worship as well, as the third chapter of Acts relates that Peter was going up to the temple for the hour of prayer when he encountered a certain lame beggar. Even after Christ told the Jews their house had been abandoned Jesus spoke to Paul as he prayed in the temple. (Acts 22)
So, at what point did the temple come to be viewed by Christians as not being a holy place? Apparently Hebrew Christians revered it as something holy to God up until the time the Romans desecrated holy ground. After all, if the Christians living in Jerusalem were to stay on the watch for a disgusting thing to begin standing in a holy place, wouldn’t they have had to actually view the temple as something holy, not merely as something someone wrongly claimed was holy? Jesus certainly considered it holy and he did not intimate to them otherwise.
That being the case, ought not the modern holy place be something that Christians actually consider to be sacred too?
It is not necessary for any would-be-prophet class to conjure up some fanciful interpretation of what Jesus meant. Jesus clued us in when he spoke of the disgusting thing, adding: “as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place…”
So, if we were to actually use discernment, as Jesus advised, what might Daniel reveal to us? Simply, that, the disgusting thing is destined to bring desolation upon Christianity, not Christendom. Daniel 12:11 states: “And from the time that the constant feature has been removed and there has been a placing of the disgusting thing that is causing desolation, there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
The 8th chapter of Daniel is more detailed. It specifically mentions, not just the so-called “constant feature,” but also the trampling of the holy place. Daniel 8:13 & 14 say: “How long will the vision be of the constant feature and of the transgression causing desolation, to make both the holy place and the army things to trample on?”
In all of the Watchtower’s commentary on Daniel there is nothing that they interpret to relate to the destruction of Babylon the great by the eighth king. They admit that the constant feature and holy place that are to be brought to desolation during the finale relate to Christ’s congregation. But, as all of Jehovah’s Witnesses surely know, Bethel’s augur has relegated everything to the past, to relatively insignificant events. As a matter of fact, in their convoluted methodology, the Society has determined that the “constant feature” was removed and the holy place of Christ’s domain was trampled upon on two different occasions during both world wars!
So, how is it that the disgusting thing that stands in a holy place, about which Christ spoke and specifically referred the reader to Daniel, somehow relates to the end of Babylon the great? Is this not another instance where the Watchtower’s “inspired expression” fails the test of authenticity? Surely, every honest-reasoning Christian will admit that such is
But, the September 15, 2012, Watchtower is certainly right on the mark on one thing: “Earthshaking events will soon occur.”
What events are those? That will be the topic of the next blog entry.
Related articles on e-watchman: Let the Reader Use Discernment