Saturday, April 16
You will be hated.
The early Christians benefited from Roman law, which was in force throughout the empire. Similarly, present-day Christians benefit from legal provisions. However, freedom to exercise certain rights had to be legally established in the courts. When legal action was brought against Jehovah’s people in the United States, appeals to higher courts repeatedly upheld their right to be Kingdom proclaimers. Courts of other countries have also upheld our freedom of worship and the right to preach publicly. In some lands, we have lost court battles, but we have applied to international courts. For example, as of June 2014, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in our favor in 57 cases that are binding on all nations of the Council of Europe. Even though we are “hated by all the nations,” the courts of many countries have ruled that we have the right to practice true worship.
What the Watchtower states is true. The higher courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, have consistently upheld the rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses to carry on the public ministry and to practice other aspects of their faith with impunity.
The only grounds upon which Jehovah’s Witnesses have faced penalties in the past is their refusal to take up arms. But they have not been singled out in that respect. All who refuse to be inducted into the military face the same penalty. So, the prosecution of conscientious objectors is not necessarily a reflection of the hatred Jesus foretold Christians would experience.
Before the Second World War and during that turbulent period, Jehovah’s Witnesses were subjected to waves of mob violence, mostly in small towns. Children were expelled from school. Jehovah’s Witnesses were jailed for engaging in the ministry. But, as stated, the higher courts ultimately protected their rights – even setting numerous legal precedents that are studied in law schools to this day.
Ironically, that presents another sort of problem for the Watchtower. Because according to their interpretation of Bible prophecy, particularly in the eighth chapter of Daniel, the government of America fulfilled prophecy by persecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But how can that be? How is it possible for two completely contrary versions of history to both be true? How can the government be both the persecutor and the protector at the same time?
Since the historical record is verifiable and therefore undeniable, it is the Watchtower’s interpretation of prophecy that is suspect and arbitrary. Of course, organizational loyalty compels Jehovah’s Witnesses to unquestioningly accept these types of contradictions.