Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned.
The first to die was faithful Abel. Then Adam’s other offspring grew old and died. Did they inherit sin as well as death? The apostle Paul answers: “Through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners.” Sin and death inherited from Adam thus became implacable enemies of mankind, inescapable for imperfect humans. We cannot exactly describe all that was involved in passing on their sad inheritance to Adam’s immediate and more distant offspring, but passed on it was. Fittingly, the Bible refers to inherited sin and death as “the shroud that is enveloping all the peoples and the covering that is woven over all the nations.” This suffocating covering, or shroud, this intricate webwork of condemnation, entraps all people. So the fact is that “in Adam all are dying.”
It is paradoxical, to be sure, that the Watchtower can impart great insights in matters related to biblical teachings, such as the ransom and the purpose of the Kingdom, and at the same time be absolutely blind as regards prophecy, that is to say the future fulfillment of prophecy.
Ironically, their blindness is itself a matter of prophecy, particularly the prophecy of Isaiah. For example, at Isaiah 29:9-10 God speaks to the spiritually inebriated condition of the leaders of his people, saying of them: “Be stunned and amazed; blind yourselves and be blinded. They are drunk, but not with wine; they are staggering, but not from alcohol. For Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep on you; He has closed your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered your heads, the visionaries.”
The prophecy goes on to liken the prophets and visionaries as illiterates, who cannot decipher the enigmatic message contained in the scroll of Isaiah: “Every vision becomes for you like the words of a sealed book. When they give it to someone who can read, saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ he will say: ‘I cannot, for it is sealed up.’ And when they give the book to someone who cannot read, saying: ‘Read this, please,’ he will say: ‘I cannot read at all.’”
Some years ago I spoke to a member of the Governing Body and tried to reason with him on the absurdity of the Watchtower’s teaching on the book of Joel and related prophecy. He was very dismissive and said that if Jehovah wanted them to know anything he would reveal it to them directly. The end result of that attitude is exactly as described above. It is as if the Governing Body have handed the scroll of Isaiah to one of their “helpers” for him to interpret, who then confesses that he cannot read.
But why does Jehovah’s pour a deep sleep upon those who serve as prophets and visionaries, at least as the interpreters of the inspired prophecies and visions? It is so that God may judge them and test the faith of his people, as the context of the 29th chapter of Isaiah relates. The end result of the blindness imposed by the drunken prophets is that God circumvents their authority, enlightening his people directly without the middle man. Isaiah goes on: “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the book, and out of the gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The meek will rejoice greatly in Jehovah, and the poor among men will be joyful in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant will be no more, the boaster will come to his finish, and all those keeping alert to do harm will be destroyed, those who with a false word make others guilty, who lay traps for the defender in the city gate, and who with empty arguments deny justice to the righteous one.”
It would seem that this portion of Isaiah is straightforwardly speaking about the coming of Christ and the setting of all matters straight, which brings an end to the petty religious tyrants and boasters. But according to the Watchtower the deaf have already heard the words of the book and have emerged from the gloom to the full light of day, not by any glorious manifestation of Christ mind you, but simply by the Watchtower. Here is what the illiterate commentators have to say on Isaiah 29:
However, there is salvation for individuals who exercise faith. (Read Isaiah 29:17-24; compare Luke 7:22.) “Deaf ones” will “hear the words of the book,” the message from God’s Word. Yes, this is not a healing of physical deafness. It is a spiritual healing. Isaiah once again points forward to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom and the restoration of true worship on earth by the Messiah’s rule. This has taken place in our time, and millions of sincere ones are allowing themselves to be corrected by Jehovah and are learning to praise him. What a thrilling fulfillment! Ultimately, the day will come when everyone, every breathing thing, will praise Jehovah and sanctify his holy name.—Psalm 150:6.
It is somewhat humorous that the modern-day drunkards of Ephraim then go onto warn Jehovah’s Witnesses about the dangers of drinking literal liquor, as if that is the lesson to be learned from Isaiah!
What do such “deaf ones” who hear God’s Word today learn? That all Christians, especially those to whom the congregation looks as examples, must scrupulously avoid ‘going astray because of intoxicating liquor.’
Sadly, the Watchtower’s prophetic illiteracy is also on full display in today’s text. The shroud or covering that is enveloping the nations does not signify inherited death. When something is covered in a shroud it is intentionally hidden —until the moment it is unveiled, such as when a public monument is unveiled. Certainly death has not been hidden from mankind, has it?
What is hidden then? Simply put: Christ. Of course, everyone thinks they know Jesus —including Jehovah’s Witnesses. But as shown above by the Watchtower’s own statements, Jehovah’s Witnesses are laboring under the insidious delusion that Jesus has already come —that their eyes have already been miraculously opened to the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Watchtower!
At this point there is nothing that anyone can do to break the spell the Watchtower has cast, for it is the very teaching of the Watchtower that has enveloped the nations; that is to say, the people from all nations who hope to survive the great tribulation. That is evident from the WT’s own commentary, which ascribes the banquet of Jehovah as an accomplished fact, from 1914 onward, of course.*
Only the actual coming of Christ can remove the veil that presently prevents the drunken banqueters from seeing a greater spiritual reality. But that the nations represent God’s people, and not all people of the nations, is evident by the context. First, though, consider the context: “In this mountain Jehovah of armies will make for all the peoples a banquet of rich dishes, a banquet of fine wine, of rich dishes filled with marrow, of fine, filtered wine. In this mountain he will do away with the shroud that is enveloping all the peoples and the covering that is woven over all the nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces. The reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it.”
The context has to do with the future blessing of people of faith and God’s removal of the reproach upon them. The end result of the removal of the veil is expressed by those who are then fully enlightened, as they exclaim: “Look! This is our God! We have hoped in him, and he will save us. This is Jehovah! We have hoped in him. Let us be joyful and rejoice in the salvation by him.” Surely, not even the most intoxicated celebrant would claim that the grand salvation of Jehovah has already been accomplished!
The relative handful of persons capable of reasoning on matters now would do well to consider the implications of the manifestation of Jesus. By contrast, over the years the Watchtower has made thousands of references to the presence of Jesus and hardly a word about his manifestation and revelation. Although it is seemingly recognized that the manifestation and revelation of Jesus is a future event, far more importance is attached to his presence having supposedly already begun. (For a complete listing and comparison of verses relating to the presence, manifestation and revelation see the chapter entitled Parousia.)
But it is the future manifestation of Jesus that will lift the shroud that presently envelopes the future inheritors of the earth. Then will occur the revealing of the sons of God. Until then, though, the heirs of the Kingdom are, themselves, hidden in Christ, as Paul revealed to the Colossians: “For you died, and your life has been hidden with the Christ in union with God. When the Christ, our life, is made manifest, then you also will be made manifest with him in glory.”
Then the chosen ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
*One of the first articles that appeared on e-watchman discussed the “envelopment,” which was interpreted as being the same as the Chaldean’s deadly fishing net that ensnares the nations during the conclusion. While the blast of the tyrants -a global genocide -is certainly the backdrop to which Christ is unveiled, that is not the envelopment that is enveloping all peoples and nations. Consequently, that article has been deleted from the Isaiah series. Consider this article a revision.