QUESTION: Jehovah’s Witnesses expect there to be opposition from Satan and his agents, but given that the Watchtower’s leadership is making decisions contrary to God’s just and loving principles and likely to result in harassment from the authorities Jehovah has in place to punish wrongdoers, and given that the typical brother and sister has no knowledge of these high-level decisions, how does one discern whether harassment is due to simple opposition to the work, and NOT due to resistance to the authorities? After all, won’t the Watchtower’s “spin doctors” simply say that Satan is increasing his efforts in opposing Jehovah’s Witnesses?
That is a very good question. Back during the time of the judges of Israel Jehovah allowed certain undesirable situations to develop in order to put his people to the test, as to whether they would obey and rely upon him. For example, when the Israelites were at peace and enjoying prosperity they tended to stray off and forget God. So, God would allow their enemies to oppress them. Bringing them to their proper senses, though, usually required that they first be brought into dire straits. Only then would they cry out to Jehovah for relief. And he, as usual, would raise up a savior for them.
Although we are separated by time and culture and language from the history of the people recorded in scripture, human nature hasn’t changed appreciably. Humans still have a tendency to rely upon themselves and forget God. Except, unfortunately, hypocrisy is also very much apart of sinful human nature too. So, the forgetters of God may put on a pretense of righteousness and faithfulness.
During the end of the time of the kingdom of Judah the Jews became powerful and prosperous and also very corrupt, so much so that God allowed the kingdom of the Chaldeans to destroy Judah. There was no healing then. No savior. And the prophets make plain that those judgments really apply to the time of the end –the conclusion of the system.
Through Jeremiah Jehovah said of them: “‘For among my people there are wicked men. They keep peering, as when birdcatchers crouch down. They set a deadly trap. It is men whom they catch. Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deception. That is why they have become powerful and rich. They have grown fat and smooth; they overflow with evil. They do not plead the legal case of the fatherless, that they may gain success; and they deny justice to the poor. Should I not call them to account for these things?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Should I not avenge myself on such a nation? Something appalling and horrible has occurred in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, and the priests dominate by their own authority. And my own people love it that way. But what will you do when the end comes?”’ —Jeremiah 5:26-31
The leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses has come to be more and more dominated by wicked men as well. They do not plead the case of the “fatherless.” Quite the contrary, “they set a deadly trap” for the whole organization, by convincing elders judging child abusers that they must suppress the existence of such criminals within the organization in order not to bring reproach on Jehovah’s name! How absolutely treacherous and deceptive!
Because in the past Jehovah has obviously blessed them and given them victories over their political and religious persecutors, the “prophets prophesy lies” by attributing their success to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. For example, Isaiah 54:17 states: “No weapon formed against you will have any success, and you will condemn any tongue that rises up against you in the judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of Jehovah, and their righteousness is from me,’ declares Jehovah.”
The Watchtower’s prophets boast that nothing can stop the worldwide work of the Watchtower because they have Jehovah’s unequivocal backing. And they use the verse above to back it up. That cocksureness has emboldened their anointed priests to “dominate by their own authority” in the assumption that they can do no wrong. As a consequence they have turned their attack dog lawyers on the victims of child abuse, to suppress their voice with legal gag orders and hush money. In the view espoused by the institutional prophets and priests all that remains is for God to sic the UN upon Babylon the Great. Then they are home free.
But the Watchtower’s prophets fail to understand that God had used Babylon as his weapon against Judah. And the Chaldeans completely destroyed the city where Jehovah had placed his name. By means of Nebuchadnezzar’s sword, famine and pestilence, Jehovah annihilated the wicked from among his people. It was by all accounts a smashing “success.” In the aftermath of that catastrophe God repurchased a chastened remnant of his nation. It was only after bringing them back from their humiliating captivity in Babylon that Jehovah assured them that any future attack upon them would not be by his order, as Nebuchadnezzar’s attack had been.
As a more vivid display of the lies the Watchtower’s prophets publish, for some unknown reason in 2016 Bethel decided to overhaul their long-held teaching that the Bible Students briefly went into captivity to Babylon the Great during the First World War. Now the organization’s seers claim that Christians went into captivity to the greater Babylon sometime way back in the fourth century. Supposedly the Bible Students ended centuries of captivity after Rutherford reorganized the work after the war.
But the Watchtower’s new interpretation is more absurd then their original. At least before there was some recognition that the Bible Students were being punished. Fred Franz was intelligent enough to realize that was in keeping with the inescapable fact that when the Jews went into captivity in far away Babylon they were in no doubt that they were being punished by Jehovah. The prophets had forewarned them and when the hammer fell they knew it was from God. But how does that compare with the subtlety with which Constantine slyly inserted himself as the head of the congregations and made Christianity the new religion of the Roman Empire? Would Christians in the fourth century have realized they were being punished by God for their transgressions? Of course not, that is because they were not being punished by God.
As I have made them aware over the past 20 years, God’s judgements, including captivity to Babylon the Great, is destined to be unveiled in the future. And that is what Bethel’s prophets are trying to nullify with their self-serving interpretations of prophecy. But when it comes they will know it just as surely as did the Jews when Babylon conquered Jerusalem.
The Watchtower, with its corporate board of directors and stable of lawyers, have “become powerful and rich.” They hobnob with the wealthy hedge fund managers and bankers. They wheel and deal in multi-million dollar real estate transactions. Their princes live in luxury condos in an idyllic country setting and drive shiny new luxury automobiles. They have “grown fat and smooth.” No mere human can call them to account.
And Jehovah’s Witnesses love it that way.
Still, the question remains: “But what will you do when the end comes?”