Back when I was an elder I used to speak from the Watchtower’s public talk outline entitled: Are You Marked for Survival? As I recall it delved into all the evils that are prevalent in Christendom, such as bloodguilt from all of the many wars and various other evils. Supposedly godly people who are grieved over the evils within Christendom are being marked for survival. Now, though, all of that has been jettisoned. According to the latest flash of new light Christendom is not prefigured by ancient Jerusalem at all, which, ironically, is what e-Watchman has said all along. Here is what is stated in the Pure Worship publication Teach Box 16a under the title — Is Christendom the Antitypical Jerusalem?
In the past, our literature has referred to Christendom as the antitype of apostate Jerusalem. The conditions in unfaithful Jerusalem —including idolatry and widespread corruption— certainly remind us of what is happening in Christendom. However, in recent years our publications, including the one you are now reading, have not taken the type-antitype approach to prophecy except where the Bible provides a clear basis for doing so. Is there a solid Scriptural basis for referring to Christendom as the antitypical Jerusalem? No.
Consider the following: Jerusalem was at one time a center of pure worship; later, its inhabitants turned apostate. By contrast, Christendom has never practiced pure worship. Right from its inception in the fourth century C.E., Christendom has always taught false doctrine.
In addition, after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, Jehovah restored the city to his favor and it again became the center of true worship. Christendom, on the other hand, has never had God’s favor, and once it is destroyed during the great tribulation, it will never rise again. In view of the foregoing, what may we conclude? When we examine Bible prophecies that were fulfilled on unfaithful Jerusalem, we may say, ‘This or that reminds us of what we see in Christendom today.’ But there appears to be no Scriptural basis for referring to Christendom as the antitypical Jerusalem.
What the Watchtower says is true. There is no Scriptural basis for referring to Christendom as the antitypical Jerusalem. However, what about Jerusalem as a type or a pattern?
It is doubtful that many of Jehovah’s Witnesses considering the Watchtower’s new light on Christendom not being the antitypical Jerusalem will grasp the significance of the change. Nevertheless, it is profound.
Basically, the Governing Body has repudiated a very large portion of what they have taught as regards the significance and fulfillment of Bible prophecy. For example, the relatively recent two volume commentary on Isaiah identified Christendom as the antitype of apostate Israel and Jerusalem. The Grand Climax expository on Revelation focused on Christendom. A series of Watchtower articles beginning in August of 1979 on the prophecy of Jeremiah placed Christendom as the modern-day apostate Jerusalem.
Over the past century, dozens and dozens of Watchtower articles and books have placed Christendom at the heart of all of the denunciations of ancient Israel and Jerusalem. And just like that, it has all been invalidated. Like the paragraph above states: “In the past our literature referred to Christendom…” Now it doesn’t. In the spirit of Isaiah 30:22 Jehovah’s Witnesses may as well clear their library shelves of all of those moldy bold volumes and books. Maybe sell them at a garage sale or on eBay or pitch them in the recycle bin.
But the larger issue is, if Christendom is not the modern counterpart of apostate Jerusalem, what is? The Watchtower does not say. The implication is there is no such thing as an antitypical Jerusalem. But how can that be? Jehovah’s Witnesses have read these words of Jesus over and over again —dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of times: “However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her, because these are days for meting out justice in order that all the things written may be fulfilled. Woe to the pregnant women and those nursing a baby in those days! For there will be great distress on the land and wrath against this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” —Luke 21:21-24
As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses surely know, Jesus not only spoke of the desolation of Jerusalem in the first century, but his intimate discussion with his apostles on the Mount of Olives had a much deeper, far-reaching application to the conclusion of the global system in which we presently live. Aside from the patently false notion that Jerusalem began to be trampled before Jesus even uttered this prophecy, obviously Jerusalem has a symbolic meaning —a so-called antitype. The desolation of Jerusalem is to occur during a time of great tribulation, which will be a tribulation unlike anything that the world has ever experienced before, or will ever suffer again. Clearly, the “Jerusalem” of which Jesus spoke has a modern counterpart.
To be sure, more is involved than just the city of Jerusalem. Foremost, Jerusalem was home to the temple of Jehovah. And the temple most certainly served as a type for a greater, spiritual reality. In his letter to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul went into great detail explaining the meaning of the various features of the movable tabernacle or tent, which, of course, were later incorporated into the permanent temple. Every mature Bible student knows that the ancient tabernacle/temple, with its holy place, prefigured the Christian arrangement. In other words, Christ presides over the antitypical temple, the holy place. Paul explained: “Now this is the main point of what we are saying: We have such a high priest as this, and he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the holy place and of the true tent, which Jehovah set up, and not man.” —Hebrews 8:1-2
The notion that the holy place of the ancient temple is a type is scripturally based, and therefore according to the Watchtower’s criteria, there is a modern antitype. Jesus spoke of this when he urged the reader to use discernment and consult the prophecy of Daniel, saying: “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.”
The discerning reader of Daniel will note that the eleventh chapter of Daniel speaks of the king of the north profaning the sanctuary and removing the constant feature. The eighth chapter foretells the very same thing. The Watchtower, however, makes no connection between the desolation of the holy place and the prophecies of Ezekiel and Isaiah. For example, Isaiah is quite explicit: “So I will profane the princes of the holy place, and I will give Jacob over to destruction and subject Israel to insulting words.” (Isaiah 43:28) Keep in mind this is the same chapter of Isaiah where the name Jehovah’s Witnesses has been derived.
Returning to the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, the prophecy indicates that the execution of God’s judgments begins in the very sanctuary of the temple. God specifically ordered the six symbolic executioners: “‘You should start from my sanctuary.’ So they started with the elders who were in front of the house. Then he said to them: ‘Defile the house and fill the courtyards with the slain. Go!” So they went out and struck down people in the city.”’
The Watchtower cannot deny that the holy place and the city of Jerusalem are types and the modern antitype is Christ’s congregation —and the Watchtower claims to be Christ’s congregation. That being true, there is only one correct conclusion that can be drawn. Since the Watchtower has scrapped Christendom as the modern antitype it is also time to discard everything the Watchtower has applied as having been fulfilled at various points in the 20th century.
For instance, the eleventh chapter of Revelation speaks of both the sanctuary and holy city being trampled upon by the nations —echoing the words of Christ regarding Jerusalem being desolated. The Watchtower claims this was fulfilled during the First World War. That is simply nonsense. Similarly, the Watchtower claims that the trampling of God’s sanctuary foretold in Daniel was fulfilled during the Second World War. That is also nonsense. And not to be overlooked, the Watchtower claims the messenger of the covenant arrived at the antitypical temple in 1918. And that too is utter nonsense.
The fact is, the Watchtower is not capable of honestly interpreting Bible prophecy. That is because the Watchtower has an agenda. And the truth is not on their agenda. First and foremost the Watchtower promotes itself as the foretold restored land of peace and plenty. But Bethel’s interpretations are grossly contradictory. On the one hand, by their silence, the Watchtower implies that there is no clear type/antitype to the house of Israel that God condemns in Ezekiel. And yet, on the other hand, the same Pure Worship publication contradictorily casts the Watchtower organization as the modern antitype of Israel, —at least the “Israel” that is attacked by Gog of Magog during the final part of the days. How can Jehovah’s Witnesses be the antitype of restored Israel and not also be the “Israel” that comes under God’s withering denunciation?
Jehovah’s denunciation of Israel certainly applies to the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have conspired to blunt God’s judgments, to mislead Jehovah’s Witnesses into imagining that the organization is at peace with God: “Her prophets have conspired within her, like a roaring lion tearing prey. They are devouring people. They are seizing treasure and precious things. They have made many widows within her. Her priests have violated my law, and they keep profaning my holy places. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is common, and they fail to make known what is unclean and what is clean, and they refuse to observe my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing prey; they shed blood and kill people to make dishonest gain. But her prophets have plastered over their deeds with whitewash. They see false visions and give lying divination, and they say: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says,” when Jehovah himself has not spoken. The people of the land have defrauded and committed robbery, they have mistreated the needy and the poor, and they have defrauded the foreign resident and denied him justice.’” —Ezekiel 22:25-29
As has been demonstrated in this article the Watchtower is not honest when it comes to harmonizing prophecy. Any pure worshipper who protests is judicially killed. Bethel has seized properties dedicated to God, evicted entire congregations, sold the property to be used as the buyer sees fit. In some instances, kingdom halls have been converted into churches, liquor stores and whatever else. They surely make no distinction between what is holy —what has been dedicated to God —and what is common. Her princes make dishonest gain and create a false vision using the prophecies to conceal their criminality. They mistreat and defraud the victims of abuse. And ought they boast before God of being the font of pure worship?
Surely, there are many reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to sigh and groan over all the detestable things being done within the organization that bears God’s name. At some point, the symbolic marking will come into play before “Jerusalem” is desolated.