Along with Hosea and Micah, the prophecy of Isaiah is one of the oldest prophetic books in the Hebrew Scriptures. While the prophecy is directed to Israel and Jerusalem, woven throughout the book are judgments to come during the day of Jehovah. One example of that is the 28th chapter of Isaiah. Addressed to the “drunkards of Ephraim,” “the rulers of this people who are in Jerusalem,” in reality the prophecy speaks to the time of the coming of the kingdom of God. That is evident from verse 16 which reads: “Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a stone, a tried stone, the precious corner of the sure foundation. No one exercising faith will get panicky.”
Jesus Christ is, of course, the foundational stone of Zion. He was tried and tested thoroughly during his brief ministry on earth and during the global conflagration soon to erupt Christ will serve as a refuge for the faithful.
Of interest to Jehovah’s Witnesses, it should be apparent that certain aspects of the prophecy had no relevance to the physical nation of Israel, as is evident in the following verse: “In that day Jehovah of armies will become as a crown of decoration and as a garland of beauty to the ones remaining over of his people, and as a spirit of justice to the one sitting in the judgment, and as mightiness to those turning away the battle from the gate.”
In regards to the actual siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Jehovah commanded the Jews through his prophet Jeremiah, who was himself in the besieged city at that time, to give up – to come out with their hands up so-to-speak. There would be no heroics turning away the invaders from the gates of Jerusalem and Jehovah certainly was not going to fight in behalf of Jerusalem as he had done in the case of the Assyrian invasion. And although a few Jews were allowed to remain over in the devastated land, they certainly were not crowned with Jehovah’s glory.
Furthermore, although Ephraim was the most prominent tribe of the Northern Kingdom and at times came to represent all of Israel, the Ephramites were at no time the rulers of God’s people in Jerusalem, and in fact, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Chaldeans Ephraim had already been subjected to Assyria. Clearly, the prophecy only uses Ephraim as the setting for something much grander.
As stated previously, the prophecy relates to the coming of Christ. That is when Jehovah of armies will become a crown of decoration “to the ones remaining over of his people” – in other words, to the so-called anointed remnant. Jesus foretold that the chosen ones will then shine as brightly as the sun in Jehovah’s kingdom – “a garland of beauty” indeed!
The 12th chapter of Revelation depicts the remaining ones of the woman’s seed doing battle with Satan after his expulsion from heaven. In what sense then will the remnant be successful in “turning away the battle from the gate”? They will accomplish God’s work during the tribulation and then will join Christ in heaven in order to smash the nations, as Jesus stated in Revelation: “And to him that conquers and observes my deeds down to the end I will give authority over the nations, and he shall shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels, the same as I have received from my Father, and I will give him the morning star.”
Being given the “morning star” by Christ coincides with Jehovah becoming a crown of decoration and garland of beauty to the remnant of his people.
Many places in Psalms and prophecy the tribulation is likened to a great tempest that will sweep the earth. Isaiah describes it this way: “Look! Jehovah has someone strong and vigorous. Like a thunderous storm of hail, a destructive storm, like a thunderous storm of powerful, flooding waters, he will certainly do a casting down to the earth with force. With the feet the eminent crowns of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trampled down.”
Jesus similarly foretold that a disgusting thing would trample upon the city of Jerusalem and its holy place during a time of great tribulation for all the nations. But Jesus was merely enlarging upon the prophecy of Daniel, to which he referred when he said: “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.”
The discerning reader will note that the eighth chapter of Daniel foretells that the earthly holy place and sanctuary of Christ will be trampled on by a king fierce in countenance during the time of the end.
The “drunkards of Ephraim” are not Israelites at all. They are to be identified with Christian elders who hold authority over God’s people up until the moment Christ arrives. That is when the judgment of the house of God commences. That is what is referenced in the 17th verse which says: “And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument; and the hail must sweep away the refuge of a lie and the waters themselves will flood out the very place of concealment.”
In what sense are they drunk? They are intoxicated with power and authority. Just as a literal inebriate is beyond reasoning with, so too, the spiritual drunkards, whom God also denounces as “braggarts,” are incapable of coherently reasoning upon the prophecies or recognizing that Jehovah’s denunciation applies to them!
More specifically, the leaders of the Watchtower Society are the “eminent crowns of the drunkards of Ephraim.” They boast of their having already been pronounced faithful and discrete. They have taken refuge in the lie that all of God’s judgments against his people took place back in 1918. They imagine that they will be idle spectators during the tribulation. They immodestly boast of their great insights into prophecy. The Governing Body and other prominent Bethelites live like kings and wield the scepter at what they describe as the headquarters of Jehovah’s earthly organization. They use their authority over Jehovah’s people to mislead them, which is why the prophecy of Isaiah goes on to state that even those who will ultimately wear Jehovah’s crown of decoration are also drunk, since they are under the influence of the “eminent crowns.”
Isaiah 28:7-8 states: “And these also—because of wine they have gone astray and because of intoxicating liquor they have wandered about. Priest and prophet—they have gone astray because of intoxicating liquor, they have become confused as a result of the wine, they have wandered about as a result of the intoxicating liquor; they have gone astray in their seeing, they have reeled as to decision. For the tables themselves have all become full of filthy vomit—there is no place without it.”
The anointed within the organization are elsewhere described as priests. They are prophets too since they speak prophetically in the name of Jehovah. But they too are drunk with the Society’s “intoxicating liquor.” “They have gone astray in their seeing” because they are under the delusion that Christ’s presence began in 1914. They are so thoroughly convinced of it that only the actual presence of Christ will disabuse them from it. That is when they will be hurled down with force and trampled by Jehovah’s powerful executor of his judgments!
The Watchtower’s stubborn attachment to the 1914 doctrine is aptly described by Jehovah in the 20th verse: “For the couch has proved too short for stretching oneself on, and the woven sheet itself is too narrow when wrapping oneself up.”
No matter how often they try to explain their doctrine they simply cannot adequately cover themselves or get comfortable. As an example, up until 1995 the Watchtower had insisted that some individuals from the 1914-generation would still be alive when the end arrived. Now, though, the Society is squirming uncomfortably trying to cover themselves. The April 15th, 2010, Watchtower (para 13) goes so far to claim that holy spirit has revealed their latest spin on things. Here is an excerpt:
Third, holy spirit is at work in bringing Bible truths to light. (Prov. 4:18) This magazine has long been used by “the faithful and discreet slave” as the primary channel for dispensing increased light. (Matt. 24:45) For example, consider our understanding of those who make up “this generation” mentioned by Jesus. (Read Matthew 24:32-34.) To what generation did Jesus refer? The article “Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You?” explained that Jesus was referring, not to the wicked, but to his disciples, who were soon to be anointed with holy spirit. Jesus’ anointed followers, both in the first century and in our day, would be the ones who would not only see the sign but also discern its meaning—that Jesus “is near at the doors.”
What does this explanation mean to us? Although we cannot measure the exact length of “this generation,” we do well to keep in mind several things about the word “generation”: It usually refers to people of varying ages whose lives overlap during a particular time period; it is not excessively long; and it has an end. (Ex. 1:6) How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ words about “this generation”? He evidently meant that the lives of the anointed who were on hand when the sign began to become evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation. That generation had a beginning, and it surely will have an end.
The Society’s method of teaching Jehovah’s Witnesses is well described in prophecy too. “And to them the word of Jehovah will certainly become ‘command upon command, command upon command, measuring line upon measuring line, measuring line upon measuring line, here a little, there a little…’”
As an example, consider that every year the Watchtower schedules a Service Meeting program a few weeks before that year’s conventions. Every year Jehovah’s Witnesses are lectured like children as to how to conduct themselves. Witnesses are instructed how to act when they are at a hotel; how to conduct themselves if they use the hotel swimming pool. Witnesses are told how to dress if they go out to a restaurant after the convention. The Society even instructs Jehovah’s Witnesses to wear their convention lapel tags with their name and congregation when in public. And, of course, every little rule is backed up with the authority of scripture. So, to them the word of Jehovah is nothing but “command upon command,” etc.
Although, as it states in verse 12, that Jehovah had intended his congregation to be a place of rest for the weary, it has become oppressive and burdensome. Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses who leave the organization often cite the rule-oriented tyranny of the elders and the Society as the reason for their leaving.
The purpose of Jehovah in allowing his people to be subjected to a thrashing is in order to destroy the unfaithful and correct the faithful. That is evident in the concluding verses of the 28th chapter of Isaiah. God illustrates his work by likening it to the various methods of harvesting different agricultural products to achieve a specific result.
“Give ear, you men, and listen to my voice; pay attention and listen to my saying. Is it all day long that the plower plows in order to sow seed, that he loosens and harrows his ground? Does he not, when he has smoothed out its surface, then scatter black cumin and sprinkle the cumin, and must he not put in wheat, millet, and barley in the appointed place, and spelt as his boundary? And one corrects him according to what is right. His own God instructs him. For it is not with a threshing instrument that black cumin is given a treading; and upon cumin no wheel of a wagon is turned. For it is with a rod that black cumin is generally beaten out, and cumin with a staff. Is breadstuff itself generally crushed? For never does one incessantly keep treading it out. And he must set the roller of his wagon in motion, and his own steeds, but he will not crush it. This also is what has come forth from Jehovah of armies himself, who has been wonderful in counsel, who has done greatly in effectual working.”
The Watchtower claims that the drunkards of Ephraim are the clergy of Christendom, but in their brief commentary on the verses above they imply that God disciplines individuals within Christendom. What utter nonsense! The deplorable spiritual condition of the Watchtower Society, their dishonestly in denying any wrongdoing, the self-righteousness of the rulers of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the nonsensical 1914 parousia doctrine, all beg for Jehovah’s “effectual working” in setting matters straight.
Although the Governing Body and most all of Jehovah’s Witnesses are inclined to scoff at the notion that of a future judgment of the house of God (Bethel), all such scoffers would do well to consider Jehovah’s warning at Isaiah 2821-22: “For Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perazim, he will be agitated just as in the low plain near Gibeon, that he may do his deed—his deed is strange—and that he may work his work—his work is unusual. And now do not show yourselves scoffers, in order that your bands may not grow strong, for there is an extermination, even something decided upon, that I have heard of from the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, for all the land.”
Jehovah’s strange deed and unusual work involves using the impending collapse of the present system into a dictatorial world government as the circumstance to accomplish an extermination of the unfaithful slaves within Christ’s congregation. Afterwards the attack on the chastened faithful will serve as the pretext for Jehovah to become agitated and standup to destroy the nations.