Friday, October 21

For this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.John 18:37.

When on trial for his life, Jesus Christ said those words to the Roman governor of Judea. Jesus had just identified himself as a king. Years later, the apostle Paul referred to this courageous example of Jesus, “who as a witness made the fine public declaration before Pontius Pilate.”  Indeed, it sometimes requires great courage to be a “faithful and true witness” in Satan’s hate-filled world!  As a member of the Jewish nation, Jesus was a witness of Jehovah by birth. Indeed, he turned out to be the greatest witness God has ever raised up in behalf of His name. Jesus zealously witnessed about God’s Kingdom. The Gospel writer Mark reported: “Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying: ‘The appointed time has been fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent, and have faith in the good news.’”

COMMENTARY

Just moments before his arrest, trial and execution Jesus made a remarkable statement. He told his apostles: “Take courage, I have conquered the world.”

In what sense had Jesus conquered the world? He conquered the world, in that, he did not allow himself to be deterred from his ministry and sacrificial course. He wasn’t intimidated by the religious authorities, who tried to trap him, tempt him and ply him at every opportunity. He didn’t fall for Satan’s temptations to misuse his power or authority. And he didn’t allow the shortcomings of everyone around him to discourage him and drain him of his power. Ultimately, Jesus was perfectly faithful to God down to his last breath. That is why with his last breath he said: “It has been accomplished.”

Aside from the influence of the apostles and their immediate disciples, over the course of the 20 centuries since Jesus departed this world the truth has been obscured by Christendom. No matter. Jesus has not allowed Satan to completely dominate. The work of the Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses these past decades has brought the truth back to the fore —but only to an extent. What remains obscured cannot be revealed by means of studying the Bible or Bible study aides or anything like that. The ultimate truth rests with Christ —who said of himself: ‘I am the way and the truth.’

The coming of Christ cannot be prevented or resisted. His coming will set into motion a whole series of events, beginning with Satan and the demons being thrown out of Jehovah’s heavens and cast down to the earth. Having great anger the demons will crash the system, which is already boobytrapped with numerous means to bring civilization to its knees, over which the last king will initiate a reign of terror like nothing before.

While the Watchtower presently enjoys a monopoly over the truth, at least in relation to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they stand at the ready to punish any who dispute their “present truth,” the coming of Christ will impact the organization in a most profound way.

In the 28th chapter of Isaiah Jehovah refers to his punishing agent, likening it to a storm, saying of it: “Look! Jehovah has someone strong and mighty. Like a thundering hailstorm, a destructive windstorm, Like a thunderstorm of powerful floodwaters, He will forcefully hurl it down to the earth.”

What is to be forcefully hurled down? The context reveals that it is the prophets and priests who rule over God’s people —otherwise described as the drunkards of Ephraim. The prophecy continues: “And these also go astray because of wine; their alcoholic beverages make them stagger. Priest and prophet go astray because of alcohol; the wine confuses them, and they stagger from their alcohol; their vision makes them go astray, and they stumble in judgment.”

Spiritually drunk and cocksure of their understanding of the Scriptures, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses feel secure at the controls of Jehovah’s earth organization. They have interpreted the Scriptures so as to isolate themselves from God’s judgment. They have declared the first resurrection to have begun and exalted departed Watchtower leaders to the heavens, as if to make a covenant with death. They imagine that they will prevail simply by writing themselves a free pass. As if to demonstrate their absolute confidence in their wealth and wisdom and the sureness of the future that they have envisioned, they have constructed a brand new palace for themselves in the New York countryside.

But the truth will surely overreach them. The prophecy continues: “So hear the word of Jehovah, you boasters, you rulers of this people in Jerusalem, for you men say: ‘We have made a covenant with Death, and with the Grave we have made an agreement. When the raging flash flood passes through, it will not reach us, for we have made a lie our refuge and we have hidden ourselves in falsehood.’ Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a tested stone, the precious cornerstone of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will panic. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling tool. The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will flood out the hiding place. Your covenant with Death will be dissolved, and your agreement with the Grave will not stand. When the raging flash flood passes through, You will be crushed by it. As often as it passes through, it will sweep you away; for it will pass through morning after morning, during the day and during the night. Only terror will make them understand what was heard.”’

The “rulers of this people in Jerusalem” ought to remind us of the fact that Jesus came to Jerusalem to inspect the temple on the occasion of his arrest and it was then that he spoke of the future trampling of Jerusalem during the conclusion of the global system of things.

That the prophecy has to do with the return of Christ is evident from the reference to the tried and true cornerstone being laid as a sure foundation.

The prophecy indicates that at the time of Christ return God’s people will be dominated by a religious tyranny run by men who are intoxicated with their own importance and power. Due to their spiritually inebriated state they cannot discern the coming of Christ. Thus, Jehovah’s “strange deed —“his unusual work,” involves destroying an organization that he previously had protected and used. The purpose of his doing so is so that Christians may demonstrate their faith apart from the organization that dominates their lives up until then. No committee of men, or their lawyers or accountants, can prevent Jehovah’s judgments from coming about. The truth will prevail!

“Now do not scoff, so that your bonds may not be further tightened, for I have heard from the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, that an extermination has been determined for all the land.”

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