Since the recent tomahawk bombing of a largely abandoned Syrian airbase and the saber-rattling over North Korea, the phrase “world war three” has been entered into Google search more frequently than at any other time, ever. Of course, the same googleers might also do a search for the best porno or make-up tips; but the point is, the threat of global war, no matter how real, doesn’t resonate with Jehovah’s Witnesses at all. In fact, the precarious state of the world is evidently, largely irrelevant, at least as far as the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are concerned. That is ironic since for well over a century the Watchtower has been announcing the imminent end of the system.
What accounts for such obtuseness on the part of those who boast of being on the watch? That question is all the more pertinent considering what Jesus said when asked by his apostles what would be the sign signaling his return and the end of this evil age. Jesus responded with a two-fold warning. First, Christ forewarned his followers of a massive deception that would target them, saying: “Look out that you are not misled, for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time is near.’ Do not go after them.”
Secondly, Jesus foretold of wars and disturbances that might give cause for terror, saying: “Furthermore, when you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified. For these things must take place first, but the end will not occur immediately.”
What are the wars and disturbances? How extensive might these events be? Jesus elaborated: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” Wars and disturbances indeed!
Jesus’ words are undoubtedly meant to be understood at a particular point in time for the purpose of guiding his disciples through the deception and terror that will be prevalent then. But from the standpoint of Jehovah’s Witnesses these terrifying sights are all in the past. 1914 was, of course, the beginning of the end, at least according to the Watchtower. And those who originally heard of the wars and disturbances that Jesus foretold have all passed away. Not a single soul remains of the Bible Students who were alive then to witness the Great War.
So, that is why the present state of the world is unimportant to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Watchtower has effectively rendered the prophetic sign Jesus provided into historical trivia. That is no insignificant “accomplishment.”
But isn’t that exactly what Jesus warned against when he said many will come on the basis of his name with the message that “due time has approached?”
Certainly the Watchtower has come on the basis of his name, claiming to be the faithful and discreet slave of Christ and the sole channel of truth and many other things to impart to itself apostolic-like authority. And it is indisputable that from its inception the Watchtower has been the source of a consistent message that “the due time has approached.” In fact, the second volume of Pastor Russell’s Millennial Dawn series published in 1889 was entitled The Time is at Hand. Over the past 130 years since then millions upon millions of tracts, magazines and books have been produced by the same source, all heralding 1914 as the most important date in all human history.
Besides that, the Watchtower has convinced Jehovah’s Witnesses that another world war is not possible. (The fallacy of that reasoning has been the topic of several articles on this site over the years.) But here we are, with the world’s nuclear powers jostling and squaring off for a confrontation. No wonder Jesus sternly warned us to be on guard against being misled by those who claim to speak for Jesus.
What will the virtually inevitable outbreak of world war mean for Jehovah’s Witnesses? First and foremost, it will force them to reconsider their faith. That is, after all, why God allows the deluding influence to operate in the first place.
Since it is highly doubtful that the Watchtower would ever admit to the falsity of their 1914 invisible parousia doctrine, Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to come to terms with the fact that the organization they believe is leading them in behalf of Jehovah is actually misleading them away from Christ. That will become apparent when the missiles really start flying. Indeed, we may expect the Watchtower to double down, as they say, and become the source of misleading proclamations that Christ is “here,” in the inner chambers, or “there,” in the wilderness, so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.
You may be sure that qualifying to enter into the new world is going to involve more than underlying the correct answer in a Watchtower publication.