Jehovah’s Witnesses are all about the future. Surviving the violent end of this wicked world and living forever in paradise on earth is a compelling vision —a valid hope, solidly based upon the Sacred Scriptures. Indeed, let your Kingdom come!
When Jesus walked the earth he was keenly interested in the future. He was aware of what was written in the Hebrew prophets and Psalms. He knew, for example, that one of his close associates was going to betray him. It was so written. The prophets also foretold that the shepherd would be struck and the sheep scattered. Jesus knew that applied to him and he even warned his disciples that they would be stumbled and scattered because the Devil had demanded to put them to the test.
Even the last word that Jesus uttered before he breathed his last was in fulfillment of the 22nd Psalm when Jesus cried out: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”
Jesus did not stay dead though, and that was foretold in prophecy too. The resurrection of Christ began a new phase. After he arose from the dead Jesus appeared to his disciples on numerous occasions over the course of 40 days. On the 40th day he ascended back to heaven as a crowd of disciples looked on. The resurrected Lord of heaven and earth instructed his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the spirit. And 10 days later —whoosh! —the anointing began!
All of the 120 who were anointed had what appeared to be tongues of fire hovering over their heads. They began speaking —not in unintelligible gibberish like the Pentecostal cults and sects today —no, they spoke in the languages of the sojourners who had come to Jerusalem for the festival. The tongue-speakers witnessed to them about Jesus and God in their native languages.
The transformation was most profound in Peter. A mere 50 days before Peter had denied even knowing Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times! But shortly after Pentecost, the former fisherman stood up to the very men who had condemned Jesus to death and he boldly told them that they would not stop preaching about Jesus, that they had to obey God and not men. God’s spirit had infused into them the same courage and conviction that Jesus possessed.
Not only did Jesus fulfill prophecy, but he was also a prophet —the foremost. As regards his prophecy of the conclusion of the system of things, Jesus had much to say and with reference to the many things he spoke, Jesus added: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” — Matthew 24:35
Among the words that will not pass away, Jesus said: “Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, too, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses have certainly been a hated sect, there is no question about that. Be that as it may, can it honestly be said Jehovah’s Witnesses are hated because of the name of Jesus? No. Not really. Rather, is it not the name of Jehovah that has provoked the most controversy and animosity? Surely, that is true. Jehovah’s Witnesses are hated because they do not abide by the accepted beliefs of the churches —the Trinity being the foremost.
Whether valid or not, one of the many criticisms against the Watchtower is that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not give Jesus his due. It’s all about Jehovah. That is hard to argue against. So, again, how is it that Jehovah’s Witnesses are hated on account of Jesus’ name? Hold that thought.
While many have already been upended due to the many stumbling blocks the Watchtower has strewn in the path, have we seen the sort of betrayal and murderous hatred of one another Jesus foretold? Again, honestly, no. To be sure, Jesus was not talking about people in general —people of the world. Christ was speaking about what will befall his disciples during the conclusion. They will be hated on account of the name of Jesus at the same time others of his disciples will be stumbled and betray and hate one another, while the love of many lovers of God will grow cold due to the increasing lawlessness.
Back at the turn of the 20th century, the Watchtower was pointing to 1914 as the year when it was all going to come to a climax at Armageddon. Millions of people were familiar with the message of the International Bible Students. When war broke out in Europe it seemed as if C.T. Russell was a wise sage. Then Pastor Russell unexpectedly passed away. The war dragged on and a power struggle ensued among the leaders of the organization. Nothing the Bible Students expected to happen happened. Ultimately the vast majority of people were either stumbled or became disillusioned —not that there is a difference. When Rutherford reorganized the work only a few thousand Bible Students responded. But, as was the case after Pentecost, those who responded were used by Christ to preach to an even greater extent.
Returning to the words of Jesus that will by no means pass away, in the parallel gospel account in Mark Jesus added a few details, saying: “As for you, look out for yourselves. People will hand you over to local courts, and you will be beaten in synagogues and be put on the stand before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them. Also, in all the nations, the good news has to be preached first. And when they are taking you to hand you over, do not be anxious beforehand about what to say; but whatever is given you in that hour, say this, for you are not the ones speaking, but the holy spirit is. Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all people on account of my name.”
As mentioned above, in the first century Peter stood before the Jewish authorities and gave them a witness. Paul did too, standing before governor Festus and even Caesar in Rome. But nothing like that has happened in the modern era. That is because, contrary to the long-held teaching of the Watchtower, the conclusion has not begun yet.
The very fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses ardently believe the time of the end began in 1914 is no doubt why many will be stumbled and turn against their former friends and family when once Christ comes and the world is thrown into tumult.
Now, as regards being hated by the nations on account of the name of Jesus: Just as the apostles were not allowed to understand certain things in order that their faith might be tested, the same dynamic is at work now.
Jehovah has allowed for an operation of Satan using every powerful work, lying, and deceptive signs and wonders. To what end? To convince Christians that the parousia has begun and the day of Jehovah is here. Why? The scripture states: “That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.” — 2 Thess. 2:11-12
A lie is a lie, is a lie. Knowing the truth about the soul, hell, the falsity of the Trinity is good. But believing falsehoods about Jesus having come in 1914 and all that is still believing and teaching a lie. God allows for the lie in order to judge those who will refuse to accept the truth when Christ returns. Is not Jesus the way and the truth?
As it stands right now Jesus has not come. Not in any sense. His Kingdom has not begun ruling. Satan has not been thrown down. There is no point in arguing. Let the Watchtower teach whatever it wishes. But when Christ comes then the judgment phase will begin and there will be nothing anyone can do then to prevent it or jigger the outcome. Lies and liars will melt away like slugs.
Those who pass the test will receive the spirit. Even those who have already been anointed will receive the full measure of spirit. That is what Jesus meant when he said “whatever is given you in that hour, say this, for you are not the ones speaking, but the holy spirit is.” Joel foretold this very thing: “And you will have to know that I am in the midst of Israel and that I am Jehovah your God —there is no other! My people will never again be put to shame. After that I will pour out my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. And even on my male slaves and female slaves I will pour out my spirit in those days.” — Joel 2:27-29
The truth is, the Watchtower has never understood prophecy. As far as providing food at the proper time, that assignment even hints of the prevailing blindness. Knowledge of the operation of Satan —though part of Bible prophecy that must come to pass —is not food at the proper time. The organization is only an instrument in Christ’s hand until he begins ruling as King over the world. The slaves assigned to kitchen duty are expected to provide the needed nourishment to the household so that they may do their assigned work, which is, of course, to go and preach and teach. However, once the master comes for a surprise inspection all of those assigned to feed the domestics will be relieved of duty. Some slaves will be banished into the outer darkness where they will weep and gnash their teeth —knowing their fate in eternal oblivion. After receiving the required amount of lashes for their ignorant neglect, the slaves judged to have been faithful will be appointed over all the master’s belongings. That means they will become fully adopted sons of God and brothers of Christ.
When the preaching work is done there will be no need for a publishing company. Then the Watchtower will be discarded. That is what Jesus was speaking about when he said: “However, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. Let the man on the housetop not come down nor go inside to take anything out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the things behind to pick up his outer garment.” — Mark 13:14-16
The desolation of Jerusalem signifies the end of Christianity —as least as far as preaching and teaching and disciple-making. In the aftermath of the judgment is when Jesus’ brothers will be put on the stand —so to speak.
I doubt if there are any rulers in the world today who are unacquainted with Jesus —at least in name. After all, the nations of Christendom are viewed as Christian nations, contrasted with Islamic nations or communistic nations. So, those who will be made to stand before governors and kings will not be explaining to them who Jesus is. What would be the point?
JESUS WILL COME IN THE SAME MANNER
When Jesus departed from this earth in view of a small crowd of believers two angels suddenly appeared. They spoke to the astonished disciples and said: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into the sky will come in the same manner as you have seen him going into the sky.” — Acts 1:11
Naturally, the disciples expected Jesus to return in their lifetime. The apostles even spread the rumor among the brothers that John would still be alive when Jesus came back. As the longest-surviving apostle John finally cleared up the misunderstanding when he wrote his gospel. (see John 21:23)
Nevertheless, for these past two millennia, true Christians have hoped for Jesus’ promised return. And because of their earnest expectation, the Bible Students were easily deluded into believing that Jesus had invisibly returned in 1874. One of the first writings C.T. Russell published, even before the Watchtower Magazine, was entitled The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. And so the deluding influence began and has persisted until this very day with countless adjustments, like moving the date of Jesus’ second coming from 1874 to 1914.
The truth is, there is no such thing as an invisible parousia. The apostles never taught such a thing. They watched as Jesus ascended and were told by the angels he would return in the same manner.
It is true, though, that only believers saw Jesus after his resurrection. And we may be sure that those who witnessed Christ levitated off the earth and into the clouds were later in the upper room when the spirit was poured out. Contrary to the prevailing opinion that every eye will literally see Christ, no, that is not going to happen. Jesus said they will see the sign of the Son of man appear in heaven and they will beat themselves in grief at the sight. Jesus returning in the same manner will involve the manifestation of Christ to those who are anointed. No one else.
The apostle John wrote: “So now, little children, remain in union with him, so that when he is made manifest we may have freeness of speech and not shrink away from him in shame at his presence.” — 1 John 2:28
First, please take note that the manifestation of Jesus is the same thing as his presence. What does it mean to be manifest? In the same epistle, John explained: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have observed and our hands have felt, concerning the word of life, (yes, the life was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you the everlasting life that was with the Father and was made manifest to us), that which we have seen and heard we are reporting also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” — 1 John 1:1-3
Jesus was obviously manifest as a man in the flesh. And the apostles knew he was the Son of God. Jesus was also manifest to them after his resurrection. So, a manifestation is an appearance. And John went on to say very plainly: “Beloved ones, we are now children of God, but it has not yet been made manifest what we will be. We do know that when he is made manifest we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as that one is pure.” — 1 John 3:2-3
Not everyone has the hope in him. Those who are called do. When Jesus returns he will become manifest to those called and chosen and faithful. They will see him as he is —as a glorious spirit, the royal Son of Jehovah the Living God.
Then is when the future kings of the world will be made to stand before governors and kings. No doubt they will give witness to what they will have seen; namely, Jesus. They will have the spirit of the Lion of the tribe of Judah infused into them. Micah declares they will be like lions among the lambs. Jesus assured us that no one will be able to refute a word of our testimony, as he stated at Luke 21:15: “I will give you words and wisdom that all your opposers together will not be able to resist or dispute.”
Then is when Christians shall be hated by all the nations on account of the name of Jesus Christ.
Download the PDF or purchase the paper version of The Second Coming of Christ – What Will it Mean for You?