We’re taking a break from our four-part review of the July 15, 2013 issue of The Watchtower to recap the study article for this week. We already dealt with this article in depth in a November post. However, one of the key points of this new understanding is so egregious from this reviewer’s point of view that it merits special attention.
The article deals with our interpretation of a prophecy in chapter 14 of Zechariah. The prophecy states:
(Zechariah 14:1,2) 14?“Look! There is a day coming, belonging to Jehovah, and the spoil of you will certainly be apportioned out in the midst of you. 2?And I shall certainly gather all the nations against Jerusalem for the war; and the city will actually be captured and the houses be pillaged, and the women themselves will be raped.
Paragraphs 5 of the article states: “’The city’ [Jerusalem] is symbolic of God’s Messianic Kingdom. It is represented on earth by its ‘citizens,’ the remnant of anointed Christians.”
So here is a suggestion for you should you want to comment on this article. When the (a) question is asked for paragraphs 5 and 6, you could answer something like this:“The article states that the city, Jerusalem, stands for the Messianic kingdom represented by Jehovah’s faithful servants, the anointed remnant. Zechariah 14:2 says that Jehovah gathers all the nations to war against the anointed remnant to capture and pillage them and rape the women.”
No one can accuse you of introducing an apostate idea, because you are answering right in line with what the article and the Bible are saying.
As for the rest, the fact that:
- No reason is given as to why Jehovah would use the nations to war on his faithful servants;
- No historical fulfillment is provided to show how the women are symbolically raped;
- No proof is offered to support the contradictory statement that “a day belonging to Jehovah” isn’t Jehovah’s day [Armageddon], but the Lord’s day supposedly in 1914;
- No proof is given to explain the arbitrary switching from the Lord’s day in verse 1 to Jehovah’s day in verse 4, when clearly the same day is being referred to in both places;
- No historical proof is provided to show how the “half of the city goes into exile” was fulfilled.
Well, there really is only so much error you can point out in a study without risking eviction from the meeting or worse, so best to let all that go.
Now if all the above sounds a little harsh, a little judgmental, please consider this fact: This isn’t just some silly, self-serving interpretation, intended apparently to shore up the flagging doctrine of 1914 as the start of Christ’s presence. This interpretation paints Jehovah as a God who would war on his own faithful servants. He is depicted as gathering our enemies against us, to apportion out our spoil, to capture and pillage, and to rape our women. Doing this to a wicked and apostate nation like Jerusalem before the Babylonians or the First Century Jerusalem that killed his son and persecuted his servants is just and deserved; but to do it to those striving to serve him and obey his laws makes no sense. It paints Jehovah as an unjust and vicious God.
Are we to accept such an interpretation lying down? We criticize Christendom for promoting the “God-dishonoring doctrine of Hellfire”, but are we not doing the very same thing by promoting this God-dishonoring interpretation of Zechariah’s prophecy?