[From ws15/11 for Jan. 11-17]
“God is love.” – 1 John 4:8, 16
What a wonderful theme. We should have half a dozen Watchtowers every year on this theme alone. But we must take what we can get.
In paragraph 2, we are reminded Jehovah has appointed Jesus to judge the inhabited earth. (Acts 17:31) It will be interesting to take note of the answers given at your meeting to see if the brothers grasp the point that this is not a judgment at Armageddon, but the 1,000-year judgment day in which Christ will rule.
In paragraph 4, the issue of universal sovereignty is raised. Was this really the issue raised by Satan? It may seem logical to a mind trained by the publications of the Watchtower, but the question is, Why are the words “universal sovereignty” not to be found in Scripture? Why is the explanation given in the paragraph not backed up by supporting scriptures? (For a detailed analysis of this subject, see this article.)
Paragraph 5 issues a common refrain: “Today, world conditions keep getting worse.”
Some of the nastier human leaders of history have found that you can fool all of the people some of the time if you keep repeating the same lie over and over. People just accept it as gospel, because they never stop to think about it.
Are world conditions truly getting worse? Are there more wars now? Are more people dying now then did from 1914 to 1940? Are more people dying of diseases than did 80 or 100 years ago? Why is the average lifespan significantly higher now than it was back then? Is there more ethnic and social tolerance now than there was 50, 70, or 90 years ago? Is economic prosperity greater now than it was in your father’s or grandfather’s lifetime?
Ask yourself this, ‘If conditions are getting worse, would you not prefer to live back then when they weren’t so bad? Perhaps from 1914 to 1920. Just dodge the bullets and don’t inhale too deeply when the Spanish influenza was about. Or perhaps the 1930s during the Great Depression. Not to worry though, that only lasted 10 years. Then the economic boom brought on by the World War II ended that.
There is a sobering warning in paragraph 9 which Jehovah’s Witnesses should heed: “Jehovah detests violent and deceptive people.” Violence can take many forms. It can be psychological, for example. Emotional abuse can be even more difficult to recover from than physical abuse or violence. As for deception, if our words mislead people to take a life course away from God, how much will the God of love hate such an action?
The attendees at the 110,000 congregations worldwide will surely conclude, upon studying paragraph 11, that the ‘righteous will find exquisite delight on earth’ during the period immediately following Armageddon. But really, with the resurrection of billions of unrighteous, is that a reasonable assumption? The Bible even says there will be war after the Messianic reign ends. Only when Satan and his hordes are finally destroyed will the words of Ps 37:11 and 29 see their fulfillment. (Re 20:7-10)
As you read paragraphs 14 and 15, consider the context of all the Scriptures cited. They do not apply to some earthly class of faithful servants. They are written with the children of God in mind. It is true that Christ died for all mankind. That is why there are two resurrections. The first, to everlasting life, is for the children of God. The second is to the earth for the unrighteous so that they can have a fair and free opportunity to avail themselves of the value of Jesus’ sacrifice. The Bible makes no provision for a third resurrection, a third group. Only Jehovah’s Witnesses do that.
The third theme question (p. 16) is: “What has the Messianic Kingdom been doing that convinces you that it is God’s loving arrangement for mankind?”
The answer to this is, ‘Nothing.’ The Messianic Kingdom has yet to begin, or are we to believe the 1,000 year rule has begun? If so, then there are only 900 years left. (See When Did God’s Kingdom Begin Ruling?)
In paragraph 17, we are led to believe that Jesus has spent the first 100 years of his Messianic rulership ruling over the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This would make Jesus responsible for all the medical silliness of Woodworth’s editorship (1919-1945), Rutherford’s 1925 prediction of the end of the world, Franz’s 1975 fiasco, the decades-long and looming problem of our mishandling of child abuse, and the horrific way disfellowshipping has been used to oppress the little ones. Truly, if this is evidence of Jesus’ Messianic rule, who would want any part of it?
This is just one more way that the false doctrine of 1914 has brought reproach on the name of Jesus and Jehovah.
The article closes by espousing our two biggest false teachings:
“Bible prophecy shows that God’s heavenly Kingdom was established when Christ’s presence began in 1914. Since then, there has been a gathering of the remaining ones who will rule with Jesus in heaven as well as of “a great crowd” of people who will survive this system’s end and be ushered into the new world. (Rev. 7:9, 13, 14)”
If a Bible prophecy did truly show that Christ’s presence began in 1914, why does the writer not cite the Scriptural references to support it? If you want to see how truly fragile the entire interpretive structure is, check out 1914—A Litany of Assumptions. As for the false teaching that stems from the misapplication of John 10:16 (the “other sheep” doctrine), let’s leave that to consider next week.