15 January 2014 Study Watchtower
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus took up his heavenly throne and started ruling, invisibly, from October 1914. October 2014 will mark the 100 anniversary of this event. Their 2014 year text is based upon Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:10 where he told his followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come. It comes as no surprise that the first two study articles in the January 2014 Watchtower are based upon their belief that Jesus started ruling in 1914 and that God’s kingdom will soon come to earth. The last few study Watchtowers have been focused on preparing the ground in anticipation of the imminence of the great tribulation, which comes before Armageddon, to be followed by the thousand year reign of Jesus and the 144,000 from heaven over the earth. Old beliefs about what they expected to happen in 1914 have been jettisoned and “increased light” has been received. All Jehovah’s Witnesses are being encouraged to prepare for the great tribulation, to put their trust in their leaders and disregard any criticism, especially from former Witnesses whom they brand as “apostates.” What follows is a brief review of two study articles from the 15 January Watchtower.
100 Years of Kingdom Rule – How Does It Affect You?
Paragraph 2 declares that “Jehovah has already become King in our day! The thrilling events of the past 100 years are proof of this. God is performing great and wonderful works in behalf of millions of loyal subjects.” In paragraph 3 they claim the “Jesus Christ had begun to rule in heaven as King of God’s Kingdom in 1914. By enthroning his Son as the Messianic King, Jehovah had, indeed, become King in a new sense!” Paragraph 4 goes on to say that in 1914 “Jesus and his angels cast the Devil and his demons out of heaven.” It is not the purpose of this review to challenge those claims, but to examine what they put forward as evidence to prove that Jehovah and his King have been ruling for 100 years and that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are Jehovah’s chosen and favoured people. Please read this article to see how Jehovah’s Witness beliefs about 1914 are not biblical:
The Messianic King Refines His Loyal Subjects: “Jehovah directed Jesus to inspect and refine the spiritual conditions of his followers on earth (between 1914 and the early part of 1919). Jesus then used his kingly authority to appoint a ‘faithful and discreet slave’. Since 1919, a small group of anointed brothers have loyally carried out the weighty responsibility to feed the ‘domestics’.” In other words, they say they were chosen by Jehovah in 1919 and they alone can dispense ‘spiritual food’ to Jehovah’s people. “We must keep free from any contamination by false religion or the politics of this world.” By false religion, they mean every religion apart from Jehovah’s Witnesses. There is not one shred of evidence to support these claims. They are merely reinforcing their view that Jehovah has been refining their organisation for 99 years.
The King Educates His Subjects to Preach Worldwide: “By 1919… the King was ruling in heaven, and he had gathered a small group of cleansed earthly subjects.” That would be the Bible Students before they adopted the name ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ under the second president, Rutherford. What follows is a self-congratulatory summary of how Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only people who preach the good news of the kingdom worldwide. Apparently, this is proof that Jesus is educating them and that Jesus has been ruling, invisibly, from heaven since 1914.
The King Organizes His Subjects For Greater Activity: “Since the establishment of the Kingdom in 1914, the King has refined the way God’s servants are organized to do his Father’s will… In 1976, the Governing Body was organized into six committees to supervise the kingdom work around the world.” Strange, I thought that God so loved the world he sent his one and only Son, not a committee (John 3:16). Paragraph 13 sums it up by saying that the Messianic King has been really busy during the first 100 years of his reign. He has picked them as his chosen vessel and he is directing their preaching activity and is educating them via the ‘faithful and discrete slave.’
No wonder nobody else realises that Jesus has been ruling for 100 years! Apparently, the only people who know anything about this are Jehovah’s Witnesses. And how do they know this? Why, because the Governing Body says so. Surely, no further evidence is necessary? Well, yes, because the claims made by the leaders of this organization are nothing more than that – claims. Nowhere in the Bible does it say Jesus’ rule from heaven would be invisible: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM, even those who pierced him; and all the people of the earth will mourn because of him” (Revelation 1:7). This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. It did not happen, invisibly, in 1914. Nowhere in the Bible does it say Jesus would pick a group of people to be his sole channel of communication, or that you have to belong to an organisation to be saved: “Come to ME, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Future Blessings of the Messianic Kingdom: “Human governments under Satan’s control still stand in opposition to the kingdom.” That is why they say that very soon now, Jesus will “go subduing in the midst of [his] enemies.” After Jesus has destroyed all his enemies (at Armageddon), Satan and his demons will be thrown into an abyss for a thousand years and “the King will resurrect countless millions who are sleeping in the grave and will organize an extensive educational program to teach them about Jehovah.” Excuse me, but countless billions of people have died. If Jehovah’s Witnesses think virtually everybody will get a physical resurrection, this planet is going to be severely crowded. And who, I wonder, will be in charge of this “extensive educational program?” Why, all faithful and obedient Jehovah’s Witnesses who survive Armageddon, under the control and authority of their Governing Body, no doubt.
The article concludes with a rousing rallying call to “continue to be his loyal subjects.” After all, “the time for this to happen is very near.” Strange, but my parents, who became Witnesses in the late 1930’s thought these events were very near. And when I was a Witness, I thought these events were very near in October 1975. Frankly, their assertion that “the thrilling events of 100 years of Kingdom rule” are evidence that Jesus has been ruling for 100 years beggars belief. Do they seriously think that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have been blessed with heavenly insight into Bible prophecy and nobody else can possibly understand what’s been going on, invisibly, for 100 years? Sadly, they do. I am reminded of that story about the Emperor’s new clothes.
Let Your Kingdom Come – But When?
Paragraph 2 sets the tone by saying that Jehovah’s Witnesses “know that in one sense God’s Kingdom came in 1914 when Jesus was installed as King in heaven.” Paragraph 3 self-affirms their view that only they can see the clear evidence that Christ has been ruling since 1914. Well, they’ve got that right. I believe they are the only people on the face of the planet who think that. The article goes on to present “three important reasons why we can be confident that God’s anointed King will soon take additional steps toward having the divine will done fully on earth.”
The Horsemen Have Made Their Appearance: “In 1914, Jesus Christ – pictured as riding a white horse – was given his heavenly crown. He immediately went forth to complete the conquest of Satan’s wicked system.” Bear in mind 99 years have elapsed since this event is supposed to have happened. The article goes on to say that the three horsemen of Revelation 6:3-8 went forth during 1914. And nobody noticed – oh, except for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim only they understood the significance of all those invisible events. Now brace yourself for what follows.
In paragraph 6, after admitting they thought 1914 would be the END of the ‘Gentile Times’ they go on to say “They were not completely sure about what would happen.” That is a bare-faced lie. There are hundreds of articles published by the Society declaring what they said would happen.
As recently as July 2013 the Watchtower said (on page 25, paragraph 28): “In the past, we thought that the great tribulation BEGAN in 1914 when World War I started. We thought that Jehovah ‘cut short’ those days in 1918 when the war ended so that the remaining anointed ones on earth could preach the good news to all nations. Then we realised that a part of Jesus’ prophecy about the last days has two fulfilments. So we needed to change the way we understood some parts of the prophecy.” Hold onto that last sentence.
The Governing Body is preparing the ground for “increased light.” They must distance themselves from all their old false expectations and predictions concerning 1914 and get everybody to focus ahead on what’s about to happen.
Wickedness is Advancing from Bad to Worse: Nobody would disagree with that statement. But this is taken by Jehovah’s Witnesses as proof that “it will not be long before God’s Kingdom takes active control of earth’s affairs.” They’ve already been waiting for 99 years. How much longer will it be?
This Generation Will Not Pass Away: After glossing over the fact that “some of their expectations about what would happen in 1914 did not come about”, they introduce a new spin on the meaning of Jesus’ words about “this generation” who would be alive to see the end of the system. Even as recently as 1984 the Watchtower published an article entitled “1914 The Generation That Will Not Pass Away.” The front cover shows leading members of the organisation, all of whom have now died. That generation HAS passed away.
Now they claim that in Matthew 24:33-35, “Jesus was referring to TWO groups of anointed Christians.” The first group “were not merely alive in 1914, but they were spirit-anointed as sons of God in or before that year.” Paragraph 16 declares that “The second group included in ‘this generation’ are anointed contemporaries of the first group. They were not simply alive during the lifetime of those in the first group, but they were anointed with holy spirit during the time that those of the first group were still on earth. Thus, not every anointed person today is included in ‘this generation’ of whom Jesus spoke. Today, those in this second group are themselves advancing in years. Yet, Jesus’ words at Matthew 24:34 give us confidence that at least some of “this generation will by no means pass away” before seeing the start of the great tribulation.”
Let me see if I understand. The first group were Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been anointed in or before 1914. They are all dead by now. The second group are Jehovah’s Witnesses who were anointed after 1914 while the first group were still alive. Most of them must also be dead by now. And this is supposed to be proof that the start of the great tribulation is imminent? But they’ve been saying that for over 100 years! For how much longer can they continue to change the meaning of “this generation”? My parents became Witnesses at the end of the 1930’s and they believed they would be alive to see the end of this wicked system of things and the start of God’s kingdom on earth. They had been deceived. When I was a Witness, I believed the end of this wicked system of things was going to happen shortly after October 1975. I had been deceived. 99 years of deception.
Christ Will Soon complete His Conquest: Finally, in paragraph 17, we get an honest declaration. “Jesus cautioned that we would not – and we do not – know the exact day or hour.” After 99 years of false expectations and predictions, the Governing Body has finally gone into print to say they don’t know the exact day or hour. But the whole tone of this article, and the one that precedes it, is to crank up the hype, get everybody excited about the imminence of the great tribulation and ensure they will exert more effort into the kingdom work, proving their loyalty and obedience to the organisation. They have been told not to listen to anyone who disagrees with what the Governing Body says. They have been instructed to obey their elders, even if they don’t understand why they have to follow them. It’s all about being loyal and obedient to their leaders.
“Christ will soon complete his conquest of this ungodly society by waging the final war in righteousness.” Not that they know the exact day or hour, only that it’s closer now than it was in 1914.
Jehovah’s Witnesses say the spiritual light is getting brighter. But the Bible says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jehovah allowed them to come up with wrong interpretations of Bible prophecy in years gone by, but the current interpretation of Bible prophecy is now accurate. Is Jehovah a God of confusion? Does Jehovah change his mind? Not according Malachi 3:6: “For I am Jehovah, I have not changed.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the second coming (or presence) of Jesus happened, invisibly, in 1914, and because they had been chosen, in 1919, as Jehovah’s sole channel of communication, only they were able to understand what was going on. This is contrary to what Jesus himself said: “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man… At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other… I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:24 -35).
Who will you choose to believe – Jesus Christ or the men who head up a denomination who claim they alone have “the truth”?