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:
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?
Pardon me, I’m an ex-JW and think it’s possible I may be of the remnant class and years ago I was being raped by demons in one of my dreams.
I was reading the “Paradise Restored” book, of 1974 and one of the last chapters explains in detaile this prophecy just as this The Watchtower Issue does, but more detailed, so, I’m not sure if this article really contains a “new understanding” of Zachariah 14. I have a totally different pont of view regarding this prophecy, and if you let me explain in a few words, yesterday I was praying (in fact, during all the night and I coud not sleep even a few minutes because the hard-to-deal-with article argumentation -if is possible to say it in that way, as… Read more »
Dear Meleti, zechariah 14:2 puts me in mind of Ezekiel 38 where it tells us in v4 that Jehovah puts hooks in the jaws of Gog to bring him forth with his military force, but verse 8 says that ‘after MANY days you will be given attention’ and that ‘in the final part of the years you will come back to the land of people brought back from the sword…….onto the mountains of Israel…..’etc. Then in verse 16 it tells us that ‘I (Jehovah) shall certainly bring you against my land (note next bit as to why Jehovah would do… Read more »
I agree that Zechariah 14 should put one in mind of Ezequiel’s prophecy regarding the attack of God of Magog. In the latter, Jehovah baits Satan much as he did Pharaoh at the Red Sea by leaving his people in an apparently vulnerable state. However, also like what happened at the Red Sea, none of Jehovah’s people are harmed, for he acts to protect them by attacking and destroying Gog. The attack of Gog happens as the trigger to Armageddon, adding one more justification to Jehovah’s holy war; i.e., it is fought in the defense of a helpless and innocent… Read more »
dear Meleti, Coming at the point in time that it does, Zechariah’s prophecy can only apply to one of three situations, 1) literal Jews at 70 ad. OR 2)spiritual Jews future to the prophecy OR 3)symbolic Jews future to the prophecy (Christendom) As you rightly point out, it is unthinkable that Jehovah would deliberately subject his loyal subjects to such inhumane treatment, unless he intended to save them dramatically and completely, as he did in Moses time. Verse 3 does say, however, that Jehovah wars against those attacking nations, followed by verse 4 -5 which describes the provision of the… Read more »
Thanks for making me look at this more deeply. I’d been confining my remarks to a rebuttal of our current interpretation, but with the Scriptures you highlight, it does appear that Zechariah is giving a synopsis of the events surrounding the great tribulation and Armageddon. Jehovah’s day begins with the attack on false religion depicted in vs. 1 and 2. The ones who come out of the great tribulation are the “remaining ones of the people”. (vs. 2b) The attack of Gog of Magog comes against those in Jehovah’s valley, but He wars against the Kings of the earth and… Read more »
Is it me, or are the articles getting crazier and crazier?? Wonder if it has anything to do with the anniversary of 1914 being just around the corner??
I am giving serious thought to answering the a) question on paragraphs 5 and 6 with the comment you suggest. Seriously. Maybe this is what it takes to get the organization to straighten up and fly right regarding the kinds of liberties it sometimes takes.