[From ws15/08 p. 24 for Oct. 19 -25]
“Bad associations spoil useful habits.” – 1Co 15:33
The Last Days
“The Bible calls the era that began in 1914 ‘the last days.’” – par. 1
Since the article starts out with a categorical statement, it seems only fair that we should make one of our own.
“The Bible does not call the era that began in 1914 ‘the last days.’”
Which statement is true? Unlike the article, we will now provide scriptural support for our assertion.
The phrase “last days” occurs four times in the Christian Scriptures at Acts 2:17-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; James 5:3; and 2 Peter 3:3.
The paragraph refers to 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Whenever we use this passage to support the JW view of the last days, we stop at verse 5. That’s because the next two verses tend to undermine our belief that the last days only started in 1914. There, Paul is referring to conditions within the Christian congregation, conditions which succeeding generations of Christians down through the ages would face.
Likewise, both James 5:3 and 2 Peter 3:3 make no sense if we think they can only apply to our day. Nevertheless, the most convincing piece of evidence that the last days did not start in 1914 is found at Acts 2:17-21. There, Peter refers to the events that his audience was witnessing and uses them to prove they were seeing the fulfillment of Joel’s Last Days prophecy.
While Peter makes the start of the last days then, in the first century, he also shows that Joel’s words make the end. He refers to signs in the heavens—the sun turning to darkness, the moon to blood, and the arrival of the “great and illustrious day of the Lord.” Now that sounds an awful lot like what Jesus spoke of at Matthew 24:29, 30 when speaking about his return, does it not?
It would therefore seem that the last days are concurrent with the Christian Era. They began with events marking the initial calling of the Children of God which all creation had been awaiting for thousands of years, and they end with the final ones of their number being gathered. (Ro 8:16-19; Mt 24:30, 31)
Critical Times, Hard to Deal with
The first paragraph continues with another categorical falsehood.
“These ‘critical times hard to deal with’ are marked by conditions that are far worse than any experienced by mankind prior to that climactic year.”
This statement ignores the facts of history. The dark ages were far worse than anything the eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses studying this week’s article have ever experienced. Take, for instance, the time period covered by the 100 Years War and the Black Death. Imagine a century of war followed by the bubonic plague. The plague affected all of Europe, parts of Africa, and spread through the orient to Asia and China. Imagine living in Europe at a time when one out of every three people died from the Black Death, not to count those killed by the sword. Believe it or not, those are conservative estimates. Other researchers put the number of dead in Europe at 60% of the population, and claim that the world population dropped by 25% as a result.[i]
Can you picture that? Now think of your own life experience. Only by turning a blind eye to the events of history can Jehovah’s Witnesses be led to believe that our day is marked by “conditions far worse than any experienced by mankind prior to 1914”. To anyone in the know, this statement is outrageous.
It is not only ancient history we must be ignorant of. We must also turn a blind eye to our own history.
“Moreover, the world will continue to deteriorate, for Bible prophecy foretold that ‘wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse.’”— 2 Tim 3:13.
We still can’t get past the article’s first paragraph, because here is yet another false statement to deal with. First of all, the article is misquoting 2 Timothy 3:13. By rights, it should have included an ellipsis after “from bad to worse” because the full verse reads:
“But wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” (2Ti 3:13)
This is still part of Paul’s warning to Timothy about conditions that mark the “last days”. Therefore, he is still talking about the Christian congregation, not the world at large. Since the start of the 20th century, world conditions have worsened and then improved and then worsened again and then improved even more. However, since Paul’s day and down through to our time “wicked men and impostors” in the Christian congregation have continued to “advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” The congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is but one case in point. So Paul wasn’t giving us a sign by which we could measure how close we are to Christ’s return. He makes no mention of Christ’s return. What he is actually warning us about is being misled by wicked men. (See also 2Ti 3:6, 7)
“Bad Associations Spoil Useful Habits”
Finally we get beyond the first paragraph.
One cannot argue with a plainly stated truth like that found at 1 Corinthians 15:33. Given that, what constitutes a bad association?
“Although we want to be kind even to those who do not follow God’s laws, we should not become their intimate associates or close friends. It would therefore be wrong for one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who is a single person to date such an individual who is not dedicated and faithful to God and who does not respect His high standards. Maintaining Christian integrity is far more important than becoming popular with people who do not live by Jehovah’s laws. Our close associates should be those who do God’s will. Jesus said: ‘Whoever does the will of God, this one is my brother and sister and mother.’”— Mark 3:35.
The principle stated here is that we should not become close friends, let alone marry anyone, who does not follow God’s laws, does not respect His high standards, and does not maintain Christian integrity. It is more important to keep integrity than to be popular with people who do not live by Jehovah’s laws.
Well and good. One of Jehovah’s foremost laws is the very first of the Ten Commandments: “You must not have any other gods besides me.” A god is someone whom we obey implicitly and unquestioningly. Therefore, when commanded to stop preaching, Peter and the apostles stated, “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
Could it be that Jehovah’s Witnesses have just qualified themselves as bad associations? After all, if someone among them points out that a teaching of the Governing Body is unscriptural and attempts to demonstrate this using the Bible, that one is cast out and cut off from family and friends.
There are many of us now who continue to associate with Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, it is not the Organization we associate with, but individuals. That is why we will refuse to fellowship with some former friends and associates who, while they may even be elders in the congregation, do not follow God’s law about obeying Him over men, and who thus do not maintain Christian integrity. Such ones appear to men as ministers of righteousness, but their unloving works often manifested by the way they have abused the “little ones” demonstrate that they are bad association. (2Co 11:15; Lu 17:1, 2; Mt 7:15-20)
There are those among Jehovah’s Witnesses who know that some of our teachings are false, but who choose to teach them anyway from the platform or in the field ministry. Why? Because of fear of man. They want to remain “popular with people who do not live by Jehovah’s laws.” On the other hand, a growing number are keeping their Christian integrity even though it means being persecuted by fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, just as Peter and the other apostles were persecuted by fellow Jews. Sometimes the persecution takes the form of slander and character assassination. Other times, it gravitates toward being cut off from everyone we hold dear.
Disfellowshipping is now used as a weapon of darkness in much the same way at the ancient Catholic church used excommunication. (See “A Weapon of Darkness” for details.)
Marry “Only in the Lord”
The question has come up among those of us who are still single and who have awakened to this new spiritual reality, “How am I now to marry only in the Lord.” Prior to this, the answer was simple: Marry another Jehovah’s Witness. However, now what do we do?
There is no easy answer, but I would put it to you that the Watchtower has given us, albeit unwittingly, a direct answer. “Our close associates should be those who do God’s will.” One might look for a suitable mate among Jehovah’s Witnesses (or elsewhere) and then see if he or she is willing to abandon the false teachings that separate him from Christ. (John 4:23) If so, if the individual is willing to obey God as ruler over men even if it means suffering the reproach of the Christ—the disdain of the congregation—then one may well have found a suitable mate in the Lord. (He 11:26; Mt 16:24)
There are many fine individuals among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Good men and women trying to display Christian qualities of love, honesty, and virtue. There are also many individuals who have a form of godly devotion, but prove false to its power. (See 2Ti 3:5. We are still in the last days after all.) The same can be said about members of other religions. The dividing line that Jehovah’s Witnesses cling to is the belief that they alone have the truth. I once thought that way, but independent Bible study has taught me that all the core beliefs that make Witnesses unique are based on the teachings of men and have no foundation in Scripture. Thus, while different in many ways from most other Christian religions, Witnesses are the same in that key element of submission to the teachings and traditions of men over God and his Word.
Associate with Those Who Love Jehovah
The purpose of this article is to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses to remain separate from the world and the “false” religions surrounding them. The final paragraph reinforces this mindset:
“As worshippers of Jehovah, we need to imitate Noah and his family and obedient first-century Christians. We must keep separate from the wicked system of things around us and seek upbuilding associates among the millions of our faithful brothers and sisters….If we watch our associations in these last days, we may personally live right through the end of this evil system and into Jehovah’s righteous new world now so near at hand!”
The idea is that our salvation is not gained personally, but is a consequence of remaining inside the ark-like Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Oh, that it were that easy! But just as well that it isn’t.
[i] See Wikipedia for links to outside sources.
As for this watchtower that alex is highlighting up top the one that i cant seem to comment . Zechariah 8;23 where it says men from the nations will take hold of the skirt of the man who is a jew to my mind anyway seems to be speaking of people answering the call to put faith in the Jesus christ . While the you may be in the plural would it not be reasonable to conclude that this began to be fullfilled by the apostles who went out to the nations urging them to put faith in the jew… Read more »
There is this from the NWT: 23 “This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘It will be in those days that ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will actually take hold of the skirt of a man who is a Jew, saying: “We will go with YOU people, for we have heard [that] God is with YOU people.”’” There are problems with this translation. The original text does not contain “people”, and only has “YOU” by implication. In contrast, the ten men are said to take hold of A man who… Read more »
Thanks for sharing this, Anon. This is a really valuable insight. I’ll keep it in mind the next time someone tries to use Zech. 8:23 to support the anointed class as a group to which the other sheep must cling for salvation.
Thats right anonymous in my research i looked at quite a few different translations and did not notice the word people in any of them . I dont know for sure wether or not the word you is in the plural in the original writings . I was making the point though even if it is the man mentioned in the text still seems to apply to christ .
Based on the Hebrew text, there is not even the presence of the word “you”. Rather than saying, “We will go with you people” or even “We will go with you” it only says “We will go WITH”. The word “with” shows as the Hebrew word “immakem”, a simple preposition, and the notion of ‘number’ seems to go unspecified. Thus, the words “you” or “you people” are assumed and inserted. Either way, an accurate translation really should be showing brackets here. Since there is no explicit object for “go”, the translator must make an assumption. Based on the sentence structure… Read more »
Very interesting. It is another example to show that the NWT can be very biased at times and that it is essential for good understanding to see various translations and preferably with good footnotes.
In case of this verse: _http://studybible.info/compare/Zechariah%208:23
Hello everyone Meleti, I have to thank you again for thoughtful observations on just how dangerous a time we live in. I would like to share with you my observations in answering the question posed at para 4 on the piece – asking readers to illustrate how they would prepare themselves for lift in the new world. To me, and like your other readers, and to those who are simply ‘not in The Truth’ (us lot outside must really be a scourge and unclean (!) – and I think that if you asked any Joe Bloggs on the high street… Read more »
And as for paragraph 7 mark 3;35 those who do the will of god are christs brothers and sisters and choosing a marraige mate from them , Again the vast majority of witnesses are told that they are not christs brothers at all . Are they or not we cant have it both ways ,and if they are not how can it be said that they are actually doing gods will . Can anyone explain that ?
Para 11 john 17 v3 in my opinion hasnt got alot to do with the books and magazines produced by the organisation but has alot to do with gods word the bible itself see verses 6 , 8 and 17 2 corinthians 6v 14 is talking about not being involved in pagan worship of idols . And to marry only in the lord means just that we are not speaking here of just a dedicated baptised witness of jehovah . For the lord paul means is the lord jesus christ for would it not be true that if paul meant… Read more »
Hi Father Jack. I notice you like to refer to Bible verses using the nomenclature v. Of course you are free to do so. However, if you use : the software will recognize what you reference and provide a link to a bible version for easy lookup.
Compare John 17 v3 with John 17:3. As you can see it recognizes “John 17” but misses the reference to verse 3.
Just a helpful hint.
Thanks . Ill do that then i didnt know that . Thanks for your hard work .
Saw a funny quote on another web site. The gist of it was, “Whenever WT changes its interpretations and doctrines, they call it ‘new light’. Only, the T is silent …”
“Sticking with those who are guided by God-given wisdom will help us to “stand firm in the faith” during these very difficult times” paragraph 19. Is the following the result of God-given wisdom? “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. (Matthew 24:21, 22) After that preaching work would be completed, we EXPECTED that Satan’s world would be destroyed. So we… Read more »
The watchtower misappliations 2 timothy 3 verses 1 to 5 is not a prophecy about post 1914 conditions but a description of attitudes that existed in pauls day .as you said meleti para 3 2 tim 3v 12 thevast majority of witnesses are not living in christ even by thier own admission but only the so called anointed are .1 john 2v 15 and 16 in my opinion have nothing to do with asociation including information chanels ie the internet but is a personal exhortation to avoid traits like desire of the flesh (immoral behaviour ) of the eyes (coveting… Read more »
You correctly speak of “the so called anointed”. If we look closely at the history of the WT in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is clear that they were not in possession of biblical truth – at least not very much of it. There is no reason to believe that God and Christ would have inspected the Bible Students and found them to be providing proper spiritual food at that time, any more so than any other religion. Rutherford repudiated nearly everything that Russell and the Bible Students stood for. Today, if a JW were to espouse… Read more »
1914. Don’t ever read “The Gentile Times Reconsidered” by Carl Olof Jonsson if you wish to hang on to this treasured year. Be prepared for some real cognitive dissonance. The research that went into his book is astounding.
Even more devastating than “The Gentile Times Reconsidered” is his other book, “Sign of the Last Days – When?” This book totally demolishes the notion of 1914 being the start of the last days. Not only due to 607BC not being the year Jerusalem was destroyed, but errors in interpreting Daniel, the flaws in viewing current world conditions as “signs” (since they are not as definitive as WT would like us to believe) and most important, that Matthew doesn’t say these events WERE signs. They were conditions that we should expect but that we should NOT be deceived into thinking… Read more »
If you examine Paul’s writings and thinking attentively, you will quickly see that: IN THE LORD = IN CHRIST Christ is the Lord here. Couldn’t be simpler than that. But according to official JW doctrine, most JWs can NOT affirm that they are “in the Lord”, synonymous with “in Christ.” So we have to ask, why are 99.99 % of JWs disregarding the biblical counsel to marry “only IN THE LORD”? /!\ To marry in the Lord, you first have to be in the Lord yourself. (99.8 % of JWs are not professing to be “in the Lord”, and of… Read more »
Meleti, “Thus, while different in many ways from most other Christian religions, Witnesses are the same in that key element of submission to the teachings and traditions of men over God and his Word.” This is very true. Christians attend the church that feels right to them tolerating whatever problems they may eventually see, with many believing that God knows and God allows. There are former Witnesses who are today Roman Catholics, Bible Students, Jews, Pentecostals and so on. They found something more comfortable, something they believe is closer to truth than the JWs. Each made the decision to leave… Read more »
“Thus, while different in many ways from most other Christian religions, Witnesses are the same in that key element of submission to the teachings and traditions of men over God and his Word” I disassociated from JW’s and am now a member of a free evangelical church. The church beliefs are bible based and we have bible study groups where scriptures are openly examined and discussed. Sometimes during sermons comments and points of view are invited and these contributions are usually biblically based. It is true that the church conforms to a broad evangelical tradition but traditions of scriptural interpretation,… Read more »
“Associate with those who love Jehovah” i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since leaving the Organisation, I discovered this teaching for JWs only served to separate us from our fellow man. Once we loose that elitist attitude so prevalent among JWs, we begin to see our fellow man in a whole new different light which opens up many opportunities to preach the good news of the Kingdom more effectively. We are also more inclined to show kindness and love to those in need whether they listen to the good news of not.
Whats so shocking about these watchtower studies is that fact that the witnesses seem to have thier own message contained in each paragraph and the scriptures very often one verse is taken mostly completely out of context to support thier view contained in the article . Im sorry but its not the way to study the scriptures . Ive just read the article again and its just incredible how many scriptures have been applied in ways that just do not represent the the true meaning behind the verse when read in its context . The witnesses have thier own agenda… Read more »
Just some observations: Par. 4 says: The religious, political, and commercial elements of this world—including their information channels—are under the influence of “the god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil Hmm. the religious elements and their information channels…is the organization not a religion? If they are not a religious element, then what are they? Par 6: If we were to associate with those who do not obey God’s laws, we might have the tendency to do what they do in order to be accepted by them. Should we associate with those who accept the counsel: Honor the Son… Read more »
This article is funny and let sure there is some good points, bit also more ( alot more stuff in here about obeying ) when you look at the Jw website they have a page setup do Jehovah witnesses ban certain movies, books, or songs?? I love the word they choose ban. Well if you read that short page, they say ( right they say) it is up to people to decide what is good and viewable to watch. Sure if you say so. Look we all can watch we want, each person own conscience is up to them, bit… Read more »
Par. 4 of the article says: The religious, political, and commercial elements of this world—including their information channels—are under the influence of “the god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil
Hmm…religious elements and their information channels …. then what is the organization? Not a religious element? If not, what are they?
Really appreciated this article the GB really are reinforcing their fear that the only way to salvation is to stay in the organization and associate with JW that are the only ones doing Gods will and are the only good associations. The GB measure a persons spirituality by the amount of hours meeting attendance and obedience to those taking the lead even if some of those elders are not obeying the word themselves, really one has to value their relationship with God more, and obey the scriptures do not associate with anyone not obey the word. Its is hard very… Read more »