The outlines and videos for the 2016 Regional Convention, “Remain Loyal to Jehovah!” have been leaked.
I know that many of you will be going to this year’s convention, and it would be wrong to discourage anyone from doing that. On the other hand, there are others who used to attend regularly, but now feel it is in their best interests to remain away. I think that many of us can understand that sentiment as well. This year’s program goes a long way to reinforcing that position, yet there is still much benefit to be gained if one has the correct point of view and remains loyal to God and true to his inspired word.
Having read and analyzed all the outlines and considered the message behind all the videos, it is apparent that while the stated theme of the convention is “Remain Loyal to Jehovah”, the underlying theme is ‘remain loyal to the Organization’; and while the word ‘loyalty’ is used throughout, it is often portrayed as a synonym for ‘obedience’.
Nevertheless, there are many encouraging talks and videos. However, deviation comes when the purpose is to reinforce the authority of the Organization. That seems to be the dividing line. Thus talks dealing with the example of Jesus (See Symposium: Be Loyal, as Jesus Was) or Job (See Symposium: Lessons on Loyalty from the Book of Job) are generally very encouraging. The subject matter does not threaten the religious authority of the Organization, so it can be stated impartially and for the most part, it is.
On the other hand, talks such as Symposium: Loyally Uphold Jehovah’s Judgments and the two Sunday morning symposiums are used to reinforce the control the Organization has over the flock and are largely based on motivating loyalty through fear, not love.
Knowing what these are beforehand will help the sincere Bible student to protect himself or herself from being misled. Nevertheless, our perceptive powers must be trained to make such distinctions and it is hoped that this article will assist in that. (He 5:14)
The Friday Sessions
Take for example the opening talk: “Chairman’s Address: Jehovah Deserves ‘Undivided Loyalty’”. Now think about that title. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If our loyalty is divided, we cannot be truly loyal. As Jesus said, “No one can slave for two masters.” (Mt 6:24) The reason is obvious. Eventually, one is torn between the two because inevitably there will be conflicting instructions producing a Catch 22 situation.
The speaker opens by commending the loyalty of the convention attendees in making the effort to be present, and says “You will be blessed for your effort to be loyal and obedient!”
Right from the start, we see that loyalty and obedience are linked in the program. This will be a recurring pairing throughout the convention. It will be taken for granted by the audience in general that these two words are synonymous; but we will not be fooled. There are times when loyalty requires disobedience. For example, an alcoholic father tells his daughter to go buy him some liquor. To obey him would be disloyal.
While opening with reasons for loyalty to Jehovah and his appointed king, Jesus, the outline quickly shifts to the main convention theme: Loyalty (obedience) to the Organization.
“Members of the “great crowd” have the heartfelt desire to be loyal to the symbolic Jew, representing the anointed ones including “the faithful and discreet slave,” God’s channel for dispensing spiritual food and enlightenment to the visible part of His organization (Re 7:9; Mt 24:45; Zec 8:23; w96 3/15 16-17 9-10)”
“We want to be loyal to all those who are appointed to take the lead in Jehovah’s organization, whether of the anointed or of the “other sheep” [Read 3 John 5, 6] (w96 3/15 17-19 11, 14)”
If you look up all these Scriptural references from the outline, you’ll see that none provides any proof whatsoever for the points being made.
It seems those “taking the lead in Jehovah’s organization” wish to go about their business without anyone finding fault. Such fault-finders are likened to Satan.
This is the very attitude held by the Pharisees and priests of Jesus’ day, yet that did not stop him from speaking negatively of their deeds and teachings. Actually, it is disloyal Satan who wants us to ignore wrongdoing in the Organization.
Actually we can derive much benefit from the encouragement this talk unwitting imparts to those who have awakened. All we have to do is switch the roles.
For example, in the Chairman’s Address, under the subheading, “Beware of Misplaced Loyalty”, the outline instructs:
“A Bible student’s loyalty to Jehovah can be tested when he realizes that he has to choose between his present religion and the truth
The Bible is clear about which is the correct choice (Re 18:4)”
The speaker will convey these thoughts because he stands with the firm conviction that his listeners all believe the Organization is “the truth”. However, if our present religion is that of Jehovah’s Witnesses, then the principle still applies, does it not? If our religion is not the truth, then “the Bible is clear about which is the correct choice” for us to make. (Re 18:4)
Next, this opening talk prepares the hearts of the attendees for upcoming discussions on disfellowshipping; yet again we see an unwitting self-denunciation contained in its words:
“Because Jehovah requires exclusive devotion, it is not possible to divide our loyalty between Jehovah and another god (Ex 34:14)
It was not possible to serve both Jehovah and Baal (1Ki 18:21)
It is not possible to slave for God and for Riches (Mt 6:24)”
The key to identifying a false god like Baal or Riches, or any other entity, is its demand for loyalty. Since we should only be loyal to Jesus and through him to Jehovah, anyone demanding loyalty and obedience from us stands condemned. Jehovah makes no allowance for a portion of the exclusive devotion (loyalty, obedience) he demands of us to go to another. For example, should men teach us something that contradicts the Bible and then require us to teach this falsehood to others, even punishing us should we refuse, they would definitely qualify as a false god, would they not?
The outline continues:
“Jehovah stated that he would unleash his wrath on those trying to mix true worship with false religion [Read Zephaniah 1:4, 5]
Loyalty will keep us from being one thing on the inside and another on the outside”
If you find through our continued analysis of this year’s convention program that you are being directed to believe and teach things which are not true, then recall the above words from the outline and dwell on their application.
Symposium: Maintain Loyalty in…
This convention makes extensive use of videos to get across its various loyalty-related messages and inculcate the underlying theme of obedience to the Organization. The problem for us as viewers is that a video enters the eyes and goes directly to the brain, while speech has to be interpreted and processed before it is assimilated. Therefore, if one wishes to bypass the reasoning centers of the brain and influence another on an emotional level, a video can be a very powerful tool.
Each video is part of a series which develops a story based on the same characters. Several storylines are developed throughout the three days of the convention. These stories seem unrelated, yet they are all tied together at the end of the convention.
The video series for this symposium shows a single mother with two children who is supporting her family by making a living doing menial labor. The message of the first video is that she shows loyalty for Jehovah by not trying to better her lot in life. Doing so would limit what she can do to support the Organization.
Again, not seeing how their words apply to themselves, the next outline reads:
“Imagine the effect on others when kings and prophets made supportive or even sympathetic comments about false gods! (2Ki 1:2; Jer 2:8)
Israel’s history shows that such verbal disloyalty by those in responsible positions turned many away from true worship”
Have you ever sat in a gathering with other Jehovah’s Witnesses and heard them gush about the members of the Governing Body? That these men are now revered is evident to anyone who cares to scan any of the Facebook JW support groups—each with many thousands of members. There you will see brothers and sisters making public declarations of unconditional loyalty and obedience to the teachings of these men. The rebuke from Paul to the Corinthians now goes unheeded. (1Co 3:4)
Remember that there was no god Baal. He never existed except in the imaginations of those who worshipped him. False gods are created by false worshipers.
We should follow this counsel from the outline:
“We should actively participate in deeds that support true worship and our fellow worshippers
Read the Bible and Bible-based publications, and avoid apostate teachings”
It’s nice that the outline doesn’t restrict us to JW publications, but to “Bible-based publications”. There are many Bible-based publications on the internet, so by all means, make good use of them. When studying, do not stick to the NWT but make use of the dozens of translations available on the internet as well as interlinear Bibles and Bible concordances and lexicons. Such sites as www.Biblehub.com can be very useful for research. Also heed the advice to avoid apostate teachings. However, recognize that a true apostate is one who rejects the Christ and his teaching. (2 John 8-11) So do not consider someone an apostate just because he disagrees with you or what you’ve been taught. Use the Bible to identify the true apostate.
Jehovah’s “Loyal Love Is Better Than Life”
This final talk of the morning examines part of King David’s life, focusing particularly on the 63rd Psalm. It focuses on Jehovah’s Loyal Love, a translation of the Hebrew word checed which the NWT translates as ‘loving kindness’ in the 1984 version and renders as ‘loyal love’ in the 2013 edition. However, the meaning of the word does not correspond with the English word ‘loyalty’ despite the recent mistranslation of Micah 6:8.
Symposium: Be Loyal, as Jesus Was
The Friday afternoon session opens with this talk. This is good counsel, but the video application reveals the Organization’s mentality, not God’s. Skills are not to be developed beyond the hobby stage.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are continually taught that they will be persecuted, despite the fact that very few have even seen the type of persecution shown in the video. The average Witness believes that even now our brothers are being persecuted in many parts of the earth, and the general belief is that this is pretty much a JW situation since the false religions of Christendom are all lying in bed with the politicians of the world. Of course, a google search for ‘Christian persecution’ will show this is simply not the case. However, it is important for the organization’s leadership to foster this misconception and this video contributes to that mindset. The videos on the Sunday program will get a lot of mileage out of this concept that Witnesses alone are the ones to be persecuted.
It is puzzling however why the young man refuses to play the anthem when required to do so since there is no violation of Christian law involved.
Nevertheless, for those of us who love truth, there is good counsel in this outline.
“Jesus was persecuted in many ways, both verbally and physically
He was ridiculed, spat on, scourged, and falsely accused of drunkenness, gluttony, and fellowship with demons
Jesus focused, not on persecution, but on the accomplishing of Jehovah’s will (Joh 17:1, 4)
He sought approval from God, not from his opposers (Joh 8:15-18)
Jesus refused to retaliate against his persecutors [Read 1 Peter 2:21-23]
He recognized his Father’s role as the just Avenger
At times, Jesus removed himself from danger (Joh 11:53, 54)”
Those who have awakened to the truth, and have tried to help others come to a realization that much of what we have been taught comes from men and not God, have similarly been ridiculed and falsely accused. Yet, these ones do not seek to retaliate against elders who have abused them, nor against fellow congregation members who lying say ever sort of wicked things against them. They seek God’s approval, not that of his opposers.
“Happy are YOU when people reproach YOU and persecute YOU and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against YOU for my sake. 12 Rejoice and leap for joy, since YOUR reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to YOU.” (Mt 5:11, 12)
So the counsel of this outline fits our situation nicely. The Organization has again unwittingly described the way they deal with Jesus’ true disciples.
There is good counsel in this talk if properly applied. Disregard the exhortation to “Stay close to Jehovah’s organization.” The video depicts someone who leaves “the truth” in a negative light, because it is working on the premise that being “in the Organization” and “in the truth” are synonymous, when in fact they are antonymous.
—Shun Unrepentant Wrongdoers
This outline details the Organization’s implementation of 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. You will notice there that Paul shows the extreme to which first century Christians were to go in shunning an unrepentant wrongdoer by saying, “not even eating with such a man.” In those days, having a meal with someone meant you were at peace with each other. A Jew wouldn’t sit down with a Gentile and share a meal. They kept separate. Nevertheless, a Jew would speak with a Gentile. If Paul had meant us not even to speak a word to “such a man”, he would have given that as the extreme. He did not, which is most telling.
So the Organization has added to the word of God. This it does in the name of God, for the subtitle reads “Jehovah’s Judgments Are Beneficial.” It claims in the outline that “disfellowshipping…helps keep Jehovah’s…name free from reproach.” We cannot add to God’s word and do so in his name and expect to keep his name free from reproach. The opposite will result, and indeed recent events on the world stage, such as the hearings by the Royal Commission into child abuse in Australia, have proven that to be true.
To justify its disfellowshipping policy, the outline states, “Jehovah is not controlled by sentimentality…He took action against the wicked spirits to protect the rest of his spiritual family.”
This is an odd comparison for the Organization to make, is it not? The elders are usually quick to disfellowship on the basis that protecting the congregation is paramount. Yet according to JW theology, God threw the demons out of heaven in 1914, almost 6,000 years after the rebellion. Are they suggesting that he left his spiritual organization unprotected for thousands of years? It would seem that Jehovah’s tolerance and forbearance hold valuable lessons which the Governing Body is missing.
The way the Organization applies Paul’s words to the Corinthians as demonstrated in both the outline and the video makes them override all other Scriptural principles, such as the requirement for a man to provide for those of his family; and the principle of mercy. (1Ti 5:8; Mt 18:23-35) For example, the video depicts the Father throwing his daughter out of the house, and then when she calls, her mother will not even answer the phone. Was the daughter calling because she was in the hospital, or lying on the road bleeding to death following a car accident? The mother has no way of knowing, so here attitude comes across as unfeeling and hard-hearted. Yet because it is in the video, such an attitude has the endorsement of the Governing Body. How can such an unloving attitude represent Christianity and the God who is love? How can Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be sanctifying Jehovah’s name when they endorse such judgmental, unchristian behavior? And exactly how does this compare with Jesus’ illustration of the prodigal son? The father viewed the son a long way off and ran to him. (Lu 15:11-32) Bringing this forward to our day, we cannot imagine the father declining a phone call from the prodigal son, can we? The attitude of a true Christian mother would not be to dwell on how much her daughter had hurt her. In imitation of Christ, true Christian parents would put the child’s welfare first. Unfortunately, the video and outline says we are doing just that by punishing the child.
Altering the Shunning Policy
This excerpt is from the public policy on JW.org regarding shunning those who are inactive.
“Those who were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses but no longer preach to others, perhaps even drifting away from association with fellow believers, are not shunned.”
Geoffrey Jackson also confirmed that members could fade away without being shunned.
Such PR statements are intentionally misleading. The outline states:
“Loyal Christians would not associate with “anyone called a brother” who is practicing serious sin
This is true even if no congregation action has been taken, as may be the case with an inactive one (w85 7/15 19 14)”
So an inactive one (one who is officially not counted as a member of the congregation and therefore not a brother) must still conform to all the Organization’s rules and of course cannot find fault with anything the Organization teaches. Otherwise, he’d be guilty of serious sin and although he has faded away and is no longer a member of the congregation (not a brother) would still be sought out and dealt with.
Even if not officially disfellowshipped, Witnesses are now directed to practice a personal form of disfellowshipping for such ones.
Apparently, Paul’s words, “anyone called a brother” from 1Co 5:11 upon which all this policy is based, are now to be disregarded. It appears the Organization is saying that what Paul meant was “once a brother, always a brother.” This new policy of “you can run, but you can’t hide” means that the organization should revise its web site page to say that we do now shun people who drift away; that there is no way to simply leave the Organization.
This information is now public, part of the worldwide convention program, yet no change has been made to the web site. People are being misled about the true nature of the Organization’s policy on shunning. This is hypocritical.
In the previous video, the mother had no way of knowing if her daughter was calling to repent. However, even if that had been the case, it would have been a moot point, because the mother could not grant forgiveness. Only the elders on the original committee can do that. The mother would have had to wait to be told that she could exercise forgiveness.
This video depicts the daughter, many years later and now a single mother with two children, trying to return. After 12 months, she is forgiven. She is no longer sinning, and wants to come back, yet she has to wait 12 long months before she gets God’s forgiveness granted through the local elders.
The outline says, “Jehovah is ‘ready to forgive’ [Read Psalm 86:5]” but only after a year has passed.
“Jehovah forgives freely and generously (Isa 55:7)”, again, only after a year has elapsed.
“His willingness to forgive our many sins endears him to us (Jas 3:2)” as long as we are really, really patient, since 12 months seems to be the minimum time limit for God’s forgiveness to kick in.
I’ve known cases where the wait has stretched into years. This again proves there is a de facto sentence that has to be served before JWs can grant a reinstatement, a get-out-of-jail card. I have documented reports telling of elder bodies who were questioned by their local branch office because they reinstated someone in less than a year.
Apart from all the above, it is nice that the congregation in the video is shown clapping at the announcement of reinstatement. Up until a few months ago, that too was prohibited. (See “A Barren Tree”)
Loyalty—Part of the New Personality
This outline tells us that “loyalty to Jehovah can be tested when a friend gets involved in wrongdoing that needs to be brought to the attention of the elders”. Jesus didn’t tell us to inform on others. There is nothing in the Bible telling congregations to report wrongdoers to the apostles in Jerusalem. Instead, he clearly told us that when a brother sins, the first thing we do is go to him in private. He said nothing about involving the elders. He did say the whole congregation might get involved, but even then, only when the first and second step had failed to bring about repentance. So this misguided application of loyalty actually causes us to deviate from the Lord’s righteous commandment. (Mt 18:15-17)
How Christ’s Loyalty as High Priest Helps Us
“In Jesus’ day, chief priests, such as Annas and Caiaphas, corrupted justice; religious leaders, such as the Sadducees and the Pharisees, were heavy-handed bullies who cared more about their man-made rules than about the needs of the people“
Then it summarizes the video by asking: “Did you notice how the religious leaders were harsh and cold, using threats to control people?”
Ask yourself, what would happen if you tried to correct the Governing Body about some teaching you have found to be false? Would you be free from fear in writing them a letter to set them straight? Would you expect no retaliation were you to share your findings with others? Would your life be free of the threat of disfellowshipping in such a circumstance?
Do Not Imitate Disloyal Ones
This video likens anyone disagreeing with the decisions of the elders to rebellious Absalom. This is a false comparison. First, Absalom was rebelling against the king whom Jehovah has personally appointed through his prophet Samuel. Jehovah’s Witnesses routinely find fault with the religious leaders of other religions because they do not view such ones as appointed by God. So what evidence is there that the local elders are appointed by God?
Second, the video makes the valid point that the brother doesn’t know all the details. Correct! And this highlights yet another flaw in our judicial system. In the Jewish system of things, judicial cases were heard publicly at the gates of the city, so all could know that justice was being done. If called upon to stone the offender (today we don’t stone, we disfellowship) the people could do so with a clean conscience because they witnessed the proceedings and heard the evidence. In the Christian system of things, the congregation was to be involved in a disfellowshipping, not just three individuals meeting in secret. (Mt 18:17; 1Co 5:1-5)
Baptism: Never Abandon Your Loyal Love for Jehovah
The outline states: “When you dedicated yourself to Jehovah, you made the most important promise of your life”. However, it provides not a single Scripture showing that Jehovah requires such a vow of dedication. This dedication promise is yet another control mechanism imposed by men onto the flock of God.
The two symposiums on the Sunday morning sessions introduce what are being called the “bunker videos.” In these eight videos a group of witnesses is depicted hiding in a basement while chaos reigns outside. New ones join them throughout the account, signaling their entitlement to be there by knowing the secret password knock. After each knock sequence, the ministerial servant looks to the elder to get his permission to open the door. Presumably, if the ones on the other side of the door did not know the knock, they would not be let in. It would appear themselves by name yet not be allowed in because of not knowing the secret knock. The idea being transmitted here is that unless we remain loyal to the organization, attending all the meetings, we will not know what we need to know to get into the “inner chambers” and be saved.
The purpose of each video is to show us what we need to do nor not do so as not to lose out on life.
Symposium: Avoid What Erodes Loyalty
Pride is undoubtedly an impediment to gaining everlasting life. However, the real point of the video is not about pride, but about accepting counsel from the Organization. By the elder’s wife’s remark (“Please tell me you didn’t argue with him”) we are told that any disagreement with counsel given by elders is evidence of pride.
Having written in to the branch over the years, I’ve come to learn that this counsel is not applicable when the direction is reversed. Counsel them about ways to improve their administration, or worse, on Scriptural matters, and you will be told that such counsel is viewed as presumptuous.
The brother relating this experience was “guilty” of watching improper content on his smart phone. Not pornography, mind you, just videos that caused him to have improper thoughts.
While there is a lot of junk out there, the point here is that not keeping completely free from any and everything that could cause improper thoughts would have cost him his place in the “inner chamber”. This and the next video are both examples of how the Organization is taking being “separate from the world” to Pharisaical extremes, as if we can achieve righteousness by works.
The sister recounts how her association at work might have cost her a coveted place in the “inner chamber”. The idea is that any level of friendship with non-Jehovah’s Witnesses is dangerous. All people who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses are to be viewed as immoral and worldly. They are bad associations.
There are many bad associations outside the organization. There are also many bad associations inside the organization. In fact, the counsel from 1 Corinthians 15:33 concerns associations inside the congregation. But we are not to consider associations as good or bad on an individual basis, but only based on which side of a dividing line they live. This is just another form of nationalism.
Up to this point, the convention viewers do not know what the setting of the videos is. It is in this one that they learn the brothers are huddling in the basement-cum-bunker because the great tribulation is raging outside and the authorities are looking for Jehovah’s Witnesses in the antitypical Attack of the Assyrian. (Now we see why the Hezekiah/Sennacherib account was chosen for this year’s movie drama.)
We learn in this video that the preaching message of Jehovah’s Witnesses will change from one proclaiming the Good News to a Message of Judgment. Some have missed out on life (They are not in the “inner chamber” bunker) because they let fear of man stand in their way.
Symposium: Pursue What Builds Loyalty
Here we learn that some have missed out on life because they found fault with Organizational arrangements. Any administrative adjustments or “new light” must be accepted with unconditional good will, as if from Jehovah himself. Otherwise, one will miss out on life because survival through the great tribulation will only be granted to those who are given the “secret knock.”
Perhaps the most insensitive of all the videos. The sister here was plagued by “negative thoughts”. While intentionally left vague, the setting leads to the conclusion that she was suffering from depression. Since depression is often a clinical ailment, suggesting that those with negative thoughts are to blame for a lack of self control is both insensitive and downright dangerous.
This video is shameful and since Witnesses presume to bear the name of God, it is also going to be a cause for reproach.
The idea is that love builds loyalty. Of course, love is a key Christian quality. But what does it have to do with selling all one’s belongings? Here, we are shown two regular pioneers who sold their nice home so that they could do more for Jehovah. If pioneers are not doing enough because they have a nice home, then what of those who are not pioneers? Does having a nice home imply that one is “not doing enough”? Where does the Bible equate love of God with “doing enough”? Where does it say that self-induced poverty and self-abnegation display love of God?
The faith extolled in this video is faith in the instruction from the Governing Body and reliance on all their teachings. The video series ends with a SWAT team breaking into the home. Apparently, the police don’t need to know the secret knock.
Summarizing the Bunker Videos
The bunker videos are based on speculation and are designed to inspire loyalty for the Organization based on fear, not love. The overriding premise is that to survive into the New World one must remain in the Organization. Unless you are found together with your brothers, you cannot be saved. That is the meaning of the secret knock. Those who were not associated with the congregation, going to all the meetings, would not know the secret knock and so would not be admitted. Like people in Noah’s day, they would be shut out of the ark-like Organization. Membership in the Organization is salvation.
- If you don’t agree with the Organization’s arrangements, you will be shut out.
- If you have negative thoughts, you will be shut out.
- If you disobediently watch the wrong TV programs, listen to the wrong kind of music, frequent the wrong kind of web sites, you will be shut out.
- If you associate with people in the world who we are told are all immoral, you will be shut out.
- If you did not engage in the preaching work in line with the latest Organizational arrangements, you will be shut out.
- If you don’t simplify by selling your precious things, you will be shut out.
The premise is that there will be a great tribulation as phase one of Armageddon, but there is no proof of this in the Bible. The premise is that there will be a message of Judgment, but there is no proof of this in the Bible. In fact, anyone who changes the message of the Good News is to be accused. (Ga 1:8)
The most egregious aspect of this video series is that it teaches that our salvation cannot be obtained individually, but that it depends on our affiliation with and obedience to the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Where Is This Heading?
“I have a bad feeling about this!”[i]
There is something very disturbing about these eight “bunker videos.” I’m going to don my JW hat for a moment. (1Co 9:22) We’ve been told that prophetic antitypes are to be rejected unless stipulated in Scripture. (w15 3/15 p. 17 Questions From Readers)
The Bible does speak of “the great tribulation” at Revelation 7:14, but it doesn’t explain what it is, nor establish when it starts. We deduce what it is and when it starts based on the specious and now outlawed practice of creating antitypical prophetic parallels not found in Scripture. In this case, we based our speculation on the first century destruction of Jerusalem. In short, our doctrine is a fabrication.
We compound one false antitypical fulfillment with another, by continuing to teach that there will be a time when our message will change from “good news” to “judgment cry”. This fabricated prophetic parallel dates back to the days of Fred Franz. Here it is in all its glory:
w84 3/15 pp. 18-19 pars. 16-17 God’s United “Mighty Nation” to Fill the Earth
The expanding visible organization of Jehovah is nearing the time when he will use it in another mighty way: to deliver his final judgment message against this system. This may be likened to the time when the Israelites, who had already marched around Jericho once a day for six days, were instructed: “On the seventh day you should march round the city seven times and the priests should blow the horns. . . . When you hear the sound of the horn, all the people should shout a great war cry; and the wall of the city must fall down flat.” So on the final day the work speeded up by seven times! Then the horns sounded, the people shouted a war cry and “the wall began to fall down flat.”—Joshua 6:2-5, 20.
17 Today the “soft” waters of truth are being taken to the people to encourage them to turn to Jehovah. But the day soon will come when the message will turn “hard.” It will announce the imminent end of this entire satanic system. The soft waters of truth will congeal to become the hard hailstones of truth. So powerful will these final judgment messages be that they are likened to “a great hail with every stone about the weight of a talent,” that is, of gigantic size. That is why Revelation 16:21 states: “The plague of it was unusually great.”
This convention has reintroduced a decades-old teaching idea that God will one day instruct us to change our message from “good news” to “condemnatory judgment”. How God will tell us to do this, we do not know, but our reasoning is that he will do so one way or the other because as Amos 3:7 says, “For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing Unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.”
The problem with this view is multifaceted. First, this understanding is based on an antitypical application of a Bible account which is not found in Scripture. We’ve just condemned that practice as unacceptable. (See w15 3/15 p. 17) , Second, given our many failed predictions, it is evident that Jehovah has never used the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses as his prophets. Third, the Bible tells us that even if “we or an angel out of heaven” were to tell us to change the good news, we should reject him. (Galatians 1:8) Fourth, the Lord has told us that no one knows when he will return, and that it will be at a time we do not expect it to be. (Mt 24:36, 44) An abrupt change of message would be a dead giveaway that he’s about to return, which would contradict his words; in fact, it would nullify them.
Given all the foregoing, why are we promoting this idea on the world stage before millions? What spirit is behind this stunning revelation? Further, if we are bold enough to do this now, will we carry it through to its logical conclusion? Will Jehovah’s Witnesses be instructed to change the message of the good news? A worldwide, all-out campaign that carries a message of adverse judgment to the nations will surely bring great tribulation on the Witnesses, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What would be the true source of such an idea—one that blatantly contradicts Scripture?
That is the most worrying question of all.
[i] Han Solo in Star Wars Episode IV