Treasures from Gods Word

Isa 65:18, 19 – There will be great rejoicing (ip-2 384 para 25)

The reference in Isaiah’s Prophecy Part 2 says this:

“Today, too, Jehovah makes Jerusalem “a cause for joyfulness.” How? As we have already seen, the new heavens that came into existence in 1914 will eventually include 144,000 co-rulers, who have a share in the heavenly government.”

So what evidence is there to prove that ‘as we have already seen, the new heavens that came into existence in 1914 will eventually include 144,000 co-rulers’?

Looking back to paragraph 21 in the same chapter 26 we find this ‘proof’:

Recall, however, that Peter echoed Isaiah’s prophecy and showed that it had a future fulfilment. The apostle wrote: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) In 1914 the long-awaited new heavens came into existence. The Messianic Kingdom born in that year rules from heaven itself, and Jehovah has given it authority over all the earth. (Psalm 2:6-8) This Kingdom government, under Christ and his 144,000 co-rulers, is the new heavens.—Revelation 14:1.

Did you see the proof? True, both Isaiah and Peter point to a future fulfillment, but where is the ‘proof’ of 1914 at that fulfillment?  The timing is unspecified.  If there is proof, why are no scriptural references given so that we can prove it to ourselves?  This doctrine is like a house of cards.  As long as you leave it alone, it will stand and look impressive, but play with it even slightly and the whole structure comes tumbling down.

Apply yourself to the Field Ministry

The talk under this section is “Meeting Together – A Permanent Feature of Our Worship.”  It is unclear what this has to do with applying ourselves to the field ministry, but let’s not quibble over classification.

The theme scripture is Isaiah 66:23: “from new moon to new moon [monthly or every 29 or 30 days] and from Sabbath to Sabbath [every Saturday], all flesh will come in to bow down before me says Jehovah”.

The organization is looking to find Scriptural justification for its requirement to have Jehovah’s Witnesses meet for their two weekly meetings.  Jews kept the Sabbath, but only those who lived near the temple could journey there on the Sabbath, since travel was restricted. (Acts 1:12)  Apparently, from ancient times, they stayed home on that day. It wasn’t a day of worship, but a day of rest.

“Six days may work be done, but on the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest.” (Ex 31:15)

Once again, a Scripture is being pressed into service to support some commandment of men.  The context shows that Isaiah isn’t speaking of Jewish meeting customs, but to a future time when there will be new heavens and a new earth.

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will remain standing before me,” declares Jehovah, “so your offspring and your name will remain.” (Isa 66:22)

The writer of Hebrews does encourage us to meet together.  Hebrews 10:24, 25 is quoted in the w06 11/1 pp30-31 reference, but all it says is to ‘not forsake the gathering of ourselves together, but instead to encourage one another’.  Did you spot the Scriptural mandate to meet mid-week and on Sundays, to listen to talks from a platform based on a pre-designated outline supplied by a small group of men who claim that their authority is given by God?  How can we ‘encourage one another to love and to fine works’ in such a restrictive and controlled environment?

The claim made in paragraph 15 of the WT reference is that we worship Jehovah by, among others things, attending Christian meetings (twice weekly, listening to a select few) and engaging in the public ministry (once a week at least, putting in a recommended minimum of 10 hours a month).  How does that reconcile with the Scriptural principles we just described, especially bearing in mind that Jesus, at John 13:35, said that ‘all will know you are my disciples if you have love among yourselves’?  If love is the identifying mark of true disciples, then shouldn’t our meetings focus mainly on helping us to display love to one another, as Hebrews 10:24, 25 says, rather than our ministry and organization?

Do you find the CLAM meeting incites you to ‘love and fine works’?  Or does it bore you week after week by showing you over and over how to make theocratic sales calls? By the end of the meeting, how much time and energy do you have to encourage your fellow attendees? Very little, judging by how quickly most Kingdom Halls empty after a CLAM meeting. And how much encouragement do you receive?

Congregation Bible Study

Taken from God’s Kingdom Rules, pp. 87-89 par. 1-9.
Chapter 9, “Results of Preaching – ‘The Fields…Are White for Harvesting'”

Paragraphs 1 – 4a contain an accurate relating of events of Jesus and his disciples in the 1st Century.

It’s interesting however to briefly highlight the fact that Jesus had just done two things before making the theme’s quote: 1) He had witnessed or preached informally. Jesus was resting at the well and spoke to the Samaritan woman when she came to draw water. (John 4:6-7). He wasn’t preaching from house to house at that time; and 2) he had discerned a spiritual interest and followed up on it. He hadn’t stood next to his scrolls waiting for someone to talk to him.

Having set this scene, a modern-day application is attempted.  First, in paragraph 4, the foundation is laid by accurately stating that Jesus began the harvest back in the first century.  However, we are to assume that the harvest ended as some point in time, because apparently for centuries the crop lay dormant until our day. Well, not actually our day since everyone around in 1914 is dead, but at least in the day of our ancestors.

How does the book attempt to apply Jesus’ words which were obviously applied from his day forward to our day exclusively?  Apparently, a word search was performed on the word “harvest”.  Finding another occurrence of the word in Revelation, the Organization ignores the context and uses Revelation 14:14-16 to try to support its “last days” theology.

5 In a vision given to the apostle John, Jehovah reveals that he assigned Jesus to take the lead in a global harvest of people. (Read Revelation 14:14-16.) In this vision, Jesus is described as having a crown and a sickle. The “golden crown on [Jesus’] head” confirms his position as ruling King. – par. 5

Yes, Jesus is ruling as king during this harvest, but did it start in 1914?  This harvest isn’t just of the wheat, “white for harvesting”, that Jesus spoke of in the theme text. No, this harvest is of grapes and they do not end up in God’s storehouse, but crushed underfoot. This harvest results in bloodshed.

“And still another angel emerged from the altar, and he had authority over the fire. And he called out with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, saying: “Put your sharp sickle in and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes have become ripe.” 19 The angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and he hurled it into the great winepress of God’s anger. 20 The winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress as high up as the bridles of the horses for a distance of 1,600 stadia.” (Re 14:18-20)

If this harvest began in 1914, then what can we say about everyone harvested back then?  Everyone—EVERYONE—from that era, both good and bad, is dead! There is no way that the harvest spoken of at Revelation 14 can be made to fit the historical events of 1914 and the years that followed.

The author of the book ignores this, however and supplies a question for paragraph 5 that is pre-loaded to elicit just the answer the Organization is looking for: “Does this vision help us to determine when this global harvest began? Yes!”

Notice the use of “began?” instead of “begins?” and “Yes” instead of “Let us find out.”

Paragraph 6 claims, “Since John’s vision in Revelation 14 shows Jesus the Harvester wearing a crown, his appointment as King in 1914 had already taken place.” It then offers Daniel 7:13,14 as proof, but all Daniel confirms is that the prophet had a vision of the future when Jesus would be appointed king by Jehovah God.  No time frame is given, nor any means supplied to calculate when that appointment takes place.

The paragraph continues “Sometime after that, Jesus is commanded to start the harvest (verse 15)”. Notice verse 15 states:  ”Put your sickle in and reap, because the hour has come to reap, for the harvest of the earth is thoroughly ripe.”  Ask any farmer how much time he has to harvest a crop that is “thoroughly ripe” before it spoils.  Given that this harvest includes the destruction of the grapes, it could not have already occurred.

The paragraph continues by linking the harvest to the parable in Matthew 13:30, 39 where the wheat and the weeds grow together till the harvest, when the weeds are removed first then the wheat is gathered. It is reasonable to link that parable with the events described at Revelation chapter 14.  However, things fall apart if we try to link these two accounts with the JW interpretation concerning 1914.  It is not just that no date nor year is mentioned.  Notice that the weeds are gathered first and burned.  If this started in 1914, then where do we see historical evidence of burned weeds? Where is there evidence of wheat gathered into God’s storehouse?  Where is there evidence of the sons of the kingdom shining as brightly as the sun?  (Mt 13:43)

It then makes the claim that his anointed followers were cleansed from 1914 to early 1919 so that the harvest work could begin, and that he appointed the faithful slave to help the brothers realise the urgency of the preaching work.

How were they cleansed by 1919? Do the following beliefs indicate a cleansing work took place?

(See subject ‘Beliefs Clarified’ in 1986-2015 Index, under ‘List By Year’.)

Christmas, dropped in 1928. Christmas (Saturnalia) was still celebrated until 1928. – See w95 5/15 p. 19 par. 11

The Pyramid of Giza, dropped in 1928.  The Pyramid of Giza was believed to sign the timing for the start of the great tribulation until w28 11/15 and w28 12/1 abandoned the belief – See w00 1/1 p. 9, 10

Easter, dropped in 1928.  “The prominent heathen festival of Easter was also brought over and engrafted into the so-called Christian church.” —The Golden Age, December 12, 1928, page 168.

The Cross, dropped in 1934.  “The cross is pagan in origin.”—The Golden Age, February 28, 1934, page 336

New Year’s Day, dropped in 1946.  “The whole New Year’s celebration with its high jinks and drunken revelry is not Christian, regardless of the day on which it occurs. Early Christians did not observe it.”—Awake! December 22, 1946, page 24.

So exactly what was cleansed by Jesus from the Bible Students during the 1914-1919 period?  Very little it seems. The same ‘Beliefs Clarified’ only gives the following for the massive cleansing work between 1914-1919.

1915: w15 9/1, on the issue of Christian neutrality.  It stated: “To become a member of the army and to put on the military uniform implies the duties and obligations of a soldier as recognized and accepted. . . . Would not the Christian be really out of his place under such conditions?”

A step in the right direction, but a cleansing by Christ?  It wasn’t until 1939 that it became clear that Christians could have absolutely no part in war. (w39 11/1)

1917: w95 5/15 p. 21 par 1. “In 1917, Jehovah’s people published an explanation of Revelation in the book The Finished Mystery. It fearlessly exposed Christendom’s religious and political leaders, but many of its explanations were borrowed from various sources. Still, The Finished Mystery served to test the Bible Students’ loyalty to the visible channel Jehovah was using.”

How could the Bible Students discern what visible channel Jehovah was using? After all ‘many of its explanations were borrowed from various (other) sources’.

According to the Explanatory Note on page 10 of the ‘Studies in the Scriptures’ Vol.7 (1917) ‘The Finished Mystery’, Charles Taze Russell used:

Barnesʹ ʺRevelationʺ.
Coffinʹs ʺStory of Libertyʺ.
Cookʹs ʺRevelationʺ ; a compendium of the presentations of seventy‐two leading commentators on Revelation, in all languages and all ages of the Church.
Edgarʹs ʺPyramid Passagesʺ. Vol. II.
Smithʹs ʺThoughts on Daniel and Revelationʺ.

In truth the only ‘cleansing’ appears to have been the removal of the Directors appointed by Charles Russell in his will who did not support J. F. Rutherford becoming President. However, the facts of history do not support the idea that Jesus was behind this. (See Look! I Am With You All the Days)

Paragraphs 7-9 talk about understanding the need for the preaching work in 1920 and how the workers were joyful at this urgent work (emphasis theirs).  How easy do you find it to remain joyful, knocking on the door of an empty home, or standing mute next to a trolley? Is it not much more joyful to share (enthusiastically) with your friends (if you have any non-witness friends) and work colleagues the results of your private Bible study? Yet how often do we get training to do informal witnessing at the CLAM meeting as opposed to door knocking?

Paragraph 9 highlights the great increase from 1934 to 1953 of 41,000 to 500,000. During that same time, the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) increased from 750,000 to about 1,250,000, having been about 60,000 in the 1860’s. Jehovah’s Witnesses have grown from 500,000 in 1953 to 8,340,847 now. In the same period the LDS have grown from 1,250,000 to 15,634,199, double that of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Seventh Day Adventists have grown to 19 million.

Over this same period of time, the world population has grown from around 2 Billion to 7.4 Billion. It is said that you can make any conclusion you like out of statistics. I won’t comment other than to say, while there has been an increase in Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is hardly amazing or outstanding. The current year increase, in percentage terms of 1.8% is much the same as the Adventists (1.5%) and the LDS (1.7%). Surely if the preaching work had Jehovah’s backing, the increase would be greater. (To clarify, we are not any other faith, but only showing how statistical growth cannot be seen as a measure of God’s blessing.)

All the above leaves us with a question to ponder: Are we really in the time of the harvest? Or does that come at Armageddon.?  To be continued next week….