“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes, I will help you.”—Isaiah 41:10
[From ws 01/19 p.2 Study Article 1: March 4-10]
The first misdirection is found in paragraph 3 where we are told the theme of the article. It says “we will focus on three of Jehovah’s faith-building promises recorded at Isaiah 41:10: (1) Jehovah will be with us, (2) he is our God, and (3) he will help us.”
Let’s start by looking at the context of Isaiah 41:10. As paragraph 2 correctly states “Jehovah had Isaiah record those words to comfort the Jews who would later be taken to Babylon as exiles”. But now come the problems. Do we have a basis for applying this today to the Organization? Did Jehovah choose Jehovah’s Witnesses as his people? It was quite clear according to the Bible record that Jehovah chose the Israelites. There were signs and miracles when they were released from Egypt.
Were there such undeniable miraculous signs shown to the early Bible Students? Does the Organization still teach what was taught when they claim to have been chosen? Categorically, No to both questions.
A quick review of some publications from around 1919 will show great differences between then and now.[i]
If the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not God’s Organization then there is no reason for him to be with them. This is still the case even if Isaiah intended his words to have an additional future fulfillment, of which there is no scriptural evidence.
Second, Jehovah could be our God, but that fact alone does not guarantee his help. Matthew 7:21-24 makes it clear that the right actions are required. Words or faith or ones own erroneous ideas of what actions are required would not suffice. James 1:19-27 gives much counsel for contemplation as to what is expected of us, but notice that preaching is not mentioned. Preaching at the expense of the items mentioned would be unacceptable to God.
Third, for God to help us the first two requirements must be met. Without them, there will be no reason for God to help.
The thoughts in paragraphs 4-6 are thereby rendered meaningless for the vast majority of its intended audience.
Paragraph 8 mentions the 70-year exile but steers clear of a start and end date. Perhaps this is to discourage reviewers such as the author from discussing their embarrassing interpretation of the 7 times from 607 BCE to 1914 CE.[ii] Nevertheless, no doubt they are hoping most Witnesses will fill in those dates automatically without thinking about it. Even here, the only scripture in the NWT that hints at 70 years in exile is Jeremiah 29:10 which says “In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon”. It is important to note however that the “at” is their translation of the Hebrew preposition “le” which means “with regard to”. It is the Hebrew preposition “be” that means “at”. A correct translation here would therefore not suggest a 70-year exile.
Paragraph 13 gives a glimpse of the self denial at work that the current actions worldwide against the Organization will not succeed when it says “He promises us: “No weapon formed against you will have any success.” (Isa. 54:17)”. This is yet another scripture lifted out of context and misapplied. Once again, the promise was to the nation of Israel. If it does have a second fulfillment in the Israel of God then the necessity of proving who the Israel of God is today remains.
Paragraph 14: “First, as Christ’s followers, we expect to be hated. (Matt. 10:22) Jesus foretold that his disciples would be severely persecuted during the last days. (Matt. 24:9; John 15:20) Second, Isaiah’s prophecy forewarns us that our enemies will do more than hate us; they will use various weapons against us. Those weapons have included subtle deception, blatant lies, and brutal persecution. (Matt. 5:11) Jehovah will not stop our enemies from using these weapons to wage war against us. (Eph. 6:12; Rev. 12:17)”
The context shows Matthew 10:22 was aimed at Christians among Jews and Gentiles in the first century, not a nominally Christian group among other Christians.
The context shows Matthew 24:9 was referring to the last days of the Jewish system of things where most of Jesus’ audience was living. The last part of the verse gives the reason as being “you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name”.
What is the criticism leveled at the Organization? That it is preaching Christ instead of Evolution or Islam?
- No, in fact it is critiqued for not preaching Christ enough, but rather minimising his role in favour of Jehovah God.
- It is hated because of the way the Organization has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the cries of the abused children and refused to do its civic duty in reporting such allegations to the police.
- It is hated because it teaches a “do nothing, leave it to Jehovah” approach to the problem, instead of obeying Christ and showing subjection to the superior authorities (Romans 13:1).
They claim that apostates use deception and blatant lies. However, while the Organization would classify this site as apostate, we have never and would never use deception nor blatant lies. It is against our Christian principles. The articles that are published on this site are the result of countless hours of personal research in the Scriptures as we all desire to worship God and Jesus in spirit and in truth. Rather, the deception and blatant lies appear to be the default tools of the Organization as they constantly take Bible verses out of context or teach a second fulfillment without any scriptural support, as we’ve just seen.
Paragraph 15: “Consider the third fact we need to remember. Jehovah said that “no weapon” used against us would “have any success.” Just as a wall protects us from the force of a destructive rainstorm, so Jehovah protects us against “the blast of the tyrants.” (Read Isaiah 25:4, 5.)”
With statements like this, they are setting themselves up for an even bigger crash.
Again, this scripture from Isaiah 25:4-5 has been taken out of context. Isaiah 25 is a prophecy about the conditions that would exist during the millennial reign. The verses immediately following, (6-8), are a prophecy about the resurrection and bountiful provisions in that time. Therefore, the protection against “the blast of the tyrants” has its main fulfillment in the future.
Finally, in the concluding paragraphs (Par.17) we find something on which we can wholeheartedly agree:
“We deepen our trust in Jehovah by getting to know him better. And the only way we can really know God well is by reading the Bible carefully and then meditating on what we read. The Bible contains a reliable record of how Jehovah protected his people in the past.”
In conclusion, this discussion of this year’s theme text falls at the first hurdle. We also see numerous instances of quoting out of context and assuming a second fulfillment where none is suggested by scripture. Also, a statement based on their mistranslation of a scripture.
However, let us stick to God’s Word, getting in the habit of checking for ourselves. Then we will have a realistic view of how Jehovah and Jesus will show care for those genuinely serving them, rather than accepting some glossily painted, but unrealistic, picture from the Organization which could lead to disappointment and devastation of one’s faith in God.
[ii] This is examined closely in the forthcoming series “A Journey through Time”