This week, Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world will be studying Article 40 in the September 2022 Watchtower. It is titled “Bringing the Many to Righteousness.” Like last week’s study that covered John 5:28, 29 about the two resurrections, this one, to quote the preview, “provides an adjustment in our understanding with regard to the great educational program described at Daniel 12:2, 3.” (By the way, Daniel 12:2 and 3 does not describe any great educational program in the New World.)
This new understanding is called an “adjustment.” This is a common JW euphemism for “We got it all wrong before, and now we need to fix it.” Allow me to illustrate how this isn’t an adjustment: If you are listening to an AM station on the radio, and it’s not coming in clearly, you “adjust” the tuning dial to improve your reception. That is what an adjustment is. If, however, you throw the radio in the garbage and buy a brand new radio, you wouldn’t call that an adjustment.
What this study does is not an adjustment, but a change that is so profound that it wipes out the only meager foundation that the organization has to justify its doctrine of a 1914 presence of Christ.
“Whoa Nelly,” you might say. That’s going a bit too far, isn’t it? Not at all. This article is the printed edition of so-called new light released by Geoffrey Jackson over a year ago at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. I covered that extensively in a video titled “Geoffrey Jackson Invalidates the 1914 Presence of Christ.” Because of that, I won’t get into a lot of detail here covering everything already dealt with in that video. Just a couple of key points:
The article in The Watchtower together with last week’s study will be called “new light” by the rank-and-file Jehovah’s Witness. The Governing Body lays claim to that term by misappropriating Proverbs 4:18 which reads: “But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light That grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.” (Proverbs 4:18 NWT)
This verse in Proverbs isn’t talking about how we are meant to understand Bible prophecy as if it is revealed to us gradually by means of a trial-and-error process. When prophecy is revealed, it is revealed by a prophet all at once and if it comes from God, it is always completely right. What Proverbs 4:18 really refers to is the life course of a person striving to serve God. Yet, even if it were applicable to the revealing of prophecy, the historical facts make it impossible to apply that Scripture to the constant historical doctrinal flip-flopping of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I would submit that this latest “adjustment” demonstrates once again that the verse we should be applying to the Scholars of Watchtower, the vaunted “Guardians of Doctrine,” as they call themselves, is the next verse:
The way of the wicked is like the darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:19 NWT)
“A bit harsh,” you say? “A tad judgmental, perhaps.” I don’t think so. After all, making an “adjustment” that completely undermines their core doctrine of the 1914 presence of Christ while seemingly being totally unaware of the consequences of their “new light” clearly qualifies as stumbling around in the dark.
How does this new light undermine 1914? Well, let’s start with the fact that the Governing Body claims that The Watchtower predicted the return of Christ down to the month and year: October 1914. However, they had a hurdle to jump to claim the right to make this prediction. You see, when Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, his disciples asked a crucial question: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6)
If 1914 is really the date of Christ’s appointment as king to sit on the throne of David over the house of Israel as Witnesses believe, then in answer to the disciple’s question, he could have replied: “I’ll be restoring the kingdom of Israel in 1881 years from now. He couldn’t say 1914, because the Gregorian calendar that we use hadn’t been invented yet. But Christ didn’t say that, did he? Instead, he answered:
“It does not belong to you to know the times or seasons that the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction. (Acts 1:7)
So, there was and still is a divine injunction or prohibition against anyone knowing ahead of time the date of Christ’s return. How does the Organization claim to have gotten around this divine embargo? How could they have known the month and year in advance, since Jesus clearly tells his disciples that such foreknowledge is not something we may possess?
The answer given through The Watchtower is this:
“The True Knowledge Will Become Abundant”
As regards “the time of the end,” Daniel foretold a very positive development. (Read Daniel 12:3, 4, 9, 10.) “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun,” said Jesus. (Matt. 13:43) How did the true knowledge become abundant in the time of the end? Consider some historical developments in the decades prior to 1914, the year when the time of the end began. (w09 8/15 p. 14 Everlasting Life on Earth—A Hope Rediscovered)
“True knowledge” is not all knowledge, is it? According to The Watchtower it is. And further, they claim that Daniel 12:3,4 refers to the time of C.T. Russell forward. So, the injunction was lifted by God via this prophecy in Daniel based on the Organization’s interpretation. Okay, then. Well and good. You’ve got your excuse for knowing ahead of time what the 12 apostles of Jesus were forbidden from knowing. Then dear members of the Governing Body, don’t go changing it! If you move the fulfillment of Daniel 12:3,4 to the future, claiming that the true knowledge is not abundant now, today, but will become abundant in the new world, then you’ve just shot yourselves in the prophetic foot.
That’s what the Governing Body did in the 2021 annual meeting talk by Geoffrey Jackson and what they are again doing in this Watchtower Study. Why? What’s driving them? There is, in my estimation, something very sinister going on here, though it is cloaked in robes of righteousness as if an angel of light were speaking. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll come back to that. But for now, let’s just look at the evidence.
We’ll skip over the first three paragraphs of the study article because all they contain is human opinion and speculation without scriptural support. Oh sure, there are many scriptures cited, but if you take the time to look them up, you’ll see they’re just window dressing and do not support the speculation.
No, we’ll move straight to their attempts to interpret Daniel 12:1 to see if they are engaging in solid exegetical research (letting the Bible interpret itself) or falling back on their tried-and-true method of eisegesis (imposing their ideas onto Scripture).
Paragraph four tells us to read Daniel 12:1, so we’ll start with that.
“And during that time Miʹcha·el will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people. And there will certainly occur a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape, every one who is found written down in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)
The newer 2013 version strips out the words, “the sons of,” and gives: “During that time Miʹcha·el will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of your people.”
If you look into the interlinear, you’ll see that the original includes “the sons of,” so why remove it in the later version of the NWT? Well, for one thing, it makes what they are about to do all the easier. To begin with, if you put yourself in Daniel’s shoes for a moment, what would he have understood the angel to mean by “the sons of your people”?
Would Daniel have thought, “Well, my people are Jehovah’s Witnesses, so the sons of my people would be the descendants of Jehovah’s Witnesses”? Come on! His people were the Jews of his day and their sons would be their future descendants. Let’s be reasonable here. But the Governing Body does not want you, the humble Watchtower reader, to come to that conclusion. How do they get around that. First, they remove “the sons of” from the latest translation which every Witness is supposed to use at the meetings. Then…well, see if you can pick out for yourself:
Read Daniel 12:1. The book of Daniel reveals the sequence of exciting events that will occur during the time of the end. For example, Daniel 12:1 reveals that Michael, who is Jesus Christ, is “standing in behalf of [God’s] people.” That part of the prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1914 when Jesus was appointed as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom. (par. 4)
“Standing in behalf of [God’s] people”? Not “your people,” but God’s people?! Hey, if we’re going to play “let’s switch out the words”, why stop there, guys? Just spell it out. How about, “Standing in behalf of [Jehovah’s Witnesses]”? I mean, if we’re going to go beyond what is written, let’s not be coy. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” as the saying goes.
Of course, they are totally misapplying the prophecy of Daniel chapter 12 and have been doing so since before I was born. If you want to determine for yourself how that prophecy is fulfilled, check out this video on exegesis titled “Learning to Fish”. A hint, the whole thing was fulfilled in the first century.
By the way, Michael, the great prince, is not Jesus Christ. For scriptural proof, see this video.
There is more unsubstantiated speculation in paragraph 5:
This “time of distress” is the “great tribulation” mentioned at Matthew 24:21. Jesus stands up, or acts to defend God’s people, at the end of this time of distress, that is, at Armageddon. (par 5 excerpt)
That is both right and wrong. Right in that the time of distress mentioned in Daniel does refer to the great tribulation referred to at Matthew 24:21. Wrong in claiming that the great tribulation of Matthew 24:21 refers to Armageddon. The context clearly shows that it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Additionally, there’s nothing in the context of Matthew 24:21 to support an antitypical or secondary fulfillment. As a matter of fact, Matthew 24:23-27 warns us to beware of any false prophet or false anointed ones (Christs) claiming an invisible presence. How else are we to understand these words of our Lord Jesus?
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. Look! I have forewarned you. Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matthew 24:23-27 NWT)
When the presence of Jesus comes, you won’t read about it in The Watchtower. You’ll see it with your own eyes like lightning flashing across the sky. We were so foolish to trust in men.
Next, the Governing Body deals with their new understanding on Daniel 12:2.
“And many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)
I have to share this next bit from paragraph 6 of this study article because is shows a ridiculous, childish approach to Bible study.
This prophecy is not referring to a symbolic resurrection, a spiritual revival of God’s servants that occurs during the last days, as we previously understood. Rather, these words refer to the resurrection of the dead that takes place in the coming new world. Why can we draw that conclusion? The expression “the dust” is also used at Job 17:16 as a parallel of the expression “the Grave.” This fact indicates that Daniel 12:2 is referring to the literal resurrection that will occur after the last days have ended and after the battle of Armageddon. (par. 6)
Really?! The fact that sometimes “the dust” is used to represent “the grave” is all the proof you need to turn an entire interpretation on its head? Have they never heard of metaphor? Have they no concept of symbols?
They state in a footnote that, “This “explanation is an adjustment to the understanding found in the book Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophesy! chapter 17, and in The Watchtower of July 1, 1987, pp. 21-25.
Notice how they subtly distance themselves from responsibility for this latest bit of “new light” now that the switch has been turned off the old light and it has gone dark. “An adjustment to the understanding”? “To THE understanding?” You’ll never read, “An adjustment to the Governing Body’s previous understanding.” You’ll only find that level of candor among the faithful men who wrote the Bible.
There are two important subjects left to cover in this study article. The first has to do with what is depicted here:
The caption to this illustration reads: “How thrilling it will be to see Daniel, our loved ones, and many more “stand up” for their lot in the new world! (See paragraph 20)
There is nothing in Scripture that specifically says that men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as Moses, Daniel, and countless faithful pre-Christian servants will not be with Christ in the kingdom of God. On the other hand, there is much to prove that they will be there. I covered this in the previous video, here’s a link to it, but I still received many emails and comments from viewers asking for more explanation about how the faithful of old could be “born again” (spirit anointed) children of God. I was going to include a much fuller analysis here, but then I realized it would make this video too long. So, I’m going to do another video exclusively on this subject and I will post it very soon.
This brings us to the final point. Look at this picture on page 23 of the article.
The caption reads: “The 144,000 will work closely with Jesus Christ to direct the educational work that will take place during the 1,000 years (See paragraph 11)”
What you see here is Jesus Christ, far off in heaven, performing some jedi mind trick to influence this clean-cut Jehovah’s Witness to teach some resurrected Israelite about the Bible. When Jesus was resurrected as a spirit, he guided his apostles for the education work that would take place in the 1st century: the preaching of the good news. How did he direct them? In every instance, he took on a human form and walked among them as a man. Why would we think that Jesus and the anointed kings and priests would not do the same thing in the new world? If God’s way of doing this was to work remotely from heaven, why does Jesus have to return? In the Bible, we read “…the tent of God is with Mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.” (Revelation 21:3 NWT)
That sounds like direct contact on earth. Also, the anointed will dwell in the New Jerusalem and where will that city be? Jesus tells us:
“The one who conquers—I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will by no means go out from it anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.” (Revelation 3:12)
The seat of the heavenly administration will descend out of heaven to the earth. That is why Revelation 5:10 tells us “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign upon the earth.” (Berean Standard Bible)
“Upon the earth” or as other Bible versions render it, “on the earth.” So why is the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses pushing this unscriptural fantasy of a worldwide educational work carried out by faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses, who by the way, are still imperfect, and sinful?
Well, let me ask you this? What is the Devil’s greatest fear? Let’s read:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Imagine being told by God that you are going to die, that your fate is unalterable and sealed. All you have left is the time until that prophecy comes true. You’ll want to extend that time, of course. Step one is to corrupt the principal seed of the woman which is Jesus Christ. Well, Satan tried that and failed. So, the Bible tells us that “the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17)
Satan isn’t just doing this out of spite and hatred. No. He wants to keep the full number of that seed from coming to fruition, to buy himself more time. In the 19th century, a number of Bible Student groups freed themselves from false religion, abandoning such false teachings as the trinity, hellfire, and the immortal soul. More than anything else, they freed themselves from servitude to men, to self-exalted human leaders.
Imagine the coup it was for the devil to corrupt many of these new Christian groups. In the case of the newly named Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satan managed to get J.F. Rutherford to convince the flock to abandon the hope of serving with Jesus in the kingdom of God and to reject the anointing of the holy spirit, something Witnesses blatantly do to this very day in their yearly ceremonial rite called “the Memorial.” Of course, Satan does all this in disguise.
Paul explains how this is done:
“But what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to eliminate the pretext of those who are wanting a basis for being found equal to us in the things about which they boast. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. It is therefore nothing extraordinary if his ministers also keep disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)
As an angel of light, Satan brings glad tidings and false hope to the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses through his ministers disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness who encourage the flock to yearn for an exalted position in the New World as important instructors of Mankind, teaching even the likes of Daniel whose faith stayed the mouths of lions, and Moses, whose faith split the Red Sea. Yes, these humble Christian Witnesses will be called upon to instruct such men and help them to a knowledge of God and Christ. Poppycock! It is smoke and mirrors designed to keep the rank and file from dwelling on the real hope which Jesus is offering to all.
But why now? Why this change in understanding now? Could it be that the reports that are coming in from the field tell a troubling tale? In congregation after congregation, we are hearing that anywhere from 30% to 60% of publishers are quietly defying the order to return to in-person attendance. They prefer to attend remotely via zoom.
I can only imagine what tactics the Governing Body will employ next to shore up their flagging power over the flock. Already, the calls for donations are becoming constant. In the past, there was no such emphasis. It would have been unseemly, and it wasn’t needed. They had more money than they knew what to do with. Now, they have to sell kingdom halls to keep the funds flowing, and that is a finite resource. They are like a starving farmer who eats his planting seed to stay alive. When it’s all gone, there will be nothing left.
I take no joy in this. We should not rejoice. We should instead be like our Lord.
“And when he got nearby, he viewed the city and wept over it, saying: “If you, even you, had discerned in this day the things having to do with peace—but now they have been hid from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.” (Luke 19:41-44)
What saddens me most is that for so many, the inevitable demise of the Organization will result in a total loss of faith, because they have never learned to put their faith in God, but instead they have trusted in men and equated Jehovah God with an earthly, manmade visible Organization. They are walking by sight and not by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7) For them, when the Organization goes, it will be as if God himself has died.
Let us not be like that. Let us get out now and keep our faith! God didn’t fail us. We failed him by not heeding the counsel to not follow men. Well, it’s not too late. Sure, it will be tough, but that is also a cause for joy. Didn’t Jesus say:
“Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens, for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you. (Matthew 5:11, 12)
I’m so grateful for the many letters and comments of support that I get, and I share many of these with the brothers and sisters who collaborate in producing these videos, articles, and books and who host our weekly meetings. May the grace of our Father and of our Lord be with you all!
I remain your brother in Christ.