Saturday, February 10, 2007
JOHN BEHOLDS THE GLORIFIED JESUS
No one is as blind as those who are convinced that they see. That was the case of many of the leading priests and Pharisees in Jesus’ day and it is also the sad spiritual state of the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses today. (See essay Who is Blind as the Servant of Jehovah?)
Ironically, the Society revised their commentary on Revelation -- making minor wording changes -- and yet did not see fit to reconsider some of the more absurd aspects of their teaching. So it is, that after more than a century of searching the Scriptures the Watchtower Society evidently remains absolutely convinced that Jehovah’s awesome judgment day has already begun and that Jesus’ powerful presence is a mundane affair that can only be determined by means of chronologic calculations; calculations which were originally based on the measurements of the inner chambers of the Great Pyramid of Egypt; but now, are ostensibly based upon Bible prophecy -- supposedly divining the very day and hour of Christ’s return on the first or second day of October in 1914.
Thus, the opening paragraphs of the 5th chapter of the Grand Climax book states that “the Lord’s day” began in 1914. In the 2nd paragraph the Society cites several verses from the writings of Paul, as if these confirm the 1914 invisible presence doctrine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider closely several of cited verses in context:
“I always thank God for you in view of the undeserved kindness of God given to you in Christ Jesus; that in everything you have been enriched in him, in full ability to speak and in full knowledge, even as the witness about the Christ has been rendered firm among you, so that you do not fall short in any gift at all, while you are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also make you firm to the end, that you may be open to no accusation in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -- 1 Corinthians 1:4-8
Notice, please, in the verse above that Paul relates "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (or Lord’s day) to the event called “the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also, Paul clearly indicated that the day of the Lord was the end of a Christian’s faith. That being the case, did the revelation of Jesus Christ take place in 1914? Was that the end of the tests of our faith? Obviously not. (For a detailed consideration of the revelation of Christ and the parousia see the essays The Visible Presence of Christ and the Revelation of Christ and the Two Witnesses.)
Another verse cited in the 2nd paragraph is 2 Corinthians 1:14, which reads: “Just as you have also recognized, to an extent, that we are a cause for you to boast, just as you will also be for us in the day of our Lord Jesus.”
In this verse Paul intimates that the “day of our Lord Jesus” will involve the resurrection. How else could the apostles, who have long since passed away, rejoice over their fellow believers?
At Philippians 1:6 Paul writes: “For I am confident of this very thing, that he who started a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Again, the verse the Society cited indicates that “the day of Jesus Christ” is the end of our faith. It is when Jehovah’s purpose in connection with Christ’s congregation is victoriously concluded. Thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to ponder the question: Is it reasonable to believe that God’s work was completed in 1914? Obviously, as far as Jehovah’s Witnesses are concerned, 1914 was the beginning of an ongoing disciple-making work -- not the completion. Reasoning on the Scriptures provided in the lesson ought to convince clear thinking persons that the Lord’s day has not begun yet.
As the writings of Paul indicate, as well as the very account in Revelation, the Lord’s day is when Jesus comes to initiate judgment upon his anointed congregation. It is also when he ultimately reveals himself to them, just as he revealed himself to John in the vision; which, of course, takes place during the Lord’s day.
Jesus’ supernatural appearance to John in Revelation is similar to the close encounter Daniel had while in captivity to the empire of that time. (For a more detailed discussion of the significance of Daniel see the blog entry: Daniel is Strengthened by an angel of God.) Interestingly, John was also in captivity when he was given the Revelation, due to his being persecuted by the Roman Empire. This would seem to foreshadow the fact that Christ’s anointed congregation will exist in a state of captivity to Babylon and Rome’s imperial successor during the time of Christ’s actual presence during the Lord's day.