Saturday, April 7, 2007

Coming as a Thief

Jesus’ following message to the Christians in Sardis is the basis for the first part of this week’s book study: “Become watchful, and strengthen the things remaining that were ready to die, for I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God. Therefore, continue mindful of how you have received and how you heard, and go on keeping it, and repent. Certainly unless you wake up, I shall come as a thief, and you will not know at all at what hour I shall come upon you.”

Under the subheading “coming as a thief” the Society asserts that Jesus came as a thief in 1918, even though in the very same paragraph they acknowledge that no one knows the day and hour of his coming. One would think, though, that if that were really true then that would be the end of it. But no. The Watchtower goes on to insist that Jesus is coming as a thief, again. But how reasonable is it that Jesus comes as a thief on two occasions?

Furthermore, the Society goes on to boast: “The John class today is itself awake to the need for stimulating God’s people to keep spiritually alive.” They then cite timely articles that were written back in 1919, 1925 and 1942! But do articles written more than a half century ago prove that the would-be watchman class of today is still on the watch? Hardly.

In the 6th paragraph the Society declares that the parable of the wise and foolish virgins was fulfilled in 1919. If that were true, though, that would of necessity mean that the marriage of the Lamb has already taken place and that the calling of choosing of bride class ended back then. That’s because Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins illustrates the fact that once the wise virgins are allowed entry into the place of the marriage feast the door is then shut. Appropriately, Jesus concluded the parable of the ten virgins by warning his disciples to keep on the watch because they do not know the day or hour.

Now the question that begs to be asked is this: Does the Watchtower’s insistence that the parable of the ten virgins has already been fulfilled stimulate Christian wakefulness or does the 1914 teaching dull our sense of anticipation of things to come?

Please note that in Jesus’ illustration all the virgins nodded and went to sleep – even the wise virgins that took along extra oil for their lamps. More than likely, then, the Society’s 1914 teaching serves as a lullaby to that end.

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