Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lasting Rulership Just Ahead! para. 33-40

Illustration copyrighted by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society

“I kept on beholding at that time because of the sound of the grandiose words that the horn was speaking; I kept on beholding until the beast was killed and its body was destroyed and it was given to the burning fire. But as for the rest of the beasts, their rulerships were taken away, and there was a lengthening in life given to them for a time and a season.” (Daniel 7:11-12)
The Watchtower briefly comments on the passage above:

By decree of the Great Judge, Jehovah God, the horn that blasphemed God and harassed his “holy ones” will have the same experience as the Roman Empire, which persecuted the early Christians. Its rulership will not continue. Neither will that of inferior hornlike “kings” that came out of the Roman Empire. What, though, about the rulerships derived from the previous beastly powers? As foretold, their lives were lengthened “for a time and a season.” Their territories have continued to have inhabitants to our day. Iraq, for example, occupies the territory of ancient Babylon. Persia (Iran) and Greece still exist. Remnants of these world powers are part of the United Nations. These kingdoms also will perish with the annihilation of the last world power. All human governments will be obliterated at “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 16:14, 16) But, then, who will rule the world?

This aspect of the Watchtower’s interpretation seems reliable. It is true that the remnants of the previous beastly empires still remain in existence concurrent with the now-ruling ten-horned beast. However, the passage of prophecy under consideration indicates that the last beast is killed and burned in the fire as a direct and presumably immediate result of the grandiose words of the little horn and the harassment of the holy ones.

In the 37th paragraph the Society states:  “Thus the Messianic Kingdom was established in heaven in 1914.” In view of the fact that the Society insists that the little horn made war with and conquered Christ and the holy ones back during WWI, we are left to wonder why Jehovah’s judgment against the blaspheming beast has not been executed yet. After all, if Jehovah held court and issued his verdict in 1914 why has the offending beast been allowed to continue on unimpeded for nearly a century? What did Jehovah's judgment accomplish?

Furthermore, since the grandiose words spoken by the mouthy little horn of the beast are a primary reason for Jehovah’s judgment, why is it that the Watchtower is unable to point to any specific words uttered by the Anglo-American beast over the past century that might be indicative of how the prophecy may have been fulfilled?

The last sentence of the 38th paragraph states:  

“Hence, Christ Jesus and the resurrected anointed Christians will rule the world of mankind.” The last sentence in the 39th paragraph states: “What blessings obedient mankind will experience under that Kingdom!” The last sentence of the 40th paragraph similarly states: “Paying attention to this prophecy will strengthen our faith and bolster our conviction that Jehovah’s Messianic King will rule the world.”
Is this not a case of doublespeak at its worst? (What Ezekiel calls “double-faced divination”) In the 37th paragraph the Society dogmatically insists that God’s kingdom began to rule the world in 1914; but in the ensuing paragraphs they say that Jesus and the holy ones “will rule mankind”—as in the future. The logical question is: Which is it? If the kingdom was given to the holy ones in 1914 why must there be yet another occasion when they begin to rule the world? How many times does God have to set up his kingdom? And if the rulership of the world was given to the holy ones in 1914, then why aren’t they ruling? Obviously there is no shred of evidence that the holy ones are presently ruling. Nor is there any reason to believe that God has taken away the rulership of the beast. The only evidence the Watchtower offers as proof that the kingdom of God has begun ruling is a contrived chronological calculation of the seven-times. Clearly, something is not quite right with the Society’s interpretation of the timing of these crucial developments in the advent of the kingdom.

Thinking Bible students should take note of the significance of the three and one half years prophetic period, which is expressed as time, times and half time, as 42 months and also as 1,260 days. The significance of that time period is that three and a half years also happens to be the exact length of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Surely it is no coincidence that from the time of Jesus’ baptism to the time of his death just so happens to amount to three and a half years. (From Autumn 29 CE to the Spring of 33 CE) That being the case, Jesus’ earthly ministry must portray a vital pattern that is repeated during the time of the end, when the kingdom ultimately comes to power.

Consider the fact that when Jesus was baptized he was also anointed—thus becoming the king designate. Six months after becoming the Messiah Jesus went to Jerusalem and threw the money-changers from his Father’s temple. Three years later Jesus returned to Jerusalem hailed as the king of Israel. It was at that time that Jesus announced that he had conquered the world. So, during his three and a half ministry Jesus was given the kingdom of David (Upon his baptism when the Psalm applied: ‘Ask of me that I may give you kingdoms’) During that 42 month period Jesus ministered to his disciples and prepared them for the hardships ahead. Finally, Jesus subdued his religious enemies and triumphed over the Roman Empire at his death. (The 10-horned beast) Jehovah showed that he had given judgment in favor of Christ by resurrecting him from the dead.

Reasonably, the parousia of Christ will likewise last for three and one half years, during which time Jesus will cleanse his Father’s spiritual temple and discipline and prepare his faithful disciples to face the end of the world.
During the final phase of that interval the beast will be destroyed and it will also become manifest that Jehovah has given the kingdom to the holy ones.

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