QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
♦ Can you explain Mark 8:38? (When the Son of Man arrives)
On March 5, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“Can you explain Mark 8:38. For whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he arrives in the glory of the Father with the holy angels.”
To the author, we thank you for visiting the site and submitting your inquiry; however, we are not clear on what it is you are asking. To us, the scripture appears rather straightforward and not in need of further explanation. On the other hand, if your question is not ‘what does this mean,’ but rather ‘when will this occur,’ our response is: we do not know. Nevertheless, your inquiry provides us with an opportunity to address a very important subject that we believe will be helpful to the entire Body. With that spirit in mind, here is our response:
We are finding that many of our brothers and sisters are very concerned about future events. They are perhaps thinking of Jesus’ admonition:
“Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man.” – Luke 21:36
or the parable of the ten virgins, where we are counseled:
“Keep on the watch, therefore, because you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:13
It is commendable that we are taking this counsel to heart, but we want to be careful not to turn our wakefulness into negativism – what we should avoid – as opposed to positivism – what we can actively do.
If we elect positivism, we will be focused on doing the work the Christ set out for us, namely serving as ambassadors. (See our series of articles “Ambassadors Substituting for Christ” for a discussion of this work.) Whereas, if we elect negativism, we will be in fearful expectation and worried about what might happen, much like the “sluggish slave” spoken of in the parable of the Talents at Matthew 25:14-30. We encourage you to read that account.
The “sluggish slave” buried the one talent he was given in the ground and waited in fearful expectation of his master’s return. His excuse was that he ‘knew his master to be an exacting man.’ And true to his negative expectation, and in harmony with his fearful inaction, his master was displeased, and the slave suffered.
The other two slaves were called “good and faithful slaves” because they “immediately” went to work increasing the master’s interests. These faithful slaves were not fearful of their master’s return. They did, in fact, ‘know him’ as the joyful master that he was.
It appears to us that neither were the faithful slaves worried about the timing of their master’s return, for whenever he would return, the master would receive an increase. In fact, the longer the master was delayed, the greater the increase. And true to their expectation, and in harmony with their industrious action, their master was pleased with their results and so welcomed them into his “joy.”
This is a lesson for us, namely, let us not be worried about when the master will return. And let us not worry about what will happen to “sluggish slaves,” for what has that to do with us who are industrious and faithful?
We take the counsel of positivism suggested by Paul and Timothy:
“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.” – Philippians 4:8
We let go of anxiety as counseled by our Master:
“Keep on, then seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to you. So, never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.” – Matthew 7:33-34
And we live our lives in joyful expectation of our Master’s return – whenever that day arrives. Notwithstanding the above, if we have not satisfactorily answered your question, please write to us again.
♦ How can a Christian avoid mark of the beast?”
On March 4, 2012, we received the following comment:
“In Revelation 13 and 14 it is written that the people on earth get mark of the beast. How can a Christian avoid mark of the beast?”
To the author, we thank you for visiting the site and for your inquiry.
The answer to your question is quite simple: In all things, in good season and bad, in joy and in sorrow, in tribulation and in peace, imitate the Christ. You may find some encouragement in our series entitled “Ambassadors Substituting for Christ,” especially Letter No. 3, “The Faith and Religion of Jesus.”
We also direct you to Jesus’ admonition in the 7th chapter of Matthew, especially verses 33-34:
“Keep on, then seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to you. So, never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.” – Matthew 7:33-34
and to the encouragement of Paul and Timothy:
“Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made know to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7
♦ What about Revelation 7 and 21, does it tell of an earthly hope?
On March 9, 2012, we received the following comment:
“The great multitude will live on earth, it is their hope. So there are 2 hope, heavenly hope for 144,000 Christians, and the hope of eternal life on earth for all other Christians who survives.
“Who represents the great multitude, can be ascertained from the description in Revelation, chapter 7, and the scriptures that clearly are parallel. In Revelation 7: 15-17 says that God 'turns up his tent over them', they are led to "sources with the water of life" and that God "will wipe away every tear from their eyes." In Revelation 21: 2-4, there is a parallel expression: "God's tent is with men," "He will wipe every tear from their eyes" and "death shall be no more." This view does not apply to circumstances in heaven, 'the New Jerusalem comes down from', but the conditions on earth among men.”
To the author, we thank you for taking the time to post your comments. You could have easily clicked exit and left, and we would not have had the opportunity to respond. So, we sincerely thank you.
If you have read our site, you know that we believe that there is only one hope for Christians and that is the heavenly hope. In support of our position, we provided two series of articles, “The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation,” and “Observing the Oneness of the Faith.” Each series contains several scriptural references in both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures that show the one hope for Christians. If you have not read those articles, we encourage you to do so. You will get a fuller explanation for our position and you might find them very enlightening.
We note that in support of the “earthly hope,” you cite only to the book of Revelation. You do not address the several statements made in 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc., all which state that all Christians should be pursuing the heavenly hope. For example:
“One body there is, and one spirit, even as you were called in the one hope to which you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all persons, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be dissolved, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
“For there are many, I used to mention them often but now I mention them also with weeping, who are walking as the enemies of the torture stake of the Christ, and their finish is destruction, and their god is their belly, and their glory consists in their shame, and they have their minds upon things of the earth. As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself.” – Philippians 3:18-21
“We thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in connection with Christ Jesus and the love you have for all the holy ones because of the hope that is being reserved for you in the heavens. This [hope] you heard of before by telling of the truth of that good news which has presented itself to you, even as it is bearing fruit and increasing in all the world just as [it is doing] also among you, from the day you heard and accurately knew the undeserved kindness of God in truth.” – Colossians 1:3-6
“If, however, you were raised up with the Christ, go on seeking the things above, where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Keep your minds fixed on the things above not on the things upon the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for according to his great mercy he gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. It is reserved in the heavens for you, who are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time.” – 1 Peter 1:3-5
In addition to expressing the cherished heavenly hope held out to all Christians, the scriptures counsel against pursuing earthly things. It goes so far as to tell us that if we are mentally inclined to consider a hope other than the heavenly hope, we should pray about it and God will help to readjust our thinking:
“Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on [it]; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead. I am pursuing down toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.” – Philippians 3:13-15
In fact, we do not believe you can point to any scripture that tells Christians to pursue everlasting life on earth. If you are aware of any such scripture, please bring that to our attention.
You cite to the book of Revelation. So, we ask: Why would the Revelation lead us to think something different from what the Apostles taught? Could it be that we are misunderstanding the Revelation? Let’s begin by looking to the introduction to the book:
“A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent forth his angel and presented [it] in signs through him to his slave John, who bore witness to the word God gave and to the witness Jesus Christ gave, even to all the things he saw. Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophesy, and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near.” – Revelation 1:1-3
So, we learn that the Revelation is not to be taken literally. It is a prophesy that is presented in signs. Let’s look at the scriptures you cite to:
“That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.” – Revelation 7: 15-17
“I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21: 2-4
Based on your comment, it appears that you believe these scriptures are to be taken literally. However, a literal interpretation flies in direct conflict with other portions of the Bible. For example:
“But will God truly dwell upon the earth? Look! The heavens, yes, the heavens of heavens, themselves cannot contain you; how much less, then, this house that I have built!” – 1 Kings 8:27
“And he added: ‘You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live.” – Exodus 33:20
Clearly then, neither the throne of God, nor God himself could reside on earth with man.
You also comment that because it speaks of ‘sources with the water of life,’ or ‘wiping away every tear from their eyes,’ or that ‘death shall be no more,’ that these promises ‘do not apply to circumstances in heaven,’ but instead ‘refer to the conditions on earth among men.’ We wonder what you base that conclusion on? Is it not possible that there is no crying or death in heaven? Is it not possible that the anointed sons of the kingdom would dwell in a heavenly place near the Father? Is it not possible that the ‘sources’ or ‘fountains’ of the water of life would be in heaven? Further, we note that, if we take it literally, New Jerusalem indeed comes down, but it does not say that it comes down to earth. And, finally, where in the Revelation are Christians encouraged to pursue everlasting life on earth? We haven’t seen it.
It is truly, as Jesus said, a prophesy presented in signs – not to be taken literally. For if we are inclined to apply a literal interpretation, what shall we say about the numerous scriptural references throughout the Christian writings that tell us that every Christian must pursue the heavenly hope? (Philippians 3:13-15) (See also “Observing the Oneness of the Faith.”)
The only way to address that conundrum is to create a whole new story, such as, “The writings from Matthew through Jude are written only to anointed Christians who go to heaven, whereas the Revelation prophesies that there would be other Christians who will live forever on earth – but we won’t have the support for the earthly hope until new scrolls are opened.” Is that not going beyond what is written? Would we not be guilty of the perversion spoken of by Paul:
“I marvel that you are being so quickly removed from the One who called you with Christ’s undeserved kindness over to another sort of good news. But it is not another; only there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to pervert the good news about the Christ. However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6-9
Rather than create another story in order to support ‘another sort of good news,’ or assume that Jesus and the apostles left out something this important, isn’t it wiser to accept that maybe our interpretation of the Revelation may not be accurate?
We recognize that this may be difficult for some, especially if we have been holding on to, and preaching about, an earthly hope for a long time. We, too, were once of that opinion. But our universal view has expanded. We have a clearer understanding of the heavens, as well as our heavenly hope. We are preparing an article on “How to Expand Your Spiritual Vision.” We hope you get an opportunity to read the article once it is posted.
As the Society often says, ‘the light keeps getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.’ (Proverbs 4:18) We welcome you into that bright light. And “if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.” – (Philippians 3:13-15)
♦ What do you think of Luke 21:8, it is incorrect to say that the end is near?
On March 29, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“What do you think of Luke 21:8, it is incorrect to say that the end is near?
To the author, we thank you for your inquiry. The scripture you are referring to states:
“He said: “Look out that you are not misled; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time has approached.’ Do not go after them.” – Luke 21:8
In response to your question, we want you to understand that the “end” is ALWAYS near – our physical lives can terminate at any time and without any warning. For that reason, we are counseled to serve out of love – love for God, love for Christ and love for truth – not out of fear of the end of a “system of things.”
When our service to God is based on a concern about when the end of a system of things will come, when that time does not arrive as expected, it can crush us and leave us without hope. Perhaps you have seen this happen.
As for the scripture you refer to, please note that the persons doing the misleading are the very ones saying, ‘The due time has approached’ and asserting it as though it came from Jesus himself. This is the reason we NEVER speculate as to when an “end” will come. And for those who find themselves as speculators or victims of such speculation, we caution you, as does the scripture, to neither mislead nor be misled. But rather be patient, and a source of encouragement, not “town criers” frightening people into ‘the Truth.’
We can save ourselves and our brothers from that folly by focusing our attention on imitating the faith of Jesus and doing the work he has commissioned us to do. Remember the parable of the “faithful slaves” who concerned themselves with increasing the Master’s interests not being fearful of his return. (Matthew 25:14-30) See also our Questions and Responses March 5, 2012 and our series of articles under “Ambassadors Substituting for Christ.”
If we do these things, whenever the “end” comes, we may be found “spotless and unblemished and in peace.” (2 Peter 3:14)
♦ Have we changed our position on who is Babylon the Great? Do we think it is time to formally leave Jehovah’s Witnesses.
On January 14, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I e-mailed you a question some time ago that if you think that JW's as an organization is to be considered Babylon the great which you should flee and escape from (Rev. 18:4) Your answer then was that we can't say which identity she has. You also mentioned that it would be difficult to help and support JW's if you disassociated from them. My questions are: Have change your position in the matter? (Having your last article in mind [Discerning the Time of Inspection.] Do you think is high time to formally leave Jehovah's Witnesses?”
To the author, it is good to hear from you again and thank you for your email. We are responding publicly because we believe others may have the same questions.
No, we have not changed our position on the identity of Babylon the Great. We still cannot say with any certainty who she represents. The article, Discerning the Time of Inspection, was not based on the prophesies in Revelation about Babylon the Great, but on the parallels between the Governing Body and the 1st century Jewish Sanhedrin. Our comments about fleeing from the organization are based on Jesus’ words to his apostles (Matthew 24:15-16), and Paul’s words to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 6:15-18). We emphasized that since the Governing Body has chosen to pattern itself after a disapproved nation, they will reap what they have sown. (Galatians 6:7) This is not prophesy, it is patterns and parallels.
We want to further emphasize that we did not base anything in the article on the prophesies in the Old Testament either. We strongly believe that any message that the Father or the Christ would have for anyone today, including the Governing Body, will be found in the New Testament and will be based on Jesus’ words as the last and greatest prophet. (Matthew 21:37) For further discussion of this, see Lastly He Sent His Son.
You asked whether it is time to formally leave the organization. We believe that is a personal decision that each individual will have to make for him or herself and their families. We do not want to become a new governing body, making personal decisions for our brothers. Our message is one of liberty and freedom. We reiterate the plain and open teachings of Jesus and the need to openly confess union with him. And we have provided spiritual provisions to sustain those who elect to leave. But how and when our brothers choose to respond is up to them. As the scripture says: “let the reader use discernment.” (Matthew 24:15) The Father will hold us individually accountable for our actions, so we should be sure that our actions are OUR actions, and not the result of blindly following others.
Finally, yes, we continue to believe that if you formally disassociate yourself from the congregation, it will be difficult to help those who remain behind. For that reason, we suggest that those who chose to leave do so in a way that allows for continued freeness of speech.
♦ Who is left on earth after the separating of the sheep and the goat?
On February 26, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry translated from a French speaking visitor:
“What I wanted to say, When Jesus comes, he will gather the nations into two groups, good and bad. Evil will be destroyed and the good will be resurrected as sons of God who will go to heaven. There will be no one on earth. By the end of the 1000 years (Rev. 19:7) Satan will make war with the nations on earth. Question, just where these did these nations come from since the second resurrection has not started. These 1000 years during which they are to restore the land after (2 Peter 3:10-12) + (2 Peter 3: 13) + (Revelation 21:1). Who put these people to be on the earth for 1000 years?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We understand your dilemma based on the current understanding of these prophetic words. As you may know, we hesitate in answering questions having to do with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy because those types of answers are all speculation.
The problem man has in coming up with accurate interpretations is that there is so much about our universe that is not revealed. For example, the Governing Body claims that the 24 elders (Revelation 19:4) and the 144,000 (Revelation 14:1) are the same group viewed from different perspectives. (The Watchtower, January 1, 2007, page 26, paragraph 10.) How can they come up with such a ridiculous interpretation? The answer is: because they do not know all the various groups of personalities that exist in heaven. They believe there is Jehovah, Jesus, Gabriel, some angels and, in the future, some resurrected humans. So, they have to interpret all the prophetic characters according to their limited knowledge. They have not opened their minds enough to encompass the reality that they do not know everything or that mankind in general is not fully conversant in universe affairs. For all we know, the heavens could be teaming with innumerable types of beings with unimagined responsibilities, who, for the first time, are revealed to man symbolically in the book of Revelation. Thus, humility would, and should, cause every human to exercise extreme caution when it comes to Biblical prophecy.
Having said that, we can tell you that we suspect the separating of sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46), or wheat and weeds (Matthew 13:24-30), occurs after a dispensational resurrection. To us, it seems like Jesus is referring to what he will do as a part of the resurrection and judgment of ‘the righteous and the unrighteous’ as spoken of in these scriptures:
“Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” – John 5:28-29
“And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Acts 24:15
When we think about it, it seems premature to judge someone as a sheep or a goat, or a wheat or a weed, until they have fully exhausted their time on earth. Think of the ‘evil doer’ who hung alongside Jesus.
“Then one of the criminals hanging there began to speak abusively to him, saying: ‘You are the Christ, are you not? Save yourself and us too!’ In response the other rebuked him, saying: ‘Do you not fear God at all, now that you have received the same judgment? And we rightly so, for we are getting back what we deserve for the things we did; but this man did nothing wrong.’ Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom.’ And he said to him: ‘Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.’” – Luke 23:39-43
Had he been called to judgment before his death, we wonder if he would have been so thoroughly saved. No matter how stubborn or resistant people are at the moment, they can do a complete turnaround in the next moment. That is one of the reasons why murder is so detestable. No one has the right to arbitrarily take away another’s time and opportunity to find God and become reconciled to Him before their physical bodies wear out.
At the end of a dispensation, a resurrection can occur that does not disturb those who are still living on earth. We wonder if the vast majority of those on earth would even be aware of such an event, since the promised resurrection is a resurrection to heavenly life. (See The Promised Resurrection.) The only Biblical reference we have as to dispensational resurrections is what apparently occurred after Jesus’ death, as we discussed in Question and Response 7/28/13b. In this instance, most of the population was not even aware of the true meaning of what was occurring.
So, you see, brother, there is great need for caution and an even greater need for patience. Allow matters to work themselves out according to the Father’s plan and focus on those things you can clearly understand and have a measure of control over – yourself and your ministry. Have absolute confidence in the goodness and fairness of the Father.
“But just as it is written: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
And know that whatever the future holds, your hope is secure.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
We also want to add that what we have written above is not doctrine. It is one way that we view these matters, but we remain ever open to the possibility that we are mistaken and that the parables of the sheep and goat, and the wheat and weeds, have entirely different meanings.
♦ When can we see the fulfillment of Revelation 21:3-4?
On October 14, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“Dear Brothers, Thank you for your response to my recent letter regarding the resurrection. Please help me to understand your views on the scripture in Revelation chapter 21:3,4...in relation to "the tent of God is with Mankind". Are we not to understand that this means that there is a purpose for people to live on the earth in a world without suffering and even death? Thank you very much for your attention to this letter. Your brother.”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are happy to respond to your emails, but, as you may know, we refrain from commenting on prophecies and prophetic fulfillment because we believe it can serve as too much of a distraction from the purpose and message of Jesus’ actual ministry. The focus on end times has led many religious people down a path of disappointment and loss of faith. And it has been the demise of many well-intentioned religious associations. In fact, we believe that the Watchtower organization is on that path to self-destruction if it does not return to the plain and open teachings of Jesus. However, in this instance, since your question concerns a fundamental teaching on this site, namely that the so-called ‘earthly hope’ is a fallacy, we will make a few comments.
We note that the prophecy that “the tent of God will be with mankind” does not mean that the hope for man is to live forever on earth. It simply means that when the time comes for God to engulf the entire planet with his glory, the earth will be filled with righteous, God-oriented people, and these conditions will continue forever. However, the individual man or woman will still attain to the purpose God has for his children that was established “before the founding of the world,” that they be adopted as His sons into heaven, as recorded at Ephesians 1:3-5. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates God’s original purpose has changed or will change.
As for death being done away with, it might be helpful to know that death and resurrection is just one way of terrestrial escape. Recall that Paul spoke about some being transformed in the twinkling of an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:50-52) So it is quite possible that, in a world populated with righteous people, when each one’s time on earth is complete, they, too, will twinkle away instead of experiencing the sleep of death.
As to when the prophecy at Revelations 21:3-4 will have its fulfillment, we believe it will be fulfilled long in the future when man has matured and has reached a physical and spiritual apex. We reach this conclusion because righteousness does not come automatically. It takes time and effort, and the world as we know it is quite a long way away from that point. However, when the teachings of Jesus will have permeated the entire earth and the majority of the people are seeking the heavenly kingdom, then we will see the end of the sorrowful conditions and the beginning of the fulfillment of these divine promises.
Of course, we understand why millions of people are hoping for its fulfillment in their lifetime. Every generation since John recorded his prophecy had this hopeful expectation. It seems the fear of one’s own mortality creates a great sense of urgency and a compulsion to see the ‘signs’ of its fulfillment in everyday events that must naturally occur as mankind progresses and matures. But as Jesus said, wars, famine, earthquakes, tribulation and things like these are just the ‘beginning’ (not the ending) of pangs of distress, and they will not end until Jesus’ message is preached throughout the entire inhabited earth. (Matthew 24:7-14) The relief we all hope for will come by the ‘word of God’ not by destruction.
Nevertheless, 21st century Christians are determined to make this prophecy come true in their lifetimes. And it is this need that fuels the growth of end times religions and the gross abuse of the faith and hopes of otherwise intelligent and Godly people. Hopefully, as the erroneous prophetic interpretations fail, Christians will settle down and return to the plain and open teachings of Jesus as the means to bring relief to our world. We are doing what we can to promote that outcome. Please see our article “Bringing Heaven Down-Turning Back Destruction.”
Having said all of this, to those who continue to be convinced that the end of the world is just around the corner, consider this: If the whole world were to crash before the end of this year and everything as we know were to be torn down, what can you do to protect yourself? What steps can you take to assure your salvation? Where can you hide for safety? There is only one thing you can do. Exercise faith in Jesus. No other knowledge or activity or person or organization will be able to protect you or save you. That being the case, why not focus your attention on learning as much as you can about Jesus and his ministry. Learn what Jesus wants you to do with your time, AND DO THOSE THINGS.
If more Christians can display that mental attitude, we can hasten the spiritual and material apex of our world so that these divine prophecies can have their fulfillment.
♦ How does one apply “this generation” during personal bible reading?
On October 20, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“I found the article on "this generation" thought-provoking. Your reasoning on WHO Jesus referred to appeared sound and indisputable however, doesn't your reasoning amount to separation of scripture much like what is already in practice with the Witnesses? You know the consideration given to 'the faithful and discreet slave' as well as 'keep doing this in remembrance of me'. They have denied personal, individual application. Wouldn't your reasoning amount to the same thing? How does one apply 'this generation' during personal bible reading?”
To the author, thank you for visiting our site and sending your email.
In finding an answer to your question, please keep in mind that parts of the Bible are historical. In other words, they are a record of events that actually occurred. Historical records are different from parables. Parables have universal meaning at all times and for all generations. They are also different from actual teachings, counsel, suggestions and directives, all of which should be taken personally. But not so with historical records.
The portion you are referring to is a historical record of what occurred that evening on the Mount when Jesus explained to his disciples what was to befall Jerusalem. Recall that this account was recorded in about 41 C.E., before the destruction of Jerusalem, so it was very relevant and needed to be recorded for 1st century Christians.
That account has also been preserved down to our day as an historical record of the sayings and doings of Jesus of Nazareth. So when you are reading an historical record such as this one, you should look for any lesson in it that could apply in your life. But you should not assume that the historical record is a personal message or a prophecy of what will actually occur to you personally.
This is especially true with this account. Jesus was clear that he was referring to “this generation” represented by those disciples that were sitting before him. But every generation who reads this account can learn something from it, such as Jesus has foreknowledge of events and we can rely on his words, that who reject the clear message of Jesus will not have God’s favor or protection, whereas those who heed Jesus’ counsel can survive.
And never discount the value of your personal experience of Jesus by means of the Spirit of Truth. We can honor those men of earlier days, but we must remember that we, too, must be living examples of the Christ in our families, communities and our lives. The Spirit of Truth is working with all who confess union with Christ in these days. Look at the past experiences for encouragement and enlightenment but live in this 21st century as a new creation ever growing, learning, seeking, and knocking for truth and light. The Father is with this generation just has He has been with other generations in the past. And there is always more to know, to do and to experience, especially for those who are seeking the prize of the upward call.
We hope this answers your questions, but if not, please do not hesitate to write us again. And if you do, please let us know if you have accepted the free gift of holy spirit as a child of God.
♦ What is your opinion of Robert King and e-watchtower?
On January 7, 2019, we received the following email:
What is your personal opinion of Robert King, the e-watchman.com website? He claims to be of the anointed and a prophet (watchman) appointed by God. He claims the 1914 date of the Watchtower Society is a false parousia, which is the delusional false parousia being used by Satan the Devil to test all Jehovah's Witnesses who they will truly follow, who they will fully trust, the Governing Body or Jehovah God. He is heavy on the subject of the old prophets and prophecy and seems to support all the doctrines of the Watchtower. Do you believe he is just another false prophet? Robert King himself was disfellowshipped I believe back in 2005.
To the author, thank you for your email. It is our opinion that Brother King has followed the path of many former Witnesses who have partaken as “anointed ones” within the Watchtower organization. They reject the Governing Body and their claim of being the sole channel of God, and then promote themselves as Jehovah’s mouthpiece. They have “jumped out of the frying pan,” so to speak, and then begin to fry others. They are imitating their captors. The words of the apostle Paul are instructive:
“Long ago God spoke to our forefathers by means of the prophets on many occasions and in many ways. Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So he has become better than the angels to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.” – Hebrews 1:1-4
In the distant past, our Father spoke through the old Jewish prophets. Today, Jesus is the spokesman for God, and he has been such ever since his baptism.
“After being baptized, Jesus immediately came up from the water; and look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw God’s spirit descending like a dove and coming upon him. Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” – Matthew 3:16-17
“While he was still speaking, look! a bright cloud overshadowed them, and look! a voice out of the cloud said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved. Listen to him.’” – Matthew 17:5
Dear Brother, as you well know, Jesus is neither dead, inactive nor disinterested in us. He is very much alive and directing his people by means of the Spirit of Truth, not by any man or body of men:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. However, when that one comes, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own initiative, but what he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things to come. That one will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to you. All the things that the Father has are mine. That is why I said he receives from what is mine and declares it to you.” – John 16:12-15
The determination to grasp onto an outdated religious system is the reason why so many, including Brother King, are misled into thinking themselves to be appointed prophets. All such individuals are truly ‘wandering around in the desert’ because they refuse to accept the light and kindly load of the Christ. (Matthew 11:30)
Our obligation is to seek first the kingdom (Matthew 6:33-34), to love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40), and to be fair (Matthew 7:12). If we want a greater share in honoring our Sovereign, we can accept the request to spread good news that will reconcile man with God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20), instead of making proclamations of doom and gloom. The kindly load of the Christ is incompatible with the fiery proclamations of the olden prophets.
It has long been our prayer that Brother King, and all others like him, will abandon the “old wine” of an outdated religious system, humble themselves and take up the “new wine” as taught by Jesus. This is the way out of the chaos of the Watchtower group and into “his glorious light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
We hope this answers your question. If not, feel free to write again.