“What was left by the caterpillar, the locust has eaten; and what was left by the locust, the creeping, unwinged locust has eaten; and what the creeping, unwinged locust has left, the cockroach has eaten.” -Joel 1:4-
Swarming insects can be one of the most devastating natural forces on earth. A flying army of locusts can be as thick as a thundercloud—darkening the sky as they descend upon a ripened field—reducing it to mere stubble in a matter of minutes. In ancient times, and even today, the locust plague is the farmer’s most dreaded natural phenomenon. .
The Bible book of Joel presages not only a locust plague, but also an onslaught by an array of bothersome pests; including the voracious creeping caterpillar, the unwinged locust, and the loathsome cockroach. However, even more disconcerting is that these are not ordinary swarming insects, but are a representation of a mighty contingent of warriors that also resemble lions in their ferocity. The prophecy of Joel foretells that this irresistible military force will sweep the globe and bring devastation to the entire earth! That is no ordinary insect infestation!
The horrific, unstoppable, insect-like assault is a precursor to the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah and initiates the beginning of Judgment Day for the house of God. What, then, does this peculiar insect plague signify? But first, what do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the locusts of Joel represent?
As far back as the 1930’s, the Watchtower has taught that the pestiferous invaders of Joel represent Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even as recently as 1998, the Watchtower stated:
“The modern-day locust army is none other than the military force of Jehovah’s anointed locusts, now joined by some 5,600,000 of Jesus’ other sheep. Are you not glad to be part of this great throng of Jehovah’s worshipers?”
How does the Watchtower arrive at that conclusion?
Supposedly Jehovah’s Witnesses are depicted in the prophecy as an advancing army of locusts because as ministers Jehovah’s Witnesses have been unstoppable as they go about bringing devastation upon Christendom’s ‘fertile fields of operation.’
True, many of the people encountered in the “field ministry” consider Jehovah’s Witnesses to be nothing more than irritating pests; but realistically, how can it be said that Christendom has been devastated as a result of the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
In view of the fact that Christendom is just as viable today (if not more so) as when Judge Rutherford so taunted and infuriated the clergy by his vitriolic denunciations many decades ago, it is simply not in the realm of reality that the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses has somehow reduced the spiritual realm of Christendom to a barren field. Who not under the Watchtower’s influence would believe such nonsense?
Even a casual reading should impress upon the reader that the prophecy of Joel presages a visitation of a unique and horrific catastrophe upon the world; and in particular, how that calamity will impact those who are recognized by Jehovah as his people.
Couched in oracular vernacular, the book of Joel plainly sets forth that the symbolic insect invasion is a disaster for Jehovah’s people. That is why Jehovah calls it “my land, my vine, my fig tree”—stating at Joel 1:6-7: “For there is a nation that has come up into my land, mighty and without number. Its teeth are the teeth of a lion, and it has the jawbones of a lion. It has set my vine as an object of astonishment, and my fig tree as a stump. It has positively stripped it bare and thrown it away. The twigs of it have become white.”
Unquestionably, the object of the devastation is God’s own possession.
At Joel 1:13-14 God addresses himself to the leading older men and priests who are ministering at the altar in the house of Jehovah, saying to them: “Gird yourselves, and beat your breasts, you priests. Howl, you ministers of the altar. Come in, spend the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God; for from the house of your God grain offering and drink offering have been withheld.Sanctify a time of fasting.Call together a solemn assembly. Gather together the older men, all the inhabitants of the land, to the house of Jehovah your God, and cry to Jehovah for aid.”
As a further exhibit of the folly of Rutherford’s interpretation of Joel, here is what the May 1, 1998, Watchtower offered as commentary on the above verses:
“Today, Christendom’s clergy have assumed authority to serve at God’s altar, claiming to be his ministers, his “priests.” However, what is happening now that God’s modern-day locusts are on the move? When the “priests” of Christendom see Jehovah’s people in action and hear their warning of divine judgment, they become frantic. They beat their breasts in vexation and rage at the devastating effect of the Kingdom message. And they howl as their flocks slip away from them. With their pastures being denuded, let them spend the night in sackcloth, mourning over their loss of income. Before long, they will lose their jobs too! In fact, God tells them to mourn all night because their end is near.”
The Watchtower’s explanation is pure hokum. The prophecy of Joel does not indicate that the priests and ministers merely claim to be the priests and ministers of Jehovah. Joel prophesies from the standpoint of such men actually being the authentic priests officiating at “the house of Jehovah your God.” That is why the prophet addresses them as “you ministers of my God.” But following the Watchtower’s contorted line of reasoning it would appear from the prophecy that Jehovah is appealing to the clergy of Christendom to supplicate him for relief from the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Perhaps the most conspicuous incongruity in the Watchtower’s commentary on Joel is the fact that God promises to make recompense for the damages caused by the invasionary forces. Joel 2:25 states: “And I will make compensation to you for the years that the locust, the creeping, unwinged locust, and the cockroach and the caterpillar have eaten, my great military force that I have sent among you.” Since Jehovah intervenes in the crisis and undoes the damage inflicted by the devouring military force, it is obvious that the invading armies are enemies of God and his people and do not symbolize an army of ministers as the Watchtower mistakenly imagines.
The book of Malachi contains a similar message from Jehovah; a prophecy intended to call his people to repentance during the time of judgment. Interestingly, at Malachi 3:11, Jehovah says: “And I will rebuke for you the devouring one, and it will not ruin for you the fruit of the ground…”
The footnote in the Reference Bible indicates that the “devouring one” literally means, “the eater” and is in reference to an insect. Malachi’s prophecy harmonizes with the fact that God’s ministers in Joel are not the ones doing the devouring; instead they become the victims of ferocious devourers!
“WAKE UP, YOU DRUNKARDS, AND WEEP AND HOWL”
The most worrisome aspect of the Watchtower’s interpretation of Joel is that the organization has held such a nonsensical view for over 70 years now! In spite of all the Bible study and deep research that Jehovah’s Witnesses have engaged in over the years, what can account for such gross lack of insight into these vital prophetic matters? The very prophecy of Joel sheds light on that question in the opening verses: “Wake up, you drunkards, and weep; and howl, all you wine drinkers, on account of sweet wine, for it has been cut off from your mouths.”
Elsewhere in prophecy Jehovah describes his leading men—the priests and prophets—as drunkards. No, it is not that they over-indulge in wine or liquor, as is the case with literal drunkards—they are spiritually drunk. In what sense are they spiritually drunk?
Bible knowledge can have an intoxicating effect upon an individual. The apostle Paul condemned the “cocksureness peculiar to boasting” that afflicted some of the Corinthian Christians and he also warned that the acquiring of knowledge could cause one to become puffed up with self-importance.
Just as an intoxicated person lacks clear reasoning ability and good judgment and often is unaware of his impairment, frequently with disastrous consequences, apparently that is also the case with the leadership of God’s organization at the time of his inspection.
Due to their unwarranted confidence in the permanence and righteousness of the organization and their positions within it they lack discernment into God’s judgments. The previously quoted Watchtower commentary on Joel says of the drunkards:
“Yes, the spiritual drunkards of Judah were told to “wake up,” to sober up. But do not think that this is merely ancient history. Right now, before the great day of Jehovah, Christendom’s clergy are figuratively so full of sweet wine that they are barely conscious of this summons from the Most High. How surprised they will be when they are aroused from their spiritual drunken stupor by the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah!”
The Watchtower’s condemnation of Christendom in reality applies more aptly to the Watchtower Society itself. Their interpretation of Joel, which defies sound reasoning and even common sense, is proof that they are intoxicated with their own understanding—oblivious to Jehovah’s onrushing day of reckoning with his people. Indeed, “how surprised they will be when they are aroused from their spiritual drunken stupor by the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah!”
Like many prophecies in the Bible the pronouncement of Joel is like a message in a time capsule. It is intended to serve as a rousing wake-up call for Jehovah’s ministers, to be issued at a crucial juncture—during an unanticipated global calamity. It is a final appeal to spiritual sobriety and repentance from a merciful God.
Hence, we read at Joel 2:12-13 these words: “The utterance of Jehovah is, ‘come back to me with all your hearts, and with fasting and with weeping and with wailing. And rip apart your hearts, and not your garments; and come back to Jehovah your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, and he will certainly feel regret on account of the calamity.’”
Clearly, God is making an impassioned plea to those whom he recognizes as formerly serving him acceptably, but who, for whatever reason, have become estranged from their God. Obviously, that is why God invites his people to “come back to Jehovah your God.”
But according to the Watchtower, the prophecy of Joel is a call for the apostate clergy of Christendom to repent and become Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is why the May 1, 1998, Watchtower comments:
“Can we expect Christendom’s entire clergy class to turn to Jehovah? Of course not! Individuals among them might respond to Jehovah’s warning. But the spiritually famished state of these religious leaders and their parishioners as a class will continue.”
But if Jehovah is really appealing to the clergy to repent, why then does the prophecy exhort them to “come back to Jehovah your God”? To return to God requires that the prospective returnee must have previously been with God, does it not?
Also, the prophecy refers to the “ministers of Jehovah” and the nation under siege as Jehovah’s inheritance? For instance, Joel 2:17 reads: “Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, weep and say, ‘Do feel sorry, O Jehovah, for your people, and do not make your inheritance a reproach, for nations to rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples: ‘Where is their God?’ And Jehovah will be zealous for his land and will show compassion upon his people.”
What is the setting during which “Jehovah will be zealous for his land and show compassion upon his people”? The circumstances that move God to act in behalf of his people are a result of the sorry state to which God’s people are reduced as a result of the invasion of the great military force, when nations rule over them. According to the writings of Paul, the house of God is the organization made up of anointed Christians. The mourning priests in the prophecy of Joel, called the “ministers of Jehovah,” must, therefore, picture the individual members of the anointed on earth. Just as the literal priests in the temple offered up regular grain and drink offerings, so too, the Bible symbolizes the spiritual offerings of anointed Christians as being priestly sacrifices in the sanctuary of God.
Joel harmonizes with the prophecy of Daniel, which depicts the king of fierce countenance trampling upon God’s spiritual sanctuary and causing the “constant feature” of sacrifice to cease for a time. So, in harmony with Isaiah and Daniel, and numerous other prophecies as well, the prophecy of Joel is foretelling how the congregation of Christ will be laid low during a time of unprecedented calamity.
“AND MINISTERS OF JEHOVAH HAVE MOURNED”
It is the spiritual offerings within the house of God that are due to be eaten up, as it were, by the insect infestation. Joel 1:9-10 reads: “Grain offering and drink offering have been cut off from the house of Jehovah; the priests, and ministers of Jehovah, have mourned.The field has been despoiled, the ground has gone to mourning; for the grain has been despoiled, the new wine has been dried up, the oil has faded away.”
Verse 11 continues: “Farmers have felt shame; vinedressers have howled, on account of wheat and on account of barley; for the harvest of the field has perished.” Just whom might these “farmers” and “vinedressers” symbolize? Isaiah 61:5 also refers to the farmers and vinedressers in connection with the restored anointed priests of Jehovah and calls them foreigners in relation to spiritual Israel. So, it must be that in relation to the priests of the altar the farmers and vinedressers represent the non-anointed “other sheep” who serve as publishers and pioneers in the field.
To fully grasp the meaning of the prophecy of Joel the reader must appreciate the importance of the Watchtower Society in the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is unquestionably accepted among all Witnesses that the Watchtower has provided a reliable prophetic outline of yet-to-occur events. It is simply out of the question that the future could unfold in any significant way other than what has been envisioned by the organizational oracles. Among other things, the common perception among Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the Watchtower will always serve as an unfailing beacon of spiritual light all the way until the end. The previously-cited Watchtower article on Joel reinforces the assumption that Jehovah’s Witnesses are destined to march on to greater and greater glory, by saying:
“God’s locust army will not stop its work until the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah breaks out. The very existence of this unstoppable locust force is remarkable proof that Jehovah’s day is near. Are you not delighted to serve among God’s anointed locusts and their companions in the final onslaught before Jehovah’s great and fear-inspiring day?”
Buttressing that assumption is the fact that the Watchtower has weathered many storms in the past. In fact, the Watchtower magazine has been in continuous publication since 1879. It has never missed a single issue. That is remarkable, considering all the hardships the Watchtower Society has endured; particularly the difficulties brought about during the First World War; the internal upheaval resulting from the sudden death of the Watchtower’s Founder in 1916 and the false imprisonment of the leading officers of the Watchtower Society in 1918. The Watchtower magazine was continuously printed even during the scarcities of the Great Depression and through the persecutions and bannings during the Second World War.
All of Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to depend upon Watchtower literature as the backbone of the public ministry, as well as the primary means of providing instruction in the congregations. Obviously, there is no provision in their prophetic outlook for Bethel’s many presses to ever fall silent. If such were to unexpectedly happen, it would without question be an unparalleled disaster for the organization.
But speaking in the symbolisms of an agrarian culture, Joel 1:15-17 foretells that calamitous developments are destined to befall Christ’s congregation as a result of God’s denunciation: “Alas for the day; because the day of Jehovah is near, and like a despoiling from the Almighty One it will come! Has not food itself been cut off before our very eyes; from the house of our God, rejoicing and joyfulness? Dried figs have shriveled under their shovels. Storehouses have been laid desolate. Barns have been torn down, for the grain has dried up.”
Just as Joel’s prophecy is not talking about literal locusts, caterpillars and cockroaches, neither is it talking about literal food being “cut off before our very eyes.” It is describing the despoiling of spiritual food! That is apparent because the cutting-off of food is directly connected to rejoicing and joyfulness ceasing at “the house of our God.”
No wonder, then, that Joel’s prophecy goes on to say: “O how the domestic animal has sighed! How the droves of cattle have wandered in confusion! For there is no pasturage for them.Also, the droves of the sheep have been the ones made to bear guilt.”
Plainly, Joel is not foretelling that literal cattle and sheep are going to become confused because of the despoiling of the Almighty. Many places in Scripture God’s congregated people are likened to a flock of sheep or cattle. What causes God’s people to wander in confusion? As Joel 1:16 foretells, it is because food is cut off from the house of God—spiritual food that is.
The Watchtower inadvertently predicts the very thing that Joel long ago prophesied would befall Jehovah’s people. Here is what the June 1, 1965, Watchtower had to say in regards to itself being the vital channel of Jehovah’s communication:
“This slave class serves as an earthly channel of communication for God’s people, providing them with an understanding of Jehovah’s purposes and giving them direction in the doing of his will. With such direction they are enlightened, strengthened and are united in their worship of the only true and living God. Without this means of communication they would be scattered and lost.”
Essentially the prophets foretell the very thing that the Watchtower only states as a hypothetical possibility in regards to individuals being “scattered and lost” should they ever be cutoff from “this means of communication.” The fact is, though, the Watchtower does not merely claim to be the channel of communication to God’s congregation, the evidence abounds that it has actually served as a vital channel for truth-thirsty Christians. That being the case, the last verse of the first chapter of Joel does not bode well for Jehovah’s channel: “The beasts of the field also keep longing for you, because the channels of water have dried up, and fire itself has devoured the pasture grounds of the wilderness.”
There is no other reasonable conclusion that can be drawn except that the prophecy of Joel portends the utter collapse of the house of God.
That means that the Watchtower Society is predestined for desolation!
Specifically, in the near future Bethel’s massive printing operation will be shuttered.
Its bank holdings will simply evaporate.
The Watchtower Society’s function as the earthly channel of waters of truth will be reduced to a trickle.
The spiritual food, once so abundant, will become like succulent figs that have withered and shriveled up!
The many printing facilities presently used by the Watchtower will become like storehouses that have been laid desolate.
The thousands of kingdom halls throughout the world will resemble barns that have been torn down because of disuse!
Jehovah’s Witnesses—like domestic cattle that depend upon their human owner for feedstock—will lose their spiritual pasturage and wander about dazed and confused at the unexpected turn of events!
Christ’s droves of sheep will bear the brunt of punishment for the Society’s lack of insight into the vital prophecies that foretell the very catastrophe that will soon cause the complete desolation of that which is known as Jehovah’s visible organization.
The collapse of the Watchtower institution will signal the end of the field ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses in its present and familiar form. That is because the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses is entirely dependent upon the constant direction from and regular publications of the Watchtower Society.
Bethel’s demise will have the inevitable knock-on effect of causing the worldwide work to come to a sudden halt.
Tragically, those many householders who are at that time dependent upon the study aids and continual visits of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as those untold millions who have not yet been contacted, will then be lost—as the prophecy says: “the harvest of the field has perished.”
“SUN AND MOON THEMSELVES HAVE BECOME DARK”
Throughout the prophetic Scriptures are found numerous apocalyptic symbolisms denoting terrifying heavenly and earthly phenomenon. Joel is no exception. In three different places in Joel the prophet foretells of awe-inspiring and foreboding heavenly phenomenon in connection with the day of the locust attack.
Accompanying the devouring army, the prophet foretells that the very heavens will be rocked. Joel 1:10 says: “Before it the land has become agitated, the heavens have rocked. Sun and moon themselves have become dark, and the very stars have withdrawn their brightness.”
Joel 2:30-31 also reads: “And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun itself will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.”
Joel 3:15-16 similarly says: “Sun and moon themselves will certainly become dark, and the very stars will actually withdraw their brightness. And out of Zion Jehovah himself will roar, and out of Jerusalem he will give forth his voice. And heaven and earth certainly will rock; but Jehovah will be a refuge for his people, and a fortress for the sons of Israel.”
The fact that the passages from Joel use similar apocalyptic phraseology as employed by Jesus in explaining the sign of the conclusion indicates that the prophecy of Joel will be fulﬁlled during the parousia of Christ and will be characterized by a time of unprecedented war; no doubt involving the terrifying use of manmade thermonuclear fire—producing the dreaded “columns of smoke” known as mushroom clouds. There should be no doubt that even the limited use of such horriﬁc weapons would send devastating shock waves reverberating around the globe—shaking civilization to its very foundation—or as it is worded in the prophecy—“heaven and earth certainly will rock.”
The heavenly luminaries suddenly going into eclipse symbolizes that the present, presumptively permanent, political governments and related institutions will experience a catastrophic upheaval and collapse; no longer standing as beacons of light, hope, and security for mankind. The crash of the present system will be of such a magnitude it will provoke a reaction on earth as if the actual luminaries in the sky have been extinguished. Modern civilization will be brought to the brink of a terrifying new dark age.
The day of the locust attack apparently has to do with the disintegration and overthrow of the present ordering of nations, causing the existing democratic system to give way to a global, absolutist, totalitarian, military dictatorship. That development accompanies the coronation of Christ as king and serves as the means by which the world will be squarely confronted with the issue of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty.
To establish the true interpretation of what is signified by Jehovah’s “military force” it is helpful to note the parallels in the 13th chapter of Isaiah. By comparison, Joel 2:6 describes the effect of Jehovah’s military force upon the world, saying: “Because of it, peoples will be in severe pains. As for all faces, they will certainly collect a glow of excitement.”
Isaiah 13:7-8 reads similarly: “That is why all hands themselves will drop down, and the whole heart itself of mortal man will melt. And people have become disturbed. Convulsions and birth pains themselves grab hold; like a woman that is giving birth they have labor pains. They look at each other in amazement. Their faces are inflamed faces.”
Both prophecies use the exact same phrase in describing the event “as a despoiling from the Almighty One it will come!” Whereas, the Watchtower posits that the despoiling foretold in Joel is a result of the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is abundantly apparent that the despoiling agent depicted in Isaiah is something quite different.
Isaiah 13:3-5 records Jehovah’s declaration of war, saying: “I myself have issued the command to my sanctified ones. I have also called my mighty ones for expressing my anger, my eminently exultant ones. Listen! A crowd in the mountains, something like a numerous people! Listen! The uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathered together! Jehovah of armies is mustering the army of war. They are coming from the land far away, from the extremity of the heavens, Jehovah and the weapons of his denunciation, to wreck all the earth.”
Interestingly, God’s prophetic word also refers to the armies of both of his ancient imperial agents as locusts. For example, Jeremiah 46:23 says of the Chaldeans: “For they have become more numerous than the locust, and they are without number.”
Likewise, Nahum says of the Assyrians: “Make yourself heavy in number like the locust species; make yourself heavy in number like the locust…Your guardsmen are like the locust, and your recruiting officers like the locust swarm.”
So, it is apparent that the locusts of Joel represent modern imperial forces that Jehovah has purposed to use in order to wreck the present nation-state system of things and bring himself into judgment with his people and the world.
THE NORTHERNER I SHALL PUT FAR AWAY
Another interesting interconnection between the prophecies is the fact that Joel 2:20 refers to Jehovah’s military force as “the northerner.” That verse reads: “And the northerner I shall put far away from upon you, and I will actually disperse him to a waterless land and desolated waste, with his face to the eastern sea and his rear section to the western sea. And the stink from him will certainly keep ascending; for He will actually do a great thing in what He does.”
It is noteworthy that Jehovah’s putting the northerner to flight is because of his intense love for his people. That is why we read in the 18th verse: “And Jehovah will be zealous for his land and will show compassion upon his people.”
Just what is “the northerner”?
Students of prophecy likely recognize that every one of the major prophets of God—namely, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, as well as Daniel—all make mention of an avenging imperial tyrant from out of the symbolic north. A common thread woven through all prophecy is that God’s appointed tyrant for wrecking the world is depicted as coming out of the north. For example, Nebuchadnezzar was repeatedly referred to as coming out of the north. Similarly, the prophetic Gog of Magog is said to “come up from the remotest parts of the north.”
And, of course, there is the king of the north.
Just as the ancient nations of Assyria and Babylon were punishing agents in the hands of the Almighty, as they swept down upon Israel and surrounding nations from out of the literal north, so too, there is a modern day northerner that Jehovah is yet to unleash upon an unwary world.
According to the biblical principle that two or three witnesses establish every legal matter, God’s ancient prophets have all foretold the exact same development that is to occur in the finale; namely, that Jehovah’s organization is going to be devastated by a coalition of nations, spoken of as coming from out of the north. Joel is in harmony with the other prophets in foretelling that an unparalleled attack from the symbolic northerner will devastate God’s holy place.
In case there is any doubt, Joel 3:17 confirms that it is Jehovah’s organization that is victimized by the locust attack, and not the other way around. It reads: “And you people will have to know that I am Jehovah your God, residing in Zion my holy mountain. And Jerusalem must become a holy place; and as regards strangers, they will no more pass through her.”
Just as the Lord Jesus prophesied that a political disgusting thing would trample upon God’s holy place for an appointed time, it is evident that the military forces of the northerner are the “strangers”that violate the sanctity of God’s spiritual temple.
The insect swarm symbolizes the agents of the last empire, the eighth king of Revelation, and it will serve as Jehovah’s means to shatter the nations and discipline his people. That the locust hordes symbolize the nations that will yet plunder God’s own possession is clearly evident in Joel. For example, Joel 2:17 states: “Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, weep and say, ‘Do feel sorry, O Jehovah, for your people, and do not make your inheritance a reproach, for nations to rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples: ‘Where is their God?’”
The Israelites were frequently harassed, invaded and even occupied by surrounding nations when they strayed from pure worship. God allowed the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites and others, to afflict Israel in order to bring them back to their senses. It is a common theme that runs through the Hebrew Scriptures.
And the six imperial forerunners of the modern Anglo-American alliance, namely Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, each ruled over Israel and Judah in their turn. The Hebrew prophecies and Revelation indicate that the Christian “Israel of God” is also destined to have the same fate before being brought to glory.
But how might modern nations rule over Jehovah’s people during the ﬁnale?
As is well known, during times of war and unrest even democratic nations that claim to value freedom have persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses. There is no need to recount the Watchtower Society’s well-documented fight to legally establish the good news here. Suffice to say that the constitutional guarantees inherent in the legal systems of Western nations have served as a protection for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Even Paul appealed to Caesar. But the question to ponder is this: What would happen to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and legal redress, and other cherished liberties, if the present Anglo-American world order were to be suddenly overturned—what then?
Let none of Jehovah’s Witness scoff at the suggestion that America is destined to be over thrown and replaced by a tyrannical world government. It is destined to occur by the very word of Jehovah. The prophecy of Joel foretells that the relatively peaceful and secure world in which we now live will simply be devoured by Jehovah’s rapacious “military force” and its freedoms—enshrined in revered documents like the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America—will be set a ﬂame and go up in smoke.
The very institutions that presently serve as the foundations of modern civilization will be destroyed. Forebodingly, Joel 2:3 states: “Ahead of it a ﬁre has devoured, and behind it a ﬂame consumes. Like the garden of Eden the land is ahead of it; but behind it is a desolate wilderness, and there has also proved to be nothing thereof escaping.”
What is the signiﬁcance of the fact that the invading armies are said to rush into the city, scaling over every wall and entering into every dwelling like thieves through opened windows? It must betoken a total police state and conditions of martial law; where private homes may be electronically spied upon or physically entered and possessions legally seized with no protection or legal recourse for the occupant.
It may also well symbolize how earth’s inhabitants, even the wealthy who may imagine that their wealth is secure, as if behind a protective wall, are due to be plundered. Bank accounts, treasury bonds, stocks, annuities and pension funds, as well the paper currencies of the nations, may be devalued to the point of worthlessness through hyperinﬂation or conﬁscated by other forms of sophisticated ﬁnancial chicanery more easily than an army of plunderers can wreck havoc upon a nation. After all, the world’s store of wealth—including the Watchtower’s sizable, golden nest egg—is largely just so many digits on an electronic ledger.
How secure is that?
“FOR MY PEOPLE THEY KEPT CASTING LOTS”
Eventually Jehovah’s Witnesses will awaken from the delusion that Babylon the Great has already fallen, as well as the naive notion that the many prophecies that call for God’s people to be persecuted and taken captive to a greater Babylon were fulﬁlled when J.F. Rutherford and seven other Bethelites were incarcerated in the Atlanta penitentiary for eight months.
The truth that will inevitably confront Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the organization is destined to go into babylonish captivity in the near future. That is because the religious system known as Babylon the Great will initially survive the take-down of the present economic and political system. And rather than Christendom being destroyed by the eighth king at the beginning of the tribulation, as the Watchtower unwarrantably insists, Jehovah’s Witnesses will ﬁnd themselves under the boot heel of the tyrannical last king and his whorish religious consort during the initial phase of the day of Jehovah. The following scripture is yet to be fulﬁlled with respect to God’s people: “And for my people they kept casting lots; and they would give the male child for a prostitute, and the female child they sold for wine, that they might drink.” (Joel 3:3)
If that is not the case, then let the Watchtower’s seers coherently interpret the meaning of Joel 3:1-2,which reads: “For, look! in those days and in that time, when I shall bring back the captive ones of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also collect together all the nations and bring them down to the low plain of Jehoshaphat; and I will put myself on judgment with them there on account of my people and my inheritance Israel, whom they scattered among the nations; and they apportioned out my own land.”
According to the Watchtower’s hackneyed interpretation of Joel the clergy are the objects of devastation. Yet, the concluding chapter of the prophecy depicts Jehovah gathering back the captive ones of his people as an immediate prelude to Armageddon. Obviously, the captives are made such by the calamity described in the prophecy. So, it is apparent that the ﬁnal gathering of those who will ultimately receive salvation takes place during the day of Jehovah.
The persecution and martyrdom of Christ’s followers will then warrant a response from Jehovah. As was the case with Assyria and Babylon, even though Jehovah had authorized those empires to punish Israel and Judah they were also eventually called to account for having reveled in the destruction and mistreatment of God’s inheritance.
God’s dealings with the nations establish a pattern for the judgment to come.
While the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses have brought reproach upon the name of God and will shortly have to pay the price, the nations that bring about the execution of God’s judgments will also be made to render an account before the Almighty.
Joel 3:4-6 goes on to say: “Is it the treatment that you are giving me as a reward? And if you are giving such treatment to me, swiftly, speedily I shall payback your treatment upon your heads. Because you men have taken my own silver and my own gold, and you have brought my own desirable good things into your temples; and the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem you have sold to the sons of the Greeks…”
The period of upheaval and the desolation of Jehovah’s holy place will serve as the means by which Christ’s angels will accomplish the harvest—sifting out the faithless and wicked from among those destined to receive salvation. But while Jehovah breaks down, he also builds up. Jehovah may break a bone, but he also binds up. Jehovah is a destroyer, but he is also the Savior.
The devastation of God’s earthly organization will pave the way for God to pour out his blessing upon a chastened remnant of survivors. Joel 2:32 conﬁrms that “the escaped ones” will receive salvation: “And it must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will getaway safe; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”
Although the prophecy of Joel ostensibly is directed towards Israel, the prophecy was not fulfilled at any time during the past. That is apparent from the fact that during past times of judgments the city of Jerusalem was destroyed. Jerusalem and its Mount Zion were not a haven for the survivors—just the opposite. It is evident, then, that Mount Zion and Jerusalem are in reference to heavenly Mount Zion and New Jerusalem—that is to say, the kingdom of God.
After the ﬁery purge the faithful will experience a dousing by the holy spirit not experienced since the original outpouring of spirit on the day of Pentecost. The 2nd chapter of Joel foretells that both the anointed (sons and daughters) and non-anointed (menservants and maid servants) will receive the full measure of God’s holy spirit in order to accomplish the ﬁnal phase of God’s work in the post-Watchtower period of the tribulation.
Joel 2:28-29 foretells: “And after that it must occur that I shall pour out my spirit on every sort of ﬂesh, and your sons and your daughters will certainly prophesy. As for your old men, dreams they will dream. As for your young men, visions they will see. And even on the menservants and on the maidservants in those days I shall pour out my spirit.”
However, unlike the day of Pentecost when holy spirit begot the ﬁrst sons of the kingdom, the outpouring of the holy spirit upon the sons and daughters during the day of Jehovah does not anoint them. That is because they will have already been anointed.
The ultimate fulﬁllment of the prophecy has to do with the body of Christ becoming fully accepted into the kingdom, so that at that point, during the world’s darkest period, the chosen ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their heavenly Father. That event will mark the long-anticipated revealing of the sons of God.
The prophesying inspired by that outpouring of spirit will no doubt have to do with heralding the authentic establishment of the kingdom—not in the manner that Jehovah’s Witnesses presently preach, but with spirit and power. The “visions they will see” will be the first-ever, accurate understanding of the prophetic visions recorded in the Bible.
But instead of offering the hope of salvation to the nations, Jehovah’s true witnesses will then blow the horn and “shout a war cry”—instead of exhorting men of the world to beat their swords into plowshares, God commands his witnesses to declare war upon the nations: “Proclaim this, you people, among the nations, ‘Sanctify war! Arouse the powerful men! Let them draw near! Let them come up, all the men of war! Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning shears into lances. As for the weak one, let him say: ‘I am a powerful man.’ Lend your aid and come, all you nations round about, and collect yourselves together.’ To that place, O Jehovah, bring your powerful ones down. Let the nations be aroused and come up to the low plain of Jehosaphat; for there I shall sit in order to judge all the nations round about.”