The Watchtower (No.3 2017) bangs an old, very tired drum in its efforts to stir up interest in the "meaning" of the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse. It joins a cluttered stage of drummers - present and past - who claim to have the final and true word about this psychotic vision of 2 thousand years ago.
If you can get passed a casual, eye-rolling read, you'll note some changes in this latest regurgitation - with some astonishing changes given what is left out.
Here's what I spotted:
- Soothing words about claimed cataclysmic events (e.g., "[The vision] is not designed to scare you." This fits in with the 21st-century trend of softening the images of death and destruction, kind of lulling readers into a mind-numbing acceptance of global violence. To be sure, I am against violence, but this re-framing of a vision of death and destruction as "not designed to scare" suggests a sleight of hand in re-inventing a singularly violent message.
- Despite the parade of apocalyptic characters supposedly wreaking destruction since 1914, the absence of urgency is striking. Is this the same organization that has peddled death and destruction as prime motivators since its beginning in the 1870s and throughout the 20th Century? Since we are presumably so extremely deep into the time of the end, shouldn't this article drip with urgency?
- No mention of 1914's prophetic significance as a "date" of unparalleled importance. We read nothing about Daniel's vision at all - or for that matter how "Bible Students" predicted 1914 would be a momentous year. Why ever not? Well if you were 103 years late for an appointment, would you remind people how much time had passed? Would you risk counterarguments that the "Bible Students" did not predict 1914 would be the start of "the last days" not the beginning? Oh, it gets very complicated - let's ditch the other convoluted stuff.
- No mention of the generation that saw the start of World War One would also live to see the end. The theme continues of keeping the message simple. Complicated stuff needs to be avoided at all costs. Okay we get it, Watchtower. Moving right along.
- No mention that you the reader will be expected to share this message with others, unlike the literature of previous decades in the 20th Century when inklings of what was now expected of you were added to even introductory attention-grabbing articles in the Awake! and the Watchtower.
- Thus, the JW organization message continues to be not only dumbed-down but soothed-up, like some kind of bland Reader's Digest article: Big on color, imagery and cuddlesome words. Readers will not lose sleep over this - it's not like its real, right?