Pandemic as part of Bible prophecy?

by truthseeker 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • truthseeker

    I was thinking that since Russell started the movement in 1879 which became Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931 never has there been a period in time when all their activities just - stopped. Especially the preaching work.

    Do you think they will find some obscure verse in Daniel that talks about this period of time and try to make a greater fulfillment? Like the 70 weeks of years or the 42 months? Or the two witnesses coming back to life?

    Just a thought.

  • raymond frantz
    raymond frantz

    They lack the intellectual capacity to make these connections anymore

  • BluesBrother

    40 years ago they probably would.... nowadays they wish to offer a simple message of , join us and live in luxurious paradise...

    They have dropped the prophetic patterns of the Fred Frank era and take the Bible more as it says, except for key beliefs like a modern fulfilment of the last days .

  • Vanderhoven7

    COVID has nothing to do with the Watchtower composite sign.... nor does it have anything to do with Matthew 24.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    When I think of the Bible from a Bible believer perspective instead of an atheistic nonreligious perspective, I think of deadly plague (including Covid-19) as having to do with plagues (and bowls of God's wrath) mentioned in the book of Revelation and in Luke 21:10-11 (and Luke 21 is a tie in to Matthew 24). Vanderhoven7, note that although Matthew chapter 24 doesn't mention pestilences, Luke chapter 21 does and Revelation does. Furthermore, I think of wildfires and the scientific predictions of the eventual effects of Global Warming (unless humans prevent the worst of Global Warming) as having to do with the bowls of God's wrath (poured out from heaven) mentioned in the book of Revelation, and Luke 21:11's mention of "fearful sights and from heaven great signs".

  • TonusOH

    Any major event gets turned into "part of the sign of the last days." A global plague is pretty much guaranteed to get played up by the WTS. The increase in crime, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the volatility of the economy... all of these are signs that we're just moments away from the end. I'm sure there will be another video soon, with Stephen Lett telling us that we are now in "the end of the beginning of the midpoint of the beginning of the end."

    And if things start to get back to normal, or the world situation begins to improve, they'll find some way to make that a sign that the war of Armageddon is about to begin.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    BluesBrother I notice you said the following regarding the JWs. "They have dropped the prophetic patterns of the Fred Frank era and take the Bible more as it says ...". If the WT/JW's are doing that (and it appears to me that the WT literature is now doing that), I think that is a good thing. It means they have stopped promoting much of their wild ideas, ideas which go far past what the scriptures say and mean, and it thus means their teachings are more in harmony with the Bible. It also means they becoming more mainstream as a result.

    If they are more mainstream, then their religion may last longer (good from perhaps the WT's perspective, but not from the perspective of those of us who want the religion to soon cease to exist). If they ditch the erroneous date of 607 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem, and if they ditch the what they teach regarding 1914, 1918, and 1919 in regards to purported supernatural events, then they will be even more mainstream and much less sectarian, more in harmony with the Bible and reality, and thus receive much less criticism. Perhaps they will end up doing such.

    M. James Penton (a professor History and Religious Studies, who is also an ex-elder and an ex-JW) in his book called APOCALYPSE DELAYED: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses" says something which I think is relevant to the above. On page 7 of the hardcover edition which was reprinted in 1986 he says the following.

    "In an important way, though, Jehovah's Witnesses are unique; they have preached millenarianism longer and more consistently than any major sectarian movement in the modern world. Millenarianism has been a phenomenon common to many movements over the centuries, but in its purely religious form at least, it generally had to be played down, spiritualized, or abandoned within a relatively short time. ... Thus, the ordinary pattern has been for millenarian movements to surrender, ignore, or modify significantly their millenarian teachings - as has happened with the Seventh-Day Adventists, Latter-Day Saints, and many fundamentalists - or to become rather isolated within society - something which has taken place with the Christadelphians.. Surprisingly, this has not happened to Jehovah's Witnesses who, in spite of many prophetic failures and vicissitudes for more than a century, have gone on preaching the nearness of the millennium and have grown to become a movement with nearly 2.7 million active members and several millions more adherents throughout the world."

    In pages 8 - 9 of the book Penton says the following. "In many ways the Witnesses have become ossified. ... More and more they have become hostile to new intellectual developments, the intellectual world, and to independent-minded intellectuals in their own ranks. And more significantly, their leadership has become a self-perpetuating caste which refuses to open itself to new and constructive criticism of almost any sort. ... Furthermore, an aging leadership seemed incapable of developing anything like a satisfactory response to what had not happened in 1975. ...while their essentially Adventist millenarianism has long been the basis of their growth and success, it is also their greatest weakness. Since, for over a hundred years, the end of this world has been delayed for them - something which they never expected would happen - they have not been able to adjust satisfactorily to world events or to a world which, in their view, goes 'groaning on.' "

    There are number of ways the WT is solving some of the weaknesses mentioned by Penton and thus becoming more mainstream and thus more sustainable ideologically. In evidence of that consider the following.

    Their books (the ones ones used for conducting Bible studies with non-JWS) made in the past 10 years or so, have greatly reduced the emphasis on 1914, 1918, and 1919. They also have stopped sharply directly criticizing the United Nations organization, and they urge JWs to adhere to the Covid-19 safety rules of the secular governments of the world. This shows they are reducing their conflict with government, at least in those countries which allow freedom of religion and which allow people to not join a military.

    The WT has given more freedom for JWs to more types of blood fractions, and it allows JWs to have their blood salvaged and circulated through a machine during surgery. That makes a prohibition on blood transfusions much less problematic.

    They now rarely disfellowship or label as disassociated JWs who have become 'faders' from the religion. That policy makes it much easier for those who stopped believing in the JW religion to essentially cease being JWs and at the same time still associate with their JW family members and to still get along with them.

    They have sharply reduced the amount of field service time which JWs are required to do to remain considered as active JWs.That makes it easier for people to be JWs and is much more like mainstream Christianity, since most of non-Christianity does require its members to preach to others.

    They have stopped saying the creative days of Genesis were 7,000 years long, and now say they could have been considerably longer. They have shifted their arguments from the old style type of creationism (involving a young biospehere of less than 49,000 years) to Intelligent Design type of arguments of biblical creationism (the form of biblical creationism which is the most in harmony with modern science), thereby being somewhat less in conflict with paleontology and evolution.

    Their 2013 revision of the NWT is much more like the Bibles of mainstream Christianity (such as the NIV and the NRSV) and thus will likely appeal more to non-JWs.

    If they switch their name from "Jehovah's Witnesses" to "Witnesses of Jehovah and Jesus" they will become even more mainstream (and have a more Bible based name) and thus be even more successful in attracting non-JW Christians to the religion. But they would have to go even further. They have to teach that all faithful Christians around the time of Armageddon will go to heaven and be there at least during the battle of Armageddon, if not also during the 1,000 years. They can teach that the faithful Christians will be back on Earth after the 1,000 years, in harmony Revelation chapter 21.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Correction: Where I said "... since most of non-Christianity does require its members to preach to others" I meant to say "... since most of non-JW Christianity does not require its members to preach to others".

  • Longlivetherenegades

    Can we call them the masters of Newspaper exegesis?

    Since events and happenings around the world are used to point at one Bible prophecy fulfillment or the other.

    Newspaper exegesis mean......

    The practice of interpreting the Bible though the lens of current events found in the headlines of newspapers rather than allowing the Bible to interpret itself and failing to take into account when prophetic events were to take place and to whom.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Newspaper exegesis? OK. But what if some bible prophecies came partly true in the past and might be now coming partly true, and might partly come in the future, as is the case with many old secular naturalistic predictions?

    For example Luke 21:10 - 11 mentioned food shortages in the context of wars and pestilences. The news has been telling us that Covid-19 (and the associated shutdowns) brought food shortages. The current news of Russia's attack on Ukraine is telling us it is bringing food shortages. These are thus partial fulfillments of Luke 21: 10 -11 even if notindicating the great tribulation is near.

    Luke 21:8 (1984 NWT) says the following. '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 is near.’ Do not go after them." The WT and the JW's governing body are partially fulfilling that verse. That is because of two things.

    (1) The WT and its past Presidents for over 100 years and its governing body has been announcing 'The due time has approached'! in the 1973 they even published a book called God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached! In the 1880s through the early early 20th century they even published a book by Russell called The Time is at Hand and for a period of time the WT said Charles Russel is "that faithful and wise servant"!

    (2) Though the The WT and the JW's governing body don't claim to be Jesus Christ they are trying to take much of the authority of Jesus Christ. Furthermore now the governing body say regarding themselves 'that we and only we are the faithful and discreet slave" and they stress that the 'faithful and discreet slave" mentioned in the gospel of Matthew is in the singular, thus in effect the governing body as a group is say "I am he"!

    (3) Many of us ex-JWs using this site (and other people also) are warming people not to be misled by them and to "not go after them". We ex-JWs using this site (and other people also) are partially fulfilling that verse!

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