The gloom-and-doom wacky online prophet "e-watchman" finally got one of his oracles right. He criticized the Awake's present format in a September 2004 article on his site. Although we disagree with his loony theories, I can say that his comments this time were right on the money. Here's the article:
How to train your dog is the topic of an article in the September 8 th , 2004, Awake magazine. Among other things, such as how to get your dog to sit and stay, the article offers practical advice on how to housebreak a puppy. The Awake even presents its readers with a cleaning tip in case of an "accident." No doubt many readers might find such information timely and helpful; the question, though, is why? Yes, why does a magazine that is supposedly dedicated to "building confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful new world" bother publishing such irrelevant trivia?
To be sure, the "doggy training" article is merely typical of the kind of non-spiritual fluff the Awake routinely publishes. For example, the same issue of Awake also has a two-page article on Japanese natto?described as stringy fermented soybeans. This week, the Watchtower's website features a four-year old article on flight simulators. It is an indisputable fact that the Awake Magazine is predominantly focused on mundane, non-biblical matters, and only occasionally, off-handedly, even refers to the Bible.
The Awake Magazine is presently published, either monthly or semi-monthly, in over 60 languages with a circulation of around 20 million copies. Such an astounding circulation no doubt represents a substantial cost of many millions of dollars per issue. Not only that, but many hundreds of volunteer workers are employed at numerous Bethel printing facilities around the world in order to make the Awake available. And lastly, six million of Jehovah's Witness publishers use their personal resources to distribute the Watchtower and Awake magazines to the reading public.
It is not that the Awake Magazine is not well-written and informative. It is. And no doubt many people enjoy reading it. The question, though, is why should millions of ministers dedicated to the cause of announcing to the world Jehovah's incoming kingdom publish anything that detracts from that all-important message? Should Jehovah's Witnesses even call themselves true ministers of God and Christ when a large part of our ministry revolves around disseminating information that has nothing whatsoever to do with Bible education?
Why should those who are serving as the light of the world concern themselves with enlightening others about such mundane things of the world?
To put things in perspective, can you imagine the apostle Paul expending himself in God's service, even risking his life to preach to people about anything other than Christ? Paul was no doubt a learned man, yet he consciously decided not to know anything else in his ministry other than Christ-impaled. If Paul or the apostles were alive today they would probably be very impressed by our modern methods of printing and distribution, but it is inconceivable that they would degrade their own ministry by publishing pamphlets with information such as how to train your dog.
The Awake Magazine presumably even derives its name from the apostle Paul's various exhortations to awaken from spiritual slumber, but does it really serve that purpose? Perhaps initially it did, but there is little evidence that it serves that purpose now.
Moreover, the Watchtower Society resolutely believes that Christ Jesus began ruling the world in 1914 and that since then Jehovah's Witnesses have been instrumental in announcing God's judgments upon Christendom. Jehovah's Witnesses even believe that the angelic trumpeters of Revelation have used the Awake Magazine's predecessor, the now-defunct Golden Age, to herald God's irreversible condemnatory judgment upon the world. But, how reasonable is that? If the most significant event in the history of the world commenced nearly a century ago in 1914, and supposing the early Bible Students were indeed conduits for issuing Jehovah's fiery proclamations, particularly in the interval from 1922-1928, why is it that now Jehovah's Witnesses no longer denounce Christendom as formerly?
Are we absolutely certain that the angels have already hurled the incense vessel full of the fires of God's judgments down upon the earth? Clearly, something is not right with our present interpretation of Revelation?as well as all other biblical prophecies. The Watchtower has obviously vastly diminished the significance of Christ's actual presence in kingdom power.
The 110 th Psalm speaks of exciting developments in connection with Messiah's kingdom, where we read: "Your people will offer themselves willingly in the day of your military force." Here is something to consider: If 1914 marked the year of the beginning of Jesus Christ's "military force," then why does the glorious king allow his servants to detract from his campaign by publishing Reader's Digest-like pap such as is found in the Awake Magazine?
If billions of lives hang in the balance based upon our reaching them with the message that Christ began ruling in 1914, our publishing anything other than that vital truth is unconscionable.
Surely, when the kingdom actually comes to power and Satan is hurled down from heaven for the final winner-takes-all showdown, Jesus' volunteer army of ministers will not be involved in educating the public how to train their dogs.