Leaving the Kids Behind
The Devil Attends a Convention!

Will the Real Animals Please Stand Up

For the 4th time in 19 years, Jehovah's Witnesses are studying the book Revelation: Its Grand Climax at Hand, a verse by verse consideration of that final Bible book: Revelation. Verse by verse is an ambitious undertaking. Some verses are explained with spot-on, blow-you-out-of-the-water clarity, and some may make you say "hmmm, could that really be?" But even the latter are presented persuasively, backed with evidence, and presented with the non-dogmatic caveat that  "It is not claimed that explanations in this publication are infallible. Like Joseph of old, we say "do not interpretations belong to God?" (Genesis 40:8) At the same time, however, we firmly believe that the explanations set forth herein harmonize with the Bible in its entirety, showing how remarkably divine prophesy has been fulfilled in the world events of our catastrophic times."  (page 9)

A new edition has been prepared for the current study, but, so as not to render the older books obsolete [these are not college textbooks, after all, which deliberately tweak information each year, so that the old book is no good and students must shell out $150 for a new one] an insert has been prepared with all the revisions. They are insignificant, for most part, generally just the updating of dates and statistics. But a few have more substance.

For example, in the midst of discussion of Rev 6:3-4.....

And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say: “Come!”  And another came forth, a fiery-colored horse; and to the one seated upon it there was granted to take peace away from the earth so that they should slaughter one another; and a great sword was given him.

Paragraph 18 on page 94 states "some scientists forecast mathematically that an accidental nuclear war is virtually certain to take place within the next 25 years - let alone a planned nuclear conflagration!" The updated version, however, yanks this phrase for the blander: "some scientists speak of the possibility of an accidental nuclear war - let alone a planned nuclear conflagration!"   [!]

The reason the publishers have done this is because Tom Barfendogs has marked on his calendar (to the day, hour, and minute) exactly when 25 years from the first book's publication expires. He is praying, hoping, pleading that there is no nuclear war within that time frame (after that is okay) so he can launch into yet another false prophet screamfest. But now he's been checked in his nefarious scheme!

However, there is a school of thought which holds that the publishers too early quit a game of "chicken." The original may yet turn out to be true, even if there is only 6 years left. Do we not have Iran and North Korea cooking up their own bombs, unstable nations if ever there were unstable nations? Is not Isreal thinking they may yet someday teach hostile neighbor nations an atomic lesson? Has not the formerly monolithic Soviet Union more-or-less fallen apart, so that any Boy Scout troop can fill up a shopping cart with second-hand nukes?. Decidedly, the Watchtower publishers are being sissy, girliemen (per Schwartzenegger). It may yet turn out as they first said. And even if it doesn't, who gets egg on their face? The Watchtower? No! "Some scientists" said the saying. Why should Watchtower care if "some scientists" shoot themselves in the foot? "Some scientists" are always saying rash things, like how, if you 'give infinite monkeys infinite typewriters one of them will write the complete works of Shakespeare!' Or how boisterous flatulance evolved over the eons as a means to scare off predators.

The publishers also missed an opportunity to update when commenting on Rev 6:8

And I saw, and, look! a pale horse; and the one seated upon it had the name Death. And Hades was closely following him. And authority was given them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with a long sword and with food shortage and with deadly plague and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Commenting on the "wild beasts of the earth" part, Watchtower lays stress on literal mean animals, like the vicious Monty Python bunny rabbit. [my example, not theirs] They also mention people who behave like animals, making a reference to Isa 11:6-9:

And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.

The animals in this verse likely refer to people as well as the literal critters. This is because other verses liken people to various animals, and "the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah" would affect people, but probably not animals. So formerly vicious "animals," under Kingdom rule, coexist peacefully with their nicer counterparts. But in Revelation 6:8, the vicious animals are having a field day, being one of the means in which Death claims a quarter of the earth.

Lots of people are vicious animals today. Unreasoning. Bombers, for example, ecstatic at the thought of dying, if only they can take a few dozen with them! And just today [July 17] there is an NPR report of gangs ("The Multitude") in Kenya that have beheaded 100 people. Heads turn up all over the city, sometimes on spikes. "Animals" is a perfect description! Even in the original 1988 edition, Watchtower observed that such "[animalistic] people are largely responsible for the global expansion of sex-related crimes, murder, terrorism, and bombings in the modern world." It was true then. All the more so today.

It was a area in which the current edition could have expanded, but didn't.


Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'



So the reason that the "25 years" was left out of the new edition was to stifle detractors? After all, the publishers were only quoting what scientists said?. Did they change their minds as to what the scientists said? Or did they originally include that statement to plant the idea that the end would arrive within 25 years?

Gladly, they have backed away from implying that kind of time frame - especially since the late 90's. Perhaps they shouldn't have done it to begin with.

But the Society is not infallible, as I once reminded a young publisher after the bookstudy - just about made the P.O. break his neck as he turned to look at me.

tom sheepandgoats

"So the reason that the "25 years" was left out of the new edition was to stifle detractors?"

I wouldn't take it that seriously. This post is a joke on my part (as are many). I have no inside knowledge.

"Some scientists" said it, not the WBTS. If they said it, they said it. Why not use it?

By withdrawing the comment, I suspect the publishers are just doing their bit for science, not wanting to risk letting these learned ones shoot themselves in the foot.

I've never had the same experience with P.O.s and broken necks. Perhaps I can imagine it happening, but it hardly seems it would be routine. After all, there's that caveat right there on page 9, which plainly says they're not infallible. They are trusted, however, and there may be some quick to "defend" them where it's not really necessary.


My dear friend! You have been very busy blogging since I checked here last. My wife and I were on vacation the last four days (visiting our son in Vermont, where he's in his seventh summer season as dean of students at the Killington Music Festival--he lives in Bulgaria), and I'm still playing catch-up here at work and at home....

Good on you and Mrs. Sheepandgoats to overrunning cup.

By the way, I've noticed other Toms with a distinctive JW sort of "surmoniker" (such as "Weedsandwheat"). Interesting. I guess I'm one of the goats, one of the weeds, right? Me and people like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens....

And all of these Toms (and you, of course) are among the chosen sheep and wheat. Must be nice .


This is a test. When I commented here a couple of hours ago I wasn't asked to enter an obscure word to distinguish me from a robot, so I suspect that I failed to submit it. Rats! It was a good comment (I thought) and, of course, I didn't keep a copy of it. Immortal words all too pathetically mortal.

tom sheepandgoats


Welcome back.

But as to your suspicion that some of the other Toms may represent you....nah, these are just guys I hang out with. Don't read much into it. It's all sort of a joke.

Having said that, I did once work a part-time job in which a disproportionate number of employees were named Tom. Only, not one of them was under 40! The kids were all named something else. Were we to just stand by and let the venerable name die out, like Horace or Mortimer?

So we went on a campaign to convince those who looked like they might be parents someday that they should consider "Tom" as a name for any child they might produce. Even if that child was a girl. That's how desperate we were.

Sure, it would cause grave psychological trauma, but with counseling, it would all straighten out by the time she hit her teens, or early 20s at the latest.

As for that code one must enter, you have Maliha to thank for that. "You moderate all your comments," she pointed out. "Why must we also submit to your stupid code requirement?" (not her exact words, which were nicer)

Good point. Why, indeed? I never thought of it.


So, old Tom [smile], you're telling me that the "Sheepandgoats" and "Wheatandweeds" surmonikers are just jokes, eh? Then I guess that my connection of your own surmoniker to Matthew Chapter 25 was just a fantasy of mine. (I'm quite sure that such a connection would not be a joke.) And I guess that my dedicating my "Sheep and goats" post to you signified far less than I imagined. Superficial rather than substantial. (But I'd "swear" that you told me once there was a substantial connection. I guess I misunderstood you.)

On the code requirement and the moderation, I too had questioned them. I'm glad that Maliha's added authority moved you to action. But as of yesterday you were still moderating. I'll see in a moment whether that's still the case.

And I take it that you were notified by e-mail that I had commented? Or am I still eluding that feature of your blog?

Good on you to overflowing cup.


The code box eliminates, or at least minimizes, spammers. Moderating let's the web owner further decide on the appropriateness of the comment. Otherwise poor Tom would spend all his time moderating tons of spam.

tom sheepandgoats


Now the email works. I don't know what happened. After it failed with respect to you, it let a few others slip through as well. But now all is back to normal. I don't ask questions about these things (whereas my wife would tear apart the whole computer in order to get to the bottom of it!)

Sheep and goats, wheat and weeds, etc, are all names taken from the Bible. But they're not pseudonynms for real people. Well....maybe Barfendogs, but even he is only a composite. There's no one individual I have in mind when I write of him.

I'll have to go back again and read your post. I recall I did read it but couldn't think of anything pertinent, so I let it slide. But of course I appreciate the mention. We've an interesting relationship. One would have thought from early discussions that we had not one ounce in common. Yet there always seem to be plenty of things to bounce of each other, and I like keeping abreast of your writing, as time permits. (alas, that demon: time)

Yes, you can monitor or use the code, but you don't have to do both. (unless you are being spammed) That's why I disabled the code thing. It was a good suggestion.


It is disabled but I'll put it back if need be. Religion attracts a lot of spam, I hear, not to mention nutcases. (perhaps in my case, they detect a kindred spirit!)

I don't know how much spam may have been stopped, but I've only had to restrain one commenter (not you, who are always gracious, if pointed) since I started writing.

Every blogger wants to maintain a certain tone for his blog. When it comes to religion, there's plenty of folk who would love to turn it into a forum for endless argument, which they would find fascinating, but which would be an absolute turn-off for everyone else.

I'm not really an arguing type of guy. I learn from my commenters. And I state my own views of things as cogently as I can. But if people don't want it, they don't want it. I can live with that. Sometimes people disagree. Let God sort it all out. I don't feel I have to.


Just an evening blessing, Tom, from me to you and to all of the other visitors to your blog.

Though I just finished a post (for tomorrow) that ends in as much of a paradox as anything else I've written, I feel somehow full and beatifically content this glorious night. I may even walk outside for a few minutes to enjoy my garden, the tree frogs, the lightning bugs, the wind on my face. Glory be.

tom sheepandgoats


Looks like I may have misunderstood your original comment. Sorry. Thanks for 'keeping on knocking' with a clarificataion. You've certainly made clear what our motivation for serving God ought to be.

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