I commented on the first paragraph of that Watchtower study (April 2020) on the Joel passage about locusts—rarely do I comment on the very first paragraph—on how all “fundamental Bible truths”—soul, resurrection, paradise earth, no trinity, why suffering—had been uncovered back in Russell’s day. There had been lots of tweaking since then, as would be done this day—sometimes there is even backtracking—but everything fundamental was revealed long ago. “Someone would raise a question, and then the group would examine every scripture text related to the subject. Finally, they would make a record of their findings. With Jehovah’s blessing, those sincere Christian men discovered many fundamental Bible truths that we cherish to this day,” the paragraph read, of Russell’s time.
A little girl—was she nine?—the speaker’s daughter, nailed that technical point about verse 28 that many adults I am sure would have missed. Holy spirit should be during, not after, the locust charge of Joel 1:14 if those locusts can be said to represent Jehovah’s servants. That holy spirit is said to come after, not during, was one of four bits of presented evidence to suggest a rethinking of Joel 2:7-9 was due:
“They charge like warriors, They scale a wall like soldiers, Each keeps to his own course, And they do not swerve from their paths.They do not shove one another; Each man advances in his course. If the weapons cause some to fall, The others do not break ranks.Into the city they rush, on the wall they run. Onto the houses they climb, through the windows they enter like a thief.” (vs 7-9)
No, it has nothing to do with preachers of the good news—it is a description of the ancient invading Babylonian article of long ago. The reason the passage was ever connected with preaching of the good news in the first place was because of a passage in Revelation chapter 9 that is similar in some aspects—but not all. The differences were highlighted in yesterday’s study in the following paragraph:
“Consider: In Joel’s prophecy, the locusts devastate the vegetation. (Joel 1:4, 6, 7) In John’s vision, the locusts are “told not to harm the vegetation of the earth.” (Rev. 9:4) The locusts Joel saw came from the north. (Joel 2:20) Those John saw came out of an abyss. (Rev. 9:2, 3) The locusts Joel described are driven away. In Revelation, the locusts are not driven away but are allowed to finish their work. There is no indication that they deserve Jehovah’s disapproval.“
The little girl, by the way, along with her even younger brother who also commented like an adult—the two were centered in their Zoom window, and it was the parents who where cut in two by the frame—one on this side and one on that. I talked to my daughter the next day, and she knows the mother. Those kids were brought up as was my daughter and her brother—you don’t make little children prepare the entire Watchtower—how in the world are they going to retain any of it? What you do is focus on just 2 or 3 paragraphs, teach so they can explain it in their own words, and throw the rest away—for them, that is, not you. They’ll pick up more of it as they grow—and what is more important, they will want to, since they have had the experience of understanding and explaining smaller portions.
Frankly, the update from preachers to Babylonian army seemed so obvious that one wonders how it could have missed in the first place. But the explanation that was supplied I can live with: “Bible prophecies are often best understood when they are undergoing fulfillment or after they have been fulfilled.” Okay. The public speaker in his (unconnected) talk had said something about hiking a trail and you can’t really see things until you come across them—he even displayed Watchtower artwork of a family hiking, and it looked like his!—with two tow-headed kids and a mother with dark hair.
Sure. You’d best wait for things to undergo fulfillment or even to have already gone down before you prophesy on what has gone down—I can get my head around that. Still, it does represent some pulling in of the horns—maybe because sometimes those horns hadn’t always hit the target, and now there is more modesty. What! You think it’s a piece of cake looking into the future? It’s not.
I am reminded of that scene from ‘Up the Down Staircase’ in which the high-school student contests his failing grade for having wrongly interpreted a poem. His protest falls on deaf ears, even after he brings the poet to class and the poet says, ‘Yes—that is exactly what he meant.’ The teen’s only consolation is to know that he has changed school policy; from that day on only dead poets are to be used for assignments.
Vic Vomodog, that perennial apostate, somehow caught wind of the revision, and screamed “flip_flop” on his website! “It used to be this way—and now it is that way! he hyperventilated.
As far as I am concerned, the way you answer the idiot is to say, “Oh, we changed that.” We lean into punches when we could just as easily duck them. Duck them, and the big slob’s own momentum (believe me, he is a big slob) sends him hurtling over the edge.
It is only soreheads who think it not permissible to revise positions—the JW organization itself doesn’t say it, nor do reasonable people. What is “the light that gets brighter” and “tacking” if not an admission that things change? The current study article was even more forthright—they see what they now see “in hindsight.” They are not the essential things that I commented on in that first paragraph, is the point—the core beliefs that everyone who became a Witness did so on that account—the core beliefs—that distinguish JWs from any other religion—that opposers forget all about, and thus reveal they haven’t a spiritual bone in their bodies, as they harp on trivial matters of human imperfection—as though Santa Claus should be running the show—showering presents on everyone and asking nothing more than a vague promise to ‘be nice,’ for people to define any way they like.