Do the Trumpet Blasts Wear Thin?
December 22, 2022
The trumpet blasts and bowls of wrath (Revelation 8) have sat untouched on the shelf for 35 years. You wouldn’t leave a pie to cool that long. Will there be an update someday?
Presenting things chronologically, as in the Revelation Climax book, was all the rage at one time—make the timeline work out. The pieces fit together pretty well, but what to do about the blasts and the bowls?
They must have been ‘fiery’ resolutions and publications from the ones just released from prison who hit the ground running and swarmed like locusts for their numbers. Why in prison? Because their religious work was judged to have run afoul of the U.S. 1917 Espionage and Sedition Act. (The same parallel has happened in Russia, exactly 100 years later!)
Vic Vomodog called those resolutions and publications “nothing but anti-church hate speech from the 1920s!”
Yes, it’s trendy and inclusive to say such things, but it does not do justice to the fact that the dominant religions served as cheerleaders for World War I, which cost millions their lives, and showed every sign of doing it again for World War II. Yet, in the interim, they presumed to slide right back into their comfy chair of representing the Prince of Peace.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, virtually alone, were not going to let them get away with it. Ought they be lambasted for it? No. Applaud them for their courage. Had those dominant religions taught their members Christ’s ways of peace, insisting upon it when the going got rough, those wars might have fizzled quickly—how can you fight a war when the overwhelming majority of the populace won’t fight? Instead, they acquiesced to the will of ‘the nations.’
It all boils down to religion determined to be an integral part of this system so as to be ‘relevant.’ Determined to fix this world, it ignores or dilutes into impotence Jesus’ direction to be ‘no part of this world.’ He gives that direction because he’s already hung a ‘Condemned’ sign on it. Do you rush into a condemned building to fix it up?
It turns out that Pius XII was not pro-Nazi, even though he’s been called ‘Hitler’s Pope.’ He was a schooled and cultured diplomat who imagined himself solving thorny world issues through diplomacy. He loathed Hitler. He personally shielded thousands of Jews in his Italian realm. But he had German bishops under him who were pro-Nazi. In the end, he made agreements with the German regime because he did not want to see Catholics there consigned to the camps (as were Jehovah’s Witnesses).
So I ran all this past Tom Whitepebble, that Pius was not the bloodthirsty guy that some have thought, and he says, ‘Well—it’s hard to stay clean when you’re a harlot.” The spiritual persons see the big picture and do not get pulled into the minutia, the political wrangling of a world that has already been condemned by the Lord. They know instead it is high time they kept themselves clean from it rather than imagine they are there to fix it.
This is why it is the “unlettered and ordinary” who take the lead in the modern Christian work. This is why, when the “educated people” come along and say, “You’ve done very well. We’ll take it from here and smooth out your rough edges,” they do not yield. The educated people think of ways to accommodate sensibilities of this system. They are forever backing off and reevaluating. The unlettered and ordinary get the work done.
In that period between the two world wars, the 1937 book Enemies denounced ‘false’ religion as “a great enemy, always working injury to mankind,” it’s adherents “agents of the Devil, whether they are aware of that fact or not.” How’s that for ‘fiery?’ “You will notice that its cover is tan, and we will tan the old lady’s hide with it,” Judge Rutherford said in releasing it.
It’s not the prime focus today. Why kick the old lady while she is down? Witnesses kicked her while she was up—and arguably brought her down. The goal was only to dent credibility enough to loosen her iron grip on parishioners. These days every wuss of an atheist, who would pee his pants if called upon to confront the dominant religions when they had real power, as Witnesses routinely did, are kicking her now that the role is so much easier.
What to make of those trumpet blasts? Maybe it’s “that Jehovah gave each generation something to be busy with and a few prophecies to help them through their own times.” It was all the rage for a time to go verse by verse sequentially into the prophetic books, ‘unlocking’ each one and applying it to specific events wherever feasible. While not abandoning that approach completely, these days passages are as likely to be bunched up with recognition of their thematic content, and not necessarily taken apart verse by verse. The 2018 Pure Worship Restored commentary on Ezekiel takes this more current approach.
‘It flies at the time’ is all that really matters. Some thought it a stretch even then for those trumpets and bowls to be associated with specific early conventions and the resolutions then given. But the rest of the Revelation Climax book was (and still is) so spot on that I did what the Monty Python monk does—“Skip a bit, brother.”
For all the complaining heard about the brothers not being “transparent,” when they are transparent there’s complaining about that too. Hitting the Research Guide in connection with those Revelation 8 verses will still take you back to the Revelation Climax book explanations, but it’s been decades since I’ve heard any talk incorporating those explanations (if I ever have). No problem here in saying that we floated the idea for a time but no longer do. You can still find it though. Nothing is hidden.
It’s better to focus on what has endured, which is the bulk of it, not on what has died a ‘pocket veto’ by never being referred to again.
****** The bookstore