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Michael Jackson & the 'Last Daze'
Wrong Way Witnesses?
Have you ever moved into a new place and had to wait to get the lights turned on? Or have you ever had to wait a long time for the repairman to arrive to fix something? Remember being told that he'll be out sometime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.? To add insult to injury, you were told that someone has to be there when he comes! Every time you heard a car pull up you thought it was him--but it wasn't. And as if that weren't enough, suddenly you heard a knock at the door and said to yourself, "Finally, he's here," only to open it and be greeted by a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses!
Well, it seems everyone has had such experiences. Since the Witnesses believe we're living in the "last days" (2 Ti 3:1-5, New World Translation)--as did Michael Joseph Jackson--they're preaching like there's no tomorrow. (Pun intended.) With the world in a craze; with spiritual eyes awash with a glaze; with spiritual vision seeing a haze, mankind gropes through a diabolical maze, causing people everywhere to be dazed and amazed. "People will be so frightened that they will faint because of what is happening to the world." (Lu 21:26, Contemporary English Version) This is why the Witnesses keep coming to your door. They don't want you fainting all over the place. But why do they persist when there's little or no interest in some instances?
Relentless Religionists: The short answer is, circumstances change--sometimes miraculously it seems--as the Witnesses act as "fishers of men." (Matt 4:19, NWT) For example, in a community where scant interest is shown, an earthquake might strike. Now, armed with rolled-up Watchtowers, Witnesses have to beat people off of them. This hyperbole aside, consider the experience of Peter. He didn't catch a thing after fishing all night. However, when the Lord instructed him to fish again in the same waters, the catch was overwhelming. (Lu 5:1-11) Sometimes the Witnesses preach in the same unproductive territory, only to experience overwhelming interest after some attitude-altering event; whether it's a family tragedy, or a local or international news headline. Still, despite their well-meaning work, what about when they've been wrong about the date of Christ's return?
Disappointing Dates: The Witnesses are the first to admit that they've blown it in the past. In their publication, Reasoning from the Scriptures, Witness leaders write: "Jehovah's Witnesses do not claim to be inspired prophets. They have made mistakes. Like the apostles of Jesus Christ, they have at times had some wrong expectations.--Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6." They thought they heard the clanging tools of the celestial Repair Man--the resurrected Lord Jesus--approaching the door. You see, the human condition is in desperate disrepair. The Repair Man will fix it, first by demolishing the present irreparable system of things.
Though they've been wrong about dates, the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses asks the following about Witness teachings: "Have these truly uplifted people morally? Are those who adhere to these teachings outstanding in their communities because of their honesty? Is their family life beneficially influenced by applying these teachings? Jesus said that his disciples would be readily identified because of having love among themselves. (John 13:35) Is this quality outstanding among Jehovah's Witnesses? We let the facts speak for themselves."
The Witnesses don't know the day or hour that Jesus is coming. (Matt 24:36-44) Can you imagine that? At least we know what day the regular repairman is coming. And, while we may not know the exact hour of his scheduled arrival, we do know the range of hours. The Bible, however, indicates that "at an hour that you don't think it's going to happen, that's when the Son of Man is coming." (Matt 24:44, Carr's Christian Bible) Yes, the celestial Repair Man--Jesus Christ himself--"will come unexpectedly on a certain day, and at an unknown hour." (Matt 24:50 CCB) So the Witnesses, as did Michael, keenly anticipate and eagerly expect his arrival.
Conclusion: Even if they've been wrong in trying to predict the Repair Man's arrival, it was a well-intentioned exercise in vigilance. They don't want to lower their guards for a moment, only to notice a "Sorry We Missed You" sign on the door! So, the next time you see them, cut them some slack. They're just trying to do right by God--and right by you. Peace and blessings to all. Amen.