Does the Watchtower Society pay attention to the book of Daniel?
The 1999 Watchtower Annual Conventions saw the release of a new book, Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! I suppose the obvious quip is that it would be good if the writers did! I have not had the chance(or the patience) to read the book from cover to cover but a few interesting parts have been pointed out to me.
On p.284 they have included a chart of who the various Kings of the North and South were within the time span of Daniel’s prophecy. However when we get to the days we are living in the King of the North is not known and will only become known as the events of Daniel 11:44 and 45 start to happen. Yet, the proceeding pages before the chart indicate that the King of the North is vital for Armageddon. We are told on pages 280/281:
‘With the disbanding of the Soviet Union in 1991, the king of the north suffered a serious setback. Who will be this king when Daniel 11:44,45 is fulfilled? Will he be identified with one of the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union (Ed: I seem to remember that they were certain about this before) Or will he change identity completely, as he has done a number of times before… Only time will provide answers to these questions.’
It seems even the Watchtower Society is now really saying that Armageddon is not just round the corner.
The book contains a number of charts and one person wrote and said they contain “utter nonsense.” The chart on p.301 seeks to explain the various ‘prophetic’ periods in the book of Daniel. For instance the often quoted 2,520 years from October 607 BCE to October 1914 CE. However, two of these periods are most mysterious.
The 1,290 days of Daniel 12:11 are equated to a period between January 1919 and September 1922 and the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12 are equated to September 1922 to May 1926. For such specific prophetic dates, there must be some tremendous event starting and ending these periods; they must have been dynamic periods in the Christian era, what is the explanation?
The first period we are told on p.300 is connected with the disgusting thing, which in their view is the League of Nations the forerunner to the United Nations. We are told “the League was officially proposed in January 1919.” However, we are also told that another event must be in place for the beginning of this period and that is the removing of “the constant feature.” For the Watchtower Society this is equated with the suspension of the preaching work in mid-1918.
Here we have two problems. First, the book of Daniel is not of private interpretation to the Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Simply because their preaching work ceased, this was not the case for many other Christians. This means using their definition of this “constant feature” we see it was not fulfilled in mid-1918. Furthermore, if it were fulfilled in mid-1918 then this time period would begin from then and not from January 1919. As was said surely this is “utter nonsense’.
Having sought unsuccessfully to show the beginning of this time period is connected with some recognisable feature what happens at its end? Nothing, except of course the starting of the next period the 1,335 days. We read of this:
‘The angel gives no clues as to when this period begins or ends. History suggests that it simply follows on the heels of the preceding period. In that case it would run from the autumn of 1922 to the late spring of 1926 (Northern Hemisphere). Did the holy ones come to a state of happiness by the end of that period? Yes, in important spiritual ways. Even after the convention in 1922… some of God’s holy ones were still looking longingly to the past… there was still a widely held view that pointed to 1925 (Ed: that widely held view was propagated by the leader and president of this ‘prophetic’ Society, Joseph Rutherford)… This was not a happy state of affairs.’ – p.303.
In true ‘Watchtower style’ they then state that by the end of this period in May 1926 all was well, everyone had their view changed to see the truth and they were not looking for a particular date but were serving Jehovah and looking ahead with confidence, probably to 1935 and then to 1941. There is no prophetical significance to these time periods it is simply a fairy story.
One final quote from the book is worth noting. Nothing much has been said about Michael recently and rumours abounded that the Society was going to quietly drop their lead archangel. This as we now see is not the case, at least not yet.
Michael’s position, power, and authority made him truly “the archangel,” meaning “the chief angel,” or “the principal angel.” Most fittingly, this lofty position can be applied to none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, before and after his life on earth. – p.205.