The Watchtower’s year-text for 2019 is: “Do not be afraid… I am your God.”
In the January, 2019 Watchtower (study ed.), the first study article expounds upon this text. It tells the story of a Witness woman named Yoshiko whose doctor told her she only had a few months to live.
The article goes on to state that “Jehovah was with” this woman, and that while God won’t stop or prevent harm from coming to us, he won’t allow us to be permanently damaged:
Jehovah does not promise to remove the challenges that make life difficult, but he will not allow “the rivers” of problems to drown us or “the flame” of trials to do us any permanent damage.
Yoshiko died, as her doctors had predicted. Most of us would consider death the most permanent of all damages. Of course the Watchtower would disagree, positing its idea of a “resurrection” — in which a surrogate will be programmed with Yoshiko’s memories and personality in the “new world.” But for those of us who can think about it, that’s no consolation, and does nothing for the individual who died, and who remains dead forever.
If God doesn’t do anything to help us, how is that supposed to assuage our fears?
In addition to the above flawed reasoning, there are several mistakes in the article, such as:
- The statement that Isaiah wrote Isaiah chapter 41 (he didn’t)
- That Abraham’s faith in God removed his fear (it didn’t; Abraham still feared King Abimelech: disowning his wife Sarah to save his own hide rather than trusting in Jehovah’s protection, even after Jehovah had intervened and protected them in a similar incident with Pharaoh. (Ge 12:10-20, 20:1-7) )
- And that the Jewish exile in Babylon lasted 70 years (it only lasted 48 years).
But these things are all side issues. What really gets me is the following.
The Watchtower publishes the year-text “Do not be afraid… I am your God.” I think that’s apropos; the Watchtower (aka the Governing Body) is, in fact, the God of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have scriptural evidence to backup this astonishing statement.
According to the Bible, Moses told Aaron what God supposedly had said to him, and then Aaron told Pharaoh what Moses said that God said. The Bible tells us that by doing this Moses was acting as God to Pharaoh:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.
—Ex 7:1 (NASB)
The Watchtower makes a similar claim to being God’s spokesman or “mouthpiece”:
“Who.. were commissioned to serve as the mouthpiece and active agent of Jehovah? …anointed… Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
–The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah” – How? pp.58-59, 66
[It’s no longer all of the “anointed”; the Governing Body has since taken over this role exclusively.]
Just like Moses, by their assuming the responsibility of serving as “God’s mouthpiece and Jehovah’s active agent,” the Governing Body has taken on the role of God (with Witnesses as their “prophet” to spread the word.)
The Watchtower paints a picture of a world living in fear of Armageddon, in which only Witnesses can find comfort in having Jehovah for their god. But I see a very different picture: one in which the Governing Body, acting as their God, has taught them to fear both Armageddon and themselves [“the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom” says their Bible translation of Pr 9:10, and for all intents and purposes, the Governing Body is Jehovah to a Witness.]
Witnesses have been commanded to “Listen [to] and Obey” whatever cockamamie ideas these men may pass off as “orders from Jehovah.” In this there is a very real fear of the consequences [both real and imagined: social ostracism, and loss of “everlasting life”] should they ever dare question this arrangement.
In contrast, as someone “in the world” (i.e. free from the dictates of these men) I do not fear either them or their Armageddon. I am not afraid precisely because they are not my God!
In the land of Oz the phony wizard had no real power to take away anyone’s fears. Rather, just like the wacky “Wizards of Warwick,” he projected a frightful image in order to induce fear in his dupes.
As in Oz, so too in real life: the power to overcome our fears has always resided within ourselves, and starts by taking back control of our own lives.