Concern with the end-times is a very lively topic of interest in the
Christian household today. The Jehovah's Witnesses have their own unique end-times philosophy. They
envision the life to come as an apartheid regime dividing asunder the eternal
destinies of two very different species, the elect 144,000 and the remainder
of believers. Only the first class are spirit-filled and born again;
the second, the great unwashed masses, are hewers of wood and drawers
of water. Despite their common humanity, the former inherit heaven,
the latter this same earth, lightly renovated. The Jehovah's Witnesses
do not look for any real new heaven or new earth, because they expect this
present earth to endure forever. What saith the scriptures?:
"The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth
is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
and shall totter like a hut. . ." (Isaiah 24:19-20).
"All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host
shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree." (Isaiah 34:4).
- "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
"For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with
fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will
judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many...'For as the new heavens and the
new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,' says the LORD, 'So shall your descendants and
your name remain.'" (Isaiah 66:15-22).
"'I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land,' says the LORD; 'I will
consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea,
and the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will
cut off man from the face of the land,' says the LORD....Be
silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD
is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited
His guests...The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and
hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter;
there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day
of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation
and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds
and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified
cities and against the high towers. 'I will bring distress
upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have
sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like
dust, and their flesh like refuse.' Neither their silver
nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the
LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire
of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those
who dwell in the land...'Therefore wait for Me,' says the LORD,
'Until the day I rise up for plunder; my determination is to
gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them
My indignation, all My fierce anger; all the earth shall be
devoured with the fire of My jealousy." (Zephaniah 1:2-3:8).
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Mark 13:31).
"And: 'You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation
of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They
will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like
a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will
be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will
not fail.'" (Hebrews 1:10-12, Psalm 102:25-27).
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief
in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great
noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the
earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10).
"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth
had passed away. Also there was no more sea." (Revelation 21:1).
Charles Taze Russell sat down to read scripture and veered from absolute literalism to
vague allegory and back again...all within the space of one sentence. Why those scriptures which describe the
utter destruction of the earth and its replacement with an improved version are to be taken in the vague,
watered-down sense, 'there will be minor, incremental improvements,' when the same interpreter insists upon
the literal meaning in other cases, is far from clear.
Readers not familiar with Charles Taze Russell's eclectic style of scripture reading may enjoy reading,