The Watchtower magazine study edition November 2013 has an article entitled: Seven Shepherds and Eight Dukes – what they mean for us today? It considers the verse “We shall also have to raise up against him seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes of mankind.”—Micah 5:5 (New World Translation); looking at historical context and any possible application for today.
As often happens with The Watchtower, the context it looks at is selective and the modern day application nonsensical. The article recalls how good King Hezekiah trusted Jehovah against the scheming Assyrians:
Ahaz died in 746 B.C.E., and his son Hezekiah inherited the materially impoverished and spiritually bankrupt kingdom of Judah. As the young king ascended the throne, what would his priority be? To shore up Judah’s ailing economy? No. Hezekiah was a spiritual man, a worthy shepherd of his national flock. His first act was to re-establish pure worship and to reinforce the wayward nation’s frayed relationship with Jehovah. When he understood God’s will for him, Hezekiah acted decisively. What a fine example for us!—2 Chron. 29:1-19.
The Levites would play a vital role in the important task of restoring pure worship. Therefore, Hezekiah met with them to assure them of his support. Picture the faithful Levites who were present at that meeting, tears of joy streaming down their faces as they heard their king declare: “You are the ones whom Jehovah has chosen to stand before him to minister to him.” (2 Chron. 29:11) Yes, the Levites had a clear mandate to promote pure worship!
Of course, Hezekiah was aware of the approaching danger, but rather than desperately enlist the help of a pagan nation, as his apostate father, Ahaz, had done, Hezekiah placed his trust in Jehovah. (2 Chron. 28:20, 21) He may have been aware of the words of the prophet Micah, a contemporary who foretold concerning Assyria: “As for the Assyrian, . . . we shall also have to raise up against him seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes of mankind. And they will actually shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword.” (Mic. 5:5, 6) These inspired words would surely have encouraged Hezekiah, for they show that a most unusual army would be raised up against the Assyrians and that the hostile aggressors would ultimately be defeated.
The Watchtower believes that this period of Old Testament history has a major fulfilment in these days. This is what it teaches:
Hezekiah – was a spiritual man, a worthy shepherd of his national flock who would establish pure worship again. HEZEKIAH = JESUS
Levites – were to re-establish pure worship who are told by Hezekiah “You are the ones whom Jehovah has chosen to stand before him to minister to him.” LEVITES = JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES (led by the Faithful & Discreet Slave)
Assyrians – were to attack Hezekiah and Jehovah’s people, but Jehovah protected them. MODERN DAY ‘ASSYRIANS’ = ANY WHO ATTACK THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY AND ITS TEACHINGS
Seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes of mankind who would ‘shepherd the Assyrians with the sword’ (Micah 5:5) (the NKJV translates this as ‘They shall waste with the sword the land of Assyria’ and the NIV ‘who will rule (crush) the land of Assyria with the sword).
The Watchtower see this as the shepherds (Elders) using the sword (God’s Word) to beat the Assyrians (those outside the WTS). This shows how The Watchtower manipulates Scripture to make it fit with their theology and beliefs. As if this is not worrying enough, that which follows is extremely disturbing. Addressing Elders who will read this article, The Watchtower encourages them to consider what they have just read. This is what it says:
“Elders who are reading this article can draw some useful conclusions from the account we have just considered: (1) The most practical step that we can take to prepare for the coming attack of ‘the Assyrian’ is that of strengthening our faith in God and helping our brothers to do the same. (2) When ‘the Assyrian’ attacks, the elders must be absolutely convinced that Jehovah will deliver us. (3) At that time, the lifesaving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not. (4) Now is the time for any who may be putting their trust in secular education, material things, or human institutions to adjust their thinking. The elders must stand ready to help any who may now be wavering in their faith.” (p.20)
Let us consider the implications of this advice:
(1) The most practical step that we can take to prepare for the coming attack of ‘the Assyrian’ is that of strengthening our faith in God and helping our brothers to do the same.
• The Assyrians… anyone who challenges the teachings and doctrines of The WTS
• Elders are to encourage Witnesses to strengthen their faith in Jehovah through his anointed organisation.
(2) When ‘the Assyrian’ attacks, the elders must be absolutely convinced that Jehovah will deliver us.
• The god of the WTS is like the god of the prophets of Baal. Their ‘god’ was impotent and did not save them on Mount Carmel. Only repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can save them from the imminent ‘Assyrian’ attack.
(3) At that time, the lifesaving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.
• This is most disturbing – obey the WTS without thinking, without question – even if what they ask of you does not make sense. This is classic cult behaviour and is reminiscent of Jim Jones People’s Temple:
“Being in an environment where you are constantly up, constantly busy and you’re made to feel guilty if you take too many luxuries like sleeping, you tend to not to think for yourself and I allowed Jones to think for me, because I figured he had the better plan. I gave my rights up to him, as many others did.” (Unidentified former Peoples Temple Member quote in Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple)
The unsuspecting and trusting Witnesses give up their rights to The Watchtower, and in doing so they follow all that it dictates with complete obedience. It is this kind of blind obedience that leads Witnesses to lose their lives by refusing a blood transfusion. Please Lord that they would never get to a situation where this blind obedience would lead to an even greater tragedy.
(4) Now is the time for any who may be putting their trust in secular education, material things, or human institutions to adjust their thinking. The elders must stand ready to help any who may now be wavering in their faith.”
• The Watchtower continues to advise the Elders to dissuade young people from furthering their education and to encourage people to not put their trust in material things or human institutions, this is obviously considered to be ‘wavering in… faith’.
Perhaps the readily available online information exposing the falsehood and the rising number of lawsuits against The Watchtower, the Governing Body fear that the end is near, but it is not Armageddon that is near, but rather the end of this cult masquerading as Biblical Christianity.