The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society recently made some changes to their New World Translation (NWT). The NWT is a translation of the Bible that is
only recognized by the Watchtower. Their version of the Scriptures is not a trusted source for receiving God's revelation, as they have twisted and changed His holy words to fit their theology. Therefore, I do not recommend using their translation for studying
God's Word. My reasons for using the NWT below is for witnessing purposes to Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Watchtower's version of Zechariah 14:3-5 creates
a major problem for them:
Zechariah 14:3-5 (NWT 1984) "And Jehovah
will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight. And his feet will actually stand in that day upon the
mountain of the olive trees, which is in front of Jerusalem, on the east; and the mountain of the olive trees must be split at its middle, from the sunrising and to the west. There will be a very great valley; and half of the mountain will actually
be moved to the north, and half of it to the south. And YOU people will certainly flee to the valley of my mountains; because the valley of [the] mountains will reach all the way to Aʹzel. And YOU will have to flee, just as YOU fled because of the [earth]quake
in the days of Uz·ziʹah the king of Judah. And Jehovah my God will certainly come, all the holy ones being with him." (Emphasis mine)
Why are these verses troublesome to the Jehovah's Witnesses? Because...
You cannot spiritualize feet actually standing
on a mountain. The way it reads, God will be physically standing. He will come on a particular day where His feet will actually stand on the Mount of Olives.
The Watchtower's theology does not allow the feet standing to be God's own feet. The name, Jehovah, to a Jehovah's Witness refers only to the Father, never to the Son. Since
He is Spirit (John 4:24), a physical presence of Jehovah (the Father) will not occur. Therefore, standing on a mountain cannot refer directly to the Father's feet since He does not have physical feet. Also, the Watchtower's position of the Son not being God, means that God's feet cannot refer literally to the Son's feet.
Even if they do claim this as a Messianic passage, Zechariah 14 does not fit the Watchtower's Christology. Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus only had a physical
body while on earth prior to being raised from the dead. They do not believe He was resurrected with a physical body, but was raised a spirit creature. A physical return of the Messiah is viewed by Jehovah's Witnesses as a false teaching. They do not believe
Jesus' feet will actually stand physically on the Mount of Olives.
So if these passages in Zechariah are so troubling, shouldn't the Watchtower re-evaluate
their theological positions? After all, our theology must fit the Scriptures, not the other way around. Instead of changing their theology, the Watchtower's 2013 version has these verses reworded, as well as their most troubling word, 'actually' being
Zechariah 14:3-4 (NWT 2013) "Jehovah will go out and war against those nations as when he fights in the day
of a battle. In that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives..."
With this updated version, a Jehovah's Witness can now use these explanations...
When Jehovah God battled, He sent angels to battle in His name. So when battles are won in the name of the Lord, it was the same as if Jehovah Himself won those battles.
Michael the archangel battled Lucifer. The Watchtower teaches Michael is the pre-incarnate Jesus. So the pre-incarnate Messiah had battled in the past in the name
According to the Watchtower, the King Christ Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 and will battle Jehovah's enemies again at the end of days.
Therefore this will be a Messianic battle where the invisible King will be victorious over Jehovah's enemies.
Even though this word, 'actually' is not in the original text, and the removal of it is not a violation of God's Word in itself, it still does not get the Watchtower out of troubled waters. There is still no way one can
spiritualize these verses. The Mount of Olives is a physical place. Jerusalem is an actual spot you can point to on a map. Mountains, valleys and earthquakes are all real. People fleeing will be an actual event. Everything about these verses is physical. To
spiritualize select verses from these passages would be to violate the meaning of the text.
Can other Scripture passages substantiate this will be physical? Yes!
When you cross reference these verses with Revelations 22, Acts 1 and John 2, it reveals God standing on a mountain will be an actual event.
Did God promise He would
Revelation 22:6-7 (NWT 1984) And he said to me: "These words are faithful and true;
yes, Jehovah the God of the inspired expressions of the prophets sent his angel forth to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And, look! I am coming
quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll." (Emphasis mine)
Where else is a return to the Mount
of Olives promised?
Acts 1:9-12 (NWT 1984) And after he had said these things, while they were
looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their vision. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, also, look! two men in white garments stood alongside them, and they said: "Men of Galʹi·lee, why do YOU stand looking
into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from YOU into the sky will come thus in the same manner as YOU have beheld him going into the sky." Then they returned
to Jerusalem from a mountain called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, being a sabbath day’s journey away. (Emphasis mine)
Does Book of Revelation reveal this to be a Messianic return? Yes!
Revelation 22:20 (NWT 1984) "He
that bears witness of these things says, 'Yes; I am coming quickly.'"
"Amen! Come, Lord Jesus." (Emphasis mine)
Does Jesus have
a physical body now? Yes!
John 2:18-21 (NWT 1984) Therefore, in answer, the Jews said
to him: "What sign have you to show us, since you are doing these things?" In answer Jesus said to them: "Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Therefore the Jews said: "This
temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was talking about the temple of his body. (Emphasis mine)
Conclusion: God will indeed return as He promised. Jesus, who is Emmanuel (God with us); the same yesterday, today and forever, is the One who is returning physically. My God will