The most popular ever
No, Michael Joseph Jackson hasn't left a secret tell-all journal with me. True, he told me some secrets; but he didn't leave a journal (at least not with me!) He did, however, have a favorite journal that is an internationally famous magazine. And while he thoroughly enjoyed the likes of Ebony, Essence, Jet, Black Enterprise, and other magazines of varying genres, one of his favorites was a magazine now published in a staggering 188 languages, with a phenomenal printing of over 42 million copies per issue. Yes, until the day he died Michael enjoyed reading The Watchtower magazine, as well as other Bible-based publications produced in some 560 languages by the Watch Tower Society.
I have several times chronicled the prodigious nature of Watchtower printing operations in this column. But, it seems that before the ink dries they've added several more languages! No other political, religious, educational, or secular organization comes close to the numbers above; neither Google or Wikipedia, nor the Catholic Church or United Nations. Absolutely no one. These facts and figures would have been out of this world to the Moonwalker, who loved being on the leading edge of everything!
Let's take a brief tour through the pages of the October 15, 2011, Watchtower. I'll pick two or three random points from an assortment of subjects that I think would have interested my dear friend, Michael Joseph Jackson.
The "Last Days": Pestilence & Prosperity: "Reflect, for example, on what Jesus foretold about 'pestilences and food shortages.' (Luke 21:11) First, he did not say that these would affect all areas simultaneously or to the same degree. Rather, he stated that these would occur 'in one place after another.' So we cannot expect the same events everywhere at the same time. Second, shortly after mentioning food shortages, Jesus indicated that some of his followers would have to be alert not to overeat: 'Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating.' (Luke 21:34) Thus, all Christians should not expect to experience every aspect of the sign. Rather, Jesus stated: 'When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near.' (Luke 21:31) Modern communication allows us to see all aspects of the sign, no matter what we personally experience in our locality."
"Jesus admonished Christians everywhere: 'Prove yourselves ready.' (Matt. 24:44) We should always be ready. Of course, we cannot engage in theocratic activities all day long every day. Besides, none of us know what we will be doing the moment the great tribulation begins. Some may be working in a field or caring for domestic chores."
Indeed, such a conclusion is in harmony with the following translation of Jesus' words: "During this time two men will be at work. One will be taken along by recognizable truth and thereafter act on it while the other will be content with the status quo and abandoned to his daily way of living. While two women engage in domestic work one will be taken along by recognizable truth and thereafter act on it while the other will be content with the status quo and abandoned to her daily way of living. Stay alert, therefore, because you don't know the day your Lord will suddenly appear." (Matt. 24:40-42, Carr's Christian Bible) The point? Always live as much of a godly life as you possibly can. That's what it means to "stay alert."
Where to Sit?: Of hypocritical religious leaders in his day Jesus warned that they like "the front seats in the synagogues." (Matthew 23:6, New World Translation) Some Witnesses have apparently taken this very seriously and completely avoid "the front seats." However, The Watchtower notes that "Some have found that sitting near the front of the auditorium is helpful," since there are fewer distractions and concentration is easier.
Governing Body Humility: Does the Governing Body have all the answers? "Of course, there are some topics and scriptures that our publications have not specifically addressed. And even where we have commented on a particular Bible text, we may not have dealt with the specific question that you have in mind. Also, some Bible accounts raise questions because not all the details are spelled out in the Scriptures. ... Neither the branch office nor world headquarters is in a position to analyze and answer all such questions that have not been considered in our literature." Even so, it was still Jackson's journal. Peace and blessings to all. Amen.