Opossum Holler

By Patrick Andrews

If you have seen any recent Jehovah’s Witness literature, then you know that they are big on smiles. All the tracts and books they have given me (recently), are filled with drawings of people who could pass for reincarnated opossums.

Of course you must realize that the point that they are trying to force on the unlearned and the unexpected is this, “you can live forever in paradise on earth, ” which, by the way, is the title of a book published by the Watchtower Society for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On pages 12 and 13 of the above mentioned book is a drawing depicting the Watchtower Society’s idea of how the earth and its inhabitants will look throughout eternity. Everyone in the picture is smiling, regardless of what they are doing. I believe if they were any happier they would bust. To me it looks as if a tank car full of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) derailed nearby. There is a lion on page 13; I believe it is smiling.

This happiness that everyone is enjoying (including the animals), is part of the Jehovah’s Witness “New Earth” (i.e., this planet, after it has been renovated by those who survive Armageddon, Ibid., p. 159). One of the passages they use to create this wonderland is Isaiah 11:6-9. There are other passages that they have been programmed to use to defend this error, but we will stick with this one for the most part.

A rule I learned somewhere that has remained with me, lo these many years is this, “You must take anything you hear or read literally, unless the context forbids it.” I was comforted by my knowledge of figurative language as a child when an older brother would threaten to “beat my brains out” or “slap me into the next county.” The laws of the land, the laws of my parents, and the laws of grammar forced me to interpret their show of force figuratively. I was forbidden to take their threats literally. Children have always understood such elementary grammatical rules. Let’s look at the passage that has been thrust upon us by our Witness friends and see if we are to take it literally or if we are forced to interpret the passage figuratively.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the failing together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like an ox.

And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put this hand on the cockatrice’s den (Isa. 11:6-9).

If we interpret this passage of Scripture literally, we find that: a little child, a sucking child, and a weaned child will dwell on “The New Earth,” with certain tasks to perform with respect to the animal life, either leading the larger animals around, or simply playing on snake holes.

If I was a robot of the Watchtower Society, I would be in a panic. I would be worried about my children and their proper place in this “New Earth.” You see, my timing is all wrong. According to the Watchtower’s latest pep-rallies, the end of this present order of things is about to come. That leaves me with a son that will be forced to play on a snake hole from now on. My daughters will be expected to smile like opossums all the live-long-day, and lead the calves and bears around. These are jobs where there are no promotions; the young will remain young forever (Ibid., p. 11). Can you imagine going through eternity as an infant playing on a snake hole? Do you see how much trouble you get into when your older brother fails to instill in you the difference in literal and figurative language?

There is another passage that the Witnesses turn to as a proof text for their “New Earth,” Isaiah 65:17-25. Please notice verse 20.

There will be no more an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his day: for the child shall die an hundred years old, but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed (emphasis mine, p.a.).

I think if someone in the Watchtower Society would tell the children that they are only allowed 100 years to “punch the little doggies” and then they would die, I bet the children wouldn’t feel like smiling.

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 11, p. 329
June 2, 1988