by Jefferson David Tant
Jehovah’s Witnesses are known throughout much of the world. Their zeal in spreading their doctrines by sending out missionaries who go from door to door is well known. While we admire their commitment to their doctrines, we must acknowledge that their faith is not based on a solid foundation. This religion was founded by Charles Taze Russell in 1879 and is led by a body of men known as the Governing Body headquartered in New York. The organization produces the “Watchtower” and “Awake” magazines. They denounce all other “Christian” religious groups as heretical.
Some of their differing beliefs involve the contention that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, but that he is Michael the archangel. They also deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Included in their doctrine is the fact that only 144,000 are the “little flock” that will go to heaven, while the rest of the redeemed will inherit their paradise on a new earth. They also refuse to accept blood transfusions, confusing that with the eating of blood, which is condemned in the Bible.
There are other doctrinal matters which conflict with the Bible, but one of the great problems one would have in accepting the Jehovah’s Witness religion as being true is the matter of their many failed prophecies. Let us consider a few of them along with some other problems.
- They prophesied that God would destroy the denominations by 1918. “…when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of Christianity.” A series of books written by Russell entitled “Studies in the Scripture” contain that statement in “The Finished Mystery” on pages 484-485.
- The Witnesses used to believe that the white race was superior to other races. Yet a man’s skin color could be changed in answer to prayer. “Though once as black as charcoal, the Rev. Mr. Draper is now white. His people say that his color was changed in answer to prayer.” (Zion’s Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1900, p. 296). The same magazine stated, “…It is true the white race exhibits some qualities of superiority over any other…” (July 15, p. 216, 1912). While the Witnesses now accept people of all colors, the aforementioned statements were made by a so-called “prophet” of God.
- In the early years, some worshipped their founder, Charles Russell. It is now admitted: “the idea adopted by many was that C. T. Russell himself was the ‘faithful and wise servant.’” This phrase is from Matthew 24:45 (KJV) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” In making the claim that this was a prophecy concerning Russell, it led to “creature worship” which we know is forbidden in Scripture. Among the many passages in the Bible that forbid the worship of anyone but God is this one in Exodus 34:14: “for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Although this is no longer practiced, the fact that it was practiced at all and evidently accepted by Russell clearly shows that this is a false religion. For information about the foregoing worship of Russell, you can go to Zion’s Watchtower, April 15, 1904, the Biography of Pastor Russell published in the 1925 edition of The Divine Plan of the Ages, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 7 and the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, p, 88).
- Russell and early Witnesses founded their end-time prophecies upon some calculations based on passages in the Egyptian Great Pyramid of Giza. “For some 35 years, Pastor Russell thought that the Great Pyramid of Gizeh was God’s stone witness, corroborating Biblical time periods.” The Witnesses continue to emphasize the fact that we are living in the “last days,” meaning that they believe the end of the world is coming soon. Then God will set up all earthly governments and set up a new earthly kingdom. This was supposed to happen in 1914, according to Russell’s prophecies, yet today few Witnesses realize that these calculations were originally derived from his calculations from inscriptions in the Great Pyramid of Gaza.
- The Watchtower once taught that the reason some people had a strong desire to worship God was “due to the shape of their brain.” “The drawing power of the Almighty exercises over humanity is in different degrees. Some have a strong desire to worship God, others have a weak desire, and others have no desire at all. This difference is due to the shape of the brain…All have unbalanced brains, some in one direction, others in another.” (The Watchtower, March 15, 1913, page 84).
- Jehovah’s Witness used to teach that God rules over the universe from the star “Alcyone, the central one of the renowned Pleiades stars.” While Witnesses today would reject the idea that God is sitting on a star and ruling from it, this statement is taken from Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 3, page 327. Today’s Witnesses disregard such statements by claiming that God provides “new light” or understanding of truth. Yet Watchtower literature clearly states that “A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. ‘New Light’ never extinguishes older ‘Light’ but adds to it … So it is with the light of truth; the true increase is by adding to it, not substituting one for another” (Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1881, p. 3).
- Using the Bible as the standard, Jehovah’s Witnesses are false prophets. Christ said there would be false prophets coming, and we have seen it happen. “Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:23-24).
For some 50 years, the Witnesses prophesied about the coming of Christ and the end of the world. Beginning in 1874, the years 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, and 1975 have all come and gone without the world coming to an end. The Witnesses built a ten-bedroom house in 1929 in San Diego, California named “Beth Sarim” for various Old Testament prophets to live in when the end came and they returned. It was finally sold in 1948, as neither Christ nor Abraham, Moses, David, etc., ever showed up.
In referring to the end of the world, Christ had these words to say: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mark 13:31-32). Note that Jesus said that even he didn’t know when the end would come. One wonders how it is that prophets like Russell and others then claim they know something that even Christ doesn’t know.
- The Watchtower claims that it receives information directly from God through his angel. “That same holy spirit and angelic direction still affect the preaching activities of Christian ministers …No doubt they first hear the instruction which the Lord issues to his remnant and then those invisible messengers pass such instruction on to the remnant.”
When they are confronted with their past false prophecies and erroneous teaching, they claim that “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to be inspired prophets … Matters on which corrections of viewpoint have been needed have been relatively minor when compared with the vital Bible truths that they have discerned and publicized” (Reasoning from the Scriptures, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985, pages 136-137). But this contradicts their claims that they receive information directly from God the same way the ancient Bible prophets did. They claim to be inspired by God in the same way Ezekiel was. (“The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah,” Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985, pages 56-59).
- An interesting fact is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses only partake of the Lord’s Supper once a year. I went to one of their services on a Saturday night to observe their practice. A nice talk was made, and then the emblems passed. Not one soul partook of the emblems. Their teaching is that only the 144,000 (the “elect”) are permitted to partake, and evidently, no one of that number was present. This presents another problem for them, as Russell taught that Christ would return before the last of the 144,000 living in 1914 had died. I don’t know of very many people today who are at least 108 years old. Another false prophecy?
- It is interesting to note that the Jehovah’s Witnesses administer baptism only two times a year during biannual meetings within a small area, known as “circuit assemblies,” while baptisms take place a third time at large regional conferences. This is far removed from Biblical examples of baptism administered the moment a person came to understand and accept the teaching of the gospel. Examples of this are seen in Acts 2:37-41, 8:12, 10:47-48, 16:33; 22:16 and other passages. Since baptism is required for the forgiveness of one’s sins, it would be contrary to Biblical teaching for one to wait some months after believing, to be baptized.
The foregoing are but a few of the many teachings, prophecies, and practices that do not align with the teaching of the Bible, God’s Word. God has warned us about the coming of false prophets in various passages, including this one in I John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” And how do we “test” these spirits? Simply by comparing what they teach and practice with what the Word of God teaches.