Failed Prophecies Via Jehovah’s Witnesses

1877 ‘The End Of This World; that is the end of the gospel and the beginning of the millennial age is nearer than most men suppose; indeed we have already entered the transition period, which is to be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation Dan. 12:3.” (N.H. Barbour and C.T. Russell, Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World, p. 17).

1879 “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)

1880 “We need not here repeat the evidences that the “seventh trump” began its sounding A.D., 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of “The times of the Gentiles,” A.D., 1914, and that it is the trouble of this “Great day,” which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. xii. 1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age. (Zion’s Watchtower November, 1880 p. 1)

1886 “The outlook at the opening of the New Year has some very encouraging features. The outward evidences are that the marshaling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing. … The time is come for Messiah to take the dominion of earth and to overthrow the oppressors and corrupters of the earth, (Rev. 19:15 and 11:17, 18) preparatory to the establishment of everlasting peace upon the only firm foundation of righteousness and truth.” (Zion’s Watchtower, January, 1886;Watchtower reprints I, p. 817)

1888 “In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that the date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men. And be it observed, that if this is shown to be a fact firmly established by the Scriptures, it will prove; Firstly, that at that date the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, Thy Kingdom come, will obtain full, universal control, and that it will then be set up, or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions.” (The Time Is At Hand, 1888, p. 76, 77)

1889 “Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14) which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God’s word.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, The Time Is At Hand, 1889 Ed., p. 101. The 1915 Edition of this texts changed “A.D. 1914” to read ‘A.D. 1915’)

1889 “Here we furnish the evidence that from the creation of Adam to (but not including) A.D. 1873 was six thousand years. And though the Bible contains no direct statement that the seventh thousand will be the epoch of Christ’s reign, the great Sabbath Day of restitution to the world, yet the venerable tradition is not without a reasonable foundation.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 39. 1889)

1889 “If, then, the seventh thousand-year period of earth’s history be an epoch specially noted as the period of Christ’s reign, we shall by showing that it began in 1873, be proving that we are already in it.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 40. 1889)

1889 “In the coming 26 years, all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved.” (C.T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 98-99, 1889)

1889 “In this chapter we present the Bible evidence which indicates that six thousand years from the creation of Adam were complete with A.D. 1872; and hence that, since A.D. 1872 are chronologically entered upon the seventh thousand or the Millennium.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 33, 1889)

1889 “Remember that the forty years’ Jewish Harvest ended October A.D. 69, and was followed by the complete overthrow of that nation; and that likewise the forty years of the Gospel age harvest will end October, 1914, and that likewise the overthrow of ‘Christendom,’ so-called, must be expected to immediately follow.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 245)

1894 “Seventeen years ago people said, concerning the time features presented in Millennial Dawn, They seem reasonable in many respects, but surely no such radical changes could occur between now and the close of 1914: if you had proved that they would come about in a century or two, it would seem much more probable. What changes have since occurred, and what velocity is gained daily? ‘The old is quickly passing and the new is coming in.’ Now, in view of recent labor troubles and threatened anarchy, our readers are writing to know if there may not be a mistake in the 1914 date. They say that they do not see how present conditions can hold out so long under the strain. We see no reason for changing the figures-nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” (Zion’s Watchtower, Can It Be Delayed until 1914? C. T. Russell July 15, 1894, Also in Watchtower Reprints, l894 p. 1677)

1894 “A few more years will wind up the present order of things, and then the chastened world will stand face to face with the actual conditions of the established Kingdom of God. And yet the course of the Church is to be finished within the space of time that intervenes.” (Watchtower p. 56, 1894)

1894 “We see no reason for changing the figures – nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” (Watchtower July 15, 1894, p 266; p 1677 reprints)

1894 “We see no reason for changing the figures nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, Gods dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” (Watchtower, July 15, 1894, Reprints p. 1677)

1897 “…this measurement is 3416 inches, symbolizing 3416 years…. This calculation shows A.D. 1874 as marking the beginning of the period of trouble….” (Russell, Studies in the Scriptures: Thy Kingdom Come, Series III, p. 342, 1897 edition [1916 edition changed to read: “We find it to be 3457 inches, symbolizing 3457 years…. Thus the Pyramid witnesses that the close of 1914 will be the beginning of the time of trouble….”] note: the measurement was the length of an interior passageway discovered inside the Pyramids. It has no reference in Scripture.)

1897 “Complete destruction of the ‘powers that be’ of ‘this present evil worlds – political, financial, ecclesiastical – about the close of the Time of the Gentiles; October A.D. 1914.” (C.T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, IV, p. 622, 1897)

1897 “Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874, A.D….and the formal inauguration of his kingly office dates from April 1878, A.D.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol.4, p.621, 1897)

1897 “The distillery, the brewery, the saloon, the brothel, the pool-room, all time-killing and character-depraving business will be stopped; and their servants will be given something to do that will be beneficial to themselves and others. “Similarly, the building of war-vessels, the manufacture of munitions of war and defense will cease, and armies will be disbanded. The new Kingdom will have no need of these, but will have abundant power to execute summary justice in the punishment of evil doers… “The banking and brokerage business, and other like employment’s, very useful under present conditions, will no longer have a place; for under the new conditions the human race will be required to treat each others as members of one family, and private capital and money to loan and to be needed will be things of the past. Landlords and renting agencies will find new employment also, because the new King will not recognize as valid patents and deeds now on record. “…namely, that with present conveniences, if the whole people were put to work systematically and wisely, not more than three hours labor for each individual would be necessary.” (Studies, Vol. IV, pp. 633-635, 1897)

1902 “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914.” (The Time Is At Hand, 1902 edition, p. 99)

1903 “When Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius in 1914, the long-promised era will have made a fair start in the work of setting man free to work out his own salvation, and will insure the ultimate realization of dreams and ideals of all poets and sages in history.” (Watchtower, May 1, 1903, p. 130-131; p3184 Reprints)

1904 “According to our expectations the stress of the great time of trouble will be on us soon, somewhere between 1910 and 1912, culminating with the end of the ‘Times of the Gentiles,’ October, 1914.” (The New Creation, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 6, p. 579, 1904)

1908 “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A. D. 1914.” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)

1908 “True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)

1914 “Even if the time of our change should not come within ten years, what more should we ask? Are we not a blessed, happy people? Is not our God faithful? If anyone knows anything better, let him take it. If any of you ever find anything better, we hope you will tell us.” (Watchtower, Dec 15, 1914, p. 376.)

1914 “Studying God’s Word, we have measured the 2520 years, the seven symbolic times, from that year 606 B.C. and have found that it reached down to October, 1914, as nearly as we were able to reckon. We did not say positively that this would be the year.” (Watchtower, November 1, 1914, p. 325)

1914 “While it’s possible that Armageddon may begin next Spring, yet this purely speculation to attempt to say just when. We see, however, that there are parallels between the close of the Jewish age and this Gospel age. These parallels seem to point to the year just before us part particularly the early months.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1914, p. 5527)

1914 “There is absolutely no ground for Bible students to question that the consummation of this Gospel age is now even at the door, and that it will end as the Scriptures foretell in a great time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. We see the participants in this great crisis banding themselves together… The great crisis, the great clash, symbolically represented as a fire, that will consume the ecclesiastical heavens and the social earth, is very near.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, May 1, 1914, p. 5450)

1915 “The present great war in Europe is the beginning of the Armageddon of the Scriptures Rev 19:16-20). It will eventuate in the complete overthrow of all the systems of error which have so long oppressed the people of God and deluded the world. We believe the present war cannot last much longer until revolutions shall break out” (C.T. Russell, Pastor Russell’s Sermons, p. 676, Sometime during World War I)

1915 Here we furnish the evidence that from the creation of Adam to A.D. 1873 was six thousand years. And though the Bible contains no direct statement that the seventh thousand will be the epoch of Christ’s reign, the great Sabbath Day of restitution to the world, yet the venerable tradition is not without reasonable foundation. (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 39)

1915 If, then, the seventh thousand-year period of earth’s history be an epoch specially noted as the period of Christ’s reign, we shall, by showing that it began in A.D. 1873, be proving that we are already in it. (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 40)

1915 Firstly, that at that date [1914] the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, “Thy Kingdom come,” will begin to assume control, and that it will then shortly be “set up,” or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions. (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 77)

1915 “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915. (The Time Is At Hand, 1915 edition, p. 99)

1915 “Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of the earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 101)

1915 “As in the type that date – three and a half years after the death of Christ – marked the end of all special favor to the Jew and the beginning of favor to the Gentiles, so we recognize A.D. 1881 as marking the close of the ‘high calling,’ or invitation to the blessing peculiar to this age – to become joint-heirs with Christ and partakers of the divine nature.” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 235)

1915 So it was in this harvest also up to A.D. 1878 the time prophecies and the fact of the Lord’s presence, substantially as here presented, though less clearly, was our message. Since then the work has widened, and the view of other truths has become brighter and clearer; but the same fact and scriptures, teaching the same time and presence, stand unchallenged and incontrovertible. (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 236)

1915 The Gentile Times prove that the present governments must all be overturned about the close of A.D. 1915; and Parallelism above shows that this period corresponds exactly with the year A.D. 70, which witnessed the completion of the downfall of the Jewish polity. (The Time Is At Hand, 1915 edition, p. 242)

1915 We are already living in the seventh millennium – since October 1872. (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1915 ed.; p. 363)

1915 The Battle of Armageddon, to which this war is leading, will be a great contest between right and wrong, and will signify the complete and everlasting overthrow of the wrong, and the permanent establishment of Messiah’s righteous kingdom for the blessing of the world. … Our sympathies are broad enough to cover all engaged in the dreadful strife, as our hope is broad enough and deep enough to include all in the great blessings which our Master and his Millennial kingdom are about to bring to the world. (Watchtower Reprints, VI, April 1, 1915, p. 5659)

1915 To our understanding the general call to this joint heirship with our Redeemer as members of the New Creation of God, ceased in 1881. (The New Creation; 1899; 1915 ed.; p. 95)

1916 “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873.” (The Time Is At Hand, Foreword, p 2, 1916)

1916 We see no reason for doubting, therefore, that the Times of the Gentiles ended in October, 1914; and that a few more years will witness their utter collapse and the full establishment of God’s kingdom in the hands of Messiah.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1916, p. 5950)

1917 ‘There will be no slip-up…Abraham should enter upon the actual possession of his promised inheritance in the year 1925’ (Watchtower Oct. 15, 1917, p. 6157)

1917 The Spring of 1918 will bring upon Christendom a spasm of anguish greater even than that experienced in the Fall of 1914…. The travail that is coming is to be upon nominal Zion- “Christendom” … “Babylon”; and it will be a great and sore affliction- “A Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” (The Finished Mystery p. 62 [stated to be the “Posthumous Work of Pastor Russell” on p. 2])

1917 ‘No doubt Satan believed the Millennial Kingdom was due to be set-up in 1915…Be that as it may, there is evidence that the establishment of the Kingdom in Palestine will probably be in 1925, ten years later than we once calculated.’ (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol 7, The Finished Mystery, p. 128)

1917 Some interesting developments in connection with the setting up of the Kingdom may occur in 1920, six years after the great Time of Trouble began. It would not be strange if this were so, when we recall that after forty years wandering in the wilderness the Israelites came into possession of the land of Canaan after a further six years. As these matters are still future we can but wait to see. We anticipate that the “earthquake” will occur early in 1918, and that the “fire” will come in the fall of 1920. [The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 178, Comments on Revelation 11:13. [The 1926 ed. reads: “and that the ‘fire’ will follow in due course.”])

1917 “And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy.” (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)

1917 Pastor Russell’s mission, in large part, was to advise Christendom of its impending end, in the time of world-wide trouble. It is the Divine judgment upon the nations. … There will be no chance of escaping from destruction, through the nations. … The trouble is due to the dawning of the Day of Christ, the Millennium. It is the Day of Vengeance, which began in the world war of 1914 and which will break like a furious morning storm in 1918.” (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 404)

1917 “Until 1878 the nominal church had been in a sense God’s sanctuary or temple; but He was from then on, culminating in 1918, to remove it with a stroke or plague of erroneous doctrines and deeds Divinely permitted. The Church was the strength of Christendom, that about which its life centered, and around which its institutions were built. It was the desire of the eyes of the people, that which all Christians loved. Nevertheless, God was to make manifest the profanation which ecclesiasticism had made of the Christian Church, and to cause the church organizations to become to Him as one dead, an unclean thing, not to be touched, or mourned. And the ‘children of the church’ shall perish by the sword of war, revolution and anarchy, and by the Sword of the Spirit be made to see that they have lost their hope of life on the spirit plane — that ‘the door is shut.”‘ (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 7, 1917 p. 484.)

1917 Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by million, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of Christianity. (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 485)

1917 As the fleshly-minded apostates from Christianity, siding with the radicals and revolutionaries, will rejoice at the inheritance of desolation that will be Christendom’s after 1918, so will God do to the successful revolutionary movement; it shall be utterly desolated, “even all of it.” Not one vestige of it shall survive the ravages of world-wide all embracing anarchy, in the fall of 1920. (Rev. II: 7-13) (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 542, [The 1926 ed. reads: “in the end of the time of trouble.”])

1917 This vision of the prophet Ezekiel depicts the established theocratic Kingdom of God on earth, civil and religious, spiritual and earthly. . . . The Temple . . . is a type and symbol of “better things to come,” after the wars, revolutions and anarchy of the period from 1914 to 1925 have passed. (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 569 [The 1926 ed. reads: “of the time of trouble have passed.”])

1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)

1920 ‘…we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected’ (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, p. 88)

1920 “A simple calculation of these jubilees brings us to this important fact: Seventy jubilees of fifty years each would be a total of 3500 years. That period of time beginning 1575 before A.D. 1 of necessity would end in the fall of 1925, at which time the type ends and the great antitype must begin. What, then, should we expect to take palace? In the type there must be a full restoration; beginning of restoration of all things. The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favor, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men and Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth. (Millions now living will never die, 1920 p 89-90)

1920 ‘Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old’ (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, p. 89-90)

1920 “Based upon the argument heretofore set forth, then, that the old order of things, the old world, is ending and is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on the earth will be still on the earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises set forth in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die. 1920 p. 97)

1921 “‘The time of the end’ embraces a period from 1799 A.D., as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan’s empire and the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah. The time of the Lord’s second presence dates from 1874, as above stated. The latter period is within the first named, of course, and in the latter part of the period known as “the time of the end.” (The Harp of God, 1921 p. 236)

1921 “In Biblical symbology a time means a year of twelve months of thirty days each, or 360 days. Each day is considered for a year… Here are mentioned, then, three and a half times of 360 prophetic days each, or a total of 1260 prophetic days, equal to 1260 years. The Prophet then was shown that 1260 years would mark the beginning of the time of the end of this beastly order. Twelve-hundred sixty years from A.D. 539 brings us to 1799 — another proof that 1799 marks the beginning of the ‘time of the end.’ This also shows that it is from the date 539 A.D. that the other prophetic days of Daniel must be counted.” … “The most important thing to which all the prophecies point and for which the apostles looked forward has been the second coming of the Lord. It is described by the Prophet as a blessed time. Daniel then says: ‘Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.’ (Daniel 12:12). The watchers here, without question are those who were instructed by the Lord to watch for his return. This date, therefore, when understood, would certainly fix the time when the Lord is due at his second appearing. Applying the same rule, then, of a day for a year, 1335 days after 539 A.D. brings us to A.D. 1874, at which time, according to Biblical chronology, the Lord’s second presence is due. If this calculation is correct, from that time forward we ought to be able to find some evidences marking the Lord’s presence.”(Harp of God, 1921, pp. 229-230.)

1921 “The natural harvest was used by the Lord to illustrate his harvest of Christians. In the Jewish natural harvest it was customary to glean the field after the regular harvest was over. We should therefore expect to find a harvest period from 1878 to 1918, and thereafter for a time a gleaning work to be done, which we will indicate. The question now is, Do we find a period of harvest in the gospel age after 1874 which serves as a fulfillment of the prophecy of the Lord?” (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 7 1921, p. 236.)

1921 “The same year, 1881, is prophetically marked as the time for the final withdrawal of favor from the churches, a favor which had begun to be withdrawn in 1878 — the year in which the clergy were cast off as representatives of the Divine Word, and when Pastor Russell began his work by the publication of 50,000 copies of Object and Manner of the Lord’s Return. In 1878 the stewardship of the things of God, the teaching of Bible truths, was taken from the clergy, unfaithful to their age long stewardship, and given to Pastor Russell. In the interim, until 1881, the new steward was setting the things in order, getting the truths of the Bible in logical and Scriptural form for presentation, until the last great item of the Hebrew tabernacle types, was ready. Then, in 1881, he became God’s watchman for all Christendom, and began his gigantic work of Witness.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, pp. 386-387 1921)

1921 “The Scriptures disclose a complete parallel concerning the Jewish and gospel ages. The parallel exists with reference to time as well as events. The Jewish age ended with a harvest, which harvest began with the ascension of our Lord in the year A.D. 33. By the term ‘harvest’ here used is meant the gathering of the remnant of the Jews to Christ. Jesus’ statement plainly is that the gospel age will end with a harvest, during which time he would be present, directing the work of that harvest. In the earth three and a half years from the time of his consecration and baptism, Jesus was preparing the Jews for the harvest of that age. We should expect to find a parallel of this reference to the harvest of the gospel age, and we do find it. Counting three and a half years from 1874, the time of his presence, brings us to 1878. During the presence of the Lord from 1874 to 1878 he was making preparation for the harvest of the gospel age. The Jewish harvest covered a period of forty years, ending in A.D. 73. We should expect, then, the general harvest of the gospel age to end in 1918.” (Harp of God, 1921, pp. 235-236, 1921)

1922 “The period must end in 1925. The type ending, the antitype must begin; and therefore 1925 is definitely fixed in the scriptures. every thinking person can see that a great climax is at hand. The Scriptures clearly indicate that the climax is the fall of Satan’s empire and the full establishment of the Messianic kingdom. This climax being reached by 1925, and that marking the beginning of the fulfillment of the long promised blessings of life to the people, millions now living on earth will be living then and those who obey the righteous laws of the new arrangement will live forever. Therefore it can be confidently said at this time that millions now living will never die.” (Golden Age, Jan. 4, 1922, p. 217)

1922 “The indisputable facts, therefore, show that the “time of the end” began in 1799; that the Lord’s second presence began in 1874.” (The Watchtower, March 1, 1922)

1922 “We have no doubt whatever in regard to the chronology relating to the dates of 1874, 1914, 1918, and 1925. It was on this line of reckoning that the dates 1874, 1914, and 1918 were located; and the Lord has placed the stamp of his seal upon 1914 and 1918 beyond any possibility of erasure. What further evidence do we need? Using this same measuring line…. it is an easy matter to locate 1925, probably in the fall, for the beginning of the antitypical jubilee. There can be no more question about 1925 than there was about 1914.” (Watchtower, p. 150, May 15, 1922)

1922 “It is on the basis of such and so many correspondencies — in accordance with the soundest laws known to science- that we affirm that, Scripturally, scientifically, and historically, present-truth chronology is correct beyond a doubt. Its reliability has been abundantly confirmed by the dates and events of 1874, 1914, and 1918. Present-truth chronology is a secure basis on which the consecrated child of God may endeavor to search out things to come.” (Watchtower, June 15 1922)

1922 “This chronology is not of man, but of God. Being of divine origin and divinely corroborated, present-truth chronology stands in a class by itself, absolutely and unqualifiedly correct….” (Watchtower, July 15, 1922 p. 217)

1922 ‘1914 ended the Gentile Times…The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures…by then the great crisis will be reached and probably passed’ (Watchtower Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262)

1923 ‘1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures…the Christian has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had (so far as the Scriptures reveal) upon which to base his faith in the coming deluge’ (Watchtower April 1, 1923, p. 106)

1923 “Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge.” (Watchtower, p. 106, March 1, 1923)

1924 “No doubt many boys and girls who read this book will live to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, and those other men of old come forth in the glory of their better resurrection, of perfect in mind and body. It will not take long for Christ to appoint them to their post of honor and authority as his earthly representatives. The world and all the present conveniences will seen strange to them at first, but they will soon become accustomed to the new methods. They may have some amusing experiences at first; for they never saw telephones, radios, automobiles, electric lights, aeroplanes, steam engines, and many other things so familiar to us. (The Way To Paradise, 1924, p. 226)

1924 “Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1924, p5)

1924 “The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914. (Watchtower 1924, p. 211)

1924 “We cannot be blamed for presenting from the Scriptures such evidence as they afford which leads us to believe that a certain event will take place at a given time. Some times the Lord has let His people looking for the right thing at the wrong time, and more frequently they have looked for the wrong things at the right time. But all the enemies of the cause of present truth in the earth are fervently hoping that the Bible students will not be so successful in 1925 in looking for the right thing at the right time as they were in 1914. if they are, however, it will be the other fellow that will have to do the explaining, and not we.” (The Golden Age, Feb. 13, 1924, p. 314)

1925 “It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work.” (Watchtower, Sept. 1925, p. 262)

1925 “The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything.” (Watchtower 1925, p. 56)

1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3)

1926 “Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything.” (Watchtower 1926 p. 232.)

1927 The Scriptural proof is that the period of his presence and the day of God’s preparation is a period from 1874 A.D. forward. The second coming of the Lord, therefore, began in 1874; and that date and the years 1914 and 1918 are specially marked dates with reference to his coming. (Creation; 1927; p. 289 early editions, p310 later editions)

1927 Prophecy can not be understood until it has been fulfilled or is in the course of fulfillment. From 1874 to 1914 the prophecy concerning the Lord’s coming was being fulfilled and could be understood, and was understood, by those who were faithful to the Lord and who were watching the development of events, but not by others. (Creation; 1927; p. 290)

1927 “Napoleon began this Egyptian campaign in 1798, finished it, and then returned to France on October 1, 1799. The campaign is briefly , yet graphically described in the prophecy, verses 40-44; and its being completed in 1799 marks, according to the prophet’s own words, the beginning of “the time of the end.” (Creation; 1927; p. 293)

1927 “Twelve hundred and sixty years from 539 A.D. brings us to 1799, which is another proof that 1799 definitely marks the beginning of “the time of the end.” this also shows that it is from the date 539 A.D. that the other prophetic days of Daniel must be counted.” (Creation; 1927, p. 294)

1927 Applying the same rule then, of a day for a year, 1335 days after 539 A.D. brings us to 1874 A.D. at which time, according to Biblical chronology, the Lord’s second presence was due. (Creation; 1927; p. 298)

1928 “The time of the Lord’s second presence dates from 1874, as above stated.” (The Harp of God p. 236, 1928 edition!)

1929 “Both the grantor and the grantee are fully persuaded from the Bible testimony which is the word of Jehovah God and from extraneous evidence that God’s Kingdom is now in the course of establishment and that it will result beneficially for the peoples of earth; that the governing power and authority will be invisible to men but that the kingdom of God will have visible representatives on the earth who will have charge of the affairs of the nations under supervision of the invisible ruler, Christ. That among those who will be thus the faithful representatives and visible governors of the world will be David, who was once King over Israel; and Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jepthai, and Joseph, formerly ruler of Egypt, and Samuel the prophet and other faithful men named with approval in the Bible at Hebrews 11th. chapter.” (Original legal deed to Beth Sarim, Rutherford, 1929)

1929 ‘If these prophesies have not been fulfilled, and if all possibility of fulfilment is past, then these prophets are proven false.’ (Prophecy, 1929, p 22)

1929 “The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D.” (Prophecy, 1929, p. 65)

1929 Many of such had been looking for the Lord to come and take them to heaven, and had particularly fixed the year 1914 as when this should be done. The year 1914 was a marked date; but these had merely contemplated something to happen which did not come to pass. (Prophecy; 1929; 1,589,000 ed.; p. 89)

1930 “But how will you identify King David or any of the other representatives from God?’ Rutherford was asked. ‘I thought all that out before I wrote the deed,’ the judge replied with a twinkle in his gray eyes. ‘I realized the possibility of some old codger turning up bright and early some morning and declaring he was David. The men whom I have designated to test the identity of these men are officers of my societies and have consecrated themselves to the Lord, they will be divinely authorized to know impostors from the real princes.”‘ (The San Diego Sun, Saturday, March 15, 1930)

1930 Judge Joseph Frederick Rutherford 60, lives in a ten room Spanish mansion, No 4440 Braeburn Rd, San Diego, Calif. Last week he deeded No 4440 Braeburn Road, and adjacent two car garage and a pair of automobiles to King David, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, Samuel and sundry other mighties of ancient Palestine. Positive is he that they are shortly to reappear on earth, Said he: ‘I have purposely landscaped the place with palm and olive trees so that these princes of the universe will feel at home.. (Time Magazine, March 31, 1930)

1930 “The Watchtower, and its companion publications of the society, for forty years emphasized that fact that 1914 would witness the establishment of God’s kingdom and the complete glorification of the church. During that period of forty years God’s people on earth were carrying on a witness work, which work was foreshadowed by Elijah and John the Baptist. all of the lords people looked forward to 1914 with joyful expectation. when that time came and passed there was much disappointment, chagrin and mourning, and the lords people were greatly in reproach. they were ridiculed by the clergy and their allies in particular, and pointed to with scorn, because they had said so much about 1914, and what would come to pass, and their prophecies had not been fulfilled. (Light, Book 1, 1930, p. 194)

1930 “The great climax is at hand. The kings of earth now set themselves against his anointed Stone.” (J.F. Rutherford, Light, II, 1930 p. 327)

1931 “God’s faithful people on earth emphasized the importance of the dates 1914 and 1918 and 1925. They had much to say about these dates and what would come to pass, but all they predicted did not come to pass.” (Vindication, vol. 1, 1931, p. 146)

1931 “God’s kingdom has begun to operate. His day of vengeance is here and Armageddon is at hand and certain to fall upon Christendom and that within an early date. God’s judgment is upon Christendom and must shortly be executed.” (J. F. Rutherford, Vindication, Vol. I, p. 147, 1931)

1931 “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1914, 1918 and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time. Later the faithful learned that these dates were definitely fixed in the Scriptures; and they also learned to quit fixing dates for the future and predicting what would come to pass on a certain date, but to rely (and they do rely) upon the Word of God as to the events that must come to pass. (J. F. Rutherford, Vindication, 1931, p. 338-339)

1931 A gaunt unshaven tramp has been the lone claimant for the $75,000 Southern Californian mansion of David, king of Israel, since it was deeded to the Biblical character a year ago. This was revealed today by Judge James Rutherford, temporary owner of the luxuriantly furnished Spanish type mansion at 440 Braeburn Rd in the exclusive Kensington Heights district. In one of the oddest deeds ever recorded, Rutherford, president of the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, has placed in trust the magnificent estate for ancient kings and prophets of Israel The slayer of Goliath and his companions may occupy the 10 room modern home with it’s landscaped gardens and patio as soon as their credentials are approved by Rutherford and officials of his societies, divinely authorised to recognise them. One morning as I was going from the house to the garage, a queer looking creature approached me, tipped his dirty hat and cried ‘Howdy Judge, I’m David’ ‘Go and tell that to the winds’, I told him and he left without arguing the matter. I could see at a glance that he was not David. He didn’t look like I knew David would look.’ Asked how he expected David and his distinguished brethren to look, Rutherford, without hesitation, opened his huge Bible and pointed to a verse which said that the Princes of the Universe would be risen from the dead ‘as perfect men’. ‘I interpret that to mean’, the tall dignified Judge declared, ‘that David, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthae, Joseph and Samuel will be sent here to wrench the world from Satan’s grasp, clothed in modern garb as we are, and able, with little effort, to speak our tongue.’ Rutherford pictured the arrival of the biblical delegation perhaps in frock coats, high hats, canes and spats. At Beth Sarim (House of Princes) as Rutherford has named his mansion, David will find the most modern appliances that science has devised. When the distinguished guests walk up the circular stairway to the second floor, they will find a large office with red leather chairs and shiny flat topped desk with inverted lighting. Even French telephones await the touch of the princes. Opening a wide door, the native sons of Palestine will behold a large bathroom, resplendent in shiny black tile with needle shower and an amply filled medicine chest. What a thrill giant shouldered Samson, who wrecked a palace with his bare fists might find in the gold safety razor and strop! Rutherford built the second floor bedroom, which he temporarily occupies, large in order to accommodate several of the expected owners. With wide pane windows that look out on the purple Cuyamacas to the East and California’s first mission to the north, the bedroom is almost severe in it’s furnishings. The rulers of the universe will have simple tastes, the judge apparently believes, although the austere end tables sported gaily covered fiction magazines. Rutherford has imported some Koniach, Wasser from Cologne, Germany to freshen the princely faces after shaving. A black skull cap hangs over one of the bedposts. The coming of David and his companions will be the greatest news story of the ages, Rutherford predicted. ‘I am not a publicity seeker,’ Rutherford said with a twinkle in his kindly brown eyes, ‘but I feel that the world should know about their arrival. It will be a great news story.’ Word of his ‘House of king David’ has reached into every corner of the world, the judge stated. ‘Everywhere I went people asked me about this place,’ Rutherford said. ‘In Chicago a millionaire manufacturer offered to build another house for David, but I declined the offer. ‘Literally thousands have driven here to see this place,’ Rutherford continued. ‘Many have come to the door and my secretary has shown them about the place.’ The patio with it’s silver pool and olive and palm trees is gay with flowers. Down toward the canyon, paths have been landscaped to allow David and his friends to walk in meditation. Many of the fruits and trees, native to their Palestine, will greet the rulers when they arrive. In the two car garage next door stands a new, yellow 16 cylinder coupe which will be turned over to the rulers along with all the personal property on the place. ‘Everything will be theirs, the house, the land, the furnishings and even the clothes if they need them,’ Judge Rutherford said. ‘What will I do? Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll manage somehow.’ the judge smiled. He had another ‘Watch Tower’ residence on Staten Island and practically an entire floor at Bethel. The seven famous men will not have long to rest at their San Deigo estate because they soon will lead the forces of the Lord to vanquish the minions of Satan at the battle of Armageddon, Rutherford believed. ‘But they will win out. The Lord will punish the devil and will show that the preachers and the politicians have been giving the people false counsel,’ Rutherford said confidently. Rutherford will sail May 9 for Europe where he will speak before conventions in Berlin Paris and London. (San Deigo Sun Newspaper report, Jan. 9, 1931)

1935 “…the scriptural evidence and the physical facts strongly indicate that such witness work is now almost done; and when it is done the universal war will begin. Universal war is absolutely certain to come and that soon, and no power can stop it. …during the few remaining months until the breaking of that universal cataclysm the powers that rule the nations of the earth will continue to make treaties and tell the people that by such means they will keep that world peace and bring about prosperity. (Universal War Near, 1935, p. 3, 26-27)

1938 “…mark the words of Jesus, which definitely seem to discourage the bearing of children immediately before or during Armageddon….It would therefore appear that there is no reasonable or scriptural injunction to bring children into the world immediately before Armageddon, where we now are.” (Watchtower, Nov. 1, 1938, p. 324)

1938 “They had preached that in an early time God would overthrow “Christendom”. Many had emphasized the year 1925 as the date, and then when that date did not materialize the date was moved up to 1932. Again, 1932 came and ”Christendom” was not destroyed, and now it was discovered that “Christendom” would be spared for a while longer for the sake of the Jonadab class, and this made the proud “elective elder” crowd very mad.” (Watchtower Feb. 15, 1938 p. 54)

1938 “Would it be scripturally proper for them to marry and begin to rear children? No, is the answer, which is supported by the scriptures….I will be far better to be unhampered and without burdens, that they may do the Lords will now, as the Lord commands, and also be without hindrance during Armageddon. … Those… who now contemplate marriage, it would seem, would do better if they wait a few years, until the fiery storm of Armageddon is gone.” (Face the Facts, 1938, p. 46, 47, 50)

1938 As far back as 1880 The Watchtower pointed to A.D. 1914 as the date marking the end of the world, at which time great trouble would come upon the nations; but at that time it was not seen by God’s people on earth that the trouble would be the battle of Jehovah against Satan’s organization. For many years it was believed by them, and so stated in The Watchtower, that “the time of trouble” would be a terrific clash between the various elements of the earth, such as capital and labor. Not until 1925 was “the time of trouble” Scripturally understood.” (Watchtower, p. 35, Feb 1, 1938)

1939 “The abundance of Scriptural evidence, together with the physical facts that have come to sass showing the fulfillment of prophecy, conclusively proves that the time for the battle of the great day of God Almighty is very near and that in that battle all of God’s enemies shall be destroyed and the earth cleared of wickedness.” … “Likewise today, all the nations and peoples of earth are face to face with the greatest emergency. They are being warned as God commands, that the disaster of Armageddon is just ahead.” (J. F. Rutherford, Salvation, 1939, p. 310, 361)

1939 At San Deigo, California, there is a small piece of land, on which, in the year 1929 there was built a house, which is called and known as Beth Sarim. The Hebrew words Beth Sarim mean ‘House of the Princes’; and the purpose of acquiring that property and building the house was that there are those on earth today who fully believe in God and Christ Jesus and in His Kingdom, and who believe that the faithful men of old will soon be resurrected by the Lord, be back on earth, and take charge of the visible affairs of earth. The title to Beth Sarim is vested in the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in trust, to be used by the president of the Society and his assistants for the present, and thereafter to be forever at the disposal of the aforementioned princes on the earth…. It stands there as a testimony to Jehovah’s name; and when the princes do return, and some of them occupy the property, such will be a confirmation of the faith and hope that induced the building of Beth Sarim. (Salvation, 1939, p. 311)

1940 “The year 1940 is certain to be the most important year yet because Armageddon is very near. It behooves all who love righteousness to put forth every effort to advertise The Theocracy while the privileges are still open.” (Informant, April, 1940, p. 1)

1940 The Kingdom is here, the King is enthroned. Armageddon is just ahead. The glorious reign of Christ that shall bring blessings to the world will immediately follow. Therefore the great climax has been reached. Tribulation has fallen upon those who stand by the Lord. (The Messenger, Sept. 1940, p. 6)

1940 The prophecies of Almighty God, the fulfillment of which now clearly appears from the physical facts, show that the end of religion has come and with its end the complete downfall of Satan’s entire organization.” (Religion, J. F. Rutherford, p. 336, 1940)

1940 The witness work for The Theocracy appears to be about done in most of the countries of “Christendom. … Now the totalitarian rule has suppressed the Theocratic message, and it should be expected that when they quit fighting amongst themselves all the totalitarian rulers will turn their attention to the complete suppression of everything pertaining to the Theocratic Government. What, then, does it mean that the Theocratic Government is now suppressed in many nations? It means that the hour is rapidly approaching when the “sign” of Armageddon will be clearly revealed and all who are on the side of Jehovah will see and appreciate it..” (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1940, p. 265. [White, p. 335 quotes from the 1942 Yearbook (p. 29), completed by Rutherford just before his death: “The record as herewith published would, on the face of it, show that the Theocratic witness work on earth is about done.”])

1941 “Armageddon is surely near, and during that time the Lord will clean off the earth everything that offends and is disagreeable. … From now on we shall have our heart devotion fixed on The Theocracy, knowing that soon we shall journey forever together in the earth. Our hope is that within a few years our marriage may be consummated and, by the Lord’s grace, we shall have sweet children that will be an honor to the Lord. We can well defer our marriage until lasting peace comes to the earth.” (J. F. Rutherford, Children, 1941, p.366)

1941 “Receiving the gift, [Rutherford’s book, Children] the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon.” (Watchtower Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288)

1942 “Now, with Armageddon immediately before us, it is a matter of life or destruction. Those who would be of the Lords other sheep that shall compose the great multitude of Armageddon survivors and live joyfully on earth forever must find the answer to a very personal question, and very important.” (Watchtower, April 1, 1942, p. 139)

1942 “The New World Is At The Doors…The time is short. Those who do not inform themselves and who do not now choose the new world which Higher Powers shall establish will never live to enter into blessings and glories.” (The New World, 1942, p. 10)

1942 “The Lord Jesus has now come to the temple for judgment, and the remnant of the members of ‘his body’ yet on earth he has gathered into the temple condition of perfect unity with himself (Malachi 3:1-3), and hence those faithful men of old may be expected back from the dead any day now. The Scriptures give good reason to believe that it shall be shortly before Armageddon breaks. In this expectation the house at San Diego, California, which house has been much publicized with malicious intent by the religious enemy, was built, in 1930, and named ‘Beth Sarim,’ meaning ‘House of Princes.’ It is now held in trust for the occupancy of those princes on their return. The most recent facts show that the religionists of this doomed world are gnashing their teeth because of the testimony which that ‘House of Princes’ hears to the new world. To those religionists and their allies the return of those faithful men of old to rule with judgment over the people shall not bring any pleasure. But to the people whom the angels sang about, ‘men of good will,’ it shall be an occasion for unbounded jubilation, and they shall rally to the side of those princely representatives of the kingdom of heaven.” (The New World, pp. 104-105, 1942)

1942 Such activity in publishing God’s kingdom and clearing his name of the Devil’s reproaches by religion was mistakenly given a place secondary to the making of the bride of Christ class ready for the marriage with him in heaven, in 1914 as some thought. (The New World; 1942; 2,000,000 ed.; p. 273-274)

1942 Before the Lord’s Messenger came to the temple and began interpreting God’s will and teaching, the Job class had been darkening counsel by words without knowledge, it not then being due time for the disclosure of such knowledge. Some of the consecrated ones thought they must be taken home to heaven at a time certain in order to help God run the universe. (The New World; 1942; 2,000,000 ed.; p. 308)

1942 “The faithful acts of the men who were known as fathers in Israel are recounted in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Genesis 12:1-3; 28:13,14; Acts 7:2-5….These men will be the visible representatives of the Theocracy, which is the government created and built up by the almighty God as his capital organization and which shall rule the world. Further proof that these princes will shortly take office upon earth as perfect men is found in the prophecy of Daniel. But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:13) Daniel’s lot is that of these princes. Proof is now submitted that we are now living at the end of the days, and we may expect to see Daniel and the other mentioned princes any day now!” (Consolation, April 27, 1942, p. 13, brackets in the original)

1943 “Man cannot by airplane or rockets or other means get above the air envelope which is about our earthly globe…”(The Truth Shall Make you Free, p. 285, 1943 edition)

1943 “The final war will come as a most sudden and complete surprise…Nevertheless, the appearing of the ‘desolating abomination in the holy place’ is an unerring proof that the unknown day and hour of the beginning of the final war is dangerously near.” (The Truth Shall Make You Free, 1943, p. 341)

1944 [The establishment of the United Nations was seen] “as one of the most positive evidences that ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ and that the end of the world arrangement is now near. Jesus foretold the setting up of that anti-Christ organization.” (The Kingdom Is at Hand, 1944, p. 342)

1946 “the disaster of Armageddon, greater than that which befell Sodom and Gomorrah, is at the door.” (Let God Be True, 1946, p. 194)

1951 “Under the guidance of God’s spirit of freedom the magazine today known as the Watchtower but known back there as Zion’s Watch Tower, began to be published in July, 1879. In the first year of its publication it pointed to the date 1914 as marked in the Bible.” (What Has Religion Done For Mankind?; 1951; p. 308)

1953 “After almost six thousand years of human sorrow, suffering and death, at last permanent relief is near at hand and will be realized within this generation.” (New Heavens And A New Earth; 1953; p. 7)

1955 “in the light of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy it is becoming clear that the war of Armageddon is nearing its breaking-out point.” (You may survive Armageddon into God’s new world, 1955, p 331)

1955 “The very fact that, as part of Jehovah’s secret, no one today is able to find out how much time Adam and later Eve lived during the closing days of the sixth creative period, so no one can now determine when six thousand years of Jehovah’s present rest day come to an end. Obviously, whatever amount of Adam’s 930 years was lived before the beginning of that seventh-day rest of Jehovah, that unknown amount would have to be added to the 1976 date.” (Watchtower, February 1, 1955, p. 95)

1961 Like Elijah of old, they became quite disconsolate, uncertain of life, thinking the end of existence and work was at hand. This was especially the case since the remnant was part of the virgin class espoused to Christ as his Bride and she failed to realize her hopes of being glorified to heavenly life with him both in 1914 and now in 1918. (Let Your Name Be Sanctified; 1961; p. 313)

1963 “Of what significance is this today? It means that by the fall of 1963 mankind has dwelt upon this earth 5,988 years. Does this mean, then, that by 1963 we had progressed 5,988 years into the ‘day’ on which Jehovah ‘has been resting from all his work’? (Gen. 2:3) No, for the creation of Adam does not correspond with the beginning of Jehovah’s rest day. Following Adam’s creation, and still within the sixth creative day, Jehovah appears to have been forming further animal and bird creations. Also, he had Adam name the animals, which would take some time, and he proceeded to create Eve. (Gen. 2:18-22; see also NW, 1953 Ed., footnote on Vs. 19) Whatever time elapsed between Adam’s creation and the end of the ‘sixth day’ must be subtracted from the 5,988 years in order to give the actual length of time from the beginning of the ‘seventh day’ until now. It does no good to use Bible chronology for speculating on dates that are still future in the stream of time.” (All Scripture is inspired of God and Beneficial, 1963, page 286)

1966 “According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E Six thousand years of man’s existence on earth will soon be up, yea within this generation. The rein of Christ…to run parallel with the 7th millennium …” (Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966, p. 29-30)

1966 “Discussion of 1975 overshadowed about everything else. ‘The new book compels us to realise that Armageddon is, in fact, very close indeed,’ said a conventioneer.” (Watchtower 15/10/1966, p 629)

1966 “In this twentieth century an independent study has been carried on that does not blindly follow some traditional chronological calculations of Christendom, and the published timetable resulting from this independent study gives the date of man’s creation as 4026 B.C.E. So six thousand years of man’s existence on earth will soon be up, yes, within this generation.” (Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p29, 1966 [Note: 4026 BC to 1975AD = 6000 years])

1967 “Just think, 1975 marks the end of 6,000 years of human experience…..Will it be the time when God executes the wicked?….It very well could be, but we will have to wait to see.’ (Watchtower, 1/5/1967, p 262)

1968 “The immediate future is certain to be filled with climatic events, for this old system is nearing its complete end. Within a few years at most the final parts of Bible prophecy relative to these last days will undergo fulfilment resulting in the liberation of surviving mankind into Christ’s glorious 1000 year reign!” (Watchtower, 1/5/1968)

1968 Eight years from the Autumn of 1967 would bring us to the Autumn of 1975, fully 6,000 years into God’s seventh day, his rest day. (Watchtower May 1, 1968 p. 271)

1968 “Why Are You Looking Forward To 1975?” … “What about all this talk concerning the year 1975? Lively discussions, some based on speculation, have burst into flame during recent months among serious students of the Bible. Their interest has been kindled by the belief that 1975 will mark the end of 6,000 years of human history since Adam’s creation. The nearness of such an important date indeed fires the imagination and presents unlimited possibilities for discussion.” (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494)

1968 “‘Adam Created At Close Of ‘Sixth Day’ Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then ? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the Sabbath-like thousand-year reign of Christ….It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years.’ (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p499)

1968 “I know enough of what is going on to assure you that, in fifteen years from today, this world is going to be too dangerous to live in.” (Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p 9, 1968 edition, Quoting USA Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1960, [1981 edition deleted “in fifteen years from today” ie. in 1975])

1968 “More recently, the book entitled “Famine-1975!” [by W. & P. Paddock, 1967, pp. 52,55,61.] said concerning today’s food shortages: “Hunger is rampant throughout country after country, continent after continent around the undeveloped belt of the tropics and subtropics. Today’s crisis can move in only one direction -toward catastrophe. Today hungry nations; tomorrow starving nations.” … “By 1975 civil disorder, anarchy, military dictatorships, runaway inflation, transportation breakdowns and chaotic unrest will be the order of the day in many of the hungry nations.” (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p 88-89, 1968)

1968 “1914 a marked year. Years in advance Bible Scholars realized that 1914 was to be a year of great significance. They expected great changes to take place, and the facts confirm that 1914 was, indeed, a marked year.” (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life; 1968; 40,000,000 ed.; p. 91)

1968 “The Bible speaks of the time in which we are living as the “last days” or the “time of the end.” (2 Timothy 3: 1; Daniel 11: 40) The facts show that this is a limited period that has a definite beginning and a definite end. It began in 1914 when Jesus Christ was enthroned as king in the heavens. It will end when God destroys this present wicked system of things. … How soon will that be? God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, gives the answer. After drawing attention to the many things that mark the period from 1914 onward as the “time of the end,” Jesus said: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Matthew 24:34) Which generation did he mean? Jesus had just referred to persons who would “see all these things.” “These things” are the events that have taken place since 1914 and those yet to occur down to the end of this wicked system. (Matthew 24:33) Persons born even as much as fifty years ago could not see “all these things.” They came on the scene after the foretold events were already under way. But there are people still living who were alive in 1914 and saw what was happening then and who were old enough that they still remember those events. This generation is getting up in years now. A great number of them have already passed away in death. Yet Jesus very pointedly said: ‘This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.’ Some of them will still be alive to see the end of this wicked system. This means that only a short time is left before the end comes!” (Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p. 94, 1968)

1968 “Just think, brothers, there are only about ninety months left before 6,000 years of mans existence on earth is completed… The majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out, and there are no resurrection hopes for those who are destroyed then. So, now more than ever, it is vital not to ignore that spirit of wanting to do more.” (Kingdom Ministry, March 1968, p. 4 [note: 1968 + 90 months = 1975])

1968 “During world war 1, God’s people expected it to lead directly into Armageddon, but Jehovah prevented such a climax at that time. We didn’t succumb to such an expectation during world war II. (Kingdom Ministry, Jan. 1968, p. 5)

1968 “But what about today? Today we have the evidence required, all of it. And it is overwhelming! All the many, many parts of the great sign of the last days are here, together with verifying Bible chronology.” (Awake!, Oct. 8, 1968, p. 23)

1968 “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an “end” to the world, even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God’s truths and the evidence that He was using and guiding them.” (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968)

1969 “in view of the short time left, a decision to pursue a career in this system of things is not only unwise but extremely dangerous….Many young brothers and sisters were offered scholarship or employment that promised fine pay. However, they turned them down and put spiritual interests first.” (Kingdom Ministry, June 1969, p. 3)

1969 “There is only a short time left before Jehovah will destroy this wicked system of things.” (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1969)

1969 More recently earnest researchers of the Holy Bible have made a recheck of its chronology. According to their calculations the six millenniums of mankind’s life on earth would end in the mid-seventies. Thus the seventh millennium from mans creation by Jehovah god would begin within less than ten years. Apart from the global change that present-day world condition indicate is fast getting near, the arrival of the seventh millennium of mans existence on earth suggests a gladsome change for war-stricken humankind. …In order for the Lord Jesus Christ to be Lord even of the Sabbath day, his thousand-year reign would have to be the seventh in a series of thousand-year periods or millenniums. (Matt 12:8, AV) Thus it would be a sabbatic reign. Since early in the existence of mankind Satan the Devil has been on the loose, making the human family to toil in hard bondage, causing the earth to be filled with violence before the global flood of Noahs day and inducing the same old earth to be filled with even greater violence today. Soon now six millenniums of his wicked exploiting of mankind as his slaves will end, within the lifetime of the generation that has witnessed world events since the close of the gentile times in 1914 till now, according to the prophetic words of Jesus in Matthew 24:34. Would not, then, the end of six millenniums of mankind’s laborious enslavement under Satan the Devil be the fitting time for Jehovah God to usher in a Sabbath millennium for all his human creatures? Yes, indeed! And his King Jesus Christ will be Lord of that Sabbath.” (Watchtower, Nov. 15, 1969, p. 622, 623)

1971 “Shortly, within our twentieth century, the “battle in the day of Jehovah” will begin against the modern antitype of Jerusalem, Christendom.” (The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah; 1971; 2nd ed.; p. 216)

1972 “Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. What does it show?” (Watchtower April 1, 1972, p. 197)

1972 “Does this admission of making mistakes stamp them [Watchtower] as false prophets? Not at all, for false prophets do not admit to making mistakes.” (Watchtower, Nov. 1, 1972, p. 644)

1972 “If it is his purpose to have this beautification of the whole earth accomplished by the end of his seventh creative day – Scripturally a period of seven thousand years, then the time is near at hand for the ruining of the earth by exploiters to be stopped by theocratic power and the blessed transformation to a delightsome garden to begin. Already, nearly six thousand years of man’s existence from the close of the sixth creative day have run their dreary course. We must be approaching the threshold of that thousand-year-long reign of Jesus Christ, which must be accompanied by Paradise according to what Jesus promised the sympathetic evildoer on the stake there at Mount Calvary.” (Paradise Restored to Mankind – By Theocracy, 1972; p. 18)

1974 “this remnant of anointed ones have identified themselves on the pages of history since 1914 C.E. Before this year members of this anointed remnant had been earnestly studying God’s Word apart from Christendom. They put the Holy Bible ahead of man-made religious traditions. As early as 1876 they were publishing that the Gentile Times of 2,520 years would terminate in the year 1914. Events that have taken place from that year onward prove they were not wrong.” (God’s “Eternal Purpose” Now Triumphing For Man’s Good; 1974; p. 178-179)

1974 “Yes, the end of this system is so very near! Is that not reason to increase our activity?…Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” (Kingdom Ministry, May 1974, p. 3)

1974 ‘It also tells us that this millennium must be preceded immediately by the most destructive war in all human history. We can now see the political rulers… being gathered… for that War of all wars….’ (Watchtower, July 1, 1974, p 397)

1975 “The year 1925 came and went. Jesus’ anointed followers were still on earth as a class. The faithful men of old time – Abraham, David and others – had not been resurrected to become princes in the earth. (Ps. 45:16) So, as Anna MacDonald recalls: ‘1925 was a sad year for many brothers. Some of them were stumbled; their hopes were dashed…Instead of it’s being considered a ‘probability,’ they read into it that it was a ‘certainty.’ and some prepared for their loved ones with expectations of their resurrection.” (Yearbook, 1975, p. 146)

1975 In time, a direct contribution was made for the purpose of constructing a house in San Deigo for brother Rutherfords use.. Concerning this property the 1939 book Salvation stated: ‘At San Diego, California, there is a small piece of land, on which, in the year 1929, there was built a house, which is called and known as Beth Sarim. (Yearbook, 1975, p. 194)

1975 “Does this mean, then, that mankind has now reached 6,000 years into the 7,000 year period that God blessed and made sacred as his rest day? … No, It does not mean that.” (Watchtower 1/10/1975 p. 579)

1975 However, suddenly, there came an end to World War 1. It did not lead on, as Bible students expected, into world revolution and anarchy or the battle of Armageddon. And the sincere worshippers of Jehovah who were in the new covenant with him through his Mediator Jesus Christ, found themselves still in the flesh on the earth. (Man’s Salvation Out Of World Distress At Hand; 1975; p. 98)

1975 Furthermore, the remnant of spiritual Israel had for decades, yes, since 1876, been looking forward to the ending of the Times of the Gentiles in the autumn of 1914. They were expecting God’s Messianic Kingdom to be fully established in the heavens by then and also for the remnant of spiritual Israel to be glorified with Jesus Christ in the heavenly kingdom at that time. All understanding of the Holy Scriptures was slanted in that direction or adjusted to that idea. And when the year 1914 ended amid the flames of World War 1 and the remnant of spiritual Israel found themselves still here on the earth, then they were inclined to think that they would be glorified in the year 1918, three and a half years after the end of the Gentile Times. (Man’s Salvation Out Of World Distress At Hand; 1975; p. 136)

1975 this marked the beginning of a period of education in the written Word of God from the standpoint that Bible prophecy is best understood after it has been fulfilled. So there needed to be a correction of our previous views, and the surviving remnant of spiritual Israel needed to be readjusted to the postwar realities and opportunities. … This revised program of Bible education had a profound effect on the remnant. It oriented their work in the right direction. (Man’s Salvation Out Of World Distress At Hand; 1975; p. 191)

1976 “It may be that some who have been serving God have planned their lives according to a mistaken view of just what was to happen on a certain date or in a certain year. They may have, for this reason, put off or neglected things that they otherwise would have cared for. But they have missed the point of the Bibles warnings concerning the end of this system of things, thinking that Bible chronology reveals the specific date.” (Watchtower, July 15, 1976, p. 440)

1977 Truly the year 1926 deserved to be marked as the happy climax of the close of the 1,335 days. Those of Daniel’s “people” who kept in expectation and reached the end of the 1,335 days were launched off into a happiness that has not diminished, but that, despite mounting persecution and World War II (1939-1945) and subsequent world troubles, has persisted and increased. (Our Incoming World Government-God’s Kingdom, p146-147, 1977)

1979 Because of this hope, the “faithful and discreet slave” has alerted all of God’s people to the sign of the times indicating the nearness of God’s Kingdom rule. In this regard, however, it must be observed that this “faithful and discreet slave” was never inspired, never perfect. Those writings by certain members of the “slave” class that came to form the Christian part of God’s Word were inspired and infallible, but that is not true of other writings since. Things published were not perfect in the days of Charles Taze Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; nor were they perfect in the days of J.F. Rutherford, the succeeding president. The increasing light on God’s Word as well as the facts of history have repeatedly required that adjustments of one kind or another be made down to the very present time. But let us never forget that the motives of this “slave” were always pure, unselfish; at all times it has been well-meaning. (The Watchtower; March 1, 1979; p. 24)

1979 Partly because of eagerness to be alive when Jesus Christ reveals himself in glory, there have been believers throughout the centuries who began looking for a particular period or a year for the windup of the ungodly system of things. this has happened right down to these “last days.” Since certain expectations were not realized, many stumbled and returned to the ways of the world. In fulfillment of Peter’s words, even today we hear the voice of ridiculers. (2 Peter 3:3,4) (Choosing The Best Way Of Life; 1979; p. 169)

1980 “With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, and its comments as to how appropriate it would be for the millennial reign of Christ to parallel the seventh millennium of mans existence, considerable expectation was aroused regarding the year 1975. Unfortunately, however, along with such cautionary information, There were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year was more of a probability than a mere possibility. There were statements made then, and thereafter, stressing that this was only a possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated….In saying anyone, the Watchtower included all disappointed ones of Jehovah’s Witnesses, hence including persons having to do with the publication of the information that contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date. (Watchtower, March 15, 1980, p. 17-18)

1980 If the wicked system of this world survived until the turn of the century (the year 2000), which is highly improbable in view of world trends and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, there would still be survivors of the World War I generation. However, the fact that their number is dwindling is one more indication that “the conclusion of the system of things” is moving fast toward its end. (The Watchtower, Oct. 15, 1980, p. 31)

1982 “The Bible not only foretold these things, but indicated that they would occur on a worldwide scale. Also, the Bible said that all these things would happen upon the generation that was alive in 1914. Yet what were prominent world leaders foretelling just before 1914? They were saying that conditions promising world peace were never more favorable. Yet the terrible troubles the Bible foretold began right on time, in 1914! In fact, world leaders now say that 1914 was a turning point in history. After drawing attention to the many things that have marked the period from 1914 onward, Jesus said: ‘This generation will by no means pass away until all these things [including the end of this system] occur.’ (Matthew 24:34, 14) Which generation did Jesus mean? He meant the generation of people who were living in 1914. Those persons yet remaining of that generation are now very old. However, some of them will still be alive to see the end of this wicked system. So of this we can be certain: Shortly now there will be a sudden end to all wickedness and wicked people at Armageddon.” (You Can Live Forever In Paradise On Earth, p 154, 1982)

1984 Some of that “generation (of 1914)” could survive until the end of the century. But there are many indications that “the end” is much closer than that! (The Watchtower, March 1, 1984 pp. 18-19)

1984 “These definitions embrace both those born around the time of a historic event and all those alive at that time. If Jesus used ‘generation’ in that sense and we apply it to 1914, then the babies of that generation are now 70 years old or older. And others alive in 1914 are in their 80’s or 90’s, a few even having reached a hundred. There are still many millions of that generation alive. Some of them ‘will by no means pass away until all things occur.” (Watchtower, 15 May, 1984, p. 5)

1986 As far back as 1876, Jehovah’ s Witnesses realized that Bible prophecy marked the year 1914 C.E. as a time when major events would take place that would have far-reaching effects on human affairs. They gave the reason for this fact wide publicity. (True Peace And Security; 1986; p. 70)

1986 Prophetic information in the Bible about our day detail the following: … (4) The survival of at least some of the generation that saw the beginning of “the conclusion of the system of things.” (True Peace And Security; 1986; p. 70)

1989 “The apostle Paul was spearheading the Christian missionary activity. He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our 20th century.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1989, p. 12 [bound volume changed “20th century” to “day”])

1989 In the early part of our 20th century prior to 1919, the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known, had to be released from a form of spiritual captivity to the ideas and practices of false religion. Although having rejected such false teachings as the Trinity and immortal soul, they were still tainted by Babylonish practices. Many had developed a self-righteous attitude in character development. Some were exalting creatures, indulging in a personality cult that focused on Charles T. Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Without any Biblical basis, they were observing birthdays and Christmas. the cross was still prominent in their thinking. Some even wore a cross-and-crown lapel emblem, while others sought the respectability accorded Christendom. (The Watchtower; May 1, 1989; p. 3)

1989 “Back in 1904, the book The New Creation called attention to this new organization that came into existence in the first century C.E. (Studies In The Scriptures, Series VI, Study V, entitled “The Organization of the New Creation”) Owing to its view of what the end of the Gentile Times would mean, that book did not envision the remarkable organizational work that was due to take place after the crippling effects of the first world war of human history.” (The Watchtower; Sept. 1, 1989; p. 12-13)

1989 “Some Roman Catholics have claimed that Jesus Christ’s thousand Year Reign ended in 1799 when French armies captured Rome and deposed the pope as its ruler, so that he was deported as a prisoner to France, where he died.” (Watchtower; Sept. 1, 1989; p. 12 [Jw’s did too! See two 1927 Creation, quotes, p. 293 & p. 294. Another of the “pot calling the kettle black” quotes])

1989 The preservation of the remnant of spiritual new creation to the end of World War 1 in 1918 and their being kept alive in the flesh in the postwar year of 1919 came as a wondrous surprise. (The Watchtower; Sept. 1, 1989; p. 13)

1989 They have a modern Governing Body of older Christian men from various parts of the earth who give needed oversight to the worldwide activities of God’s people. these men, like the apostles and older men in Jerusalem in the first century, are anointed members of the faithful and discreet slave class designated by Jesus to care for all of his Kingdom interests here upon earth. History has proved that they can be trusted to follow the direction of the holy spirit and that they do not rely on human wisdom in teaching the flock of God the ways of genuine peace. (The Watchtower; Dec. 15, 1989; p. 6)

1990 Adult Christians too can be disappointed, and this has in some cases led to spiritual disaster. Some set their hope on a date when they were sure Armageddon would come. When nothing happened on that day, they felt let down. (The Watchtower; 4/15/1990; p. 27)

1992 “Today, a small percentage of mankind can still recall the dramatic events of 1914. Will that elderly generation pass away before God saves the earth from ruin? Not according to Bible prophecy. ‘When you see all these things,’ Jesus PROMISED, ‘know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that THIS generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.’ – Matthew 24:33, 34.” (Watchtower May 1, 1992 page 3: The Year That Shocked The World)

1993 (The society’s latest ‘History’ book – “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom”, 1993) [Note: At the end of this book there is a chronological section called ‘Notable Dates’. The predictions for 1925 and 1975 don’t even get a mention! Talk about rewriting history to gullible young converts!]

1993 “Further, the widely circulated booklet Millions Now Living Will Never Die presented the view that in 1925, God’s purposes regarding the restoring of the earth to Paradise and the resurrecting of the faithful ones of old would begin to be fulfilled. … The year 1925 came to its conclusion, but the end was not yet! Ever since the 1870’s, Bible Students had been serving with a date in mind – first 1914, then 1925. Now they realized that they must serve for as long as Jehovah wishes.” (Watchtower; Nov. 1, 1993; p. 12)

1995 [Discussing the generation of Mt 24] “apparently refers to the peoples of earth (now) who see the sign of Christ presence but fail to mend their ways.” (Watchtower November 1, 1995 p.12)

1995 Bible Students, known since 1931 as Jehovah’s Witnesses, also expected that the year 1925 would see the fulfillment of marvelous Bible prophecies. … More recently, many Witnesses conjectured that events associated with the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Reign might start to take place in 1975. Their anticipation was based on the understanding that the seventh millennium of human history would begin then. (Awake, June 22, 1995 p. 9)

1995 “Why Awake is Published” [before Nov 8th 1995] Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.” [After Nov. 8 1995 reference to ‘1914 generation’ deleted] “Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things.”

“Teach by Contrast” | Walter Martin’s Last Time on TBN

This from MORIEL MINISTRIES (2011) explaining a bit about the above:

In light of another Calvary Chapel pastor making an appearance on TBN’s Praise-the-Lord program, I thought it apropos to share a tape in my collection of how a Bible believer should behave when invited onto TBN or any of the other errant “Christian” networks. What sort of message is communicated when a solid Bible teacher shares the platform with heretics and does not bring reproof? Certainly it gives the impression that the guest endorses the teaching of the hosts and /or founder of the Christian network.

Some argue that if they can’t go on TBN due to its corruption, then they couldn’t show up on ABC, NBC or CBS either. They don’t understand the distinction between being salt and light to the unsaved world and practicing biblical separation from so-called Christians who are spreading false teaching against Jesus Christ. To the unsaved, we can use their media to spread the Gospel, but to the errant brother we are to bring correction and divide if they do not stop their false teaching. For a proof-text consider 1 Corinthians 5:11:

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner””not even to eat with such a person.”

When Calvary Chapel Albuquerque’s pastor Skip Heitzig went on TBN last week acting like he and his host Phil Munsey were old friends, it was a shame to the spirit of that passage. Phil Munsey and his brother Steve Munsey are two of the most infamous extortioners in the field of Christian television. Munsey has used new age ideas of paradigm shifts and panentheism to spread his unbiblical dominionist views.

In contrast to the compromisers, the late Walter Martin tried to bring correction the last time he made an appearance on TBN. This video tape has never circulated and has not been available anywhere until now that I have posted it to YouTube.

Back in 1985 my younger sister was Martin’s secretary. She and my older sister and I all regularly attended his weekly Bible study. I used to share my research with him and also with my friend author Dave Hunt. Walter and Dave disagreed on many things regarding their styles of apologetics and discernment. Whenever there was a difference of opinion between the two of them, I usually agreed with Dave.

I had had some discussion with Dr. Martin over Dave’s book, The Seduction of Christianity. Walter had been critical about it on the radio having never read it but based his criticisms upon what his personal editor had told him.

One day my older sister was watching Praise-the-Lord when Hal Lindsey was a guest. He was her pastor at that time. Back then Hal used to challenge the teaching of other TBN regulars and Paul Crouch put up with it. However, that got old with the Crouches and when Hal wouldn’t stop criticizing the Kingdom Now doctrine, he was put on the shelf until he learned to kow-tow to them. When my sister heard Hal bring up Walter’s name in the show, Paul and Jan agreed that he was a brilliant man and Hal said you should have him on some time. They both responded – oh sure we will.

So she informed our little sister who told Walter and Walter told her to call TBN and arrange it which she did. However, the Crouches wouldn’t host him so they got prophecy teacher Doug Clark to do so. My younger sister called me on the day of the taping saying that Walter wanted me to go through Dave Hunt’s book, The Seduction of Christianity and highlight things he would be in agreement with. I was happy to do so for him. He used that information to challenge TBN’s blackballing of Dave Hunt and other whistle-blowers.

I stayed home to work the VCR I didn’t know how to program, while my two sisters attended, one in the green room and one in the audience we had stacked with many friends. Walter gave it to them with both barrels. Not only was the program not replayed at its regular slot, but the tapes were not available when people followed up to request one. Back in those days any Praise-the-Lord program could be bought on audio cassette for a small fee. And both Walter Martin and Doug Clark were never invited back. We had heard years later from Doug Clark that during the interview he kept receiving notes from the stage manager telling him to “shut that guy up” and other nasty notes….

The Distinctive Traits Of Cults ~ Anthony Hoekema

Anthony A. Hoekema (1913-1988) was a Christian theologian of the Dutch Reformed tradition who served as professor of Systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary for twenty-one years.

Hoekema was born in the Netherlands but immigrated to the United States in 1923. He attended Calvin College (A.B.), the University of Michigan (M.A.), Calvin Theological Seminary (Th.B.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.D., 1953). After pastoring several Christian Reformed churches (1944-56), he became Associate Professor of Bible at Calvin College (1956-58). From 1958 to 1979, when he retired, he was Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

(BTW, Hoekema was an Amillennialist. I do not personally hold this position. Likewise, this position has very little impact on the whole of these “traits” of aberrant beliefs… if any. A good 9-minute challenge to a main portion of his “Kingdom” view is HERE.)


  • Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1963), 377-388.Hoekema four major cults - book 330

[p.377>] THE DISTINCTIVE TRAITS OF THE CULT

In setting forth what I believe to be the distinctive traits of the cult, I do not wish to give the impression that not the slightest trace of these characteristics is to be found in the churches. If we are honest with ourselves, we shall find vestiges of these characteristics in the churches too. I venture to affirm, however, that [p.378>] the traits which will now be described are so uniquely character­istic of the cult that any group in which they play a leading role can no longer be recognized as belonging to the true church of Jesus Christ.

(1) An Extra-Scriptural Source of Authority. As the first of these distinctive traits of the cult, I instance the presence of an extra-Scriptural source of authority. Hutten aptly calls this trait “a Bible in the left hand.” Recalling the ordination of a Sweden-borgian minister, who held a Bible in his right hand and one of Swedenborg’s books in his left, Hutten observes that every cult has such a “Bible in the left hand,” which actually supersedes the Bible in the right hand. It should be added here that the cults face a kind of dilemma with respect to the question of authority. Since, in distinction from non-Christian religions, they claim to be Christian groups, they must somehow appeal to the authority of the Bible. Yet in order to justify their peculiar doctrines they must either correct Scripture, reinterpret Scripture, or add other sources of authority to Scripture. Their attitude toward Scrip­ture is therefore always an ambivalent one: a mixture of apparent subjection to its authority and of arbitrary manipulation of its teachings.

That this matter of ultimate authority is of determinative im­portance in evaluating the cults has already been implied by the inclusion of a section on “Source of Authority” in the discussion of each of the cults treated in this volume. It was found that every cult discussed did, indeed, find its ultimate ground of authority in some extra-Scriptural source. Mormons, it was seen, consider the Bible to be full of errors and in dire need of supplementary ma­terial; hence their ultimate source of authority is found not in the Bible, but in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. If there should be a contradiction between what is taught in the Bible and what is taught in these. supplementary sacred books, it is the teachings of the latter which are determinative for Latter-day Saints (see above, pp. 18-30), For Christian Scientists, the final source of authority is Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures; although the Bible is read at their Sunday services, it is Science and Health which determines how the Bible is to be understood (see above, pp. 182-86). Though Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the only basis for their teachings is the Bible, it has been seen that their New World Translation is a biased rendering of the Scriptures [p.379>] into which they have smuggled many of their own heretical teach­ings, that their method of using Scripture is to find passages which seem to support their view and to ignore passages which fail to provide such support, and that they insist that the Bible may only be understood as it is interpreted by the leaders of the Watchtower Society (see above, pp. 237-48).

The reader is reminded of the discussion found on pages 30-33, above, where it was pointed out that the Bible itself condemns the attempt to supplement it with any additional source of authority. These “Bibles in the left hand” are never innocent appendages to Scripture; they always overmaster and overshadow the truth of Scripture. Whenever a cult raises a book or a set of books to the level of Scripture, it does violence to the Word of God. God is no longer allowed to speak as He does in the Bible; He may now speak only as the sect deems proper. Thus the Word of God is brought under the yoke of man.

The claim of the cults to have a source of revelation beyond the Scriptures – for that is what these “Bibles in the left hand” really amount to — is a claim which places them outside the pale of Christian churches. It may be added, by way of warning, that whenever a denomination of Christendom gives so much venera­tion to a human teacher or group of teachers that he or they are thought to be virtually infallible, it is in this respect mani­festing a trait of the cult! People in the Corinthian Church who said that they belonged to Paul, Apollos, or Cephas were rebuked by Paul as being carnally minded; they were told, instead, that Paul, Apollos, and Cephas belonged to them! (I Cor. 3:21-23). Christians today who might be tempted to say that they belong to, say, Calvin or Luther, should learn from this passage that the Biblical way of expressing our relationship to human leaders is this: they (the human leaders) belong to us, but we belong to Christ. If these leaders belong to us, their writings may never be considered superior in authority to the Word of God. Sola Scriptura must remain the motto of every truly Protestant Church!

(2) The Denial of Justification by Grace Alone. A second distinctive trait of the cult is the denial of the doctrine of justifi­cation by grace alone. Grace is no longer considered the free gift of God to the unworthy sinner, but a reward which has been earned by the faithful keeping of various conditions and requirements. Hutten, in fact, calls this trait the most basic character- [p.380>] istic of the cult. The Reformation, he contends, asserted the principle of solo gratia: man is saved by grace alone. Salvation, the Reformers taught, does not depend on any human or ecclesias­tical co-operation with God. The concept gratia implies that salvation is given freely by God apart from any conditions which man may fulfill or which the church may make available. Even those responses to the Gospel which take place in man through the working of God’s Spirit — his faith, his conversion, his works, and his walk — are not meritorious, since they are all the fruits of God’s grace. Precisely because salvation is all of grace, it can never be a ground for Pharisaic pride but must always move us to deep humility and gratitude.

This demand for humility, however, goes against the grain of human nature. Man wants to be his own lord and master. This is especially so in the matter of his salvation. He shrinks from taking the leap of faith — a leap in which he must trust wholly in God for his salvation. He prefers to take his future destiny into his own hands; he does not wish to surrender this destiny to a strange, unknown power. This fundamental human drive, Hutten continues, is the real root of the cult’s protest against the church. The basic antithesis of the cult to the church is therefore the cult’s antipathy toward the central message of the Reformation: the message of justification by grace alone and by faith alone (.cola gratia, solo fide). Though there are variations in the degree to which the different cults reject this doctrine, they all do reject it. As a matter of fact, Hutten adds, the church must always be on its guard against slipping into this cultic manner of thinking about the way of salvation. Only when the church has completely conquered this cultic tendency within its own borders, will it have the strength to oppose the cult on this point.

It will not be difficult to show that the trait described above is found in the cults we have studied. Mormons, as has been seen, reject the doctrine of justification by faith as a pernicious doctrine which has exercised an influence for evil in the church. They further teach that individual salvation (entrance into one of the three Mormon heavens) is to be merited by man through his own acts, and that one can only become eligible for the highest degree of salvation by keeping the commandments of the Lord in all things (see above, pp. 59-62). Christian Scientists decisively reject justification by grace alone; for them, salvation from sin is accomplished when one ceases to sin, or when one stops believing that there is such a thing as sin — on either interpretation salva‑ [p.381>] tion is achieved by human works and not by the grace of God (see above, p. 212, and compare pp. 209-12). Though Jeho­vah’s Witnesses claim that salvation is of grace and that all credit for salvation belongs to Jehovah (see above, p. 283), a careful study of their writings will reveal that they, too, reject justification by grace. In the case of the 144,000, man saves himself by exer­cising faith, repentance, and dedication to Christ (functions in which he is said not to be dependent on God), by showing himself worthy of being selected as a member of the anointed class, and by carrying out his dedication to Jehovah faithfully until death (see above, pp. 282-83; compare pp. 279-83). In the case of the other sheep, these, without having had their natures renewed, are able to exercise faith in Christ, to dedicate their lives to him, and to remain faithful to the end — this faithfulness to be revealed chiefly by diligent witnessing (see above, pp. 283-85). After the millennium has begun, these other sheep, whether as survivors of Armageddon or as resurrected beings, are to be judged on the basis of their obedience to Jehovah during the millennium. If they continue to obey God during Satan’s final battle, they will be “justified,” that is, given the right to perfect life on the new earth — this “justification,” however, is based not on faith, but on works. As far as others are concerned, billions of those who, though sincere in their belief, lacked an opportunity to learn of righteousness from God will be raised during the millennium, will be instructed in God’s law, and will receive everlasting life on the new earth if they now obey God’s commandments.

It is clear, therefore, that these three cults definitely and deliber­ately reject the doctrine of justification by grace alone. Though they may speak of the grace of God, their theologies have no room for grace in the real sense of the word. For, as the Bible says, “If it [the remnant according to the election of grace] is [saved] by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace” (Rom. 11:6). Note also the severe judgment leveled by Paul against this position in Galatians 5:4, “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.” Crystal clear is Titus 3:5: “Not by works done in righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to [p.382>] his mercy he saved us….” By taking the position sketched above, therefore, the cults deny one of the cardinal teachings of Scripture.

(3) The Devaluation of Christ. In the third place, all cults are guilty of a devaluation of Christ. Hutten points out that, since the cult has assumed a determinative role in the distribution of salvation, the result is bound to be a minimizing of Christ as the only Mediator. This, he adds, does not need to mean a com­plete denial of Christ’s mission and work; it may express itself simply in a shifting of emphasis. We shall see this tendency revealing itself in a twofold way: in a devaluation of the Person of Christ and in a depreciation of His work. The latter is par­ticularly characteristic of the cult; since salvation for the cult is not determined by the grace of God revealed at the cross of Christ, that cross is robbed of its unique soteriological significance.

Let us see how this trait can be found in the cults we have studied. Mormons teach that Jesus Christ was the firstborn of the spirit-children of Elohim; since, however, all men are spirit-children of Elohim, it is evident that the difference between Christ and men (even, for that matter, between Christ and Satan) is one of degree but not one of kind (see above, pp. 53-54). Christ is considered by Mormons not to be equal to the Father; he shared with other pre-existent spirits like Adam and Joseph Smith the task of “creating” this earth, and his incarnation is not unique, for other gods before him were incarnated on other earths (see above, p. 54). In fact, Christ’s incarnation was only illustrative of what happens to every man who perfectly fulfills all the ordinances of the Gospel: he, too, was once a pre-existent spirit, is now incarnate, and will some day be a god (see above, pp. 54, 61-62, 72). As far as the work of Christ is concerned, Mormons affirm that the atoning death of Christ was necessary to deliver all men from death, and did provide for all the right to be raised from the dead (see above, pp. 57-58). As was just observed, however, Christ’s atonement does not provide individual salvation for man since this is to be merited by man’s own acts; thus the Mormon Christ does not save in the full sense of the word but only gives man an opportunity to save himself (see above, pp. 58-61).

According to Christian Science, Jesus was not God but only a man, whereas Christ is the name for a certain divine idea: the idea that sickness and sin can be healed through Christian Science (see above, pp. 200-202). Jesus was therefore simply a man who demonstrated a divine idea. So unimportant, in fact, is Jesus in [p.383>] Christian Science that Mrs. Eddy could say that if such a person as Jesus had never existed, it would make no difference to her! (see above, p. 203). As far as the work of Jesus is concerned, Christian Scientists deny that he atoned for our sins by shedding his blood on the cross — after all, since sin has no real existence, why does it need to be atoned for? Jesus’ work was rather that of demonstrating the truth of Christian Science and of setting us an example of the kind of life we must live. Even this example, however, is not uniquely distinguished from that of the apostles (see above, pp. 207-9).

What Jehovah’s Witnesses do with the person of Christ is well known: he was, for them, not equal to Jehovah, but the first crea­ture of Jehovah. In his prehuman state he was a created angel; during his stay on earth he was nothing more than a man; and after his stay on earth he was again nothing higher than a created angel, though now endowed with immortality. In none of these three stages, therefore, was or is Christ equal to Jehovah (see above, pp. 270-76). As regards the work of Christ, the Witnesses teach that Christ did lay down his human life for his people as a ransom. By means of this ransom Christ redeemed man from inherited sin and from the prospect of eternal death as a result of that sin (see above, pp. 276-77); his ransom pro­vides a resurrection from the dead for all except certain classes of people (see above, p. 317). Christ did not, however, earn the right to everlasting life in heaven for the 144,000 since he earned only a perfect human life with its rights and earthly prospects; the 144,000 must themselves earn the right to heavenly life by sacrificing their earthly prospects (see above, p. 283). As for those who will spend eternity on the new earth, they, as we saw, will receive this blessing only if they have obeyed Jehovah’s commandments during the millennium. Neither the 144,000 nor those who will inhabit the new earth, therefore, are really saved by the work of Christ; Christ’s ransom has only served the purpose of enabling them to earn their future blessedness, either in heaven or on earth, by their own achievements.

It is quite clear, therefore, that the cults leave us with a Christ who is not the Christ. Neither in his person nor in his work is the Christ of the cult the Christ of the Bible. For the cultist, it is not really Christ who saves but man who must save himself. This position, however, cuts the very heart out of the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). The words of Paul to the Galatians, directed against those who in that day taught that one was saved partly [p.384>] through faith in Christ and partly through performing certain works of the law, are equally applicable to the cults of our day: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

(4) The Group as the Exclusive Community of the Saved. A fourth distinctive trait of the cult is that it absolutizes itself as the exclusive community of the saved. Hutten points out that the anti-ecclesiastical polemic which is so characteristic of the cult is but the converse side of its own self-justification. Since the cult is convinced that it is the only true community of God’s people, it must try to show that the church is either an apostate organization or an actual instrument of the devil. There is among the cults no appreciation for the Biblical doctrine of the “one holy catholic Church” — that is, of the universal church of Christ, composed of Christ’s true people of all the ages and from all the nations. Every cult says, “We alone are the people of God.” The cult, so to speak, takes God by the arm, insisting that His evaluation of people must agree with its own.

Let us see how this trait is found in the cults we have studied. Mormons contend that the church of Jesus Christ was in a state of apostasy until God revealed Himself to Joseph Smith in 1820; when Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic and Mel­chizedek priesthoods from heavenly messengers in 1829 and 1830, the Restoration of the Church took place. The Mormon Church is therefore the only true church — because it alone has the Priest­hood of the Almighty, and it alone since the time of Christ has received and may still receive divine revelation. One of the early apostles of the Mormon Church claimed that non-Mormon churches have no right to call themselves Christian since Christ has nothing to do with them, and a recent Mormon writer has said that there is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see above, pp. 62-64). It may be noted that the possibility of salvation for those who died in ignorance of Mormon teaching only confirms the point under discussion since such people can be saved only if Mormons have been baptized for them (see above, pp. 64-66).

Christian Science also claims to be the only true church. Since Mrs. Eddy is said to have received the final revelation of the divine principle of scientific mental healing, and since Science and Health is said to be the voice of truth uncontaminated by [p.385>] human hypotheses, it follows that, according to them, no group outside of Christian Science has or knows the truth (see above, pp. 183, 212-13). Though individual Christian Scientists may express appreciation for other Christian groups, it is clear from the statements just alluded to that the views of all other churches about the Bible and the way of salvation must officially be con­sidered basically erroneous while Christian Science is held to be unerring and divine (see above, p. 184).

In Jehovah-Witness ecclesiology we reach the ultimate in bigotry. It is said by them that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are God’s true people and that all others, without exception, are fol­lowers of the devil. The Watchtower Society is now the only instrument or channel whereby Jehovah teaches His people on earth (see above, p. 247). The “great whore” of Revelation 17 is organized religion, Christian as well as heathen. The visible part of the devil’s organization on earth includes all of Christen­dom, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic. The religious clergy are, in fact, the direct link between mankind and the demons (see above, pp. 285-86). At Armageddon all of earth’s inhabitants except Jehovah’s Witnesses will be wiped out of existence (see above, p. 311). Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore, will survive Armageddon; during the millennium non-Witnesses who are raised from the dead will be given an opportunity to save themselves in response to the preaching and teaching of the princes, prominent among whom will be those who occupied leading positions with the New World Society on earth (see above, pp. 318-21).

Whenever a group takes the position that it is the only com­munity of the saved, however, it violates an important aspect of Scripture teaching. Christ Himself warned against this type of bigotry when his disciples said to Him, “Master, we saw one casting out demons in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.” Jesus replied, “Forbid him not; for he that is not against you is for you” (Lk. 9:49, 50). We should therefore remember that whenever a denomination slips into a kind of thinking similar to that described above, it reveals a tendency toward cultic behavior.

(5) The Group’s Central Role in Eschatology. The last dis­tinctive trait of the cult I would like to mention is this: the cult plays a central role in the eschatological climax of history. The cult is convinced that it has been called into existence by God for the purpose of filling in some gap in the truth which has been neglected by the ordinary churches. The birth of the cult thus marks the final climax of sacred history, the beginning of the [p.386>] latter days.    Eschatology thus plays a determinative role in the

theology of the cult: it becomes the arena in which the glorifica­tion of the cult will complete itself. The cult is therefore the mes­senger and way-preparer for the imminent return of Christ; it is God’s partner in the drama of the end-time; it is the ark of safety for the coming flood; it is the instrument of divine judgment on un­believers; it shall finally triumph in the sight of all the world as the group particularly favored by God.

This type of procedure Hutten calls a cultic perversion of Biblical eschatology. Whenever the cult has developed an escha­tology, he continues, it places itself in the very center of it. The drama of the last things thus becomes the means whereby the cult is glorified and all its enemies are overwhelmingly defeated. Though the cult may now be small and insignificant, when the final climax of history arrives, it will receive from God the place of honor it deserves as a reward for its faithfulness to His com­mandments. The antithesis between God and Satan which has run through history will in the last days reach its climax as an antithesis between the cult and the rest of mankind, particularly the church.

As we attempt now to see how this trait is revealed in the cults we have studied, we must first make an important exception. Because of the absence of a real historical dimension in Christian Science, the latter has no general eschatology; hence it cannot be precisely fitted into the category just described. Christian Science denies that there will be a literal Second Coming of Christ, a gen­eral resurrection, a final judgment, and a new earth (see above, pp. 219-21). Though there is a kind of individual eschatology in this system, there is no general eschatology in the sense of a final, dramatic climax of history. Yet Christian Scientists do manifest a trace of the characteristic in question, since Mrs. Eddy con­tended more than once that what the Bible calls the Second Com­ing of Jesus Christ actually coincided with the rise of Christian Science (see above, p. 219). By statements such as these Mrs. Eddy did, in a sense, place Christian Science in the center of eschatology.

[p.387>] It will not be difficult to show the presence of the trait under discussion in the other two cults being considered. Mormons very definitely place themselves in the center of the eschatological drama, giving themselves a position of special privilege in it. The Mormons, God’s “Latter-day Saints,” consider themselves the bearers of the Restored Gospel – the Gospel which must now be proclaimed by them to all the world as God’s last word to man­kind (see above, pp. 62-64). Before Christ returns, there will be a series of gatherings. Ephraim or the Ephraimites must be gathered first to prepare the way for the rest of the tribes of Israel when the time comes for them to be gathered to Zion. Since most Mormons today are said to be Ephraimites, it is ob­vious that the gathering of Ephraim is going on at the present time. Ephraim is being gathered to Zion, the gathering-place on the

North American continent. The “lost ten tribes” will later be gathered to Zion, where they will receive “crowning blessings” from Ephraim – that is, from the Mormons. During the mil­lennium Christ will rule over the Mormon Zion as well as over Jerusalem in Palestine (see above, pp. 67-69). At this time Mormons on earth will be joined by a heavenly group, the City of Enoch (see above, p. 69). Also during the millennium Mor­mons will preach to non-Mormons who are still alive, and will be baptized for the dead who have lived from the beginning of time (see above, p. 70). In the final state Mormons who have fully kept the commandments of the Gospel will enjoy the highest grade of blessedness in the celestial kingdom; non-Mormons can enter the celestial kingdom only if Mormons have been baptized for them (see above, pp. 66, 72-73). Most non-Mormons, however, will spend eternity in one of the two lower kingdoms, the terrestrial or the telestial (see above, pp. 73-74).

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the kingdom of God was not established until A.D. 1914, that this kingdom is now the ruling part of God’s universal organization, and that this kingdom is comprised of Jesus Christ and those members of the 144,000 who are now in heaven (see above, pp. 295-97). These heavenly members of the anointed class (who were, for the most part, Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth) not only rule with Christ now, but are actually changed from human beings to divine beings (see above, p. 304). Between 1918 and the Battle of Armageddon, a judgment of the nations is taking place, in which all those who do not accept the Jehovah-Witness message and who show no kindness to its bearers are doomed to destruction at Armageddon [p.388>] – a destruction from which there will be no reawakening (see above, pp. 306-7). The Battle of Armageddon will therefore be a stupendous victory for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who will be the only survivors of this worldwide catastrophe (see above, p. 311). Armageddon survivors will have a favored position on the renewed earth during the millennium; many of them will be made princes (see above, pp. 311, 314, 318). Jehovah’s Wit­nesses who have died before Armageddon will have the privilege of being raised from the dead before the rest of earth’s inhabi­tants. Those who were active in the New World Society before the millennium will take a leading part in instructing newly-resurrected people in the laws of Jehovah (see above, pp. 318-­19). For Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore, the climactic anti­thesis of history will be that between God’s true people, the Wit­nesses, and all others, including the churches of Christendom.

Whenever a religious group places itself in the center of the eschatological drama, it makes itself guilty of spiritual pride. Over­looking its own shortcomings and sins, it magnifies the sins of others. It blandly assumes that because of its own superior worthiness it has become God’s special favorite. When Christ came across a similar kind of pride among the Jewish leaders of His day, He rebuked it in no uncertain terms: “I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness. . .” (Mt. 8:11, 12).

Quick Tips for Witnessing to J-Dubs ~ Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer

Revelation 5:11-14

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. They said with a loud voice:

The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!

I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:

Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
to the One seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever!

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Phillipians 2:9-11

For this reason God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,

so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—

and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Preaching God’s Word Well to the Cults (2 Timothy 2:15)

Witnesses from the Kingdom Hall are often zealous and sincere… but sincerity without truth is sincerely wrong. Watch carefully and see if they really believe the Bible or just the teachings of the Watchtower Society. Remember the Bible says: “A wise man will hear and will increase learning…” Proverbs 1:5

What a great evangelistic conversation. One thing I like is the thunder affect giving Scripture the eminence we sometimes neglect.

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Polytheists? Mistranslation of John 1:1

I realized — after posting on an encounter with a Jehovah’s Witness at Starbucks — that I do not have a lot posted on Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do on Mormonism, but not J-Dubs. (During the Iraq War Democrats called President George W. Bush, “Dubya.” I liked this shortening of his name for conversation ease. I transferred this ease over to Jehovah’s Witnesses as “J-Dub.”). So I will post some information via discussions I have had (on-line) over the years. The one I will clean up and post here deals with a quick presentation I give when a J-Dub is in front of a doughnut or coffee shop. All you have to do is memorize John 17:3, John 1:1… and where to go to enforce your point if conversation continues… but still have to get to work.

…The best way to dial in a cult is to see who they say Jesus is.  In Orthodox Christian theology, Christ is eternal.  Jesus is best reflected by this statement: He always was, He always is, and He always will be…  Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!

But in LDS (Mormon) theology, Jesus was born in heaven via sexual relations between Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother; Lucifer is Jesus’ brother, born also via sexual relations between Heavenly Father and one of his many wives.  So, in fact he is not eternal.  Heavenly Father, e.g., God, was once a man as well.  Prior to Heavenly Father being a man, he was born in a heaven to parents as well (he was born via sexual relations in a heaven and a earth).  Therefore, in LDS theology, even Heavenly Father isn’t eternal.  Nor is he unchanging – physically or spiritually – because he was once a man who had to follow a path to becoming his own God.  Also, if Heavenly Father was born to parents, who were themselves born to parents, etc., etc..  Who were the first parents?  How did they get here?

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the first creative act by God – Jehovah – was to create Michael the Archangel.  It was Michael who came to earth as Jesus, and after went back to heaven as Michael.  Both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was for their sins.  His death was merely for Adam’s original sin, therefore, the Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness must earn their own salvation by doing good works to attain entrance into heaven.  Christianity teaches that nothing man can do can please God.  He is infinitely good, we are not.  This is why Jesus’ sacrifice is so important to Christians: he lived the life we never could.

Okay, let me give you a quick refutation to share with the Jehovah’s Witness when they are at your door.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are very adamant that they are monotheists, that is, they believe in one God.  We do also, but we understand this one God as a trinity… do not get into the Trinity with them, this is the one subject they study the most.  It takes a trained professional like me to refute their attacks on this doctrine. 

You can ask them to turn to one of their favorite verses in their own bible (New World Translation), which is John 17:3:

  • This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you [Greek: that they may know you], the only true God,  and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ (NWT).

At this point you can ask them if Jehovah is the only true God.  Make the point that any other God would be a false God, ask them: so people who believe in a God other than Jehovah believe in a false God?

At this point, when you get them to agree with you that there is only one true God, ask them to turn to John 1:1, which reads:

  • In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God (NWT).

This is the clincher.  Ask them if Jesus is a false God or a true God.  Our Bible doesn’t put the athat I underlined; the Greek literally calls Jesus God Almighty.  They may want to change the subject, or the like.  Just keep pressing the issue – politely – that according to their own Bible they are polytheists (a person who believes in multiple gods), and are not monotheists…

Here is a conversion by an evangelist at a Jehovah’s Witness convention where the idea of John 1:1 and 17:3 are fleshed out:

Remember, J-Dubs consider themselves rabidly monotheistic, but as one scholar says below, “…It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.” Here is another conversation where the J-Dubs “multiple gods” view is applied to creation (from the 5:12 mark). And of course a CLASSIC presentation by the late/great Walter Martin.

The verses that one should be familiar with are used in the conversation on John 8:58-59. Both verses are worth memorizing defenses of, but the area I want to focus on are the Old Testament verses used in this discussion:

Gordon, Jesus clearly states He is God in John 8:58-59. It doesn’t need any explaining to a first century Jew. But to a 21st century honky (western-Caucasian man / a white boy / cracker), it does need explaining. And as you can see, the first century Jews tried to stone Jesus for claiming such (John 8:59 and John 10:31-33). The first century Jew could not stone a man for claiming to be “in one mind,” or in “the same step” as God. They could only stone him for the blasphemy of claiming to be God, not a god.

John 8:58 needs no explaining if you are familiar with the Bible. But if you are not, and do not understand Exodus 3:14, then you would have to have an explanation. But since you apparently understand Exodus 3:14, then you understand Jesus clear claim to be God. So you have corrected yourself.

In fact, this is what the ENTIRE trial of Jesus was about?! He was on trial for claiming to be God, and this claim eventually led to His crucifixion (Zechariah 12:10).

The talk of who God is should be consolidated as to create more room on the board for the other members.

  • “See now that I, I am He, and there is no God besides Me” (Deuteronomy 32:39 NASB)
  • “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me” (Isaiah 43:10 NASB)
  • “Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none” (Isaiah 44:8 NASB)
  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5 NASB)

So it seems quite clear that when Jesus is called God, or even “a God” in John 1:1 (which John 17:3 says there is only One true God) – and is worshipped like God (which Matthew 4:10 reserves only for the One true God) – one must scratch his head in perplexity.

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses polytheists? They claim not to be, they claim to be monotheists. Mormons are polytheists, or more precisely – henotheists, they admit such (another example of why they are considered outside the “pale of orthodoxy”). The dilemma is (referencing John 17:3) that Jehovah Witnesses have two gods, and this cannot be reconciled with Deuteronomy 32:39 that “there is no God besides me;” or, John 17:3 which states “that they might know thee the only true God;” as well as God almighty calling Jesus God almighty in Hebrews 1:8-10. Alternatively Jesus clear statement to his deity (Godship) in John 8:58 and Matthew 22:41-46 (Jesus Himself making the comparison to Psalm 110:1).

When I talk to JW’s or LDS I drive the point home that Jesus would be a false god if he weren’t “God.” But this is something they can’t accept either… so the Bible must be wrong? But contrary to what Gordon says, Jesus clearly defined himself as – not a God – but thee God of the Shema.

And from Let Us Reason’s site, we find a list of leading and well-respected Greek language scholars ~ some even being quoted at one time as supporting the J-Dubs version in their own publications. I will embolden their names:

WHAT DO GREEK SCHOLARS THINK ABOUT JEHOVAH’S WITNESS TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1?

  • Dr. J. J. Griesback: “So numerous and clear are the arguments and testimonies of Scriptures in favor of the true Deity of Christ, that I can hardly imagine how, upon the admission of the Divine authority of Scripture, and with regard to fair rules of interpretation, this doctrine can by any man be called in doubt. Especially the passage John 1:1 is so clear and so superior to all exception, that by no daring efforts of either commentators or critics can it be snatched out of the hands of the defenders of the truth.”
  • Dr. Eugene A. Nida (Head of the Translation Department of the American Bible Society Translators of the GOOD NEWS BIBLE): “With regard to John 1:1 there is, of course, a complication simply because the NEW WORLD TRANSLATION was apparently done by persons who did not take seriously the syntax of the Greek”. (Bill and Joan Cetnar Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses “who love the truth” p..55
  • Dr. William Barclay (University of Glasgow, Scotland): “The deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in their New Testament translations. John 1:1 translated:’. . . the Word was a god’.a translation which is grammatically impossible. It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest. THE EXPOSITORY TIMES Nov, 1985NWT - Interlinear - a god

  • Dr. B. F. Westcott (Whose Greek text [pictured on the left of the graphic which is to the right] is used in JW KINGDOM INTERLINEAR [the NWT text is to the right of Westcott’s Greek text …click to enlarge]): “The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in 4:24. It is necessarily without the article… No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true Deity of the Word… in the third clause `the Word’ is declared to be `God’ and so included in the unity of the Godhead.”

The Gospel According to St. John (Eerdmans,1953- reprint) p. 3, (The Bible Collector, July-December, 1971, p. 12.).

“Numerous scholars with true credentials in the Biblical languages have condemned the Watchtower’s New World Translation as a fatal distortion of God’s written Word. For example, see The Bible Collector (July-December, 1971) issue which devotes three articles evaluating the Watchtower scripture.” ~ UK Apologetics

  • Dr. Anthony Hoekema, commented: Their New World Translation of the Bible is by no means an objective rendering of the sacred text into Modern English, but is a biased translation in which many of the peculiar teachings of the Watchtower Society are smuggled into the text of the Bible itself (The Four Major Cults, pp. 238, 239].
  • Dr. Ernest C. Colwell (University of Chicago): “A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb; . . .this statement cannot be regarded as strange in the prologue of the gospel which reaches its climax in the confession of Thomas. `My Lord and my God.’ ” John 20:28
  • Dr. F. F. Bruce (University of Manchester, England): “Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with `God’ in the phrase `And the Word was God’. Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicate construction. `a god’ would be totally indefensible.”
  • Dr. Paul L. Kaufman (Portland OR.): “The Jehovah’s Witness people evidence an abysmal ignorance of the basic tenets of Greek grammar in their mistranslation of John 1:1.”
  • Dr. Charles L. Feinberg (La Mirada CA.): “I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah’s Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar.”
  • Dr. Robert Countess, who wrote a doctoral dissertation on the Greek text of the New World Translation, concluded that the The Christ of the New World Translation “has been sharply unsuccessful in keeping doctrinal considerations from influencing the actual translation …. It must be viewed as a radically biased piece of work. At some points it is actually dishonest. At others it is neither modern nor scholarly “78 No wonder British scholar H.H. Rowley asserted, “From beginning to end this volume is a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated.”79 Indeed, Rowley said, this translation is “an insult to the Word of God.”
  • Dr. Harry A. Sturz: (Dr. Sturz is Chairman of the Language Department and Professor of Greek at Biola College) “Therefore, the NWT rendering: “the Word was a god” is not a “literal” but an ungrammatical and tendential translation. A literal translation in English can be nothing other than: “the word was God.” THE BIBLE COLLECTOR July – December, 1971 p. 12
  • Dr. J. Johnson of California State University, Long Beach. When asked to comment on the Greek, said, “No justification whatsoever for translating theos en ho logos as ‘the Word was a god’. There is no syntactical parallel to Acts 23:6 where there is a statement in indirect discourse. Jn.1:1 is direct.. I am neither a Christian nor a Trinitarian.

DO ANY REPUTABLE GREEK SCHOLARS AGREE WITH THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1?

  • A. T. Robertson: “So in John 1:1 theos en ho logos the meaning has to be the Logos was God, -not God was the Logos.” A New short Grammar of the Greek Testament, AT. Robertson and W. Hersey Davis (Baker Book House, p. 279.
  • E. M. Sidebottom:”…the tendency to write ‘the Word was divine’ for theos en ho Iogos springs from a reticence to attribute the full Christian position to john. The Christ of the Fourth Gospel (S.P.C.K., 1961), p. 461.
  • C. K. Barrett: “The absence of the article indicates that the Word is God, but is not the only being of whom this is true; if ho theos had been written it would have implied that no divine being existed outside the second person of the Trinity.” The Gospel According to St. John (S.P.C.K., 1955), p. 76.
  • C. H. Dodd: “On this analogy, the meaning of _theos en ho logos will be that the ousia of ho logos, that which it truly is, is rightly denominated theos… That is the ousia of ho theos (the personal God of Abraham,) the Father goes without saying. In fact, the Nicene homoousios to patri is a perfect paraphrase.” “New Testament Translation Problems the bible Translator, 28, 1 (Jan. 1977), P. 104.
  • Randolph 0. Yeager: “Only sophomores in Greek grammar are going to translate ..and the Word was a God.’ The article with logos, shows that to logos is thesubject of the verb en and the fact that theos is without the article designates it as the predicate nominative. The emphatic position of theos demands that we translate ‘…and the Word was God.’ John is not saying as Jehovah’s Witnesses are fond of teaching that Jesus was only one of many Gods. He is saying precisely the opposite.” The Renaissance New Testament, Vol. 4 (Renaissance Press, 1980), P. 4.
  • Henry Alford: “Theos must then be taken as implying God, in substance and essence,–not ho theos, ‘the Father,’ in person. It noes not = theios; nor is it to be rendered a God–but, as in sarx engeneto, sarx expresses that state into which the Divine Word entered by a-definite act, so in theos en, theos expresses that essence which was His en arche:–that He was very God . So that this first verse must be connected thus: the Logos was from eternity,–was with God (the Father),–and was Himself God.” (Alford’s Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary, Vol. I, Part II Guardian ‘press 1976 ; originally published 1871). p. 681.
  • Donald Guthrie: “The absence of the article with Theos has misled some into t inking teat the correct understanding of the statement would be that ‘the word was a God’ (or divine), but this is grammatically indefensible since Theos is a predicate.” New Testament Theology (InterVarsity Press, 1981), p. 327.
  • Bruce M. Metzger, Professor of New Testament Language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary said: “Far more pernicious in this same verse is the rendering, . . . `and the Word was a god,’ with the following footnotes: ” `A god,’ In contrast with `the God’ “. It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists. In view of the additional light which is available during this age of Grace, such a representation is even more reprehensible than were the heathenish, polytheistic errors into which ancient Israel was so prone to fall. As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering is a frightful mistranslation.” “The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ,” Theology Today (April 1953), p. 75.
  • James Moffatt: “‘The Word was God . . .And the Word became flesh,’ simply means he Word was divine . . . . And the Word became human.’ The Nicene faith, in the Chalcedon definition, was intended to conserve both of these truths against theories that failed to present Jesus as truly God and truly man ….” Jesus Christ the Same (Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1945), p. 61.
  • E. C. Colwell: “…predicate nouns preceding the verb cannot be regarded as indefinite -or qualitative simply because they lack the article; it could be regarded as indefinite or qualitative only if this is demanded by the context,and in the case of John l:l this is not so.” A Definite Rule for the Use of the Article in the Greek New Testament,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 52 (1933), p. 20.
  • Philip B. Harner: “Perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’ This would be one way of representing John’s thought, which is, as I understand it,”that ho logos, no less than ho theos, had the nature of theos.””(Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” journal of Biblical Literature, 92, 1 (March 1973), p. 87.
  • Philip Harner states in the Journal of Biblical Literature, 92, 1 (March 1973) on Jn.1:1 “In vs. 1c the Johannine hymn is bordering on the usage of ‘God’ for the Son, but by omitting the article it avoids any suggestion of personal identification of the Word with the Father. And for Gentile readers the line also avoids any suggestion that the Word was a second God in any Hellenistic sense.” (pg. 86. Harner notes the source of this quote: Brown, John I-XII, 24)
  • Julius R. Mantey; “Since Colwell’s and Harner’s article in JBL, especially that of Harner, it is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 ‘The Word was a god.’ Word-order has made obsolete and incorrect such a rendering …. In view of the preceding facts, especially because you have been quoting me out of context, I herewith request you not to quote the Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament again, which you have been doing for 24 years.” Letter from Mantey to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. “A Grossly Misleading Translation …. John 1:1, which reads ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,’ is shockingly mistranslated, ‘Originally the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god,’ in a New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, published under the auspices o Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Statement JR Mantey, published in various sources.

Jehovah’s Witness “Issues” ~ A Couple Topics

This is posted here in the hopes that Edwin, a Jehovah’s Witness I bumped into at Starbucks, will look at the following information that I promised I would reference for him. It backs up a bit more what cannot be explained fully in general conversation.

Pictured above is the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (J-Dubs) of 1975. The circled names are the people of the New World Translation Committee, which, more information is below. The New World Translation is the Bible “version” that the J-Dubs use.

Who Were the translators?

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has failed both the public and its own followers at this most crucial point, as they refuse to give the names and credentials of the translators of The New World Translation. The Watchtower’s Bible subject index handbook, Reasoning from the Scripture, states: “When presenting as a gift the publishing rights to their translation, the New World Bible Translation Committee requested that its members remain anonymous. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania has honored their request” (pg. 277).

The reason cited is because the “translators were not seeking prominence for themselves.” However, the fact is that the men who comprised this committee had no adequate schooling or background to function as skilled critical Bible translators.

The translation committee was headed by (then vice -president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses), Frederick W.Franz. Other members included Nathan H. Knorr (then president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses), Albert D. Schroeder, Ceorge D. Gangas and Milton Henschel.

The information as to the identity of the translation committee was made known by former Jehovah’s Witness William Cetnar. (See further, We Left lehovah’s Witnesses, A Non-Profit Organization; Edmond C. Gruss.) Cetnar was able to supply this information as he worked at the International Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the time the translation was being prepared.

In addition, former member of the Watchtower’s Governing Body, Raymond V. Franz, in his book, Crisis of Conscience, lists the translators’ names as Franz, Knorr, Schroeder and Cangas. His list omits Henschel. Franz further acknowledges his uncle Frederick Franz as the “principal translator of the Society’s New World Translation” (Crisis, pg. 50).

Yet, Frederick Franz’s translation ability is open to serious question.

During a court trial held in Scotland in 1954 (during the same period that the New World Translation was being made) Franz was asked if he had made himself familiar with Hebrew. His reply was “Yes.” He also acknowledged under oath that he could read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. The following day, during the same court trial, his linguistic abilities were put to the test.

He was asked to translate Genesis 2:4 into Hebrew. He failed the test as he was unable to do so. In fact he did not even try, but rather stated “No, I wouldn’t attempt to do that.”

(See, Court of Session, Scotland – Douglas Walsh vs. The Right Honourable James Latham Clyde – November 1954.)

MORE BELOW!

When I open up my ESV Study Bible, I see the contributing editors, their education and titles/names — as well as everyone involved in the study notes — their education and titles/names, as well as (and most importantly), the Translators. This is not the case as you can see from the front page of the New World Translation, to the right (click to enlarge). And when we did find out who these translators were, none knew Greek or Hebrew at all!

The main problem is that the Watchtower gives ALL truth that is to be believed by the Jehovah’s Witness. I will show an example, and I quote the founder, Charles Taze Russell:

If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes THE BIBLE IN AN ARRANGED FORM. That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself….

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. on the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.

~ Charles Taze Russell, The Watch Tower (September 15, 1910), page 298.

Even if you’ve read the Scripture Studies for ten years, and you lay them aside and read the Bible for two years alone, you enter into darkness?!

T-H-A-T was a revealing quote.

It shows how brainwashed Jehovah’s Witnesses are to the fact that the ruling council and president of the Watchtower Society dispense nothing but truth and reality while the rest of humanity who points out the misquotes and misrepresentations are shunned as devils (almost literally).

I will go out on a limb here and say, “if the devil were to create a religious group that undermines the true message in the Bible, would the devil require someone to read the Bible by itself… or would the devil want to add something to it that would interpret everything within?”

Who are the real followers of whom?

Liars?

Nor were the leaders/translators honest men. In this first example, Charles T. Russell sued J. J. Ross for “defamatory libel” on March 1913. Ross in his booklet, Some Facts About The Self-Styled Pastor C. T. Russell wrote, “Russell does not know the dead languages.” Unfortunately for Russell, he proved himself wrong in the court room:

  • Attorney Staunton: “Do you know the Greek alphabet?”
  • Russell: “Oh, yes.”
  • Attorney Staunton: “Can you tell me the correct letters if you see them?”
  • Russell: “Some of them, I might make a mistake on some of them.”
  • Attorney Staunton: “Would you tell me the names of those on top of the, page, page 447 I have got here?” (Wescott & Hort Greek NT)
  • Russell: “Well, I don’t know that I would be able to.”
  • Attorney Staunton: “You can’t tell what those letters are, look at them and see if you know?
  • Russell: “My way . . .” (he was interrupted at this point and not allowed to explain) Attorney Staunton: “Are you familiar with the Greek language?
  • Russell: “NO”.

(Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses, p. 6)

This next example comes from the Scottish Court and is the dialogue between Frederick Franz and the court attorney:

From the Pursuer’s Proof of the cross-examination held on Wednesday, November 24, 1954, p. 7, paragraphs A-B. Examining Fred W. Franx, vice-president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and sent as representative of the Society and the Translation Comm.

  • Attorney: Have you also made yourself familiar with Hebrew?
  • Franz: Yes.
  • Attorney: So that you have a substantion linguistic apparatus at your command?
  • Franz: Yes, for use in my biblical work.
  • Attorney: I think you are able to read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and French?
  • Franz Yes.

…later in the same examination…

  • Attorney: You, yourself, read and speak Hebrew, do you?
  • Franz: I do not speak Hebrew.
  • Attorney: You do not?
  • Franz: No.
  • Attorney: Can you, yourself, translate that into Hebrew?
  • Franz: Which?
  • Attorney: That fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis?
  • Franz: You mean here?
  • Attorney: Yes.
  • Franz: No.

We asked a Hebrew teacher at Biola College/Talbot Theological Seminary if the fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis was a particularly difficult verse to translate. After all, the pursuer’s question would hardly have been fair if it were the hardest verse in the Old Testament to translate. The professor said that he would never pass a first-year Hebrew student who could not translate that verse.

(Equip.org)

A Letter I Wrote A Co-Worker by Papa Giorgio

144,000 & the Great Multitude~David Reed & Ron Rhodes Critique the Jehovah’s Witnesses Interpretation

David A. Reed, Jehovah’s Witnesses : Answered Verse by Verse (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1997, c1986), 104-110.

Revelation 7:4

And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred a forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel. (nwt)

The Watchtower Society teaches that the Christian church, or body of Christ, is limited to a literal number of 144,000 individuals. This gathering of the 144,000 began at Pentecost in the first century and continued through the year 1935—at which time the number was completed and the door was closed. New believers since 1935 are not part of the congregation of 144,000, but form a secondary class called the “great crowd” of “other sheep.” (See the discussion of Rev. 7:9 for further information on the “great crowd” and the 1935 date.) Since 1935, most of the remaining ones of the 144,000 have died off, leaving only about 9,000 alive on earth today—all of whom are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Among the millions of JWs, only the remnant of the 144,000 have the hope of heaven, and only they may partake of the communion loaf and cup.

As with many of the symbolic word-pictures in the Book of Revelation, there is some debate even among true Christians as to just who the 144,000 may be. We can freely admit that to the Witnesses, while showing them that the Watchtower Society’s interpretation is obviously wrong.

Revelation 7:4 says that the 144,000 are “of the sons of Israel,” but the Watchtower Society teaches that the Christian congregation is here symbolically portrayed as “spiritual Israel,” and that the 144,000 are therefore drawn from among all nations. We need only read the next few verses to discredit their interpretation: “Out of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand sealed; out of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand; out of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand sealed” (Rev. 7:5–8, nwt). How more clearly could Israel be specified than by listing the twelve tribes making up that nation?

The Witnesses may respond by insisting that the references to 12,000 from each tribe are purely symbolic. But, if that is true, then the twelve symbolic numbers (12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 + 12,000 = 144,000) must add up to a total that is also symbolic. Yet the Witnesses believe the 144,000 to be a literal number. So, again, their interpretation leads to a contradiction.

Revelation 7:9

After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. (nwt)

The Watchtower Society teaches that in the year 1935 God stopped calling people to a heavenly hope in union with Christ. They say that in that year he began gathering a secondary class of believers, outside the body of Christ, whose hope would be to live forever on earth in the flesh. This class of people, they claim, is the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9–17.

This is one of the most significant doctrines taught by the Watchtower Society. It forms the basis for convincing millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses that:

1. They cannot become members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27).

2. They cannot be “born again” (John 3:3)

3. They cannot share in Christ’s heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18).

4. They cannot receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13).

5. They are not entitled to share in the communion loaf and cup (1 Cor. 10:16–17).

6. They are not in the New Covenant mediated by Christ (Heb. 12:24).

7. They cannot be fully justified through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:26).

Thus, the Society uses this “1935 doctrine” to deprive its followers of the relationship with God outlined in the New Testament for all believers.

Where does the Bible teach that entrance to the Christian congregation would be closed in the year 1935, with a secondary “great crowd” being gathered after that? Nowhere! Watchtower leaders claim that “light flashed up”—that Watchtower president J. F. Rutherford received a special “revelation of divine truth”—to introduce this change in 1935. They can produce no scriptural support at all for the 1935 date. Instead of turning to the Bible, they say,

These flashes of prophetic light prepared the ground for the historic discourse on “The Great Multitude,” given May 31, 1935, by the president of the Watch Tower Society, J. F. Rutherford, at the Washington, D.C., convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. What a revelation of divine truth that was! (The Watchtower, 3/1/85, p. 14, §12)

…the heavenly hope was held out, highlighted and stressed until about the year 1935. Then as “light flashed up” to reveal clearly the identity of the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9, the emphasis began to be placed on the earthly hope (The Watchtower, 2/1/82, p. 28, §16).

There is no biblical basis whatsoever for this teaching. Scripture discusses in detail the Old Covenant for the Jews and the New Covenant for Christians. But it makes no mention of any third arrangement for gathering a “great crowd” with an earthly hope after the year 1935.

Moreover, the verses the Witnesses cite in Revelation actually locate the “great crowd” as “before the throne and before the Lamb” (7:9, nwt), “before the throne of God” (7:15, nwt) and “in his temple” (7:15, nwt)—all heavenly locations, rather than on earth as the Watchtower Society teaches.

In fact, the reference to “a great crowd … crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God … ’ ” (7:9–10) is quite similar to the wording of the only other mention of “a great crowd” in the Watchtower’s New World Translation of the Book of Revelation. This is in chapter 19, where the invitation to “Be praising our God, all you his slaves, who fear him, the small ones and the great” is responded to by “a voice of a great crowd” (19:5–6). Yet the Scripture specifically says that it is “a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven” (v. 1, italics added).

Once the Watchtower Society’s interpretation has been proved wrong, it is not necessary (or advisable) to get into a discussion with Jehovah’s Witnesses about the true identity of the “great crowd.” Rather, the fact that the Society has taught them wrongly on this important point should be used to open their ears to a presentation of the real gospel of Christ.

This may be introduced by reading Jesus’ prayer to the Father at John 17:20–24—“I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word.… Father, as to what you have given me, I wish that, where I am, they also may be with me, in order to behold my glory … ” (nwt). Jesus’ prayer is that all of his present and future disciples would end up with him, where he is, to behold his glory. Show the Witnesses that the prayer applies to all future disciples who would put faith in Christ through the writings left behind by the early disciples (v. 20). Tell them that, if they will put faith in him, Jesus wants them to end up with him in the heavenly kingdom—regardless of whether they became believers before or after the year 1935.

See also the discussions of heaven versus earth at Psalms 37:9, 115:16, and John 10:16; the discussion of communion at Matthew 26:27; and an actual encounter with Jehovah’s Witnesses over this issue at Revelation 19:1.

Revelation 19:1

After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven. (nwt)

Watchtower brainwashing is so powerful that those under its spell can look at black and see white—if the Society says that black is white. That this is no exaggeration was demonstrated in an encounter that I had with a Jehovah’s Witness lady who knocked at my door in the summer of 1983. (She did not realize that I was a former member. Otherwise, she would not have spoken a word to me.) The discussion went like this:

David Reed: “I’ve heard that you people believe that you are part of a ‘great crowd’ who will receive everlasting life on earth, instead of going to heaven. Is that true! Can you show me the ‘great crowd’ in the Bible?”

Mrs. Jehovah’s Witness: “Yes, that is what the Bible says. See, here it is at Revelation 7:9. [She reads the verse discussed above, at Rev. 7:9.] I hope to be part of that ‘great crowd’ that will live on earth forever.”

David Reed: “But Revelation 7:15 places the ‘great crowd’ before the throne of God in heaven, doesn’t it?”

Mrs. Jehovah’s Witness: “Well, the throne of God is in heaven, but the ‘great crowd’ is on the earth. All creation stands before the throne of God.”

David Reed: “I don’t think the verse would mention their location before the throne if it meant it in such a general sense. But there is one other place where Revelation talks about the ‘great crowd.’ Would you please read Revelation 19:1 in your own Bible to see where it locates the ‘great crowd’?”

Mrs. Jehovah’s Witness: “Certainly! It says, ‘After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven.’ ”

David Reed: “A ‘great crowd’ where?

Mrs. Jehovah’s Witness: “The ‘great crowd’ is on earth!”

David Reed: “Is that what the verse says? Read it again.”

Mrs. Jehovah’s Witness: “It says heaven, but the ‘great crowd’ is on earth.

David Reed: “How can you say that the ‘great crowd’ is on earth, when the Bible plainly says ‘a great crowd in heaven’?”

Mrs. Jehovah’s Witness: “You don’t understand. We have men at our headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, who explain the Bible to us. And they can prove that the ‘great crowd’ is on earth; I just can’t explain it that well. Wait just a moment.”

At that point she ran out into the street and shouted to another Witness woman, who was a few houses away, to come help her. This woman recognized me as an ex-Witness, and that ended the conversation. But the point had already been illustrated: A JW can look at the word heaven in the Bible but see earth instead, if the organization says so.

As the two ladies walked away from my doorstep, my mind raced back to memories of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. I recalled the frightening portrayal of a totalitarian state where everyone knows that “Big Brother is watching you!”—and so, “Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth,” and “Two plus two equals five, instead of four, if the Party says so.” Truly, the Watchtower Society imposes that same sort of “double-think” on Jehovah’s Witnesses.

(A number of other parallels between the JWs and the fictional society of Nineteen Eighty-Four are highlighted in Gary and Heather Botting’s book The Orwellian World of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1984, University of Toronto Press).

For further information on the question of heaven versus earth, see the discussions of John 10:16 and Revelation 7:9. For other examples of brainwashing, see the discussions of Matthew 24:45; 1 Corinthians 1:10; and “The Author’s Testimony.”




Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), pp. 263-275.


 

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CULT WATCH: Teen Refuses Blood Transfusion and Dies

A teenage Jehovah’s Witness who was crushed by a car refused a blood transfusion before he died.

Joshua McAuley, 15, is understood to have declined the treatment advised by doctors and was not overruled by members of his family.
[…]

The teenager was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Smethwick.
[…]

A spokesman from Selly Oak hospital said: “There’s not one single policy and not one single law regarding transfusions. There’s no automatic right to override parental wishes or that of a minor. It’s a very complex area that has to be approached on a case by case basis. ”

Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that passages of the Bible forbid blood transfusions. Members who do accept such treatment can be cast out of the church. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses carry a signed and witnessed advance directive card absolutely refusing blood and releasing doctors from any liability arising from this refusal.

Clive Parker, an elder at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses where Joshua and his family worshipped, said: “I believe he was conscious enough after the accident and he made a stand on the blood issue. He made the choice personally.”

…(read more)…