Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah Witnesses are a relatively recent religion, breaking off from the Seventh Day Adventists, led by a self-taught religious fundamentalist named Charles Taze Russell who, although raised a Presbyterian, followed the prophecies of William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, proclaimed that Jesus Christ would return in 1843. Many of Miller’s followers sold all that they had, gave it to the poor, then waited (some naked) for Jesus’ appearance. When Jesus did not appear, they claimed that the date of the Second Advent had been miscalculated and attempted to regain property, clothing, and other items they had given away–some in “religious brotherhood” suing in court for return of gifts. When Miller’s movement evaporated after a second prediction of the Second Coming (for 1874) did not materialize, a few formed the Seventh-Day Adventist cult, and began to preach in “tongues” that none understood but all accepted as divine, and to redefine the Old Testament as superior to the New Testament. From this comes the offshoot that became known by various names, but today is known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who continued to argue for a Second Coming, although the word “coming” (Matthew 24:27, 37, 39) is a mistranslation of “presence” (παρουσία: parousia)rejecting any idea that Jesus would not ride down on a horse (like the myth of Muhammad) and slaughter the unfaithful. There is no  passage in the Bible in the Kione or other versions where Jesus will physically return to the planet Earth. Still the sibling Jehovah’s Witness determined that there would be a “Rapture” (where the bodies of true believers would be “snatched” away and raised into an earthly heaven of physical delights) in 1878. When the Rapture did not occur, Russell left the Adventist cult and created his own, naming it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence and began to publish his ideas without any theological background or education–the first issue appearing in July 1879. From then on Russell began to publishing a variety of works totaling more than 50,000 printed pages, and over 20 million copies of his books and pamphlets sold rapidly to the under-educated and those who lived in poverty and were underemployed. Soon Russell became almost like god, although his followers called him the “faithful and wise servant” heralded in Matthew 24:45, as well as “the Laodicean Messenger” (god’s seventh and final spokesman to the Christian church–that has no biblical foundation). From then on Russell continued to predict the Second Coming and the Rapture–and each prediction failed to come true. When he died on October 31, 1916, he was noticeably depressed as he had predicted publicly and widely that the world would come to a cataclysmic end in early October 1914 (his followers channeled his message by claiming that World War I was the “beginning of the end” and “imminent”). He was buried under the headstone that carries the inscription “the Laodicean Messenger” in Ross, Pennsylvania, off of Cemetery Lane–where “Russellites” encircle it every Halloween” to hold hands in vigil commemorating his death and waiting for the Rapture. The Watchtower Society and its publications became as sacred as any bible of any religion, and readers were directed to “show our respect for Jehovah’s organization, for she is our mother and the beloved wife of our heavenly Father, Jehovah God” (See: The Watchtower May 1, 1957, p. 285).

The word Jehovah appears only four times in the Bible: Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah      12:2 and 26:4–but it does not translate as “The Lord”–but rather as “the existing one” and is a reference to an Egyptian deity. The other “references” to Jehovah are in fact references to an altar (Exodus 17:15, Judges 6:24) which for blood sacrifices to celebrate martial battles over enemies–and in both occurences are barbaric rituals that are identical to those of the Hittites. The word “Witness” comes from Isaiah 43:10–and it is a reference to Israelites–not latter-day cultists. While the Jehovah Witnesses claim that all “Witnesses” are willing (See: Let God Be True, (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1946), p. 237), this is not true based on the bible, for in the bible the witnesses of this passage are unwilling witnesses. They witness to the truth of God’s prophetic Word (Isa. 41:22,23) in their persecution, scattering and regathering. (Deut. 28; Lev. 26; Jer. 32:37). While the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have the power of prophecy (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of N.Y., 1959), pp. 125-126) such a gift is denied in the bible (Isa. 43:22-24), and the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” appears nowhere in the bible (Isaiah 62:4 is “Hephzibah”  [חפציבה] which literally translates as “my delight is in her“).

Jehovah’s witnesses claim they speak from the Bible and that their name (Jehovah’s Witnesses) is Biblical–yet this group has had four names (so far) and all different:

  1. Zion’s Watchtower Society 1884
  2. The People’s Pulpit Association 1909
  3. The International Bible Student’s Association 1914
  4. Jehovah’s Witnesses 1931.

Jehovah’s Witnesses–who are they?  Basically they are a cult of contradictions and repeated errors–much like the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  It is a cult of contradictions. For example:

Will the men of Sodom be resurrected?  

 Yes Watchtower 7/18/1879 p. 8
No Watchtower 6/1/1952 p. 338
Yes Watchtower78/1/1965 p. 47g
No Watchtower7 6/1/1988 p. 31
Yes Live Forever (old edition ) p. 179
No Live Forever (new edition ) p. 179
Yes Insight, volume 2, p. 985
No Revelation book, p. 273

Contradictory light! BLINKING LIGHT! Not new light!

Examples
Old Light
Original prophecy
New Light
More specific prophecy
(Adds to Old Light)
Black Light
Failed prophecy
(contradicts Old Light)
We give an answer The answer is yes The answer is now no!
It will be a color It will be blue We were wrong about blue, it will now be red
It will rain It will rain today We were wrong about today, it will rain tomorrow
Armageddon is in the Bible Armageddon in 1925 &1975 We were wrong when we said 1925 &1975

Jehovah Witnesses over the years have consistently predicted the date of the Second Coming; consistently predicted it wrong, that is. They predicted he’d come back in 1914, when that didn’t work out, they changed it to 1925. Now it is 2012. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that the Bible prohibits “ingesting” blood (citing Old Testament lore from ancient Akkadian). To their thinking a blood transfusion is the actual “eating/ingesting” of blood, and Watch Tower Society publications prohibit accepting transfusions–while claiming they are New Testament believers (See: Keep Yourself in God’s Love, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 2008, page 77.) and to compound this absurdity, they are forbidden even storing their own blood to save their own lives (See: “Godly Respect for Blood”, The Watchtower, September 1, 1986, page 25 “Be Guided by the Living God”; The Watchtower, June 15, 2004, page 22; The Watchtower, September 1, 1986 p. 25). Yet, Witnesses are told that the use of fractions such as albumin, immunoglobulins and hemophiliac preparations are “not absolutely prohibited” and a matter of personal choice (See: The Watchtower, June 15, 2000 pp. 29-31; “Our Kingdom Ministry”, November 2006 pages 3,4 para.1-6; “Be Guided by the Living God”, The Watchtower, June 15, 2004, page 22).  The Jehovah Witnesses rely on outdated, ancient medical superstitions–as with a  1990 Watch Tower brochure on blood quoting a 17th century anatomist is support of its view (See: How Can Blood Save Your Life?, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1990, page 6). The Jehovah’s Witnesses actually write that a blood transfusion is equal to directly putting alcohol into their veins (See: Reasoning From the Scriptures, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1989, page 73). This, along with “minutes” amount of allowed blood to enter the system through a “necessary transfusion” is not only a contradiction of the official teachings but goes against all science (See:  “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Blood Transfusions and the Tort of Misrepresentation”, Journal of Church and State, Autumn 2005, Volume 47, Number 4, p. 808.  Cf. “Bioethics of the refusal of blood by Jehovah’s Witnesses, part 2.” Journal of Medical Ethics, October 1998, page 300, at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1377601/)

Other beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are equally strange, and totally not in line with either Jewish or Christian bibles (any translation, edition):

  • Jesus did not rise from the dead (Russel says the body of Jesus either dissolved into gasses or is preserved “elsewhere:).
  • God is not triune (no Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost).
  • There is no hell nor everlasting torment. Hell is the grave. Wicked are annihilated.
  • Mortals have no spirit.
  • The Holy Ghost is not a person just a “life force” of God.
  • Believers exercise mind control over weaker members who might leave the sect.
  • Mortals must do “work” (good works) to be a part of God’s chosen.
  • Only 144,000 will enter heaven, citing Revelation 7:4, but ignoring 5:11, 18, with both coming from the Babylonian fiction of Daniel 7:10).
  • All dead people will have a second chance to be counted among the elect to enter heaven at the time of the Rapture (millennium), or if you prove to be worthless you will be destroyed (this theory goes back to the ancient Baptist theology of Menno Simmons in Holland in the sixteenth century).
  • The blood of Christ does not forgive sins. It only gives mortals a “chance” to live again to become a Jehovah’s Witness as only Jehovah’s Witnesses know the Truth.
  • Jesus is really the archangel Michael and was created–not born.
  • Jesus is an agent of god–not the son of god.
  • Jesus did return in 1874–but was invisible.
  • Later dates of the Rapture were human error because of misreading the mind of god.

Among the countless predictions that never came true, a few are of note:

  • 1907: Armageddon will culminate in the year 1914. (See: Charles Taze Russell, The Time Is At Hand (1891) as cited by James Penton, Apocalypse Delayed, page 44.)
  • 1917: In 1918, God would begin to destroy churches “wholesale” and church members by the millions. (See: The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 485, 258, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 206-211.)
  • 1922-1923: The resurrection of the dead would occur in 1925. (See: J. F. Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 212-214.)  In preparation for the 1925 date, the Watchtower Society acquired a property in California, and built a mansion on it. The property was to house people such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Samuel, whom they thought would be resurrected to life in 1925. (See: The Way to Paradise booklet, Watch Tower Society, 1924, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 230-232.)
  • 1938: In 1938, Armageddon was too close for marriage or child-bearing. (See: Face the Facts, 1938, pp. 46-50.)
  • 1941: There were only “months” remaining until Armageddon. (See: Kingdom Ministry, Watch Tower Society, May 1974, page 3.)
  • 1942: Armageddon was “immediately before us.” (The Watchtower, May 1, 1942, p. 139.)
  • 1969: Human existence would not last long enough for young people to grow old; the world system would end “in a few years”. Young Witnesses were encouraged not to bother pursuing tertiary education for this reason. (Awake!, May 22, 1969, p. 15.)
  • 1969: Christ’s thousand-year reign would begin in 1975. (Ibid.)  There was a considerable amount of related speculation in Watchtower publications in the decade or so leading up to 1975.
  • 1984: There were “many indications” that “the end” was closer than the end of the 20th century. (The Watchtower, Mar 1, 1984, pp. 18-19.)

4 Comments

Filed under Church history, crucifixon, Jesus Christ

4 responses to “Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. Liza

    Do human beings realize that there is no “second coming” of anyone?

  2. Susan

    Quite an explicit account… I had only been aware of the former names, particularly the 1880s name. As well, I had heard firsthand from one about the blood transfusions. Shockingly, it is a great surprise why the name Jehovah only appears four times in the Bible. I had no idea!

  3. ChristianB. Peper

    The problem I have with the Jehovah’s Witness Organization is that they use unethical manipulation and control to keep their members in line. I was roommates with a Jehovah’s Witness member that ended up controlling me. Steve Hassan offered a mind control model based on four variables: control of behavior, control of thoughts, control of emotions, and control of information. The Jehovah’s Witness organization fulfills all the variables of cultic mind control. We must educate the public about cultic mind control.
    -ChrisPeper

  4. Joe

    Interesting. I’ve known a few JW’s in the past. They can be rather contridectory(?) in what they believe from one group to another. They do seem to have one thing in common, however. Almost all litarture I’ve seen seems to attempt to justify their existance by knocking Catholics.

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