The Watchtower organisation claims to be God’s sole channel of communication to the world today, and also His appointed prophet.
Reference to this is made in a number of their publications – in particular their claim to be Jehovah’s prophet is recorded in the Watchtower issue of 4/1/1972 page 197.
Their history shows however that as a prophet their success rate in foretelling future events has been zero.
One of the most notable prophetic announcements was that a number of Old Testament faithful men of old, such as Abraham and others would be resurrected during the year of 1925. These men would arrive to take charge of what was described as ‘the visible affairs of earth’. This was documented in the Watchtower’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die booklet.
When 1925 arrived and the anticipated Old Testament faithful did not materialise, in spite of some disappointment many Watchtower followers felt that the event could be a little late in coming. The hope was still alive as late as 1929 when it was realized that the patriarchs of old would need accommodation upon their arrival. It was therefore decided to build a house for them and accordingly land was purchased in San Diego California and this was done – the residence being called ‘Beth Sarim’, or House of the Princes.
The deed of the property required that it should be held perpetually in trust by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for the use of the resurrected men.
It is recorded that the then President, Judge Rutherford, lived there in the mansion until his death in 1942. The property was later sold.
The teaching on the return of the return of the ancient men of God was quietly dropped by the end of 1950.
In keeping with this change of teaching and seemingly for the benefit of later followers of the Organisation, the Watchtower’s 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses (page 194) reportedly mentions the property of Beth Sarim, and gives the explanation that it was built for ‘Brother Rutherford’s’ use. There is no mention of its original intended use, or of the failed prophecy.
What do we learn about the Watchtower from this and other failed prophecies?
Firstly it has to be said that so many locked into the Organisation, the rank and file, sincerely believe what they have been taught and are fully committed to carrying out the work required of them.
No questioning of the teaching and doctrines passed down to them by their leaders in the Brooklyn headquarters is permitted. The fact that this teaching is alien to the essential truths of the Scriptures however, appears to be completely lost on them.
The second point that stands out from this and other Watchtower prophecies over the years is that failed prophecies are never mentioned as such. If the actual event is spoken of again it is usually to transfer the date of the happening into the future, or to simply indicate that some were mistakenly looking for it.
The final and most significant point is that the Watchtower organisation with a 100% failure record on prophecies, fits fully into the Bible’s definition of a false prophet (Deut 18:20-22).