In the latest edition of the Watchtower magazine, the readers are exhorted to trust in Jehovah – ‘The Great Timekeeper’. In usual Watchtower style, the article spends a great deal of time setting up its readers for the message it wants to communicate. In this case, the article reminds the reader that Jehovah is control of time and events and that he can be trusted regarding the fulfilment of Biblical prophecies. Of course we would agree that God is in control of all things, but the Watchtower’s message to its followers is to keep trusting in ‘Jehovah’s Organization’.
‘PROPHECIES FULFILLED ON TIME INSPIRE FAITH’ claims the Watchtower and this is true, but surely the opposite is also true ‘PROPHECIES UNFULFILLED ON TIME DECREASE FAITH’. Though they would deny it, The Watchtower has made many prophecies on behalf of Jehovah. The following quote from The Watchtower shows that they believe themselves to be a prophet:
“So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses….Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a “prophet” of God. It is another thing to prove it,”
(Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197).
Does the record of this ‘prophet’ of Jehovah prove that they are God’s ‘sole channel’ on the earth today? Let’s see. Here are a few of numerous prophecies they have made:
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 “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 “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)
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”])
Rather than proving that they are a ‘true’ prophet of Jehovah, the record shows that they are in fact a false prophet. Undeterred, The Watchtower continues to claim that they alone are able discern the ‘times and seasons’. They article continues:
‘What does the future hold for mankind? (Rom. 1:20) For the answer, we must turn to what God has revealed in the pages of his Word, the Bible. When we examine it, we find prophecies that have always been fulfilled right on time! Jehovah can reveal what is yet to occur because he can foresee the future accurately. Moreover, what the Scriptures foretell happens on time because Jehovah God can cause events to take place according to his purpose and timetable’. (p.18)
God’s Word can be relied upon and God can see the future, that is not in question, what is in question is whether God is working through The Watchtower Society. Surely if He was, they would know that the Babylonian armies destroyed Jerusalem in 587/586 B.C.E. and not the date they insist. ‘Babylonian armies destroyed Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., and Jews from Judah were indeed deported to Babylon’ (p.18) Their insistence upon 607 B.C.E., which has no historical support outside of The Watchtower, is to help them arrive at the year 1914 (the date they claim Jesus returned ‘invisibly’ and his Kingdom rule began).
Using Biblical chronology to arrive at dates is part of Watchtower D.N.A. Charles Taze Russell first used it to predict that Jesus would return in 1874, and despite numerous other ‘failed’ dates they continue to press ahead to convince the ‘faithful’ that they are truly the only ones being led by Jehovah’s ‘holy spirit’. The ‘faithful’ are exhorted to press on in the ‘time remaining… exercising faith in the organization and Jehovah’s timing’:
‘But what about us? If we recognize that we are living deep in the last days of Satan’s world, should we not…endeavour to use the remaining time to serve the God of “times and seasons” and help others come to know him?’ (p.19)
Unfortunately, most will comply and continue to blindly follow this false prophet. Believing that they alone are in the ‘truth’, they will push ahead trusting that Armageddon is just around the corner. The Watchtower will continue to adjust their teachings to accommodate mistakes. The article suggests that something is soon to change:
The changing world situation may call for some changes in how the disciplemaking work is carried on. The organization may occasionally make adjustments to address the needs of our activity as Kingdom proclaimers. We demonstrate faith in the God of “times and seasons” by fully cooperating with such adjustments as we serve loyally under his Son, the “head of the congregation.” (p.20)
Notice that ‘faith’ is linked with ‘fully cooperating’ with Watchtower ‘adjustments’. What those ‘adjustments’ will be is yet to be revealed – watch this space!
In the meantime, let us continue to be ‘Jesus Witnesses’ (Acts 1:8) and let’s continue to share with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Him who is called ‘The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6).