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Watchtower Magazine Review – January 2013

Honest Mistakes or False Prophets?
The January 2013 Watchtower magazine’s cover asks the question: ‘Should you fear the end of the world? In the aftermath of the ‘failed’ Mayan prophecy, The Watchtower has decided to address a topic with which they have much history ‘The End of the World’. The article asks:

How do you feel about December 21, 2012, the date on the Maya calendar that many have been saying would bring worldwide change? Depending on what you expected, you might be relieved, disappointed, or indifferent. Was it just another incorrect prediction for the end of the world? (page 4)

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society know all about incorrect predictions for the end of the world. In their 140 year history they have predicted the end on numerous occasions (see:; but to their seeming credit, they admit they have made mistakes:

Jehovah’s Witnesses have had wrong expectations about when the end would come. Like Jesus’ first-century disciples, we have sometimes looked forward to the fulfilment of prophecy ahead of God’s timetable. (Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) We agree with the sentiment of longtime Witness A. H. Macmillan, who said: “I learned that we should admit our mistakes and continue searching God’s Word for more enlightenment.” (page 8)

Does this admission of ‘wrong expectations’ absolve The Watchtower from leading people astray? Well let us consider this. When confronted with the charge of false prophecy, the usual response of Jehovah’s Witnesses is ‘we never claimed to be prophets’; but is this true?

In 1972, The Watchtower published the following:
IDENTIFYING THE “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. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. What does it show ” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197).
This appears pretty straightforward. They claim that Jehovah has had a prophet on the earth for the last 140 years, starting with the International Bible Students through to modern day Jehovah’s Witnesses. This prophet has warned people of danger and declared THINGS TO COME. So let us do as they recommend and review the record. What does it show? Here are just a few of numerous ‘date setting’ quotes:

“Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of ‘Christianity.’ ” —The Finished Mystery, Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 7, 1917, p. 485

“…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… 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

“Never was there a more moving sight in these ‘last days’. …Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them …the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon. What a gift! and to so many! The manner of releasing the new book Children was an outright surprise to all….”—The Watchtower, September 15, 1941, p.288

“Yes, the end of this system is so very near! Is that no 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

Are these false predictions or are they false prophecies? I believe that the answer lies in what The Watchtower claims about itself.

The Watchtower Society claims to speak for Jehovah. They claim they are the only ones through whom Jehovah speaks today. They are His channel of communication to the world. They are the Faithful and Discreet Slave. Therefore what the Watchtower publishes it publishes in the name of Jehovah. What the Watchtower says it says in the name of Jehovah. When the Watchtower says do not have blood, do not celebrate birthdays or Christmas etc it speaks for Jehovah. When the Watchtower gives a date, the faithful JWs believe the date comes from Jehovah. So when they get things wrong… They do so in the name of Jehovah.

They claim to be directed by holy spirit:
“We will also increase our joy if we prayerfully and diligently study God’s spirit – inspired Word and Christian publications prepared under the spirit’s guidance.” Watchtower 1992 Mar 15 pp.21-22

“When the time comes to clarify a spiritual matter in our day, holy spirit helps responsible representatives of the faithful and discreet slave at world headquarters to discern deep truths that were not previously understood. (Matt. 24:45; 1 Cor. 2:13) The Governing Body as a whole considers adjusted explanations. (Acts 15:6) What they learn, they publish for the benefit of all.” Watchtower 2010 Jul 15 pp.22-23

They claim that Jehovah is the author of Watchtower publications:
“The Watchtower is not the instrument of any man or set of men, nor is it published according to the whims of men. No man’s opinion is expressed in The Watchtower. God feeds his own people, and surely God uses those who love and serve him according to his own will. Those who oppose The Watchtower are not capable of discerning the truth that God is giving to the children of his organization, and this is the very strongest proof that such opposers are not of God’s organization.” Watchtower 1931 Nov 1 p.327

Publications come via the ‘Faithful & Discreet Slave’. They are Jehovah’s mouthpiece and what they say is to be believed as coming from Jehovah himself:

“We need to obey the faithful and discreet slave to have Jehovah’s approval.” Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.24 Simplified English Edition

“[A mature christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.” Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14

There is no doubt that when a Jehovah’s Witness reads ‘faithful and discreet slave’ approved Watchtower publications, they believe they are being fed spiritual food at the proper time (Matthew 24:45). They believe all that is said without question. When Watchtower publications have suggested dates for the ‘end of the world’ faithful Witnesses have believed it. Their so called ‘false predictions’ has detrimentally affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, The Watchtower refuses to accept any responsibility for those who ‘misunderstood’ that the dates were only spoken of as ‘possible’ not definite!

“Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’ Never did they say, ‘These are the words of Jehovah.'” Awake! 1993 Mar 22 p.4

If only they would reflect upon the following words from their own Awake magazine:

“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 guiding and using them.”
Awake! 1968 Oct 8 p.23

They were guilty of false prophesying…

“However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it.” Deuteronomy 18:20-22

Jesus said: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)

Question: Honest mistakes or False Prophets? Answer: FALSE PROPHETS


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Categorised in: False Prophecies, Watchtower Magazine

9 Responses »

  1. Excellent article. I have a Word document to send to you about the latest “new light” on the Faithful and Discrete Slave. I will attempt to email you seperately. Lesley.

  2. All watchdog groups have Jehovah Witness listed as a cult. What they teach is abundant Watchtower man made doctrines that are *fitted* to Biblical context. As one of their Watchtower founders (Franz) was quoted as saying ” our goal is to have complete control of our members.
    The Jehovah’s Witness cult is an insidious organization that calls itself “Christian” yet it denies the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel and Bible. In other words, it is a fraud that sucks many families into its vortex of deception and chaos. It’s a typical smug religious organization that is self-righteous and full of error.
    Danny Haszard dannyhaszard(dot)com

    (The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian World )

    • you are an apostate…all these comments are not objective. is it a surprise you say they are false prophets a BIG NOO.why because even when Jesus was on earth people of your kind and sort attempted to distract him. eventually your master-Satan the Devil also attempted to sidetrack him, be careful cos u are seriously misguided..if not hopelessly.

  3. A very good commentary. Very helpful. I wonder how this is going down with JWs and if some may now be looking for someone to talk to about their continuing disappointment.

  4. Expectations…. Yeah, and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

  5. Great article. If it is of use to anyone, I did a HIGH ENERGY video on this issue pointing out the Double Standards held by the BORG!

    Blessings from TheSnarkyApologist

  6. Jw’s r real cult members,the prblm is in our countries[3rd wrld]., they dont realise this. They preach what they dnt practise, e.g. “blood transfussion is a sin” more than 3 people i knw hv bin lyf saved by that “sin” who are jws,

    • Greetings,

      As a rule our literature uses the term “cult” exactly as scholarly works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias do. They have addressed the problem of destructive “cults” and how others have deceptively applied the term to Jehovah’s Witnesses as you can see in the three articles I reproduce in part below.

      Now, calling Jehovah’s Witnesses a “cult” in the common pejorative sense is just a biased ad hominem attack. Calling any other religion a “cult” is just a simple minded method of prejudicing others so that they will not use their reasoning and look at the real facts.

      The Jews also accused Jesus of breaking the Law and doing Satan’s works (Mt 9:34; 12:24; 26:65).

      After Jesus’ death and resurrection, his disciples were likewise the target of serious accusations (Acts 17:6; 16:20; 24:5,6)

      “For truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”—Acts 28:22.

      So it is not surprising when prejudiced individuals try to sway gullible people with false insinuations attacking Jehovah’s Witnesses as the True Christian congregation today.

      At it’s inception true Christianity was labeled a cult by non-Christians. In the End Times it is labeled a cult by false Christians.

      At every point in history True Christianity has been labeled a cult by the majority.

      In actuality, Jehovah’s Witnesses can PROVE that all their beliefs are from God’s Word. And their only leader is Christ Jesus and they do not follow any human. On the other hand, other religions have proven that they have rejected Biblical teachings and they do not imitate Christ. Instead they follow human teachers. So these “mainstream” religions are more accurately described as “cults.”

      For example:

      The true Church would not be in the majority (Mt.7:13,14), but would be condemned as a “sect” and a “cult” (Ac.24:14; 28:22).

      A primary sign of a cult is that they want to isolate their members from outside information. Yet, to be a Witness you are REQUIRED TO talk to people of all religions, including ministers and scholars, who will challenge your beliefs and force you to continue to research your own beliefs and support them from the Bible. No Witness can escape being confronted by opposing arguments, anti-Witness accusations etc. Outside of the admonition to avoid hate literature, Witnesses are never asked to avoid talking to those who don’t agree with them.

      However, other religions constantly discourage and outright tell their members not to talk to JWs. So who really deserve the “cult” description?!!

      On the other hand, how do other religions rate on the “mind control” issue? We are constantly faced with people of other religions who cannot explain their own beliefs, and know nothing about arguments against their doctrine.

      Cults cannot support their belief from the Bible and so the majority of their members always lack the ability to give evidence from the Scriptures. This is a good description of Christendom, but virtually EVERY Witness can give a Scriptural reason for what they believe.

      Another tool of cults is misrepresentation and avoidance of facts. Even when people of other religions are told to talk to us they are often encouraged to use emotive accusations rather then a discussion of Scriptural themes–such as dismissing others as a “cult.” So Witnesses are not the ones’ using “mind control.”

      And when it comes to “controlling” people both Catholics and Protestants tortured and burnt people who disagreed with them. Today their main tactic is to keep their flock ignorant and use social pressures and prejudice.

      Therefore Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a cult!

      Actually, Jehovah’s Witnesses are protected from following any man because their teachings are Bible based. On the other hand, the facts regarding Jim Jones demonstrate that other religions are the ones who are at the greatest risk of blindly following their religious leaders or being swayed by a cult leader like Jones.

      If you read the Wikipedia article you would see that Jones was supported by several “traditional” churches such as Methodists, Baptists and Disciples of Christ. It is a fact that many mainstream religions continued to send their members to Jones for his recovery and rehab programs even after his move to Guyana.

      While Jehovah’s Witnesses openly warn against false religions other churches agree with the comments of one major religion regarding Jim Jones’ ministry. They stated that it would: “take no steps to pass “judgment on a congregation’s ministry.” Other religions constantly state that “any church can become affiliated merely by holding a basic belief in Christ as Savior.”

      Through extensive study individual Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to trust the accuracy of the information the Watchtower presents. Through experience they have proven that all True Christians are associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses and this organization is the only one which gives solid evidence of being God’s congregation. So, we do not blindly follow any organization but we also recognize those who give evidence of accurate Biblical teaching and are obedient to them (Heb.13:17,24; 1 Thes. 5:12; 1Cor.16:16)

      When we see how weak, unreasonable, illogical, and downright false these other opposing arguments and beliefs are then we are even more convinced that we have the Truth and are part of the Christ’s True “Church” today (Dan.12:3; Mat.13:39-43).

      David Hume said: “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” And this is what we should do when someone calls another religion a “cult” or “false prophets.”

      All we have to do is quickly point out that other religions are willing to go shoot members of their own church in war, allow fornication, disagree on doctrine and even remove the Divine Name from God’s Word & etc. All of these things result in God’s curse upon anyone who makes common cause with such imitation Christians (Mat.15:7,8; 23:27; 1Cor.6:9,10; Rm.1:24-32; Rev. 22:18,19).

      All Witnesses do is to invite others to do the same, critically examine your beliefs in light of the plain and explicit teaching of Scripture and the evidence in the actions of your religion and its members, then choose to follow Christ closely (Rom.10:1-3; Eph.1:17).



      • adwoa,

        You chose to ignore what Pastor Tony wrote about the Watchtower being found to be a false prophet . You apparently wanted to convince everyone that the Watchtower is not a cult . The word ” cult” is a hot button term , and so I don’t use it myself when talking with a member of the Watchtower organization . I tell people that Jw’s belong to a powerful autocratic religious organization whose leaders oppress and have deceived them. In short , the Watchtower is a false prophet led organization . Jesus warned about being alert for such prophets in the last days — Matt 24:11 .

        Let’s look at some things you said . You said :

        ” In actuality ,Jw’s can prove that all their beliefs are from God ‘s Word .And their only leader is Christ Jesus and they do not follow any human . ”


        ” Through extensive study individual Jw’s have come to trust the accuracy of the information the Watchtower presents ….. So we do not blindly follow any organization but we also recognize those who give evidence of accurate Biblical teaching and are obedient to them .”

        Statements like these are simply false advertising . I realize you are sincere in believing such , but you are sincerely misled .

        Jw’s in fact do follow the teachings of ,not a man , but a small group of men in Brooklyn N.Y. who claim to be God’s channel of communication to man .
        Jw’s have been told that they cannot interpret the Bible for themselves as individuals [W.t. 10-1967 p 587 ] . Thus whatever a Jw believes is because their leaders ( Gov Body ) have told them it is ” Bible based ” . But sadly since their leaders have not been sent by Jehovah to teach the result has been a pattern of false predictions and doctrinal flip flops which Jw’s have blindly received lest they invite Jehovah’s anger . Sad .

        You said Jw’s can prove all their beliefs from God’s Word . That is not a new claim . Years ago Watchtower members like yourself said the very same thing about Jesus having returned in 1874 because your leaders told you it was ” Bible based ” truth . [ Watchtower of 3-1-1923 p 67 ] .
        Same thing for other dates that Watchtower members were told to take door to door . The year 1925 was said to be :
        ” … a date definitely and clearly marked in the scriptures , even more clearly than that of 1914 .” [ W.t. 7-15-1924 p 211 ] .

        You mentioned that individual Jw’s through extensive study have come to trust the accuracy of the information the Watchtower presents .
        However , what individual Jw’s do is merely relay whatever comes from Brooklyn , to doubt or criticize it is to succumb to ” independent thinking ” which is a no no [ W.t. 1-15-1983 p 27 ] . That is why Jw’s for years would not accept an organ transplant if they needed one , because they listened to Brooklyn and not the scriptures .

        Concerning presenting an accurate interpretation of the Scriptures , the W.t. “slave” has proven to be a very poor choice to trust as a consistently reliable guide . An examination of the “slave’s” teaching track record reveals that fact .

        A few examples :

        Lives were damaged by following the men in Brooklyn because at one time it was taught to be against God’s law to receive a vaccination . Years later, Jw’s refused organ transplants and again needlessly suffered .

        Rev 9 :11 mentions ” Abaddon / Apollyon ” . The Watchtower taught for years Abaddon was Satan ; but then that was changed and now Abaddon is Jesus .

        For man many years the Watchtower taught as Bible based truth that Jesus died on a cross , but that was changed . The Watchtower taught that celebrating a child’s birthday anniversary was ok ; but now that is forbidden .

        The Watchtower once taught as Bible based truth that Jesus was not Michael the archangel ; but later that was changed .
        In W.t. publications it was taught that Adam would be granted a resurrection , but years later that teaching was changed .
        For decades the Watchtower claimed the meaning of “body ” mentioned in Matt 26:26 was that it referred to Jesus’ Body the Christian congregation ; later that was changed to mean Jesus’ own body .
        It was taught for years that Jesus was not mediator for the church . But this was changed .

        The new Covenant — when will it be in operation ?
        – it takes place in the future [ W.t June 1880 p 10 ]
        – it is now in force[ W.t. 8-15-1901 ]
        – it’s a future event [ W.t. 1-1-1907 ]
        – it has already been inaugurated [ W.t. 5-1-1934 p 133 ]

        The men of Sodom , will they receive a resurrection ?
        – yes [ W.t July 1879 p 8 ]
        – no [ W.t. 6-1-1952 p 338 ]
        – yes [ W.t. 8-1-1965 p 479 ]

        There are many more examples but this shows that the W.t. “slave” is not trustworthy as a guide . Incredibly , the very identity of the “slave” has once again been changed [ W.t. 7-15-2013 ] . The men in Brooklyn you follow can’t even get that doctrine straight !!!!

        adwoa , you are in danger . The Bible teaches there is a consequence that comes with following false prophets — Isa 9:16 .

        My prayer for you is that you will come to discover that you simply don’t need the men in Brooklyn as authorities over you . Be loyal to Jehovah and dismiss the Watchtower .You can read and interpret the Bible for yourself . If you will do this you will see what the Father’s new arrangement for gaining His approval and life everlasting is — it centers on Jesus , not an organization . Jesus stands ready to hear your call to him asking him to be your personal Savior . Call upon his name today ( Acts 22:16 ) . It’s the Father’s will that you come directly to His Son — Matt 11;28 . Then the Father will accept you , and the result is a very intimate fellowship with Jesus and the Father will commence , that is the heart of the Christian life — 1 Cor 1:9 ; 1 Jn 1:3 .

        Praying for you

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