Section 11... Cults/
Jehovah’s Witnesses


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Jehovah’s Witnesses

(History And Beliefs of the Watch Tower )

Compilation from various sources particularly ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses.. Witnessing to the Witnesses’ by Pat Zukeran.

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. Acts 13:2


The Jehovah's Witnesses are one of the most aggressive and fastest growing cults. They have today a worldwide organization that numbers about 3.5 million members operating in 205 countries. Several factors account for this rapid growth. The first is their zealous door-to-door evangelism. Their missionary forces are the best trained in evangelism of all the cults and very few Christians are aware of any details of the false doctrines they propagate and the fact that they have re-written their Bible to back up their teachings. Therefore few are able to refute their teachings through Scripture and is very confusing to new Christians and those not well grounded in the reasons for their belief. It is a shame that most Christians and pastors are not sufficiently aware of the Witnesses history, doctrines and methods to deal intelligently with them. Most non-witnesses view them as Christian which they very definitely are not. The fervent denunciations against false prophets in the OT are routinely applied to Christian pastors. (See, for example, ‘Paradise restored’; p. 307 and ‘The Nations Shall Know That I am Jehovah-How?’ pp. 6,10.

The result is the Witnesses continue unchallenged in the propagation of their organization and deceive many. The rise of the cults is a fulfillment of the prophetic warnings given by Jesus and the Apostles. The Witnesses have mushroomed into a huge organization, which produces more literature in one year than the Christian and Catholic churches combined. In 1975 the Watchtower yearbook (p.32) listed for 1974 a print run of 51,663,097 bound books, 18,239,169 booklets and almost half a million Watchtower and Awake magazines. These two magazines have a combined yearly circulation of over 600,000,000 in some 150 languages, outselling Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report combined.

Borrowed Beliefs and Doctrines
Charles T. Russell (1852-1916) founded the Jehovah's Witnesses movement. As a teenager he rejected his Presbyterian roots, joined a more liberal Congregational Church, then left this group as well.  He denied the deity of Christ and the Biblical teachings on hell and eternal punishment. Russell had no formal Bible training, but borrowed and built upon various teachings that were popular at the time. His denial of hell was influenced by Adventism, and a group led by N.H. Barbour aroused his interest in end time prophecies. Barbour believed that Christ returned invisibly to the world in 1874, and that 1914 was the year the world would be destroyed and the Millennium would begin, a teaching that Russell began to spread. In 1879 Russell started his own magazine, Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence (now known as The Watchtower), to promote his doctrines. People were drawn to Russell's sensational end time predictions, and the organization grew.

In spite of his lack of formal training in theology or biblical languages, Russell claimed to be the only one with the truth, and he vigorously condemned all other Christian religions.

Rev. J. J. Ross published a pamphlet that exposed Russell's false claims and doctrines. He revealed that Russell "never attended the higher schools of learning; knows comparatively nothing of philosophy, systematic or historical theology; and is totally ignorant of the [Biblical] languages [i.e. Hebrew and Greek]".  Russell unsuccessfully tried to stop circulation of this damaging information by suing Rev. Ross for defamatory libel. However, Russell not only lost the suit, but, in the process perjured himself in court when he lied under oath about his knowledge of the Greek language. In the end Russell admitted the statements about him in the pamphlet were true.

In 1913, Russell unsuccessfully sued The Brooklyn Daily Eagle for libel when that paper exposed his fraudulent attempts to sell ordinary wheat at the exorbitant price of $60 a bushel, claiming it was "Miracle Wheat."

When Russell died in 1916 Joseph Franklin Rutherford, who taught that the only way to escape the impending judgment and destruction was to join the Watchtower organization, succeeded him.

Rutherford also used the threat of Armageddon to intimidate Jehovah's Witnesses, who re-doubled their efforts to sell Rutherford’s books and Watchtower literature especially after he published The Finished Mystery, a book that predicted that in 1918 God would destroy churches and millions of their members, and claimed that by 1920 every kingdom would be swallowed up in anarchy.

When the 1918 and 1920 predictions failed, Rutherford set a new date in his book titled Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1920). It taught that the millennium would start in 1925 and that Old Testament saints like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David would come back to life. The WT Society even built a luxurious Spanish mansion called Beth-Sarim (House of Princes), supposedly to house these patriarchs. In the meantime, however, Rutherford conveniently moved into the mansion. He also drove an expensive new car throughout the Great Depression, while rank and file Witnesses sold Watchtower books and pamphlets door-to-door, and worked at Bethel headquarters for $10 - $15 a month. Six years after Rutherford's death in 1942, the Old Testament saints still had not arrived, so the Society quietly sold "Beth Sarim," thus closing an embarrassing chapter in their predictive history. (1)

A brief chronology of some of  the Society's frequent changes to the year 1914 can be found below:

    1889 - Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Watchtower Society, teaches that Armageddon would occur in 1914. [Charles Taze Russell, Thy Time is at Hand, vol. 2 of Studies in the Scriptures (Allegheny, Pa: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1889), pp. 76-78, 98-99. The date 1914 was changed to 1915 in later editions. ]

    1950 - The Watchtower teaches that Christ returned to earth invisibly in 1914. ["Who Will Share in the Final Witness?" The Watchtower, January 15 (1950), p. 22.]

    1950 - The Watchtower emphasizes that the thirty-six years between 1914 and 1950 have drawn the world closer to Armageddon occurring before the generation alive in 1914 pass away. ["Use the Remaining Time Wisely," The Watchtower, November 15 (1950), p. 419.]

    1961 - The Society states, "The foretold events having begun A.D. 1914, the generation of mankind that is still alive from that year is the generation meant by Christ."  ["Hope of Survival Faces the Problem," The Watchtower, April 15 (1961), p. 236.]

    1967 - The Society changes the meaning of "generation" to include only those individuals who were alive in 1914 and able to view the events with understanding. ["Where are We According to God's Timetable?" The Watchtower, May 1 (1967), p. 262.]

    1968 - The Society specifies that the age of understanding is 15 or older, meaning that Armageddon will occur before all those who were 15 or older in 1914 have passed away. [Awake! October 8 (1968), pp. 13-14.]

    1984 - The Society extends the "generation of 1914" to include all individuals who were babies during that year. ["1914 - The Generation that will not Pass Away," The Watchtower, May 15 (1984), p. 5.]
    1988 - The Society states that a biblical generation consists of 75 years. ["The Last Days - What's Next?" Awake! April 8 (1988), p. 14.] Thus, 75 years from 1914 comes to 1989, marking the potential end of that generation.

    1988 - Later in 1988, the Society revises its definition of generation, referring to a range of 70-80 years. Thus, the "generation of 1914" could be extended until 1994.  [Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1, (New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1988), pp. 917-18]
    1995 - The Society redefines the term "generation of 1914" to refer to anyone who is alive at any time who can understand the spiritual significance of the date.  ["A Time to Keep Awake," The Watchtower, November 1 (1995), p. 19.] The "generation of 1914" can thus be extended indefinitely into the future.

Deviations from Biblical Christianity
Witnesses deviate from Biblical Christianity in several areas. Some of their major doctrinal errors being…

    They deny the Trinity. They believe there is one God, Jehovah and that Jesus is actually Michael the Archangel, the first of God's creation, who became flesh at the incarnation. After the resurrection, He returned to heaven as Michael the Archangel.

    The Holy Spirit is not God but an active force much like electricity or fire.

    Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Christ, but instead believe He was raised as a spirit and manifested Himself several times in different materialized bodies.

    They deny the existence of hell and eternal punishment, but believe in total annihilation after death

InPlainSite.org Note: The doctrine of the duration of Hell has been so strongly held throughout much of the history of Christianity that few have dared to challenge it. Adding to the reluctance has been the fact that most modern challenges have come from the cults. Thus, a person who dares to question the traditional viewpoint runs the risk of being labeled a cultist. However the deeper one delves into the subject the less persuasive the argument in favor of the traditional view become. See Hell

    Only the elite ruling class, the 144,000, are allowed to go to heaven. The faithful Jehovah's Witnesses remain unconscious after death till they are resurrected in the Millennium. Those who are not in the organization are annihilated after death. It seems that virtually all the 144,000 have already been selected, so that among the millions of Witnesses the average person today has virtually no expectation of being in the elect, have no desire to be ‘born again’ or go to heaven.

    Witnesses have a works-oriented salvation. Salvation is not based upon a relationship with Christ, but found in the organization. One must serve the society, and depending on one's faithfulness and absolute obedience, one may be saved.

    They believe that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 and established His throne in heaven. At Armageddon, God will destroy all evil, and abolish all the world's governments, and establish a new Paradise on earth. Then the living and resurrected Jehovah's Witnesses will inherit Paradise on earth. The afore-mentioned 144,000 will rule with Jesus. At this time all unbelievers who have died will be raised (with some exceptions) and will study under the Witnesses during the Millennium, a period of a thousand years. Studying with them will be the unbelievers who have survived Armageddon. After the thousand years, their faith will be tested because God will release Satan from the abyss. At that point all unbelievers will have to choose between Satan and Jehovah. Those who reject Jehovah will be annihilated. [See target="_blank" onClick='alert("ON-site link will open in a new window. To return here, simply close the new browser window.")'The 144,000]  

Also See
 What and Where is Heaven?! The message of Jesus' famous beatitude, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the land" can no longer be heard above the din of endless funeral sermons announcing that the dead have gone to heaven Most people believe that when we die we go to heaven, characterized by the never ending jokes about St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, waiting to admit the man of faith who has crossed the Jordan, and now in a vague state of disembodied blessedness, will dwell for all eternity with the immortals. However these popular ideas originate from Greek mythology, not Biblical theology, although we seem to have added a few details of our own... I doubt the Greeks were responsible for the clouds and harps. In one of the most solemn declarations of all time the Almighty God promised to give to Abraham an entire country yet traditional Christian theology has almost no interest in the land promised to Abraham. .

Tampering with Scripture
Since many of the Witness teachings are easily refuted by key verses in the King James Bible, President Knorr set out to publish his own version of the Bible for Jehovah's Witnesses to use (called the New World Translation…NWT), which blatantly alters many verses that show the errors of Watchtower teaching.

The single best example of this is John 1:1, which in the King James Version clearly declares Jesus' deity — "the Word was God." The WT Society denies the deity of Christ, so the NWT renders this phrase "the Word was a god." The WS quotes A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Dr. Mantey in support of their translation. When this was brought to Dr. Mantey’s notice he sent them a letter (dated July 11th 1974) in which he noted a number of their mistranslations and demanded they stop misquoting him.

[Also See The Deity of Christ.. Was He Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?]

Another example is found in the Old Testament book of Zechariah 12:10. Jehovah God is speaking and says, "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced". Christians through the ages have understood this as prophecy about the crucifixion. Recognizing that Jesus' fulfillment of this prophecy would mean that he is Jehovah God, the Watchtower Society has changed this verse in the NWT to read, "They will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through," thus eliminating another reference to the deity of Jesus Christ.

The Society made similar changes to many other verses relating to the deity of Christ (Colossians 1:16-20; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8) and has also altered verses that expose the WT Society's false teaching on subjects like the reality of eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46), and the personality of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:14-16; 1 Timothy 4:1; Jude 19). This gives Jehovah's Witnesses and potential converts the illusion that the Bible supports its erroneous doctrines.

What is really astounding is that none of the men who worked on the translation committee had any formal training in Biblical languages, except for Frederick Franz. He was chairman of the committee and had studied Greek for two years at the University of Cincinnati without graduating, and was only self-taught in Hebrew.(6) The translation committee responsible for the NWT was kept anonymous… to cover up their total lack of scholarly qualifications?

False Prophecies of the Watch Tower
The Witnesses believe that salvation is found only in The Watch Tower Society, which is seen as the spokesman for God. However the Society has a long history of false prophecy…

When a Jehovah's Witness is asked if ‘they are prophets of God?’ Some say, "Yes." Others may say, "We are prophets in a sense." However there is no such thing as "a prophet in a sense." There are only true prophets and false prophets. Some may deny being prophets. (The April 1, 1972, Watch Tower article on page 297, states clearly that they are prophets.)

Sadly few Witnesses seem to have a clear idea of what makes a true prophet and a false prophet. However the Bible is not in the least bit ambiguous about false prophets and what should be done to them. God’s criterion for a true prophet is spelled out in very definite terms... [Also See False Prophets]

     “But a prophet who presumes to speak in My Name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message that the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him”. Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

Note that it also says that a false prophet who predicts future things, which do not come to pass, should be put to death.

    The 1889 issue, "The Time is at Hand," page 101 states, "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 ruler- ship, is already commenced." This 1914 prediction of Christ's return never came true.

    Then the Watch Tower predicted that Christ would return in 1925. The 1918 issue of, "Millions Now Living Will Never Die," p. 89 states, "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." This proved to be another false prophecy.

    The Watch Tower made a third prophecy of the return of Christ; this one was to occur in 1975. The August 15, 1968, issue of, Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?, p. 494, predicted the return of Christ in 1975. When 1975 came and went many Witnesses realized God was not leading the WT Society and left the organization. The leaders of the WTB&TS refused to admit they had been wrong about 1975, and instead told disillusioned members to "adjust their viewpoint."(2) (These articles can be looked up in their church library)

    Another interesting prophecy is found on page 154 of their book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. Here they state, "Some of the generation living in 1914 will see the end of the system of things and survive it." From 1914 to the year 2002 is 88 years. How many people do you know who are over 88 years old? In a very few years, the Watch Tower will again have another false prophecy.

The record of the Watch Tower's false prophecies is damning evidence, however the Society has responded by publishing articles and books in which they admit they have made mistakes in their historical predictions and doctrinal teaching. They excuse these errors by attributing them to human fallibility and by saying the WT Society has never claimed to be inspired by God. (3) This is deceptively untrue as past Watchtower magazines are referred to as "God's message," and have carried instructions from Jehovah in quotation marks. Consider the following quotes from Watchtower literature:

     "Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it." (The Watchtower, February 15, 1983, p. 12) "Thus, when direction comes from Jehovah's organization, we can wisely submit to it, knowing full well that Jehovah will only lead us in a way that will be to our everlasting benefit." (The Watchtower, November 1, 1990, p. 30.)

As recently as August 1, 1995 the Watchtower magazine stated, "Jehovah particularly teaches his people by means of a weekly study of the Bible, using The Watchtower as a teaching aid.”  In 1943, WT Vice President Frederick Franz, and President Nathan H. Knorr provided the following testimony under oath in a court of law that the content of The Watchtower comes directly from God.

Cross-examination of Frederick W. Franz in the case of Olin Moyle v. WTB&TS, 1943, Sections #2596-2597, p. 866.

    Q. At any rate, Jehovah God is now the editor of the paper [The Watchtower], is that right?
    A. He is today the editor of the paper.

    Q. How long has He been editor of the paper?
    A. Since its inception he has been guiding it.

Cross-examination of Nathan Homer Knorr in the case of Olin Moyle v. WTB&TS, 1943, Section #4421, p. 1474.

    Q. In fact, it [The Watchtower] is set forth directly as God's Word, isn't it?
    A. Yes, as His word.

    Q. Without any qualification whatsoever?
    A. That is right.

Many people remain unaware of these damaging facts, and the Witnesses continue to grow in number, distributing massive amounts of deceptive literature. In spite of its past failures and recent claims to not be inspired, the WT Society still demands complete loyalty and continues to predict Armageddon is coming soon with sure annihilation for anyone who does not join the organization or leaves its ranks. Even with a history marred by manipulation and false prophecies, the WT Society still claims to be the only one teaching the truth.

The Name of God
Jehovah's Witnesses state that God's true name is "Jehovah." They say the term "God," is merely a title, and that the real name for God is "Jehovah." In fact they go so far as to say that unless one calls on the true name of God, "Jehovah," one cannot be saved.

However the term "Jehovah" is actually a erroneous reading of the Hebrew pronunciation of God, or YAHWEH. The words in the Hebrew Old Testament contained no vowels. The words were constructed of consonant letters only. The Scribes knew what vowels to use in the pronunciation of the words by the construction of the consonants, the context, and memory. It was written this way until the fifth century when the Masoretes added the vowels under the consonants in their version of the Old Testament known as the Masoretic Text.

The name of God in the Old Testament spelled YHWH, was considered holy, and was not to be read aloud. Instead, when the Hebrews came upon YHWH, they would say ADONAY, which means "Lord." In order to indicate this substitution, the Masoretes placed the vowels of ADONAY or the English equivalent of e, o, and a under the consonants of YHWH. Later Christian translators mistakenly combined the vowels of ADONAY with the consonants of YHWH producing the word "Jehovah." The term is recognized to be a late hybrid form never used by the Jews.

    Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: "Jehovah" -- False reading of the Hebrew YAHWEH.

    Encyclopedia Americana: "Jehovah" -- erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel. 

    Encyclopedia Britannica: The Masoretes who from the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah came into being.

    The Jewish Encyclopedia: "Jehovah" -- a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible. 

    The New Jewish Encyclopedia: It is clear that the word Jehovah is an artificial composite.

    According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, p. 680, vol. 7, "the true pronunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH was never lost. The name was pronounced Yahweh. It was regularly pronounced this way at least until 586 B.C., as is clear from the Lachish Letters written shortly before this date."

In light of the fact that God has called Himself by many names such as, King of Kings, the Lion of Judah, the Alpha and the Omega etc. it is amazing that anyone can insist Jehovah (a false name anyway) is the true name of God and that one is saved only if he calls on that name. By Jehovah’s Witness reasoning since the Jews of the Old Testament did not say the name of God aloud and therefore did not call on Him by name even Abraham and Moses were not saved.

The Bodily Resurrection of Christ

Witnesses believe that Christ's crucified body was disintegrated by Jehovah never to exist again. Accordingly, Jesus was raised as a spirit who then materialized and appeared in several different fleshly bodies as the angels had done. Indeed, it was in this form that He appeared to His disciples; i.e., He wasn't in a human body; He just appeared to be human. He ascended into heaven as a spirit and once again became Michael the Archangel. (4)

In Luke 24:36-43, Jesus clearly states in verse 39 that He is not a spirit but a man of flesh and bone. He even ate with the disciples and in John 20:24-27 He shows Thomas His wounds, all of which goes to prove that He was not a spirit but had a physical body. He is very clearly demonstrating to His disciples that the body previously on the cross had been resurrected. If Jesus had a different body than the one on the cross, He would have been deliberately deceiving the disciples.

For Details See What and Where is Heaven?

In John 2:19-21 Jesus says, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." See Acts 2:26-27, another prophecy of the Messiah's bodily resurrection. Clearly the prophecies and Jesus' appearances prove a bodily resurrection.

Witnesses cite 1 Peter 3:18 and 1 Cor. 15:44-50 to back up their belief. In 1 Peter 3:18 we read, "Christ died once and for all... he being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the spirit." This verse says that Jesus was raised by the Spirit of God who gives life. Romans 8:11 states that the Holy Spirit was involved in raising Jesus from the dead. Jesus was not raised as a spirit but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Witnesses refer to 1 Cor. 15:50, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." And claim that since Jesus is in heaven He must be a spirit. While they are correct in saying that the earthly body cannot enter heaven. Luke 24:39 says that when Jesus rose, He had a glorified body. Therefore, He can dwell in heaven because of His glorified state. According to 1 Cor 15:39, "All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another.... There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies." While we with our finite and limited understanding may not be able to understand what exactly a ‘glorified body’ is Scripture makes it very obvious that Christ's glorified body allows Him to travel in both earthly and heavenly dimensions.

Some verses indicate that Christ exists in heaven in bodily form. "For in him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" Colossians 2:9. The verb "dwells" in the Greek is katoikei, and is in the present tense. In other words, Jesus has a glorified body in heaven, the one that was resurrected. Note also 1 Timothy 2:5, "There is one God and one mediator, the man Christ Jesus." The verb "is," is also a present tense verb. Jesus cannot be both a man and Michael the Archangel? 

See  Did Jesus Claim to be God?

The Deity of the Holy Spirit.
The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person because they see the Holy Spirit as a force--much like electricity or fire. In their book ‘You Can Live Forever In Paradise on Earth’, they state, "As for the `Holy Spirit,' the so-called third person of the Trinity, we have already seen that this is not a person but God's active force."

In their magazine ‘Why Should You Believe in the Trinity’? They state, "To a certain extent it (Holy Spirit) can be likened to electricity, a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations."(5)

The Holy Spirit can be lied to

In Acts 5 Ananaias and Sapphira lied to the church about the amount they sold their land for and the amount they gave to the church. Peter confronts them on this issue and states in 5:3, "Ananaias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit...?" Peter later states in the next verse, "You have not lied to men but to God." Here the Holy Spirit is called "God" with a capital G both in our Bibles and in the Witnesses' Bible. It stands to reason that you can only lie to an intelligence or a person and not to a force like fire or electricity.

The Holy Spirit Speaks

In Acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit speaks, "While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, `Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'" When was the last time electricity or fire spoke to you? It is obvious only an intelligent person can communicate in language.

The Holy Spirit can be grieved

Ephesians 4:30 states, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." Any logical person should realize you can only grieve a living being. How can you grieve or bring sorrow to an impersonal force like electricity?

When you put all these facts together, the fact that the Holy Spirit is called God, He can be lied to, He speaks, and He can be grieved, the evidence shows that the Holy Spirit is a person, not an inanimate force. It is difficult to see how anyone can refute these verses.

Doctrinal Contradictions and Flip-Flops
The WT Society claims to be Jehovah's organization and God's only channel of spiritual instruction for today. (7) That only the WS receives divine illumination to its meaning. It stresses that the Bible is an "organizational book" and cannot be understood by individuals no matter how sincere they are. In other words the Bible is, for all practical purposes, useless without it. But how can we trust our eternal destiny to an organization that during its brief time in existence has accumulated such a woeful history of doctrinal contradictions and flip-flops? Consider the following examples of ever-changing Watchtower theology.

In 1975 the WTB&TS taught that the man who sows the seed in the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13) is Satan. Later that same year the WT Society taught that this sower was Jesus. (Man's Salvation Out Of World Distress. . . (1975), p. 208; The Watchtower, October 1, 1975, p. 600)

A similar incident occurred in 1978, when the WTB&TS identified the "Alpha and Omega" of Revelation 22:12-13 as Jehovah (that is, God the Father), and then five weeks later taught these verses referred to Jesus. (Awake! August 22, 1978, p. 28; The Watchtower, October 1, 1978, p. 15)

The Watchtower Society's failure to correctly interpret the Bible is most clearly seen in their doctrinal flip-flops. First they teach position A, then they change to position B, claiming God has given them "new light." Later on, however, they revert back to their old teaching (position A) and in some cases change once again to position B. Here are some examples.

Resurrection of the Men of Sodom

      1879 - They will be resurrected.
      1952 - They will not be resurrected.
      1965 - They will be resurrected.
      1988 - They will not be resurrected.

Zion's Watch Tower Reprints, July 1879, p. 7; The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p. 338; August 1, 1965, p. 479; June 1, 1988, pp. 30-31. )

The 'Lord' in Romans 10:12-16

      1903 - 'Lord' refers to Jesus.
      1940 - 'Lord' refers to Jehovah.
      1978 - 'Lord' refers to Jesus.
      1980 - 'Lord' refers to Jehovah.

(Zion's Watch Tower Reprints, December 1, 1903, p. 3282; The Watchtower, July 1, 1940, p. 200; May 1, 1978, p. 12; February 1, 1980, p. 16. )

'Higher Powers' of Romans 13:1

      1916 - 'Higher powers' refers to governments.
      1943 - 'Higher powers' refers to Jehovah God & Jesus Christ.
      1964 - 'Higher powers' refers to governments.

 Watch Tower Reprints, September 1, 1916, p. 5952; The Truth Shall Make You Free, [1943 ed.], p. 312;
The Watchtower, June 15, 1964, p. 20. (The WT Society admitted this change in doctrine cost many Jehovah's Witnesses their lives)

(The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, p. 44127 The Watchtower, August 1, 1919, p. 238;
Jehovah's Witnesses — Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, pp. 163-164; The Watchtower, October 15, 1995, p. 19, 22-23.

 Separating 'sheep and goats' (Matt. 25:31-46)

      1919 - will take place after the time of tribulation.
      1923 - is taking place now, before the tribulation.
      1995 - will take place after the tribulation.

The Watchtower, August 1, 1919, p. 238; Jehovah's Witnesses — Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, pp. 163-164; The Watchtower, October 15, 1995, p. 19, 22-23.

Blood Transfusions
No one knows how many Witnesses have let their lives or the lives of their children go due to the Watchtowers ban on blood transfusions. The number is in the thousands who have literally bled to death in obedience to the Watchtower. They believe that transfusions are a violation of God’s ‘law’ and can result in eternal death. It is better to die physically and at least have the hope of recreation. Among other passages the Watchtower cites Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:14 as proof. However these scriptures have nothing to do with transfusions for medical purposes but refer to animal blood in sacred Old Testament sacrifices. The reason for the prohibition is given in Leviticus 17:11; the blood of the animals used in sacrifice is sacred and since ‘the life of a creature is in the blood” it must be respected and not eaten. Even Orthodox Jews who hold to strict Old Testament laws, and who certainly know how to translate the OT more accurately than the Watchtower accept the practice of blood transfusions. 

The Watchtower Society also once denied immunizations as being against God’s ‘law’ but years later (in 1952) changed their minds.

Too many Witnesses avoid examining works critical of the Society. Leadership has told them that their eternal lives are at stake if they are deceived by the devils false teachings. (This also ensures that they hear only what Society leaders want them to hear and is typical of most cults). However the Watchtower Society website, “Do you know the truth?” April 1 1999 asks “Am I genuinely interested in learning the truth of God’s word? Or am I afraid of what a careful investigation might reveal?” The Society cannot expect it’s membership to engage in careful investigation’ and simultaneously prohibit them from reading other material. Only people with something to hide and fear demand intolerance towards responsible opposition literature.

Jehovah's Witnesses truly believe that if they leave the Watchtower Society they will be destroyed at Armageddon. Sadly the Witnesses are lost sheep who have been deceived by an organization with a history of false prophecies and false doctrines. An organization which is the ‘Ravening Lion’. Evidently neither Russell’s nor Rutherford’s lives were shining examples of Christian character and the legacy continues.



1. Fred Franz, a past president of the WTB&TS, quoted Rutherford as saying regarding his own predictions: "I know I made an ass of myself." Cited by Raymond Franz in Crisis of Conscience, p. 137

2. The Watchtower, July 15, 1976, p. 441. Four years later the Society admitted they were responsible for "the buildup of hopes centered on that date" (The Watchtower, March 15, 1980, pp. 17-18; see also Jehovah's Witnesses — Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, WTB&TS, 1993, pp. 633, "time calculations and the expectations that they associated with these gave rise to serious disappointments." 

3. See, for example, Jehovah's Witnesses — Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, WTB&TS, 1993, pp. 626, 632-635, 709; Awake!, March 22, 1993, pp. 3-4.

4. 13. Live Forever, pp. 143-45.  

5. 16. Should You Believe in the Trinity? (Brooklyn: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1989), p. 20.

6. Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, footnote p. 50

7. The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, p. 590


Index To Jehovah’s Witnesses