Although on three occasions I have given in The Differentiator brief reviews of parts of the New World Version of the Bible, it must not be inferred that I agree with the teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses," so called. On the whole the Version was quite a good one, even though it was padded with many English words which had no equivalent in the Greek or Hebrew.
The teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses seems to be centred round a few outstanding matters mentioned in Scripture, such as the battle of Armageddon, the casting out of Satan from heaven, the "kingdom of God," which last seems far more like a glorification of the Witnesses themselves than of God.
In their regular publications will be found extremely little real Bible teaching. There is not much attempt to shew forth the glories of Christ, but the Witnesses themselves get great glory by being called "Jehovah's theocratic organization." A boast has even been made that this great organization is "unbreakable." Perhaps they have already forgotten their past ruptures.
In Canada the "Church Times" has published a statement
concerning the Witnesses,
"I admire your zeal in trying to forward your beliefs. I am sure you are a sincere person. But I cannot accept your literature. You preach a cruel and unreasonable god who is going to sweep most of his children away in a horrible battle of Armageddon while you Witnesses stand aside and look on. I don't believe that you will really like to look at such a wicked thing. You are too kind for that. Yet you make out that God is not good and kind. He destroys his own children, not because they are morally bad, but rather because they do not join Jehovah's Witnesses. You would not treat your children like that. So you are better than the god you preach.
For ages he has known, according to you, that he was going to have this horrible battle of Armageddon, and yet he has gone on making more children to be destroyed. I want nothing to do with such a god. If you go on preaching him, you will get to be like him, cruel and unreasonable. You Witnesses consider this world hopeless and so you leave it to perish. You make no effort to help the suffering by supporting hospitals, orphanages or other works of mercy. You take no part in seeing that we have good, honest government.
"I believe in the true God, the God of love, not in your old god of hate. I believe in the gospel—that means the good news that God loves us and cares for us. I do not believe your message of bad news. I know what the true God is like. Your unreasonable god is not one bit like Jesus, who went about doing good, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and himself died for us on the Cross instead of destroying us. You are too good a person to be a Jehovah's Witness. Be a witness for Jesus and the God of love. Spread his good news of the gift of eternal life here and hereafter."
A fairly recent issue of "The Watchtower" contained the following bombastic announcement: "The ransomed spiritual remnant have returned to Zion, Jehovah's theocratic organization. Behind them there have trooped hundreds of thousands who want to worship this God of the remnant, this Creator of an organization that is filled with such paradisaic admirableness. It is an organization that resounds with joyfulness and with praises to the adorable God. It is an organization of spiritual health and strength and activity. It is an organization that is free from what is foolish in God's sight, free from God-denying fools,and free from fear of any fierce beastliness in its membership. It is walking on the Way of Holiness, keeping itself free from partnership with this unholy world and unsoiled by any spots from It. Spiritual barrenness is not found there, neither the spiny, injurious growths of cursed ground."
Christian believers all the world over belong to the "Body of Christ," the "Church of God." Yet we hear not of Jehovah's Witnesses calling themselves members of these. For them to call themselves "Jehovah's theocratic organization" is an insult to God, who cannot look down on believers who are not members of their "organization."
The "Purpose of the Watchtower" states that it occupies a vantage point, "for it is founded on the very pinnacle of wisdom, God's Word." Further, "It sees things Scripturally," and "It is not dogmatic, but has a confident ring in its voice, because it is based on God's Word."
Yes, it has a very confident ring in its voice, and certainly knows many things never even mentioned in Scripture. For example one issue in early 1959 says, "All the Scripture prophecies and related facts prove that the Kingdom was set up in the heavens in the year 1914 (A.D.)." Of course, not one shred of proof is given. Instead, a reference is made to an issue of "Zion's Watch Tower" in 1883, just as though this was Scripture. Another wild statement is that "In 1919 the war in heaven was over. It had ousted Satan and his demons and had hurled them down to the earth. So Jehovah's victorious King, Jesus Christ, performed the part of a modern Cyrus the Great. He freed the remnant of Jehovah's witnesses from their Babylonish captivity, restored them to their acceptable relationship with God, "and ere long" they were proclaiming the 'golden age' the age of Paradise, the earth's future paradise."
All this is sheer and wild imagination. Satan and his followers will be cast out of heaven during Daniel's seventieth "week," and that will be in the Day of the Lord, Yom Yehweh. John came to be, in spirit, in the Lordly Day, the Day of the Lord, just before he wrote the Revelation. Ch. 12:7-9 tells of the battle in heaven, at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. If Satan was ejected from heaven in 1919, he would at once have persecuted the Woman (Israel) who brought forth the male (Rev. 12:13). It seems, however, that Satan had instead been greatly persecuting Jehovah's Witnesses.
Another very false statement is as follows: "Since the setting up of the heavenly kingdom in 1914 and since the coming of Jehovah and his Messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ, to the spiritual temple in 1918, the dead apostles and other spirit-begotten Christians who died faithful prior to those events have been resurrected. Jesus was used to resurrect these world conquerors from the dead (John 6:54-57)." Not an atom of proof is given, and the reference to John 6 is quite irrelevant. On the same page we read that shortly after those faithful dead Christians were resurrected into the heavenly "Paradise of God," the faithful remnant of spiritual Israelites were liberated from symbolic Babylon and brought into a spiritual paradise. Into this "spiritual paradise" a "great crowd" of "sheeplike adherents of spiritual Israel has already been brought." Yes; sheeplike.
Another wild statement is found in a pamphlet called "God's Kingdom Rules." "From 1920 onward Jehovah's witnesses exposed the League of Nations as being the 'abomination of desolation'" But the League of Nations cannot have been a man. Mark 13:14 proves that the Abomination of desolation is a "he." The Greek word for standing is masculine here (hestEkota) and we must read, "standing where he must not."
On the same page we are informed that the Times of the Gentiles are ended. Indeed? So then the State of Jordan does not hold one part of Jerusalem any longer? Jordan is a Gentile State, not a Hebrew State. Luke 21:24 is very clear in its statement that "Jerusalem will be (something) trodden by Gentiles until seasons of Gentiles may be fulfilled." Jehovah's Witnesses are obliged to claim that the Times of the Gentiles ended in 1914, although not the slightest proof is given.
Then we are told of a manifesto issued after General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Turks in December, 1917. This was signed by eight well known clergymen in Britain, who stated that the present crisis pointed to the close of the Times of the Gentiles; that the revelation of the Lord might be expected at any moment; that the completed Church would be translated to be forever with the Lord; that Israel would be restored to Palestine in unbelief, and later be converted by the appearance of Christ; that all human schemes of reconstruction must be subsidiary to the Second Coming of the Lord, because all nations would be subject to His rule; that under the reign of Christ there would be a further great effusion of the Holy Spirit on all flesh. Even the public press in Britain thought these statements most significant, as the ministers were eminent and well known men.
Of course these very spiritual views greatly nettled the Jehovah's Witnesses. The clergymen shewed that they knew the Scriptures far better than did the Witnesses. I take off my hat to the clergymen, for their bold move in letting the public know what must soon happen.
The same pamphlet has the sheer audacity to proclaim that Matt. 24:34 (this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur) refers to that generation which saw the Gentile Times end (in 1914) amid World War 1. and the beginning of world sorrows in the world's destruction at Armageddon. When the Lord said "this generation," how could He have meant people living about seventy generations ahead? Probably Matt. 24:34 was at the root of those huge placards we saw years ago, "Millions now Living will never die," which statement turned out to be just another falsehood.
Jehovah's Witnesses are obliged to agree with the false teaching that "no man has ever seen God." In another article in this issue of The Differentiator I have demonstrated from the Scriptures that some human beings have seen God. I also dealt with this in articles in The Differentiator about ten years ago. Texts are read carelessly, or corrupted, and thus the truth is concealed. At 1. John 4:12 the New World version renders by "At no time has anyone beheld God." The Concordant Version is very much better, as "No one has ever gazed upon God." In the Greek it reads as "GOD no one has ever gazed upon." The meaning would thus be, God as GOD has no one ever gazed upon, or even better, no one has ever gone on gazing upon. Again, Exodus 33:20 is taken out of its context. Moses had asked to see Jehovah's glory (v. 18). Jehovah replied, "You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live" (New World version). Admittedly no human being could see Jehovah in His glory, any more than Paul could look on Christ in His glory (Acts 9). 1. Tim. 1:17 is also brought forward, to shew that God is invisible. Of course this IS true, now, but does not Scripture tell of some who shall see God?" But of course it is not likely that Jehovah's own WItnesses will quote Exodus 24:9-10 from their own version: "And Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the older men of Israel proceeded to go up, and they got to see the God of Israel. And under his feet there was what seemed like a work of sapphire flagstones and like the very heavens for purity." The verbs here which mean "see" and in v. 11 "perceive" are in the continuous tense, and should be understood as "go on seeing," and "go on perceiving." The reference to Jehovah's feet implies that He might have been in human form. At Exodus 33:11 "Jehovah speaks unto Moses face to face, just as a man is speaking unto his friend." The reference to eating and drinking implies that the company observed the God of Israel for some little time at least.
Anyone wishing to read a fair and frank account of the Watch Tower movement over more than the past thirty-five years ought to read William J. Schnell's book, "Thirty Years a Watch Tower Slave" (1956). He tells how the Society "loved sensationally to predict dates for the end of the world," originally predicted to occur in 1914. He reveals the cunning steps taken by the leaders to prepare adherents for changes in teaching or methods. In 1925, "The Watchtower" proclaimed that the members of their Organization were a "New Nation," thus slighting the many thousands of genuine Christian believers in the world who were outside their Organization, living their own individual lives, and having their own original thoughts and beliefs. What can one think of a statement made in 1929, "There is no such thing in existence as 'the Christian Religion,' because all Religion proceeds from God's enemy, the Devil." Religion was then branded as a "Racket." This, of course, was done so that people would not reckon the Watch Tower Society a racket. Protestantism was branded "the offspring of the great Harlot." An endeavour is obviously being made to destroy all religions, so that the Watch Tower Society may reign supreme. Such methods, however, can only end in one way. Before very long the Organization will break up, as every human organization has already done. Nearly fifty years ago, when I was asked by a young friend to read six volumes by pastor Russell, I saw quite clearly that such writings, could they have been seen by the Apostle Paul, would have drawn from him a most scathing and paralysing retort.
One feels very sorry for the Jehovah's Witnesses. Many of them know very little about the great doctrines of the Bible. Because, in truth, they do not get the opportunity to learn them.
A.T. Last updated 19.12.2005