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IS THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY GOD'S CHANNEL?
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the governing body of Jehovah's
Witnesses, identifies itself as God's "sole
collective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth"
in these last days (The Watchtower, July 15, 1960, p. 439).
So.... how long has God used the Society?
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY is the greatest corporation in the world,
because from the time of its organization until now the Lord has used it as His channel through which to make known the Glad Tidings"
(The Watch Tower, 1917, p. 22, quoted in Studies in the Scriptures, VII, p. 144). It is claimed that Bible translations and interpretations emanate from
God. "They are passed to the Holy Spirit who invisibly communicates with Jehovah's
Witnesses and the publicity department" according to F. W. Franz, Vice-President of the Watchtower Society (Scottish
Daily Express, Nov. 24, 1954).
Below 10 examples (hundreds could be given) showing that claims from the Watchtower statements often contradicted Watchtower publications.
1. Ruth—from historical book to book of prophecy.
STATEMENT: "While the book of Ruth is not prophetical, but merely historical, it is valuable to us in various ways" (Watch Tower Reprints, IV, Nov. 15, 1902, p. 3110).
CONTRADICTION: "Not only is the book historical, but it is prophetic, the fulfilment of which prophecy takes place in these present days ... We must conclude that the book of Ruth was made part of God's Word or message as a prophecy for the special benefit of the remnant in the last days…. the book is a prophecy" (J. F. Rutherford, Preservation, pp. 169, 175, 176).
2. Abaddon, Apollyon—from Satan to Jesus Christ. This example relates to Revelation 9:11 and the identification of the angel of the bottomless pit.
STATEMENT: "The prince of the power of the air.' Eph.2:2 … That is, Destroyer. But in plain English his name is Satan, the Devil" (Studies in the Scriptures, VII, p. 159).
CONTRADICTION: "In Hebrew his name is Abaddon, meaning 'Destruction'; and in the Greek it is Apollyon, meaning 'Destroyer.' All this plainly identifies the 'angel' as picturing Jesus Christ, the Son of Jehovah God” (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, p. 232).
3. Adam—from resurrection to no resurrection.
STATEMENT: "Just when Adam will be awakened, only the Lord knows. It may be early or it may be late during the period of restoration" (J. F. Rutherford, Reconciliation, pp. 323, 324).
CONTRADICTIONS: "There is no promise found in the Scriptures that Adam's redemption and resurrection and salvation will take place at any time. Adam had a fair trial for life and completely failed" (J. F. Rutherford, Salvation, p. 43). In recent, writings, Adam and Eve are viewed as among those who are incorrigible sinners who "proved that they were not worthy of life, and they will not be resurrected" (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 236)
4. Sodom and Gomorrah —resurrection promised, resurrection denied, resurrection reinstated.
STATEMENT: "Thus our Lord teaches that the Sodomites did not have a full opportunity; and he guarantees them such opportunity." (C. T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, I, p. 110).
CONTRADICTION: "He was pinpointing the utter impossibility of ransom for unbelievers or those willfully wicked, because Sodom and Gomorrah were irrevocably condemned and destroyed, beyond any possible recovery" (The Watchtower, February 1, 1954, p. 85).
RETURN TO FORMER POSITION: "As in the case of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus showed that Sodom, bad as it was, had not got to the state of being unable to repent So the spiritual recovery of the dead people of Sodom is not hopeless" (The Watchtower, March 1, 1965, p. 139).
5. Worship of Jesus Christ— from acceptance to rejection.
STATEMENTS: "Question ... Was he really worshiped, or is the translation faulty? Answer. Yes, we believe our Lord while on earth was really worshiped, and properly so .... It was proper for our Lord to receive worship ..." (Watchtower Reprints, III, July 15, 1898, P. 2337). "He was the object of unreproved worship even when a babe, by the wise men who came to see the new-born king .... He never reproved any for acts of worship offered to Himself .... Had Christ not been more than man the same reason would have prevented Him from receiving worship …” (Watch Tower Reprints, I, Oct., 1880, p.144). "The purposes of this Society are: ... public Christian worship of Almighty God and Jesus Christ; to arrange for and hold local and world-wide assemblies for such worship ..." (Charter of the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania, Article II).
CONTRADICTIONS: "….No distinct worship is to be rendered to Jesus Christ now glorified in heaven. Our worship is to go to Jehovah God" (The Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1954, p.31). "For example, the magi from the east and King Herod said they wanted to 'do obeisance to' (proskyneo) the babe that had been born king of the Jews. 'Do obeisance' is preferable here because neither the magi nor King Herod meant to worship the babe as God" (The Watchtower, May 15, 1954, p.317).
Hebrews 1:6 is a special problem for the Jehovah's Witnesses because it clearly states that the angels are commanded to worship Christ: "...And let all the angels of God worship him." In an attempt to explain away the meaning of worship a Witness writer concluded: "If the rendering 'worship' is preferred, then it must be understood that such 'worship' is only of a relative kind" (The Watchtower, Nov. 15, 1970, p.704). Yet such an explanation is rejected in Make Sure of All Things, p. 178! "Bowing before men or angels as 'relative' worship forbidden." (Good discussions on the subject of worship given to Christ are to be found in Anthony A. Hoekema's The Four Major Cults, pp. 339-344 and F. W. Thomas' Masters of Deception, pp. 29-37).
6. Resurrection from the dead— from all to some.
STATEMENTS: "All are to be awakened from the Adamic death, as though from a sleep, by virtue of the ransom given ..." (C.T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, V, p. 478). "Under this new covenant the whole human race shall have the opportunity to come back to God through Christ the mediator" (J.F. Rutherford, The Harp of God, p. 328 or 334, according to edition).
CONTRADICTION: "It has been held by many that the Scriptures guarantee that 'all must come back from the dead' at Christ's return and during his thousand-year rule. (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume Five, pages 478-486). That conclusion does not appear to have support in reason or in the Scriptures" (J.F. Rutherford, Salvation, p.224).
7. Israel — literal Israel to spiritual Israel.
STATEMENTS: "That the re-establishment of Israel in the land of Palestine is one of the events to be expected in this Day of the Lord, we are fully assured by the above expression of the Prophet (commenting on Amos 9:11, 14, 15). Notice particularly, that the prophecy cannot be interpreted in any symbolic sense" (C. T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, III, p. 244). "The promise, time and again repeated, that the Lord would regather them and bless them in the land and keep them there and bless them for ever is conclusive proof that the promise must be fulfilled .... Behold, that time is now at hand!" (J. F. Rutherford, Comfort for the Jews, p. 55). (See also Rutherford's Life.)
CONTRADICTION: "Nothing in the modern return of Jews to Palestine and the setting up of the Israeli republic corresponds with the Bible prophecies concerning the restoration of Jehovah's name-people to his favor and organization ... The remnant of spiritual Israelites, as Jehovah's Witnesses, have proclaimed world-wide the establishment of God's kingdom in 1914" (Let God Be True, second ed., pp.217, 218).
8. "And the name of the star is called Wormwood" (Rev.8:11) - 3 differing interpretations.
STATEMENT: "Calvin is entitled" to the honor of having at one time been a papal star ... Is called Wormwood. — What an ideal name for the doctrine which has caused more bitterness against God than any other doctrine ever taught, and for the man who roasted Servetus at the stake" (Studies in the Scriptures, VII, p. 151).
CONTRADICTION: "The 'great star' falling from heaven as a burning lamp was Satan .... The name of this star is called 'Wormwood', which means bitter. Being cast out of heaven Satan is in the 'gall of bitterness'" (J. F. Rutherford, Light, I, pp. 126, 127).
CONTRADICTION: "In view of these features about it, what religious class of people could this blazing, falling 'great star' picture but the apostate Christian clergy of Christendom, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant and otherwise sectarian? ... But what should have been spiritual 'water' to sustain the spiritual life of the peoples, the apostate Christian clergy have turned into undrinkable, deadly, bitter wormwood waters ... false, pagan, unchristian, unbiblical doctrines ...” (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, pp. 224, 225).
9. The "superior authorities" of Romans 13.
STATEMENT: Until 1929 it was taught that the "higher powers" or "superior authorities" (New World Translation) were the earthly rulers to whom the Christian paid taxes. (C.T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, I, p. 266).
CONTRADICTION: From 1929 to 1962 the "superior authorities" were explained as "the Most High God Jehovah and his exalted Son Jesus Christ" (This Means Everlasting Life, p. 197).
RETURN TO FORMER POSITION "In spite of the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, God permitted the political authorities of this world to continue as the 'higher powers' that be, which are 'ordained of God'" (Babylon the Great Has Fallen! God's Kingdom Rules! p.548).
10. The Great Multitude as a spiritual class—yes, no.
STATEMENTS: "Does the Great Company receive life direct from God on the spirit plane? Answer— Yes, they receive life direct in that they have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and when they are begotten they are just the same way as the little flock, because we are called in the one hope of our calling. They do not make their calling and election sure, but not being worthy of second death, they therefore receive life on the spirit plane" (What Pastor Russell Said, p.297). "Ever and anon someone advances the conclusion that the 'great multitude' will not be a spiritual class. The prophecy of Ezekiel shows that such conclusion is erroneous. The fact that their position is seven steps higher than the outside shows that they must be made spirit creatures ... They must be spirit creatures in order to be in the outer court of the divine structure, described by Ezekiel" (J. F. Rutherford, Vindication, III, p.204)
CONTRADICTION: "Thus the multitude is definitely identified not as a spirit-begotten class whose hope are for a place in heaven, but a class trusting in the Lord, and whose hope for everlasting life on earth …” (J.F. Rutherford, Riches, pp. 324, 325).
Do these examples support the claim that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society "from the time of its organization until now" has been God's "sole collective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth?" Do they support the claim that Witness interpretations emanate from God? Let the reader read and apply the following statements found in Watch-tower material.
"Jehovah never makes any mistakes. Where the student relies upon man, he is certain to be led into difficulties" (J.F. Rutherford Prophecy, pp. 67, 68). "Men not only contradict God, they contradict one another. How can they be reliable guides—unless their words are based on God's words? But how can you know whether they are or not? By going directly to God's Word as your source of authority. Search for yourself and let God be true!" (Awake! May 22, 1963).
Many former Jehovah's Witnesses can testify to having come free of this organization because of “going directly to God's Word" as their source of authority and enlightenment.
Edmond C. Gruss