The Watchtower Society and Jehovah's Witnesses
This organization is one of the most prolific in writing and going door-to-door to spread their beliefs about God, heaven and salvation. Like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses came out of the mind of an individual who rejected biblical truth in his earlier years and subsequently developed an attitude and spirit of hate toward what was perceived as “organized religion.” The biggest stumbling block to Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, was the biblical teaching of a hell, with everlasting punishment where those who rejected God’s offer of free salvation through His Son Jesus, will end up.
To this day, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in an everlasting hell but believe that those who die without God are just “annihilated” into nothingness. It seems that the 1800’s was a time for breeding a variety of unbiblical and downright pagan organizations that directly oppose God, in that, they all deny the sufficiency of the Holy Bible, the Lordship and Deity of Jesus Christ and the functions of the person of the Holy Spirit.
Charles Russell had experience in managing several men’s furnishing stores by the time he was 25, and this experience would help him set up an organization where he was the sole controller of all funds coming in. Much controversy concerning his dealings and his Watchtower organization plagued him for many years, but after numerous court battles and subsequent pay-offs, Charles Russell and his followers kept-on keeping-on and even prospered over the years.
The name Jehovah’s Witnesses was taken at Columbus, Ohio in 1931 to differentiate between the Watchtower organization run by Judge Rutherford, Russell’s successor, and those who remained as true followers of Russell as represented by The Dawn Bible Students and the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement. (Martin, Walter, The Kingdom of the Cults, p.79. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1997)
Russell lied about everything he could to build himself and his organization up as something special from God. This is something that all false Christians, especially their leaders, have done, and continue to do. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is a newspaper that Charles Russell tangled with in court, and even loosing the case didn’t slow him down in his quest for establishing another pagan belief system.
Before entering the court, the Eagle made a public statement as follows, “The Eagle goes even further and declares that at the trial it will show that ‘Pastor’ Russell’s religious cult is nothing more than a money-making scheme.” (Ibid., p. 81)
The litigation showed that Charles Russell’s religious activities were carried on through several subsidiary societies, and that all of the wealth that flowed to him through these societies was under the control of a holding company in which Russell held 990 of the 1000 shares, and the remaining 10 shares were held by two of his followers. Any funds coming into his “church,” as it were, were coming to him. He had complete control over any and all finances with no one to answer to.
It is this type of “one-man show” that is repudiated by Scripture as far as a Church is concerned, especially a true biblical Christian Church.
The Eagle made known many of Russell’s fraudulent claims concerning his sermons that he said he preached in various countries, and proved them false. The main concern for everyone was, and still is, the issue concerning the twisting of Scripture to accommodate their own claims; and to propagate the false notion that they, Russell and his Watchtower organization, have the latest; and therefore, the truest of God’s revelations to man. This lie is repeated ad nauseam!
In an attempt to show the deceptive and dishonest character of the man whose teachings millions of people choose to follow, we will show documentation from the “defamatory libel” suit that Russell filed against the Reverend J.J. Ross, pastor of James Street Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ontario in 1912.
Rev. Ross published a pamphlet entitled, “Some Facts and More Facts about the Self-Styled ‘Pastor’ Charles T. Russell. The contents of which didn't pull any punches regarding Russell’s qualifications as a minister of the Gospel or his moral example as a pastor.
Russell immediately sued Ross for libel in order to silence the Baptist minister to keep his false teaching from being exposed to as many people as the booklet would reach. (Remember, one can only be fooled if one doesn’t know what’s right in the first place.)
Rev. Ross attacked Russell’s teachings as “the destructive doctrines of a man who is neither a scholar, nor a theologian.” He further denounced Russell’s belief system as “anti-rational, anti-scientific, anti-biblical, anti-Christian and a deplorable perversion of the Gospel of God’s dear Son.”
The High Court of Ontario, in session March, 1913, ruled that there were no grounds for libel. The case was thrown out of Court by Russell’s own evidence. In a suite such as this, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the accusations were false, which Russell miserably failed to do.
Charles T. Russell during the trial was asked if he knew the Greek alphabet to which he answered, “Oh yes,” then he was asked to identify Greek letters which he failed to be able to do and when asked, “Are you familiar with the Greek language?” He answered “No.”
This is from a man who espoused knowledge of Scripture and even ridicules, and condemns known meanings of Scripture, in favor of his erroneous interpretations. It is clear from the vast amount of documented data that Charles Russell, just like all the rest of the home-made gurus, really had no right to make such absurd claims. If this issue weren’t so eternally deadly it would almost be amusing.
The sad fact is that the writings by Russell and others in the movement have grown to staggering figures when considering distribution on a worldwide scale. According to the latest statistics published on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Watchtower Back on May 1, 2011, The Watchtower - Public Edition magazine has gone from 6000 initial issues to an average print run of about 42,000,000 copies per month in 19 different countries. Previous stats we quoted indicated more than 17.8 million issues per month in about 106 languages. (The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania). (May 1, 2011. http://download.jw.org/files/media_magazines/wp_E_20110501.pdf)
By now in 2019: “The Watchtower has a circulation larger than any other magazine in the world. Each issue has a print run of more than 42 million copies. Awake! is second, with a circulation of 41 million copies each issue. Both magazines are published by Jehovah’s Witnesses and are distributed in 236 lands.” (No Other Magazine Comes Close, JW.Org)
Door-to-door preaching by the Witnesses in the U.S. for the year 1996 was 178,325,740 hours with a worldwide total in the same year totaling more than 1.4 billion hours. These numbers far out-distance Evangelical witnessing; and this does not even include the Mormons and all the rest of the cults. We must distinguish this “witnessing” which is really just recruitment from true biblical witnessing, using words only when necessary. [Romans 12:1 - admonishes true Christians to be a living sacrifice.]
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a governing body made up of individuals, which are called “anointed” men or “heavenly class” members. This governing body has final and ultimate decision-making powers with no room for revisions. They are based in Brooklyn, New York, which serves as their world headquarters.
An enormous amount of work is delegated to each regular member of the congregation and door-to-door soliciting is known as fieldwork. A minimum of 1200 hours per year are required of every member. If they want to climb the ladder of recognition, then more work is required.
Congregations meet in what they call “Kingdom Halls” as opposed to churches. Elders or overseers are appointed over each congregation. Twenty or so congregations make up a Circuit supervised by a Circuit overseer. Geographical collections of Circuits are Districts of which there are 22 in the U.S. This collection of Districts meets once per year and this is where new teachings and regulations are announced to the rest of the body of followers.
Members blindly and mindlessly give their allegiance to this governing body even to the point of working for them part or full-time totally without monetary compensation. The major work that goes on is in printing and mailing millions of Watchtower and other teaching aides to the World.
Workers are housed at Society-owned real estate and fed from a Society-owned farm for food production. As Walter Martin points out in his book The Kingdom of the Cults, “All authority is vested in the Governing Body, including the authority to understand and teach the Bible.” (TKC, p 97)
People are told that God gave them the authority and that’s that. Unfortunately, the people who fall for that have decided to put their very eternities into the hands of charlatans who are doing the work of the devil. Scripture is very clear in that it says of itself that it is the final authority not man or man’s interpretation. One of the clearest truths in Bible study is to “let Scripture interpret Scripture.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the 144,000 people that the Bible mentions in the Book of Revelation are the “elite” out of their own ranks, in spite of the clear and unmistakable identification that the Bible gives. According to Watchtower Society teachings they are the upper echelon of Witnesses and they are the “born-again” ones who will be taken to heaven and the rest of the Witnesses will live a life in paradise here on earth.
Revelation 7:4-8 states concerning the 144,000: “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from of Benjamin 12,000.” (NIV)
How is it possible for anyone to be misled? 144,000 from the tribes of Israel, not the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the USA or any of the other nations on earth.
Biblical errors abound with this cult, as with any other cult, and the people seem not to care as they flock to join their rank and file. Statistically we find that Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as, the Mormons, get over 85% of their converts from the “Christian” sector.
Somewhere down the line people have gotten disillusioned with what they were taught in church and started looking for an alternative. Because Christian terminology is widely used in all occult practices, unwary and hopeless seekers of some other truth, get caught in the crossfire. The Bible says that in the last days people won’t be willing to hear sound doctrine. II Timothy 4:3-4 declares: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desire, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (NIV)
All of the Watchtower Society’s teachings are heretical, with no biblical soundness whatsoever. Following is a short list of some of the more common errors of the Watchtower Society.
Some Major Errors — ON THE NAME
The Witnesses claim that the name Jehovah is the only proper name God should be called; (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1989, pp. 149,191) but the Bible says in Psalms 138:2 that “God exalts His Word above all His name.” and when we go to John 1:14 we find that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Someone might argue that what is meant in Ps.138:2 refers to God’s promise. Well said, but still no cigar because Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the Promise as spoken of in the Garden of Eden and through the prophets all the way to when John the Baptist announced Jesus at the Jordon River proclaiming Him to be the Savior of the World.
Scripture is very clear as to what name is superior to all others for it proclaims concerning Jesus in Ephesians 1:21: “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but in the world to come.” (KJV) This is talking about Jesus by name, but it gets even better.
Philippians 2:10-11 boldly declares: “That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Notice that it doesn’t say, at the name of Jehovah, but at the name of Jesus. The reason is that Jesus was the prophesied Savior of all mankind. His very name means salvation, (refer to the section on this site explaining Salvation.) Also, the proper rendering of the name of God in the Old Testament ) is not Jehovah; but YHWH, which could not even be pronounced, mainly because He is so holy, but the closest to it would be “Yahweh.”
The number of times that Jehovah is used also is no indication of what is claimed by the Witnesses. In the Old Testament God allowed Himself to be known by about 20 or so different names; but, when the promise had finally come the name above all names is Yeshua in Hebrew or Jesus in English.
Some of the names with which God revealed Himself to the Patriarchs are, Elohim, this is the plural form of El, which is Hebrew for God. This name shows up more than 2,500 times in the O.T. It is interesting to note that Elohim is the first name of God that we encounter in the Bible (Genesis 1:1) and when one considers the meaning of the name it is easy to see why the word means complete sovereignty and creativity.
Chavah is the Hebrew word which means, to live, and it is the basis for the name Jehovah which is rendered: to be or being. Jehovah denotes the never changing one, in other words, God was, is and forever will be.
El Shaddai first appears in Genesis 17 and means “the all breasted one” or “all sufficient one” meaning productiveness or nourishment. El Shaddai is the God of more than enough.
Adonai is a name of God which signifies our responsibility as servants to Him. It is used more than 300 times in the O.T. and literally means Lord, Master, Owner. Adonai can be translated as both possessive and plural which again confirms the triune Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Scriptures confirm the involvement of Jesus as part of the Godhead in Psalm 110:1 “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot stool.’”
The first Lord in this Scripture is the Hebrew name Yahweh (God) and the second Lord is the Hebrew word Adonai and refers to Messiah, who, of course, is Jesus.
Now we will see that God revealed Himself by adding other attributes of His personal character to the name of Jehovah. In Genesis 22 we first find God revealing Himself to Abraham as Jehovah Jireh. This name refers to God’s ability to meet our every need. In short, God is telling Abraham, I’ll meet all your needs.
Jehovah M’Kaddesh this name means Jehovah who sanctifies and is first found in Leviticus 20:7-8. To be sanctified is to be set apart for God, to live our lives for Him and no longer for self or the world.
Exodus 17:15 is where God revealed Himself to His children as Jehovah Nissi, God our banner. Moses built an altar to the Lord after Joshua defeated the Amalekites by the fact that Moses held his hands toward heaven during the entire battle. When he got tired, Aaron and Hur held his hands up until the victory was won for when Moses’ hands dropped the battle went to their enemy; but when they were held high to the Lord, the Israelites were victorious. Even today we have banners lifted high on our battlefields to show which side is victorious. Moses’ arms represented the banner of the army of the Lord.
Jehovah Rophe or Ropheka this was how God revealed His ways of healing to His people. The name means, God your health or your healer.
Jehovah Shalom refers to God our peace. The world Shalom also means to be whole, nothing missing, nothing broken. God is revealing Himself to Gideon as Jehovah Shalom in Judges the sixth chapter.
Jehovah Tsidkenu God our righteousness was first prophesied by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 23:5-6 and refers to the coming reign of Jesus our King.
God my Shepherd is the meaning of Jehovah Rohi and the root meaning of rohi means to feed, as in, feed my sheep. This was the portrayal that David gave of God in Psalm 23.
Ezekiel 48:35 is where Jehovah Shammah is first found. He was speaking of a city and proclaiming that the Lord is there, as in, the presence of the Lord will be there.
El Elyon is by far the most awesome description of God in the entire Bible. This name means The God Most High. This is the name that Satan wanted above all else when he said, “…I will make myself like the most-High.” El Elyon (Isaiah 14:13-14)
Jehovah Tsebaoth is the Lord of Hosts. This refers to God being the Lord of armies and denotes warfare between the armies of the Lord and all enemies.
Jehovah Makkeh is another name God chose to reveal Himself by and it means the Lord our Smiter as in shaping and molding us to where we need to be.
Jehovah Gmolah is the Lord of recompenses or the Lord who will repay.
Jehovah Elohay means the Lord is my God, El-Elohay-Israel means the personal God of Israel and Jehovah Eloheenu means the Lord our God. All of the names used for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are encapsulated in the name above all names, Jesus.
The Witnesses claim that the proper use of God’s correct name is essential to salvation (RFTS, pp. 149, 196-97) But the Bible says in Acts 10:43; I John 3:23-4, John 1:12; 3:16 that forgiveness of sins is found in the name of Jesus. Jesus is the only way of salvation according to Acts 4:12; John 14:6 and I John 5:13. With which one of all the names above would one start? Only one name is needed, the one promised from the very beginning, the Savior, Jesus.
The Witnesses claim that references to the Father in the New Testament should be rendered Jehovah; (RFTS, pp.194-95) but, the N.T. which was written in Greek never uses the word Jehovah, instead the rendering is always Kurios in Greek which means “Lord.” The Witnesses claim that believers are called to be witnesses of Jehovah; (RFTS, pp199-208) but, the Scriptures declare that believers are to be witnesses of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8; 2:32; 4:33; 13:30-31)
The Witnesses claim that Christ was the firstborn of all creation; and therefore, was created first, billions of years ago; (RFTS, pp 408-09) but, the Bible says that Christ was not created but is Himself the Creator. (Isaiah 44:24, Colossians 1:16) The term “firstborn” refers to pre-eminent over all Creation and signifies first in rank.
The Witnesses claim that Jesus is a mighty god, but is not God Almighty like the Father is; (RFTS, pp 212-13; 416-17) but, the Bible says that both the Father and Jesus are called Mighty God in Scripture as per Isaiah 9:6 and 10:21. Isaiah 45:5 says that there is no other God but God and Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus the child born, but Jesus the Son is given, not born. This is because the Son is eternally the Son as in John 3:16-17; Proverbs 30:4; Hebrews 1:2. Also Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
One can’t get a clearer picture of the fact that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Witnesses claim that because Jesus referred to the Father as “My Father” and “My God;” He therefore cannot be God in the same sense that the Father is (RFTS, pp 212-13, 426). But the Bible clearly teaches that in His humanity Christ acknowledged the Father as “my God”. In His divine nature He could never refer to the Father as “My God” for He is fully equal to the Father regarding His divine nature. John 1:1; 10:30; 20:28
The Witnesses claim that Jesus did not appear to His disciples in the same body in which He died, but rather “materialized” to the disciples in various bodies to prove He had “resurrected.” (RFTS, p. 335) But the Bible says that Jesus appeared to His disciples in the exact same body which hung on the cross and it even contained the nail prints in his hands and feet. (John 20:27; Acts 2:31; I Corinthians 15:35-44) How would the disciples have recognized Him in different bodies? Such an “appearing” would have done the exact opposite of “proving” His resurrection.
The Holy Spirit
The Witnesses claim that the Holy Spirit is not a person. (RFTS, pp. 380-81) But the Bible says that He is a person for He has all the attributes only a person could have. He has a mind – I Corinthians 2:10, emotions – Ephesians 4:30, a will – I Corinthians 12:10. Furthermore He does things only a person can do such as speaking – John 15:26, and praying – Romans 8:26.
The Witnesses claim that because different people can be “filled” with the Holy Spirit at the same time, this proves the Spirit is not a person. (RFTS, pp. 405-26) But the Bible says that Christ fills all things in Ephesians 4:10 and being filled with God Himself in Ephesians 3:19. God and Christ are both persons and so is the Holy Spirit.
The Witnesses claim that “Faith” involves calling on the name of Jehovah for which claim they cite Romans 10:13. (RFTS, p. 149) But the Bible says that Romans 10:13 refers to calling upon the Lord Jesus, not Jehovah, for salvation as verses 9-12 give the context. Also, Acts 16:31 states, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” The Watchtower Society has mistranslated Romans 10:13 in their perverted version of the Bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and is abbreviated as NWT.
Well-known cult expert and apologist Walter Martin says of the NWT, “…but let it be remembered that the New World Bible translation committee had no known translators with recognized degrees in Greek or Hebrew exegesis or translation. While the members of the committee have never been identified officially by the Watchtower, many Witnesses who worked at the headquarters during the translation period were fully aware of who the members were. They included Nathan H. Knorr, president of the Society at the time, Frederick W. Franz who later succeeded Knorr as president, Albert D. Schroeder, George Gangas, and Milton G. Henschel currently the president. None of these men had any university education except Franz, who left school after two years, never completing even an undergraduate degree. In fact, Frederick W. Franz then representing the translation committee and later serving as the Watchtower Society’s fourth president admitted under oath that he could not translate Genesis 2:4 from the Hebrew.”
(Martin, Walter, The Kingdom of the Cults, PP123-24. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers)
Actually, what these men did was conveniently change the English translation of the time to suit their own agendas concerning the Bible.
The Witnesses claim that salvation depends on works. “Grace” is more or less the opportunity for human beings to earn their salvation by total obedience to the Watchtower Society. Grace does not involve a free gift of salvation. (RFTS, pp. 356-59) But the Bible says that Salvation is by grace through faith, with only corresponding works involved. (James 2:24) Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works [Our own efforts]so that no one can boast.” (Underline mine.)
The Witnesses claim there is no assurance of salvation. (RFTS, pp. 358-9) But the Bible says, “We are sealed for the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 4:30 and John 10:28 declare that “…no one can snatch them out of my hand.” I John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
In J.F. Rutherford’s 1928 edition of The Harp of God, a Watchtower publication, on pp. 235-6, 239 the following statement was made, “1799 definitely marks the beginning of ‘the time of the end.’… ‘the time of the end’ embraces a period from A.D. 1799, as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan’s empire… We have been in the ‘time of the end’ since 1799.”
Because the Watchtower Society purposely mistranslates to fit their own dogma, they cannot ever attain even close to actual truth. A case in point is the translation of the Greek word, “parousia”
as presents, as in Matthew 24:26-28. They have claimed that presents, is the only exact translation and that it is so plain that it is, “beyond dispute by other translators” in the aforementioned verses in Matthew. (New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, p. 779. Watch Tower publication, 1950) (TKC, The Physical Return of Christ, p.152)
However, the truth is that every competent scholar of Greek exegesis has denounced this view since this doctrine was introduced in 1871. While it is true that the word “presents” can be used to translate “Parousia” in I Corinthians 16:17; II Corinthians 7:6-7; 10:10 and Philippians 1:26; 2:12, it is not possible to do so in the verses and context where the Witnesses make this attempt. Doing so not only violates the contextual meaning of the word, but the entire meaning of the passages in question becomes perverted.
Scripture is crystal clear concerning Christ ascending in bodily form and affirms that He will come back in exactly the same bodily form.
The Watchtower Society predicted that in 1874 the second coming of Christ would occur.
The Watchtower Society predicted that the year 1914 would mark the overthrow of human governments and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Watchtower Society predicted that in 1925 select Old Testament saints – including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – would rise from the grave and come to live in San Diego.
The Watchtower Society predicted that in 1975 human history would end and the thousand-year reign of Christ would begin. (Ron Rhodes, Jehovah’s Witnesses, What You Need To Know, Quick reference guide, Harvest House Publishers)
Any prediction that does not come to fruition cannot be from God. And any prophet that predicted falsely was stoned to death in the Old Testament. Actually, the very nature of this and other cults is to confuse and dilute the truth so that their own devilish agendas can instigate their own will over society. The outright lies and shady dealings along with the purposeful twisting of known biblical verses of Scripture that paint a picture which can’t get anybody saved, is ample reason to rank the Watchtower Society and the Jehovah’s Witnesses as one of the top synagogues of Satan.