PROPHETS OF GOD?
Occasionally the Watchtower Society (WB&TS) publish an article, that while outlining one belief, inadvertently condemns another of their teachings. One such article appeared in Awake!, March 22 1993, pp.3/4 entitled Why So Many False Alarms? Quoting the boy who cried ‘Wolf! Wolf!' once too often, they list several individuals and groups who have made false predictions. The final person mentioned being William Miller from whom Charles Taze Russell got his inspiration for dating the return of Christ. In the next paragraph they ask,
“Does the failure of such predictions to come true convict as false prophets those who made them, within the meaning of Deuteronomy 18:20-22?”
The question is eventually answered in the following way,
“... they should not be viewed as false prophets such as those warned against at Deuteronomy 18:20-22. In their human fallibility, they misinterpreted matters.”
Until this point, the WB&TS has not been mentioned. Indeed, it is not mentioned in the main body of the text at all. However, at the end of the answer quoted above we have a footnote, which we quote in full and then make one or two interesting observations.
“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.’ The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah's Witnesses, has said: “We have not the gift of prophecy.” (January 1883, page 425) “Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible.” (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that the fact that some have Jehovah's spirit “does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes.” (May 15, 1947, page 157) “The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic.” (August 15, 1950, page 263) “The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim.3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov.4:18)” - February 15, 1981, page 19.
It is amusing that although this quote refers to the WB&TS, who publish the Awake!, they put it in the third person trying to distance themselves from the reality of the situation.
As they admit, in the past certain dates have been shown to be incorrect. This means that every date must now be suspect. How do we know that 1914 is correct when so may others are now wrong? Also, if they have been honest enough to admit that dates were wrong in the past why not also admit what the leaders surely know to be true that 607 BCE is not the date for the fall of Jerusalem?
There is another aspect to this because the dates they have changed are not man's dates but God's. The admission only says, “have suggested” but the reality is not that they have suggested but prophesied.
“We see no reason for changing the figures - nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours.” - The Watch Tower, July 15, 1894, p.226.
What they are now saying is that God was incorrect with His dates. Is this possible?
Not in the name of Jehovah
This key statement is the one that really sinks the WB&TS. Their main defence against being labelled a false prophet is that the predictions did not originate in the name of Jehovah and they never said these were the words of Jehovah. As ‘prosecuting counsel’ can we show to the ‘jury’ clear evidence to prove that the Watchtower's words show them to be false prophets.
“The date of the close of that "battle" is definitely marked in Scripture as October 1914.” - The Watch Tower, January 15, 1892, p.22.
What else is Scripture other than the words of Jehovah? They did say it was His words!
“... and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favor, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men…” - Millions Now Living Will Never Die, WB&TS, 1920, p.90.
Again, it is the Scripture - the word of Jehovah that predicts the events of 1925!
“The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914.” - The Watchtower, July 15, 1924, p.211.
Once again, it is the word of Jehovah.
“Receiving the gift, [the Watchtower publication, Children] the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord's provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon.” - The Watchtower, September 15, 1941, p.281.
This book and its wrong predictions were the Lord’s words!
These are a few examples that show beyond any doubt that the predictions have been in Jehovah's name and by the Word of Jehovah. On their own admission they are false prophets.
We do not have the gift of prophecy
Whoever heard of a prophet that does not have a gift of prophecy?
“So then 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... Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses.” - The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, p.197.
Either they are a prophet pointing to the truth of God and His Word or they are not. It is not possible to have it both ways.
The Watchtower is not inspired
This raises several questions. Why does anyone believe what it says? Why can you be disfellowshiped for going against the teaching of the Watchtower? Why is it studied so closely every week? Why will a Jehovah's Witness state categorically that the Bible does not mean what it says based on what they have read in The Watchtower? The answer is simple - the average Jehovah's Witness believes sincerely that the Watchtower is the only channel that God is using today and as such is both inspired and dogmatic.
The Society cannot have it both ways. The article is correct because it comes from God's channel but of course, it may not be right or true! The result of all of this is that one of their own official publications has condemned the WB&TS as a false prophet.