ANTICHRISTS ON YOUR DOORSTEP
Modern-day heresy is culminated in the most radical cult of all - the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Having their roots in Arianism, the anti-Trinitarian heresy that was condemned by the Nicene Council of 325 A.D., these militant misfits are just the newest of the Christ-slanderers to come on the scene. They also fit the pattern of another early group of heretics, the Ebionites (or “Judaizers”), arch-enemies of Paul’s gospel of freedom from legalistic Judaism.
Like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses are polytheists. Jesus Christ is to them a lesser god or an angel - specifically the angel Michael. He is said to be subservient to His Father, Jehovah, the true God. In their Bible version, New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, John 1:1 reads: “In (the) beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” These pseudo-Christians say of Jesus, “He was a mighty one but not almighty as Jehovah.”
Being doctrinally dependent upon Seventh Day Adventists, out of whom they came, the JWs share many beliefs of the mother cult, i.e., extreme date-setting adventism, “soul sleep” in death, annihilation of the wicked (in lieu of hell), premillennialism, a terrestrial “paradise” inferior to a celestial “heaven” (where will reside a privileged 144,000 JWs - called “spiritual Israel”), anti-Catholicism, pacifism, belief in apostasy (falling from grace), Old Testament legalism (although not as extreme as their Seventh Day cousins), an infallible Bible (in their own translation), opposition to science and evolution, and an emphasis on health schemes and fads (such as an aversion to using aluminum cookware).
Doctrines peculiar to themselves are: Arianism, an impersonal Holy Spirit (called “Jehovah’s invisible, active force”), theocratic anarchy (no voting, no holding office, no flag saluting), a lay-clergy, opposition to blood transfusion, a Creation Week with 7000-year-long “days” (beginning in 46,026 B.C. and culminating in Adam’s creation in 4,026 B.C.), dead pagans given a chance to believe during the Millennium, Lord’s Supper observance once a year on Passover, and opposition to holidays and personal birthdays as pagan customs. To them Deity must always be designated by the name “Jehovah” - despite the preference of scholars for the more universal “God” or the more authentic “Yahweh.”
The JWs also teach free will, baptism by immersion, and the avoidance of tobacco, liquor, and divorce. Male members are considered to be “ordained” ministers. Each of these men can baptize, and they generally use swimming pools for this purpose. Disliking church buildings, they first met in homes, but now they build houses of worship and call them “Kingdom Halls.” Of the 5,800 conscientious objectors imprisoned during World War II, 4,300 were JWs.
The movement’s origin in 1884 was out of the hostility between science and religion - the anti-intellectual backlash that followed the publication of Darwin’s Origin Of Species in 1859. Their main impetus, however, came from the First World War. At that time many people took the Great War to be the Battle of Armageddon, and adventist date-setting came to be rampant among fundamentalist groups. When the stated time passed for the world to be destroyed, followers of Charles Taze Russell, like those of Ellen G. White (founder of the Seventh Day Adventists), started teaching an invisible Second Coming. They argued that the “Day of Jehovah” began in 1914 when Jehovah placed his angel-messiah, Michael-Christ, on a throne. Satan was said to have been evicted from heaven at that time, so that he and his demons fell to earth and stirred up World War I. In 1914 (and again in 1941) the king of the north (the Germans) went to war with the king of the south (the Allies) as foretold in Daniel, chapter11, while the remnant, the JWs, abstained from the conflict. The “Day of Jesus Christ” began in 1918 when He came into His Temple. (This was an updated version of Ellen White’s “temple cleansing,” set at 1844.)
JWs were born in the preaching of C. T. Russell, from whom the earliest group became known as “Russellites.” An early name they picked for themselves was “Millennial Dawnists,” but in 1931 they switched over to the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” based on Isaiah 43:10,12. In a close parallel to the Mormon leaders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the JWs flourished under first “Pastor” Russell and then “Judge” Rutherford.
Self-ordained “Pastor” Russell was typical of cult organizers. His vanity was fed by the adulations of gullible followers. He proclaimed himself to be “that faithful and wise servant” spoken of by Jesus Christ (Luke 12:42-43). Some of his followers taught that he was “the Seventh Angel” of the Book of Revelation. In one book, he wrote that it was better to read his comments on the Bible than to read the Bible itself. Also, he affirmed that no one had ever understood the Book of Revelation until he explained it. Although Russell taught the dissolution of the soul at death, at his funeral “Judge” Rutherford claimed an exception in his case, to the effect that Russell had been “instantly changed from the human to the Divine nature and is now forever with the Lord.”
C. T. Russell’s dubious character was revealed in admitted shady deals in the clothing business (in which he made 1/4 million dollars), improper relations with one Rose Ball, a scandalous divorce, perjury, fraudulent avoidance of alimony payments, selling “miracle wheat” at sixty dollars a bushel, and luxurious world tours.
Both Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain large publishing facilities, but the latter group’s material is cheap in comparison. Earmarks of JW publications are pictures of a beardless, blond Jesus, a crucifixion showing Jesus nailed to a “torture stake” not a “cross” (no cross-beam), scenes of the final earthly paradise with people in modern dress at a picnic surrounded by friendly beasts, frequent use of the name Jehovah, and continual harping on their three chief doctrines: no hell, no soul, no Trinity. Cult groups look for ways to be different.
JWs are great haters. They hate churches, seminaries (Rutherford said that “DD” meant “dumb dog”), labor unions, governments, national symbols, miltary organizations, holidays, science, the United Nations, and especially the Pope. Having acquired so many enemies and provoked extensive persecution, Jehovah’s false witnesses have achieved a sullen, self-righteous martyr complex.
“BLOOD, MEDICINE, AND THE LAW OF GOD”
A Jehovah’s Witness Pamphlet
Excerpts and Comments:
Page 4 Quotaton from Leviticus 3:17, “You must not eat any fat or any blood at all.” Comments: How many JWs avoid eating fat? How is a blood transfusion, “eating blood”?
Page 8 “...we have taken away part of ‘our soul - our blood’ - and given it to someone else (in a blood transfusion).” Comment: How absurd to think that I lose a part of my soul when I bleed. In any case, I have a lot of extra “soul,” because the blood replenishes itself perpetually. Does a mosquito or flea contain part of somebody’s soul?
Page 9 “...suffocated meats...” Comment: JWs must never eat fish, because it is netted and allowed to die by suffocation. In fact, they had better avoid eating meat at all, since it is impossible to tell how it died - and it will always retain a residue of blood, no matter how kosher.
Page 19 “At least half of all transfusions are unnecessary.” Comment: What about the other half?
Page 41 “...run the risk of committing murder.” Comment: Withholding necessary blood is similar to the act of Jephthah, who murdered his daughter under a foolish religious vow. Is God honored by killing in His name under a primitive taboo?
Page 48 “If a doctor is of the Jewish faith, he should not find it difficult to appreciate the position of one of Jehovah’s witnesses.” Comment: Jews do not hold such a strange interpretation of their own scriptures. Eating blood is a dietary consideration and has nothing to do with medicine.
Page 54 “Jehovah’s witnesses...know that if they violate God’s law on blood and the child dies in the process, they have endangered that child’s opportunity for everlasting life...” Comment: This is an example of the legalism that is typical of Roman Catholicism and of most cults. A religion based on works (as opposed to faith) says that no matter whether a person believes in Christ or not, he can be lost by committing a “mortal” sin. For the JWs it is blood; for the Seventh Day Adventists it is the sabbath; for Christian Scientists it is medicine, etc. The main purpose of the New Testament and the Gospel was to set God’s children free of the bonds of the Law. Legalism is a senseless reversion to religious slavery.
Richard L. Atkins
A MODERN CULT OF ANTICHRIST
The following doctrines and beliefs of the cult known as Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite obviously inspired by the spirit of Antichrist.
1. JWs deny the eternal divinity of Christ. This is Antichrist.
2. JWs identify Christ with the Archangel Michael. This is Antichrist.
3. JWs deny the Holy Spirit, Jesus-in-the-heart, as a Personality. This is Antichrist.
4. JWs identify themselves with the Old Testament “Jehovah” as opposed to the Christian “Heavenly Father.” This is Antichrist.
5. JWs use calendar dating in the Jewish fashion, “B.C.E.” (“Before the Common Era”) and “C.E.” (“Common Era”). Orthodox Christians show the Lordship of Christ in their calendar: “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) and “A.D.” (Anno Domini: “the Year of our Lord”). The JW cult is Antichrist.
6. JWs deny the efficacy of the Atonement to preserve the saint apart from works. This is Antichrist.
7. JWs deliberately set themselves apart from the main body of Christ, His Church. This is Antichrist.
...and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of Antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. 1 John 4:3
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting, for he who greets him shares his wicked work. 2 John 10-11
Richard L. Atkins
HISTORICAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
1852 Birth of Charles Taze Russell in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He helped in his father’s chain of five men’s clothing stores (haberdasheries). He was successively Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Seventh Day Adventist, before founding the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
1869 Birth of Joseph Franklin Rutherford in Missouri. He became a circuit judge in that state. His parents were Baptists, but he claimed to be an atheist. (He became the President of the Jehovah’s Witnesses after the death of C. T. Russell.)
1870 Russell was said to be converted at a Seventh Day Adventist meeting at age 18. He organized a Bible class in Pittsburgh.
1872 Russell’s first organization (no name) after leaving the SDAs.
1873 Russell’s first book, The Object And Manner Of Our Lord’s Return.
1877 Publication of the book, The Three Worlds, by Russell and Barbour, a Seventh Day Adventist.
1879 Beginning of the periodical, The Watch Tower. Russell married Marion Ackley at age 27.
1880 Russell published Food For Thinking Christians and began his seven-volume Studies In The Scriptures.
1884 “Zion’s Watchtower Bible and Tract Society” founded in Pittsburgh.
1886 The Plan Of The Ages published. Russell was an ardent Zionist.
1897 Russell’s wife left him.
1905 Birth of Nathan Homer Knorr in Pennsylvania. (He became President after the death of Judge Rutherford.)
1906 Judge Rutherford joins the society and becomes its legal counselor.
1909 Adoption of the name “The People’s Pulpit Association.”
1911 Adoption of the name “International Bible Student’s Association.”
1912 Court trial in which a Baptist minister from Canada proved that Russell was not qualified to preach. Russell had a seventh grade education, knew no Greek or Hebrew (as he claimed), and was not ordained.
1913 Russell’s wife divorced him on the grounds of:
1. conceit, egoism, and domination,
2. improper conduct with other women,
3. a period of four weeks in which he would not speak to her and sent her letters of a reproachful nature,
4. trying to isolate her and declare her insane.
The trial was appealed five times, but the original verdict was sustained. The judge called Russell “an egotistic man.”
1916 Death of C. T. Russell on a transcontinental train near Pampa, in the Texas panhandle. Judge Rutherford elected President after some opposition.
1918 Rutherford jailed for pacifism.
1919 Rutherford paroled. He urged the door-to-door use of portable phonograph recordings of his sermons. He gave radio speeches over large hookups.
1920 Rutherford’s book Millions Now Living Will Never Die! published.
1931 Rutherford again released from prison.
The name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” chosen, from Isaiah 43:10,12, 44:8.
The organization experienced several splits:
1. Stand-Fast movement 5. Epiphany Bible Association
2. Paul Johnson movement (Mt. Dora, Florida)
3. Elijah Voice movement 6. Layman’s Home Missionary
4. Dawn Bible Students Assn. Movement
(resisting a centralized 7. Watchtower Bible and Tract
denomination) Society (continued, centralized,
adhering to Russell’s Zionism)
1942 Death of Rutherford in San Diego in his mansion “Beth Sarim” (“House of Princes”).
Nathan Knorr, the next President, elected after five days.
1943 Court decision allowing abstention from saluting the flag.
1945 The Watchtower, July 1 issue, announces the “discovery” that blood transfusions violate Scripture.
1950 Publication of the New World Translation Of The Christian Greek Scriptures. JWs dislike the term “New Testament.”
1961 Publication of the whole Bible, New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
END TIME PROPHECIES OF THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
JW doctrines on the Second Coming are difficult to define, since they keep changing from year to year. As is typical of those who calculate end-time dates, new interpretations must be concocted when events fail to happen as predicted. The following dates have been deemed significant at various points in the cult’s history.
1799 This date came from the “31/2 times” of Daniel 12:7. Calculated to be 31/2 x 360 “days” to equal 1260 “years,” this was added to 539 A.D. to give 1799. The date of 539 was explained as a time when “the Papacy was in the saddle.” (The Encyclopædia Britannica contradicts this fiction with the statement, “The moral authority of the papacy, then, had suffered a considerable setback...”) The year 1799 was said to be important because in that year Napoleon conquered Egypt to fulfill Daniel 11:40-41. (Without a blush the JWs in other writings claim Daniel 11 to be fulfilled by Kaiser Bill’s Huns, and then, Hitler’s Nazis. One wonders why they keep on trying and failing to define the nebulous “king of the north.”) Back to Napoleon, when he crowned himself emperor in 1804, he was “thus disproving the divine right of the Papacy.” This meant it was the “beginning time of the end.”
1874 The “1335 days” of Daniel 12:12, added to 539 A.D., gave this date. Further corroboration of 1874 was obtained by calculations based on measurements of the Great Pyramid. This year was when Russell started preaching, hence, it was called “the start of Christ’s return.” The period 1874 to 1914 was “Our Lord’s Second Presence” - in Russellism, no doubt.
1914 The “seven times” of Daniel 4:16 was calculated as 7 x 360 “days” to equal 2520 “years” (Ezek. 4:6, Rev. 12:6,14). Added to 606 B.C. (“the fall of King Zedekiah”), this gave 1914, when America entered World War I. It was the end of the “Gentile times,” when Jesus was crowned in heaven, king of the new world. This date was set for the end of the world in a book by Russell and Barbour, a Seventh Day Adventist, in 1877.
1918 Obtained by adding “31/2 times” to 1914. In that year the First Resurrection started, which was to reach “144,000 souls” before the end, based on Luke 12:32 and Revelation 7:4, 14:1,4. This was later revised to “144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.” When the date passed uneventfully, many “wrong-thinkers” dropped out of the cult, and so the JWs came up with the idea that the date had been when “Jesus cleansed His spiritual temple.”
1919 Rev. 11:11 tells of two witnesses who are slain and then revived by a “spirit of life from God.” This supposedly meant the “remnant” JWs imprisoned for pacifism (symbolically “slain”) were then released (“resurrected to vigorous public activity again”). The period was also called “captivity to modern Babylon.”
1920 Rutherford’s book Millions Now Living Will Never Die! published.
1926 Rutherford said that 50,000 of the 144,000 had not yet died.
1927 Rutherford said the “spiritual Israel” (144,000) began to be resurrected (invisibly) in 1918.
1931 Schism within the cult. The Shepherd began gathering His “other sheep.” The “little flock” of 144,000 will gain heaven, while the “other sheep” will remain on the rejuvenated earth.
1942 Statement by Nathan Knorr: “Less than 20,000 of the last ones of God’s spiritual nation are now left on earth.” (Note: Based on a start date of 1918 for the resurrection of the 144,000 and with 20,000 remaining in 1942, the end of the world should have occurred in 1946.)
1955 Christendom said to be stumbling over the Kingdom to her doom “within this generation” through the United Nations.
1965 Awake! magazine, Oct. 8 issue, says the Battle of Armageddon is to occur “within this generation.”
1966 End date set at 1975. This is said to be the “end of the sixth 1000-year day of man’s existence.” The millennium is to last between 1975 and 2975, the “end of the seventh 1000-year day of man’s existence.” (Calculations are from the booklet “Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God,” p. 35.)
1968 People who were alive in 1914 make up the last generation. This sets the end at 1914 plus 70 to equal 1984. (Calculation from the booklet “The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life,” p. 95.)
1970 Prediction by Richard Wheelock at the Fort Worth, Texas, convention: “The end of life as we know it within this decade.”
Setting dates for the end of the world is a foolish and futile practice that is, nevertheless, universal among radical adventists. Hindus do it based on astrology, but among fundamentalist Christians, calculating the End Time is based on arithmetic manipulations of numbers in the Bible and on natural or social “signs” that the Second Coming of Christ is near. All predictions made so far have proven to be false, but, as with those who play the lottery, new dates are constantly fabricated with the idea that these might, at last, be the lucky numbers.
In order to get material for mathematical analysis, the Bible is scoured for hints and hidden meanings. This requires much reading between the lines, because the primary method employed in these types of searches is that of allegory. Plain words are taken as pictures.
In the long run it all comes down to speculation about something that is entirely beyond the scope of human comprehension. Jesus knew and accurately predicted the time of His Resurrection, but at one point in His ministry He admitted with great candor that He did not know the time of His Second Coming (Matthew 24:36). This statement by the Master should be heeded by all date-setters, so that they may understand that nobody will ever be able to pinpoint the exact time of the final event in the destiny of the universe. It is in God’s hands, and His alone.
Richard L. Atkins