Thursday, 25 July 2013





Many who oppose JWs with assert that we are controlled by the WTBTS to by the use of prophecy. That we are scared into service of the WTBTS because the end of the world is coming, and if we do not accept the prophecies as outlined by them we will not survive. When “dates” fail a new prediction is put forward to keep the “rank and file” JW doing the bidding of their leaders. To start with I am just going to highlight some of the so called fail prophecies.

As I mentioned earlier, there has been a lot of criticism over what many opposer’s have called "false prophecy" in relation to dates e.g. 1874, 1925, 1975. I used the term "so called prophecy" and the reason for this was, as I stated, it depends on if you call it prophecy or interpretation. Here I will show with a few examples that it was not prophecy at all but interpretation.

Many opponents of the Witnesses will freely quote parts of articles published by WBTS, but they fail to give the full picture. I am not going to go into the reasoning behind the interpretations, but show what the WTBTS actually said with a few examples.

Some say Russell did not accept change, and that the WTBTS, since C.T. Russell's time, has changed a great deal of what was originally published. Note this section from ZIONS Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence October 1879 page 38

"We do not object to changing our opinions on any subject, or discarding former application of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we see a good reason for the change,- in fact, it is important that we should be willing to unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to learn truth…. It is our duty to "prove all things"- by the unerring Word,- 'and hold fast to what is good.' " (italics original) That still holds true today.

What  about the 1972 Watchtower with the title "A prophet is among us"

The WBTS have NEVER claimed to be a prophet. They have always, only stated what they saw at the time, based on the best information they have had available to them. They have NEVER been dogmatic about what they have expected. Why then print things that may change? If they were to wait until they had full knowledge, it could well be too late to warn others (to be discussed down further)

When you see quotes from their publications, it MUST be put into context as to what they actually said. The above is only a small sample of that.  See separate article   "Prophecy Part 4 A PROPHET IS AMONG US"

They have always taken their responsibility serious as to staying awake to the times we live in. 1 Corinthians 16:13 NWT "13 Stay awake, stand firm in the faith, carry on as men, grow mighty. " And 1 Thessalonians 5:6-9 NWT "So, then, let us not sleep on as the rest do, but let us stay awake and keep our senses. 7 For those who sleep are accustomed to sleep at night, and those who get drunk are usually drunk at night. 8 But as for us who belong to the day, let us keep our senses and have on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation; 9 because God assigned us, not to wrath, but to the acquiring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ"

This means that they do not sit back and admire the Bible from afar, they are very active as they get up close, exploring every facet, to try to determine the "breadth and length and height and depth",of Gods word.  Ephesians 3:18-19 NWT.

Take out a dictionary and look up the meaning of the word prophet. You will find a meaning similar to this one from Harrap's Mini Pocket English Dictionary "person who foretells what will happen; religious leader". Most people appear to be under the impression that a prophet originates and idea about the future such as a "fortune teller". Do JW's fall into that definition. Let's consider what the original words in Hebrew and Greek meant. Notice what Vines Expository Dictionary has to say.


"The second occurance of nabi (the English equivalent of the Hebrew word with out the accent marks) establishes it's meaning: "And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I will make thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet" (Exodus 7:1 [KJV]) The background of this statement is Exod. 4:10-16, where Moses argued his inability to speak clearly. Hence, he could not go before Pharaoh as God's spokesman. God promised to appoint Aaron (Moses' brother) to be the speaker: "And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God" (Exod. 4:16 [KJV]). Exod. &:1 expresses the same idea in different words. It is clear that the word "prophet" is equal to one who speaks for another, or his mouth." (italics mine).


"…"one who speaks forth or openly"…"a proclaimer of a divine message" "
Strongs Concordance Definitions. 5012 "… to prophesy, i.e. speak (or sing) by inspiration (in prediction or simple discourse):- prophesy (-ing) make self a prohet". 5030 "… from 5012; a prophet or (gen.) inspired man:- prophecy, that prophesy, prophet." [italics and brackets ( ) original].

Please note what Vines Composite Expository Dictionary says on page 190 under the Hebrew verb "To Prophesy".

    "To prophesy is much more than the prediction of future events. Indeed, the first concern of the prophet is to speak God's word to the people of his own time, calling them to covenant faithfulness. The prophets message is conditional, dependant upon the response of the people. Thus by their response to this word, the people determine in a large part what the future holds" (italics mine)
Originally, the word that we now use to mean "one who foretells the future" meant "one who speaks for another. Generally, the prophets of the Bible that issued "prophecies" for the future, spoke on behalf of the one that did the "prophecying". So the prophets of Jehovah were spokes persons for himself.

What we have to decide for ourselves is, do the Watchtower Publications speak on behalf of the God of the Bible or not? In formulating our own answer for that, consider what is the source of their information. As mentioned above, they always look to Gods word for direction and insight. The message that they give can be said to be a divine one, because it is based on the Bible
It is true that their interpritation of that message has not always been correct, but they are not prepared to hide in the sand and run away from what they have mistaken. They continue to keep on the watch.

    With the research that I have done so far, I come to the conclusion that no prophecy was put forward by the WTBTS. The writer's of various WTBTS articles often referred to in support this claim are taken out of context. These WTBTS writers have delved into the Bible to see how it relates to our time. They have seen things that, with the knowledge that they have had at that time, indicated a previously recorded prophecy was going to be fulfilled.

The man Nostradamus wrote "Prophecy" that people today try to understand and interpret ever since they were written. One such decipher says “Nostradamus prophesied that World War III would occur on July 4th of 1999, the feast of the "eagle" or USA, with Russia and Iran launching nuclear and chemical assaults upon Western and Southern Europe. And China shall attack Russia and Asia around 2025 AD. American troops shall pay a heavy bloody price. This World War shall last about thirty years and one-thirds to two-thirds of mankind shall perish.”

Did we see World War 3 start in 1999? No. Was that a failed prophecy? Depends on your point of view. Are you looking at the explanation from the point of view of the one trying to decipher it, or from the one that penned it.

Now the people that have tried to understand his writings, and that came up with the “prophecy” of World War 3, are we going to call them false prophetsI would not.  Why notThey are not the originators of that prophecy. They have tried to understand Nostradamus's writings and that is the explanation they came up with. His writings are very obscure. Here is an example of his writings.

When the fork is supported by two pillars, With six half-horns and six open scissors: The very potent Lord, heir to the toads, Will then subjugate to himself the entire world.” It is interpreted by , Henry James Foman, notice that he has to assume some things, for example what the fork is and what the half horns are what the open scissors are.

““The first two lines indicate a date. When the fork, V, is sustained by two pillars, they make an M, the Roman numeral for one thousand. Six half-horns are CCCCCC, the numeral for six hundred; six open scissors, XXXXXX, make sixty. In other words, in 1660 the great Lord of France, heir to the Merovingians—whose [emblem] was the toad ...—will be the greatest monarch in the world. . . . in 1660 Louis XIV married Maria Theresa of Spain ... Early in 1661 ... Louis, at twenty-two, became virtual autocrat of France, the Grand Monarque of the civilized world

The Bible in contrast to Nostradamus is quite clear in telling of events that are to happen. When it uses symbols it explains what those symbols are. For example In  Daniel chapter 2  we read of a statue of many materials Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Clay. Those different materials identified as nations. Those nations are also represented as beasts in  Daniel 7  and in Chapter 8 these beasts are identified.

Some prophecies were given a definite time for an event. For example the Jews new that the messiah was to appear when he did because of Bible prophecy. In that case it does give a year when Jesus would be manifest as the Messiah. (Daniel 9:24-27)  

It [the Bible] often gives signs to look for leading up to an event. Jesus gave signs of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and told his disciple what signs to look for. Those that obeyed him were saved the turmoil. Hunger, and destruction of the siege by Rome.

Jehovah has given us signs as to what to look for in regard to the end of this system and Jesus wielding his authority as Gods executioners. In trying to understand more fully what is involved the JWs have had different understandings of Bible prophecies that relate to this end time.  That is  ALL  they have been.  UNDERSTANDINGS  of what God has said. They have  NOT  prophesied  of their own back.  Nothing  the Witnesses have published  can be called their own original work. (as is the case with Nostradamus).  Nothing  that the Witnesses have published  is new. It is just  understanding of previous written words. In the case of 1925 and the return to the patriarchs of old, that was a complete misunderstanding of the Bibles use of Jubilees.

How are JW's like prophets that prophet was one that speak on behalf of our creator? In that we are sounding the warning of repentance and the drawing close of the Greta day of God the almighty. It is just as in the days of the first century. The Christians then were admonished by Jesus to “Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day YOUR Lord is coming”.(Matthew 24:42, Matt 25:13, Mark 13:32-36) Later in writing to the Corinthians Paul told them that “the time left is reduced” (1 Corinthians 7:29) Paul also told Timothy “preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

If those sort of warnings were valid back then, then they are even more so now that the “great fear-inspiring day of Jehovah” is nearer.

The Awake magazine in 1995 said this in the article “Can You Trust God’s Promises?” about the different understanding of dates that had to be corrected -  “The wrong conclusions were due, not to malice or to unfaithfulness to Christ, but  to a fervent desire to realize the fulfillment of God’s promises in their own time.... . No matter what adjustments we would have to make from time to time in ourviews, that would not change the gracious provision of the ransom and God’s promise of eternal life” - (Bold mine)


What was the view of the early Bible Students in regard to interpretation? Were they willing to change their minds? Did they think that all knowledge was given to them at one time? Read the following article. This article is as I found it except for some points that I highlight in colour.




Vol. I ********** AUGUST, 1879 ********** No. 2
(1) Many friends of the Bible, instead of regarding it as containing a system of truth, look upon it as a compilation of facts, commandments and promises, that are not susceptible of arrangement. Such persons are weak and vacillating, and often at the mercy of the bold unbeliever, who finds in his "God of Nature" the embodiment of law and order. He sees order in Geology, Astronomy and other sciences, but only confusion in the Bible, and he rightly reasons that God's works should be harmonious. He knows the principles of those sciences, and can read the book of nature, we will suppose (though but few are free from the domination of leaders who give us ideas second hand), but he knows little, if anything, of the plan of the Bible, and therefore cannot read it. One man has as much right to reject Astronomy because he cannot understand it, as another man has to reject the Bible for the same reason.

(2) What is confusion when not understood, becomes when explained beautiful and harmonious.

(3) Because, while learning, men differ and quarrel over their opinions does not militate against the truth of any system. If men were more fully controlled by the Spirit of Christ, they could differ in opinion without quarreling.

(4) Until absolute knowledge is gained, each ray of light will at least modify former ideas.

(5) To understand any science or book it should be read according to its own principles of interpretation. "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." 2 Pet. 1:21. Moved by one Spirit it should be taken as a whole, and not disconnectedly. If we would compare scripture with scripture, we would learn that--

"God is his own interpreter, And He will make it plain."
(6) We affirm that a piece-meal interpretation is the cause of confusion in the Christian world, and gives rise to the profane proverb that "the Bible is just like an old fiddle on which any tune may be played." Very few pretend to use much of the Bible; only a few practical precepts, and enough to prove the particular creed, are valued by the many. They virtually blame the Lord for giving a large book when a small one would have been all-sufficient.

(7) The practice of many in teaching is no more consistent than was that of the old Negro who made Paul vindicate him in theft: "Let him that stole, steal." The words, "no more," did not suit his purpose. The writer remembers hearing a minister (shall I say, of Christ) preach a sermon against the doctrine of justification by faith from the words: "To him that worketh is the reward." (Romans 4:4) The perversion will be apparent to all that will read the context.

(8) We do not accuse men generally of dishonesty; we are glad to believe that all parties have some truth, and that they defend their errors with sincerity. None of us are perfect in knowledge, and doubtless all have in the past sincerely believed to be truth, and earnestly defended what is now regarded as error. This should make us feel kindly toward all who differ with us, and who cannot yet see all we can see.

(9) The sects are too much like men backing into a corner, and defending themselves with a text.

(10) A text is of no value as proof of a doctrine unless its place in the plan of the ages be understood. The Calvinist, Arminian or Universalist may readily find a text that will seem to sustain his theory; and the Infidel will say the three texts contradict each other. Each disputant will pass lightly over or ignore the proof-texts of the others, and so sustain their own theory at all hazard.

(11) If the Bible is true there must be a theory which will make use of all these texts, and belittle none of them. There is a theory which claims to do this, and the foundation of that theory is a plan of the ages. Would that all lovers of truth understood that theory, and the plan on which it is based. In the search for truth it becomes necessary to discriminate between Bible language and "home made scripture" or pulpit phraseology. The Bible does not claim to be so plain that everybody can understand it. "But if God intended the word for man's use, why has He not made it plain?" I ask, why are the gold, the coal and the iron hidden deep in the earth? Why are all things of value made difficult of attainment? There is a question of character involved in it. Desire, will, energy, determination and faithfulness will be rewarded.

(12) Some truths lie on the surface and are easily understood, being adapted to the conditions of childhood physically and spiritually. These properly used are as "milk for babes," and give strength for work, growth and further search. But to become as men in the knowledge of God, we must cry after it, seek it as silver, and search for it as for hid treasures. (Proverbs 2:1-5) As the word is arranged as food for the individual as babe, young man and aged, so is it of the race in its different stages of development. It will assist us if we remember that the Bible was not written for one man, nor for one age, but for all men and all ages, adapted to the circumstances as "meat in due season." Thus the "word is a lamp to our feet," giving light for present need; and "The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18) Many do not understand how the Bible could be so written as to remain dark for a time, and then gradually unfold its truth as a burning lamp; but the fact of its being so is to all that understand it an unanswerable argument in favor of its inspiration by the foreseeing spirit of God. In Daniel 12 is given an example clear and simple.

(13) The truths concerning the "time of the end" are said to be "shut up and sealed" until that timeThen "knowledge shall be increased," and "the wise shall understand." The Papal dominion over both Church and State crippled every energy and prevented Bible searching. The overthrow of that dominion in 1798 by the French Revolution marked the beginning of the "time of the end" (Daniel 11:35), and opened the way for a multitude of improvements and the "increase of knowledge." Of course those who have the spirit of truth love it, and search for it, will learn when others will fail, but the wisest and best of Christians could not gain accurate knowledge on this subject until the seal of that book was broken at the time appointed of the Father.

(14) We are not more intelligent or pious than our fathers, even if it be true as we claim that we have advanced truths. Let all bear in mind that "to whom much is given much is required." If we are advanced in truth we should also be advanced in holiness, and obedience to God's will is an important aid in knowing the truth. -- John 7:17.

He that values reputation more than truth, how can he believe? -- John 5:44.
John H. Paton

end quote

The above writer made some interesting points that JWs still hold too. Until absolute knowledge is gained, each ray of light will at least modify former ideas. This is what is stated at 1st Corinthians 13 regarding waiting for Knowledge to become perfect or complete.

Then ...the search for truth . ... Desire, will, energy, determination and faithfulness will be rewarded.

(12) Some truths lie on the surface and are easily understood,  The final point that I would like to point out is ...... (13) The truths concerning the "time of the end" are said to be "shut up and sealed" until that timeThen "knowledge shall be increased," and "the wise shall understand."


The following article is as I found it on the internet, (that includes all italics) except for a couple of places that I highlight later on in the text by colour.

THE BIBLE EXAMINER ARTICLES OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL GENTILE TIMES: WHEN DO THEY END? BY CHAS. T. RUSSELL (October, 1876 – The Bible Examiner Vol. XXI. No.1 Whole No. 313) "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." - Luke 21:24.
Doubtless our Lord intended to communicate to His disciples some knowledge, and possibly it was addressed more to the disciples in our day, than to the early church. Let us then search what times the prophecy, which was in Christ, did signify. Of course, if it be one of the secret things of God, we cannot find out; but if a secret, why should Jesus mention it? 

If, on the contrary, it is revealed it belongs to us. Shall we guess and suppose? No: let us go to God’s treasure-house; let us search the Scriptures for the key. Jesus does not foretell its treading under foot of the Gentiles, as Rome had her foot upon them at that time. He does tell us, however, how long it will continue so, even the disciples thought "that it was he which should have DELIVERED Israel."

We believe that God has given the key. We believe He doeth nothing but he revealeth it unto His servants. Do we not find part of the key in Lev. 26:27, 33? "I, even I will chastise you seven times for your sins: . . . and I will bring your land into desolation . . . and will scatter you among the heathen." Israel did not hearken unto the Lord, but disobeyed him, and this prophecy is now being fulfilled, and has been since the days of Zedekiah, when God said, "Remove the diadem, take off the crown, . . . I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, . . . until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it unto Him." Comparing these Scriptures, we learn, that God has scattered Israel for a period of seven times, or until "he comes whose right" the Government is, and puts an end to Gentile rule or government. This gives us a clue at least, as to how long until the Jews are delivered. Further, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the head of gold, is recognized by God as the representative of the beast, or Gentile Governments. "A king of kings and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, hath God given into his hand." Dan. 2:38.

God had taken the crown off Zedekiah and declared the Image, of which Nebuchadnezzar is the head, ruler of the world until the kingdom of God takes its place (smiting it on its feet); and, as this is the same time at which Israel is to be delivered, (for "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"), we here get our second clue, viz.: these two events, noted of the Scriptures of truth-"Times of Gentiles," and "Treading of Jerusalem," are parallel periods, commencing at the same time and ending at the same time; and, as in the case of Israel, their degradation was to be for seven times, so with the dominion of the Image; it lasts seven times; for, when in his pride the "Head of Gold" ignored "The God of heaven," the glory of that kingdom (which God gave him, as a representative of the Image,) departed, and it took on its beastly character, which lasts seven times. Dan 4:23 – and, (prefigured by the personal degradation for seven years, of Nebuchadnazzar, the representative) until the time comes when they shall acknowledge, and "give honor to the Most High, whose

Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom." Dan 4:34: for all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord when He is the Governor among the nations. Our next question naturally, is, How long are seven times? Does God in his word, furnish us any clue from which to determine the length of that period? Yes, in Revelations we learn that three and one-half times, 42 months, and 1260 prophetic days, literal years, are the same (it has for years been so accepted by the church,) and it was so fulfilled: if three and one-half times are 1260 years, seven times would be twice as much, i.e., 2520 years. At the commencement of our Christian era, 606 years of this time had passed, (70 years captivity, and 536 from Cyrus to Christ) which deducted from 2520, would show that the seven times will end in A.D. 1914; when Jerusalem shall be delivered forever, and the Jew say of the Deliverer, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him and He will save us." When Gentile Governments shall have been dashed to pieces; when God shall have poured out of his fury upon the nation, and they acknowledge, him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But, some one will say, "If the Lord intended that we should know, He would have told us plainly and distinctly how long." But, no, brethren, He never does so. The Bible is to be a light to God’s children;--to the world, foolishness. Many of its writings are solely for our edification upon whom the ends of the world are come. As well say that God should have put the gold on top instead of in the bowels of the earth it would be too common; it would lose much of its value.

So with truth; but, "to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom. We will ask, but not now answer, another question: If the Gentile Times end in 1914(and there are many other and clearer evidences pointing to the same time) and we are told that it shall be with fury poured out; at time of trouble such as never was before, nor ever shall be; a day of wrath, etc., how long before does the church escape? as Jesus says, "watch, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world."
Brethren, the taking by Christ of His Bride, is evidently, one of the first acts in the Judgment; for judgment must begin at the house of God.

    To get more information please see the Official Web Site of ask one of Jehovah's Witnesses the next time they call. 

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