In 1872, a pastor named Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), organized an inconspicuous Bible Study Group in Allegheny, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. USA. Less than a decade later, this study group became the Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. Pastor Russell became its founder president. Subsequently, the Society decided to drop the word "Zion's" from its name, that depicted a sort of affiliation with Israel. The movement adopted the name Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. In 1931, the movement adopted the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" which has remained unchanged to this date. Who is Jehovah?
The word "Jehovah" means the God of Israel. In reality, "...(it) is an error resulting among Christians from combining the consonants Yhwh (Jhvh) with the vowels of 'adhonay, "Lord," which the Jews in reading the Scriptures substitute for the sacred name, commonly called the tetragramation as containing four consonants." (source: Encyclopedia Britannica 1953, Vol. 12).
The Prediction by its founder that did not happen...
In 1876, pastor Russell wrote an interesting article based upon one of the fundamental beliefs Society for the imminent coming of a terrestrial theocratic KINGDOM OF JEHOVAH. This article entitled; 'Gentile Times: When do they End?', appeared in the October 1876 issue of Bible Examiner. On page 27 of that issue, referring to the Gospel of Luke 21: 24, the founding president predicted that the "Seven Times will end in A.D. 1914". However, the expected KINGDOM OF JEHOVAH did not come. None of the events concerning Jerusalem, mentioned in Luke 21: 24 (see the biblical text below) happen in the year 1914. The Society then concluded that the predicted year was to be a turning point in human history and not the end of the "Seven Times" (see details below). Two years later, pastor Russell died. May be the dejection and depression had its toll! Below is the text from the Gospel of Luke chapter 21, verses 23/24/25. The text is reproduced from the New World Bible published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, N.Y.
"(23) Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days!' For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people;
(24) and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled;
(25) Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and [its] agitation."
From "The End Times" to "The Golden Age"
The Society's succeeding President (Judge) Joseph F. Ruthford (1869-1942) shifted the direction of the Society's belief from "The End Times" to "The Golden Age". The belief for "The End Times" was based upon the apocalyptic symbolic imageries for the "Seven Times" that the author of the Book of Revelation claimed to have seen in a Vision. The authorship is doubted by some scholars for the last book of the New Testament called The Revelation of John. It contains the detailed descriptions of "Seven Times". The Revelation was written in the end of the first century to strengthen the faith of Christians, especially those belonging to the Seven Churches in Asia who were being persecuted by Emperor Domitian (90-95 C.E.). These symbolic obscure writings predicted that in the "last days" the forces of Evil will be pitted in a great battle, Armageddon, with the forces of Jehovah. The ultimate triumph of Jehovah over the Satan will be at the hand of forces led by Jesus, who would come down to the earth from the heaven. The author writes in the opening passage that he was instructed by God, through a vision, to write these Revelation of Jesus Christ "which must shortly take place". (Rev. 1: 1). The author repeats: "...blessed are those who hear (this) and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near." (Rev. 1: 3).
In 1909, the Society moved its headquarters to Brooklyn, New York.
In 1942, the president J. Ruthford who spoke of the "Golden Age" also died.
More than nineteen centuries have passed since "which must shortly take place" has not happened. Neither "The End Times" nor "The Golden Age" have come. The "Official Concept" of the Society today, differs from the past.
The Inhabited Earth will endure for ever...
The Original Concept for the future was that after Jesus had defeated the forces of Evil at the Great Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will reign with the Witnesses and the resurrected, righteous dead, for 1,000 years...
The following text is reproduced from the "official" web site of the Watch Tower Society. http://www.watchtower.org/library/jt/index.htm
"Because they (Adam and Eve) became disobedient, this couple failed to fill the earth with righteous families who would lovingly care for the earth and its plants and animals. But their failure does not make Jehovah's purpose fail. Thousands of years later, it was written: "God, the Former of the earth . . . , did not create it simply for nothing." He "formed it even to be inhabited." It is not to be destroyed, but "the earth endures for ever." (Isaiah 45:18; Ecclesiastes 1:4, The New English Bible) Jehovah's purpose for the earth will be realized: "My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do." - Isaiah 46:10.
Hence, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the earth will remain forever and that all people, living and dead, who will fit in with Jehovah's purpose for a beautified, inhabited earth may live on it forever."
Jesus has "already returned" and "begun ruling"
The following text is also reproduced from the same "official" web site of the Watch Tower Society. http://www.watchtower.org/library/t19/survive.htm
"But when will this world end? What "sign" did Jesus give of his "coming, and of the end of the world"?
The Greek word here translated "coming" is pa.rou.si'a, and it means "presence," that is, actually being on hand. So when "the sign" is seen, it would not mean Christ was soon to come but that he had already returned and was present. It would mean that he had begun ruling invisibly as a heavenly king and that he would soon bring an end to his enemies. - Revelation 12:7-12; Psalm 110:1, 2.
The Society today publishes 20,000,000 copies of magazine Awake! in over 80 languages in 230 lands. Free copies are distributed at the street corners and mostly door-to-door, Awake! covers diversified subjects including the insights into other contemporary religions and the prevalent beliefs, on this earth. The imminent coming of a terrestrial theocratic Kingdom of Jehovah into which only the Witnesses will pass is yet preached by the dedicated Witnesses who without hesitation approach the total strangers and do the brief preaching. This concept of exclusivity for the salvation, drives these devotes to their utmost limit to convert the non Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses prefer not to miss any available opportunity to deliver the Message of New World Bible. It is said;
If a seasoned dedicated Jehovah's Witness was to approach a crossroad and saw the two signs; One showing the direction of the Heaven and the other pointing the direction of a group of people that are willing and ready to hear their call of "Awake!". He/she would rather proceed in that direction and hand over the magazine.
New Text Added on April 29, 2003:
Fundamental Beliefs of J.W. that often differ from the Beliefs of Catholics and Protestants
Here is an eye-opening passage from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
"The Witnesses regard both Catholic and Protestant groups as misguided by Satan. The one true God, the Witnesses believe, is Jehovah God...
Jesus Christ, the perfect man, not God, is God's agent in establishing the Theocracy. As the perfect man, he is now man's redeemer since the death made possible a reconciliation to God, which was broken by Adam's sin. The witnesses do not believe in Hell; the wicked are destroyed." ( 1953 Edition, Volume 12).
The above mentioned belief for their Jesus being "not God" seems to have changed. The following passage from their recent edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scripture shows that they believe him to be "a god".
"In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." (John 1 : 1).
Alike Catholics and Protestants, the Witnesses also claim that the term "Word" in the above passage refers to Jesus Christ, which John did not mean. However, the same passage in the Catholic and the Protestant Bibles read:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1 : 1).
The truth of the matter is; Jesus Christ was neither "a god" nor "God". The original Greek word used by apostle John for the term "Word" is "Logos". It literally translates the "spoken word" or "thought" just as in the Greek word "Logic". The use of name "Jesus Christ" for "Logos" is an INNOVATED SUBSTITUTION. The above passage does not make sense with this kind of Substitution. Since the "Word" was "with God" it could not be God. The opening of John's Gospel upholds the concept for 'THE CREATION', recorded by the author of the Book of Genesis, in its opening chapter. In the beginning there was God and everything that came into being did happen by the COMMANDS [the Spoken Words or Thoughts] of God. To read more on the subject please read item number 11 of my earlier article under the URL: http://www.mostmerciful.com/notgod--8-15.htm
Believing Jesus Christ to be a god or God, negates the first of the foremost Commandments taught by Jesus. He said, that Commandment was:
"Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one". Mark 12 : 29. As seen earlier in this article within the quoted passage from the Encyclopedia Britannica; "misguided by Satan" is a very strong remark to pass for the Catholics and the Protestants by the J.Ws.. The base for that remark is Witnesses vehement refutation for the "DOCTRINE OF TRINITY" preached by the mainstream of Christianity. Witnesses claim that the roots of this Doctrine, which negates the teachings of the Old Testament and the Foremost Commandment, were planted during the reign of a Pagan Roman Emperor named Constantine. He died in 337 C.E.. Thereafter Emperor Theodosius, made the innovated Doctrine for Christianity, law of the land (in 451 C.E.).
Strong hatred for the TRINITARIAN belief of ONE GOD with Three Godheads on one hand and equally strong adherence for the DUALITY of that same ONE GOD on the other hand, seems equally misguided if one was to look at them as an outsider. Since GOD is ONE, there cannot be "the God"
as well as "a god". It is not surprising that the Catholics and the Protestants do not consider Jehovah's Witness as a Christian movement. They also refuse to accept their teachings, literature and the translations of the Holy Scriptures.
New Text Added on May 4, 2003:
Fundamental Beliefs of J.W. that often differ from
the Beliefs of Catholics and Protestants, continued...
1. Jesus Christ was not hanged on a Cross but on an execution stake or tree.
2. Displaying of the Cross is a reproach.
3. The use of Cross in the worship is an idolatry.
4. It is a folly to believe the Jesus is yet on the execution stake or the Cross.
5. Jesus is now a spirit.
1. The entire Bible is an inspired book.
2. The authors were moved by the Spirit of God to write the various books.
3. Bible is written for the peoples of all races.
4. It is a practical guide for all mankind and ignoring it is a fatal mistake.
1. God does not dwell in Churches that are built by mortal men with stones.
2. True Church is a spiritual temple that is built upon Jesus.
3. Witnesses call their places of congregations the Kingdom Halls
1. Baptism is a requirement for every Christian.
2. The only proper way for Baptism is by immersion in water.
3. The Witnesses are Baptized in their Kingdom Halls.
4. Baptism does not was away the sins.
1. Blood transfusion violates the Sacredness of Blood.
2. Blood transfusion is banned.
3. Feeding on Blood is prohibited.
1. Witnesses rejects the theory of Evolution.
2. The "Day" means a period of time and not a day of "24 hours".
3. The Day with God can be a long period.
4. God's Law of Creation holds true.
1. The sin of Adam has passed on to all the children of Adam.
2. The death of Adam has passed on to all children of Adam.
3. The dead are sleeping, awaiting the resurrection.
1. The Devil is an invisible Ruler of the world.
2. This Ruler of the world is a god.
3. This Ruler - a god, has been given a respite by the God.
4. The Devil is allowed to remain an invisible Ruler until the issue is settled.
5. The Devil to be abyssed until destroyed.
6. The Devil has joined Satan - the fallen angel.
7. The Devil will be destroyed along with the Satan.
More text added on May 20, 2003
1. Only 144,000 will go to Heaven.
2. Only a limited number to become kings with Jesus
3. Jesus was a forerunner of others that have followed.
1. A place of inactivity.
2. Jesus was raised from the Hell - Grave.
3. The unrepentant wicked destroyed by the fire of hell.
4. Fire of Hell is symbolic. A symbol of annihilation.
5. Satan's final fiery torment is his perpetual death.
1. The Earth will never be destroyed.
2. The Earth will never be depopulated.
3. The Earth will be filled with perfect, peaceful men.
4. Paradise will be made on the Earth for perfect men.
5. Everlasting life is assured for perfect men.
1. The early Christians did not observe it.
2. The true worshippers do not observe the Christmas.
HUSBAND AND WIFE
1. Couples not to separate.
2. Marriage bed to remain undefiled.
3. Husband as the head of the family must be respected,
4. Husband to care for the family.
5. Wife being in subjugation must love and obey husband.
6. Children must be obedient to the Parents.
7. Parents to give spiritual image and training to children.
8. A Christian should marry another Christian.
Above are some of the primary beliefs of the Witnesses...