Any Jehovah’s Witness would be shocked that someone could even suggest such a thing, but this is a question that every witness needs to take seriously. Let’s look at how the Bible describes a false prophet, and ask the question nobody wants to ask, are the Jehovah’s Witnesses false prophets?
The Jehovahs Witnesses are false prophets according to the Biblical definition found in Deuteronomy 18:20-22, which defines a false prophet as anyone who makes a prediction in the name of God, and that prediction does not materialize. Jehovah’s Witnesses falsely predicted Armageddon and other events multiple times in the past.
Jehovah’s Witnesses also qualify as a false prophet according to a definition given in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 where we are warned against anyone making a statement to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a history littered with false predictions, all of which were proclaimed with the pretext that the “prophetlike” Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is God’s sole channel of communication on Earth.
DO JEHOVAHS WITNESSES CLAIM TO BE A PROPHET?
Jehovah’s Witnesses will reply that it’s not possible for them to be false prophets because the organization has never claimed to be a prophet in the first place. But is that true?
Jehovah’s Witnesses have claimed to be God’s only earthly channel of communication, which they have described as “either a prophet or a collective prophetlike organization” in a 1955 Watchtower Article, called “Jehovah’s Channel of Communication”
|… Who, generally, is that next agent? For supernatural communications that reach the earth the agent (generally a human, although once the ass of Balaam was used) is referred to Biblically as a prophet if he is a male servant of God or a prophetess if a woman. The prophet, in turn, speaks out the communication as God’s spokesman on earth. He publishes it to the many whom God intends to hear it if other than a single person is being specifically addressed. The prophet then becomes the immediate earthly channel through which the waters of lifegiving truth are conveyed to earth’s thirsting residents. Thus Jehovah’s earthly channel of communication is identified. The earthly channel is either a prophet or a collective prophetlike organization.|
Watchtower, May 15, 1955, Page 305, para. 16
The organization has made claims to be fulfilling the role of a prophet in its own literature. In fact, in the same edition of the Watchtower, they made more similar claims, and these claims have been repeated multiple times in other publications.
Even IF they never claimed to be a prophet, a false prophet does not need to call themselves a prophet in order to be a false prophet. If a person or an organization claims to be God’s sole channel of communication on Earth, made predictions about the end, and demands absolute obedience, then they are acting as if they are prophets.
Their publications make it clear that they do in fact claim to be prophets, or as they like to put it, a “prophetlike organization” The evidence is clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses do indeed claim to be fulfilling the role of a prophet. But what makes them false prophets?
FALSE PROPHESIES OF THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
According to Deuteronomy 18:20-22, if anybody makes a prediction in the name of God, and that prediction fails to come true, then they are a false prophet.
|“‘If any prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name that I did not command him to speak or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21 However, you may say in your heart: “How will we know that Jehovah has not spoken the word?” 22 When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word is not fulfilled or does not come true, then Jehovah did not speak that word. The prophet spoke it presumptuously. You should not fear him.’|
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 – New World Translation
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a long history of false predictions. Of course, they will never admit it. In fact, evidence shows that they have actually concealed their failed predictions. Let’s look at some of the most prominent failed predictions made in the past.
Some of the most prominent failed prophecies are:
- 1914 “final end of the kingdoms of this world”
- 1925 “Resurrection of the patriarchs“
- 1975 “Stay alive ’till ’75”
- 2000’s “this generation will by no means pass away…“
1. 1914 – “final end of the kingdoms of this world”
Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses will tell you that it was predicted that 1914 will mark the end of the Gentile Times, that Jesus’ invisible presence started in 1914 (Read: Did Jesus’ Invisible Presence Start in 1914?), and that the end will come before contemporaries of those who were alive in 1914, pass away. But is this REALLY what they predicted for 1914?
According to “Studies in the Scriptures – The Time is at Hand”, published in 1911, by the Watchtower & Bible Tract Society, it was predicted that October 1, 1914, would bring the end of the war of Armageddon, the end of all other religions, the end of all earthly governments, the slaughter of all unbelievers (non-Jehovah’s Witnesses), and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on paradise Earth.
|“we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D.1914.”|
Studies in the Scriptures – The Time is at Hand (1889) 1911 ed. p.99
None of the organization’s actual predictions came true, however, by coincidence, war broke out. One can only imagine the excitement of the Witnesses back then! No doubt it came with a huge disappointment when Armageddon along with all of their predictions, failed to materialize.
Many witnesses believe World War I confirmed the predictions. But did World War I confirm any truth about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 1914 predictions?
The fact of the matter is that the organization did not predict the war at all, and none of its actual predictions came true. World War I was just a coincidence.
Anyone who is not convinced that the war in 1914 was nothing but a coincidence, should read: Did World War I Confirm Any Truth About Jehovah’s Witnesses 1914 predictions?
With the failure of this prediction, according to Deuteronomy 18:20-22, the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is indeed a false prophet.
2. 1925 “Millions now living will never die”
After the 1914 prediction failed to materialize, the teaching about 1914 changed from being the end of Armageddon to being the beginning of the great tribulation. This brought on the new teaching that the second phase of the great tribulation would start in 1925, with the resurrection of Bible characters from the old testament such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others.
This teaching was first published in Rutherford’s book, “Millions Now Living Will Never Die”, with the following statements.
|“What, then, should we expect to take place? The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; 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 favour, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death , being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth.”|
Millions Now Living Will Never Die! p.88
|“As we have heretofore stated, the great jubilee cycle is due to begin in 1925. At that time the earthly phase of the kingdom shall be recognized.”|
Millions Now Living Will Never Die! p.89
Other publications shortly thereafter printed similar statements about 1925.
|“The year 1926 would therefore begin about October first, 1925. … We should, therefore, expect shortly after 1925 to see the awakening of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, Job, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John the Baptist, and others mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.”|
The Way to Paradise, p.224
This prediction by the witnesses was even covered in the New York Times on June 20, 1919, on page 20. Incredibly, you can still view this publication online on the New York Times website here: nytimes.com/1919/06/02/archives/new-date-for-millennium-russellites-now-see-it-coming-on-earth-in.html
Despite the fact that 1925 came and went, and none of the “holy ancients” were resurrected, Rutherford went on to purchase land in San Diego, and in 1929, built a 10-bedroom Spanish mansion, which he claimed would be used to house these ancient resurrected ones from the Old Testament, which included Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and Samuel.
Rutherford named the property Beth Sarim which means “House of Princes” in Hebrew.
Conveniently, Rutherford used this mansion as his personal residence until he died.
Needless to say, the prediction, or prophesy, that these “Holy Ancients” would be resurrected in 1925 and bring with them the Kingdom of God, failed, and after Rutherford’s death in 1942, the home was maintained by the Watchtower Society until it was later sold to a private buyer in 1948.
If it wasn’t obvious enough after the failure of the 1914 prediction, the failure of the 1925 prediction should have driven the final nail in the coffin, firmly establishing that the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is without a doubt a false prophet, according to the Bible at Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
3. 1975 “Stay alive ’till ’75”
Despite there being little to no knowledge among younger Jehovah’s Witnesses today, from 1966 until 1975, the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses made countless statements that implied that Jesus’ 1,000-year reign would start in 1975, bringing death to all unbelievers.
|“The published timetable resulting from this independent study gives the date of man’s creation as 4026 B.C.E. According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E. So six thousand years of man’s existence on earth will soon be up, yes, within this generation. So in not many years within our own generation we are reaching what Jehovah God could view as the seventh day of man’s existence. How appropriate it would be for Jehovah God to make of this coming seventh period of a thousand years a sabbath period of rest and release, a great Jubilee sabbath for the proclaiming of liberty throughout the earth to all its inhabitants! This would be most timely for mankind. It would also be most fitting on God’s part, for, remember, mankind has yet ahead of it what the last book of the Holy Bible speaks of as the reign of Jesus Christ over earth for a thousand years, the millennial reign of Christ. It would not be by mere chance or accident but would be according to the loving purpose of Jehovah God for the reign of Jesus Christ, the ‘Lord of the Sabbath,’ to run parallel with the seventh millennium of man’s existence.” |
Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God 1966 pp.26-30
|“Well now, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, as runners, even though some of us have become a little weary, it almost seems as though Jehovah has provided meat in due season. Because he’s held up before all of us, a new goal. A new year. Something to reach out for and it just seems it has given all of us so much more energy and power in this final burst of speed to the finish line. And that’s the year 1975...|
Well, we don’t have to guess what the year 1975 means, if we read the Watchtower. The Watchtower has been very explicit as to what the year 1975 means for us. If you wish to write down the page 262 in the 1967 issue of the Watchtower we read:
“What does the year 1975 mean for humankind? The end of 6,000 years of human existence, and possibly, the time when God executes the wicked, and start off a thousand-year reign under his son Jesus Christ.”
And don’t wait ’till 1975. The door is going to be shut before then. As one brother put it, “Stay alive to Seventy-Five“”
District Overseer Brother Charles Sinutko at the 1967 District Convention, Wisconsin
In an Awake! article published in 1969 May 22 on page 15, young ones were told that they need to face the fact that they will never grow old in this present “system”, and were assured that the world is due to end in a few years. But they did not end the threats there. The organization stated in that same article that young ones will never fulfill any career that this world offers because the end is so near. Young ones were also warned that a college education would be futile because the world will be “well on its way towards its finish, if not actually gone!”.
Needless to say, Jehovah’s Witnesses took this counsel very seriously and gave up any hopes that they had with regard to their careers. In fact, many took it so seriously that they gave up their hopes for marriage and having children, and were even commended for it.
|“If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the “last days” in 1914, Jesus foretold: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”-Matt. 24:34. Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in high school and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone!”|
Did the Organization state that it would absolutely come? No… But after multiple failed prophecies, they have learned to be more indirect about their claims. Instead of setting outright dates, they publish only enough to generate incredible expectations among their member but are always sure to leave a way out in case their predictions fail. Again.
And this tactic worked! The teaching of 1975 was so convincing, that 1974 reflected the highest publisher growth from the 1970s to 1980. In fact, the 5 years combined growth for the period preceding 1975 was a whopping 37%, compared to a measly 2% for the five years after 1975.
Clearly, the statistics show that the organization generated tremendous expectations for 1975 among the witnesses through publications and talks.
And of course, when this prediction also failed, the leadership accused their members of misinterpreting their statements regarding 1975.
For many, this was the last straw, and the organization experienced a mass exodus. Perhaps some finally saw that the failed prediction qualified the organization as a false prophet according to the bible.
4. 2000’s – “this generation will by no means pass away…”
Since the original prediction, that 1914 was going to bring the end of the war of Armageddon failed, the organization used the Bible verse Matthew 24:34 – “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” to claim that the generation that was alive in 1914, would not die before Armageddon came.
While most scholars agree that this prophecy in Matthew 24:34 was fulfilled in the first century, the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that there is a dual fulfillment and that the end would come before the generation who was alive in 1914 passed away.
The generation that was alive in the year 1914, has all passed away, bringing yet another failed prediction. How embarrassing…
When the last remnants of that generation passed, the organization scrambled to come up with a way to buy more time. They cleverly devised a plan to redefine what the term “generation” means by scouring through the bible and quoting Exodus 1:6 – “Joseph eventually died, and also all his brothers and all that generation.” Does this scripture really give an accurate definition of what is meant by a generation?
Conveniently, David Splain ignores a scripture that much more accurately defines the length of a generation, Matthew 1:1-17, which clearly describes that one life is equal to one generation.
What a futile attempt to salvage whatever credibility they had left. Not only was the prophecy of “this generation” already fulfilled in the first century, but they also failed dismally at redefining what the Bible means by the term “generation”.
And that concludes yet another failed prophecy, establishing again that according to Deuteronomy 18:20-22, the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is in fact a false prophet.
HOW DOES THE BIBLE DEFINE A FALSE PROPHET?
Just to be sure, let’s look at how the Bible defines a false prophet one more time, in Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
WHEN THEY SPEAK IN THE NAME OF GOD, AND IT DOES NOT COME TRUE
|20 “‘If any prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name that I did not command him to speak or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die.+ 21 However, you may say in your heart: “How will we know that Jehovah has not spoken the word?” 22 When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word is not fulfilled or does not come true, then Jehovah did not speak that word. The prophet spoke it presumptuously. You should not fear him.’|
The scriptures are so clear about who qualifies as a false prophet. It goes as far as to say that such a prophet must die! Does this not make it clear how serious this offense is? How can the leadership in the organization not see this?
This text goes on to tell us that we are not to fear such a prophet. But there’s more. Looking at the original text used in place of “you should not fear him”, we can learn a lot more. The word used here is transliterated as “guwr” and according to the lexicon means “to sojourn, abide, dwell in, dwell with, remain…”. Clearly, we are being told not to follow this false prophet, in addition to having no fear for them.
The Bible is packed with warnings about false prophets and false Christ. Shall we look at some of those warnings to see if the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses qualifies accordingly?
A STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THE DAY OF JEHOVAH IS HERE
|However, brothers, concerning the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ+ and our being gathered together to him,+ we ask you 2 not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement*+ or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah*+ is here.|
3 Let no one lead you astray* in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy+ comes first and the man of lawlessness+ gets revealed, the son of destruction.+ 4 He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship,* so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things?
2 Thessalonians 2:2,3
The first one I would like to address is a warning found in 2 Thessalonians 2:2,3, specifically telling us not to be alarmed by an inspired statement to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. The original Greek word used for “here” was “enistēmi” and in those days meant “to be upon, impend, threaten – close at hand – present” according to the Greek Lexicon.
. Would you say that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are making “inspired statements” to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here? Well, I will let them speak for themselves.
|“So the events unfolding around us are making clear than ever that we’re living in the final part of the last days, undoubtedly the final part of the final part of the last days, shortly before the last day of the last days ”|
Steven Lett – Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses
THEY EXALT THEMSELVES ABOVE EVERY SO-CALLED GOD, SIT DOWN IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD, AND PUBLICALLY SHOW THEMSELVES TO BE A GOD.
In verse 3 of this chapter, we are given more information about this false prophet. That they would exalt themselves above all other forms of worship and so-called gods, that they sit down in the temple of God, showing themselves to be a god.
Would you say that the Governing body exalts themselves above all objects of worship? While they certainly do not admit it, in practice they absolutely do! The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be God’s only channel of communication, God’s mouthpiece so to speak, and salvation is only possible through them.
|“In effect, Jesus also conveys Jehovah’s voice to us as he directs the congregation through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) We need to take this guidance and direction seriously, for our everlasting life depends on our obedience.“|
Watchtower 2014 Aug 15 p.21
|“That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel.” |
Watchtower 2013 Jul 15 p.20
Do members of the governing body sit down in the temple of God, showing themselves as gods? Members of the Governing Body (who actually live in what they would describe as a “temple of God” AKA Bethel), whether they admit it or not, expect to be treated as gods. In fact, they insist on it! Jehovah’s Witnesses are ordered to obey the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” (Governing Body) above all, even if it doesn’t make sense from a human standpoint.
|…direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.|
Watchtower 2013 – Seven Shepherds, Eight Dukes—What They Mean for Us Today, Paragraph 17
LOOK HE IS IN THE INNER ROOMS!
|23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned you. 26 Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be.|
Another warning is found in Matthew 24, telling us that we must be wary of anyone who claims that Christ is here, but that we can’t see him because of some excuse like “he is in the wilderness” or “he is in the inner rooms”. We are told that his return would be an event that everyone would witness, much like “lightning coming out of the east and shining over to the west”
The Governing Body claims to be acting on behalf of Jesus himself and tells us that Jesus has arrived, however, he is invisibly present and has been since 1914. Ring any bells?
Are Jehovahs Witnesses a false prophets?
According to the Bible, a false prophet – or a false Christ, is:
- Anyone who makes a prediction in the name of God, and that prediction does not come true. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
- Anyone making what is claimed to be an inspired statement to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. (2 Thessalonians 2:2)
- Anyone who stands in opposition and exalts themselves above every so-called god or object of worship. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Anyone who sits down in the temple of God, showing themselves to be gods. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Anyone who claims that Christ is “in the wilderness” or “in the inner rooms” that Jesus is present, but no one else can see him, but them.(Matthew 24:23-27)
The organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses has made countless predictions in the name of God, which has a 100% failure rate. This alone is enough to qualify the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a false prophets.
In addition, the organization is constantly making inspired statements to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. Another offense that makes Jehovah’s Witnesses guilty of being a false prophets.
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses stands in opposition to anyone who disagrees with their doctrine and exalts themselves over every other so-called god or object of worship. They claim to be God’s “faithful and discreet slave”, that they are the only channel of communication to God, that they act on behalf of Jesus directly, and accuse all other forms of worship as being false.
The Governing Body sits in what they call Bethel, AKA “House of God”, and truly live as gods, enjoying unquestioned obedience by millions, and that is about as close to being a god as any human can get.
And finally, they claim that Jesus has returned in 1914, but invisibly, and no one else can see it. Just as we are warned about false prophets claiming that “He is in the inner rooms” – DO NOT BELIEVE IT!