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Jehovah's Witnesses: An Open Letter

By Bruce W. Robida



To the followers of Charles Taze Russell and all Jehovah’s Witnesses everywhere.

Do you love God with all of your heart and soul?  Of course anyone going door to door, passing out tracts and flyers promoting their faith, must love God. It takes great courage to go to strangers proclaiming “The Good News”, if they’re willing to listen, or to know that some people might slam the door in your face, if they answer it at all.  It not only takes great courage, but deep love and devotion for your cause. If you answered yes, to the question, “Do you love God with all of your heart and soul?”, I’m not at all surprised. But how do you know that you really love Him?  By what standard do you measure your love for God?  Do the things you do for Him determine your love for Him?  Is your love for God determined by how much time you spend in church, or how much time you spend doing things for the church?  Do you measure your love for God by how much money you give, or how much you sacrifice?  There are many things that we can do as an outward expression of our love for God.  These things can be seen not only by God, but also by everyone around us. These outward expressions of our love for God can be good and can lead others to give God thanks and praise.  But do they really give an accurate picture of our true devotion to God?  Our love for God must also be expressed inwardly.  Our desire should be to know Him, and to understand who He is.  God gives us a way to know for sure whether or not we love Him with all of our heart and soul.  He tests us to see whether or not we truly love Him (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).  He wants us to love Him, and not some false god.  Our eagerness to do things for Him would be in vain if what we’re doing is not really for Him but for an impostor, a false god.  What a terrible tragedy it would be to find ourselves before the One True God, only to hear Him say, “ ...I never knew you! Get away from me...” (Matthew 7:23 NWT), because we believed in a different god; a different gospel.  Our love; our zeal, our devotion, must be toward the One True God and He has told us how to avoid being misled into following another god.  He is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14), and our devotion must be to Him only.  We will have no excuse because He has told us in His Word that we will know Him (Hebrews 8:11), We are warned repeatedly to beware of false prophets and false teachers (Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24, Mark 13:22, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1), and God not only shows us how we may recognize them, but also that we must expose them (Ephesians 5:11). Do you really love God with all of your heart and soul? If you say yes, then you must be willing to examine the prophets and teachers of your own church. They must stand the test of the Scriptures.  They must meet the requirements of what it means to be a true prophet, or a true teacher.  Are they true prophets?  Have every one of their prophecies come to pass? What do the Scriptures say about a true prophet of God? Read Deuteronomy 18:18-22. Have any of their prophecies failed?  Do your teachers speak the truth?  Do they base their teachings on those prophets who have proven themselves to be false? How harsh was the punishment for those who were considered to be false prophets  (Read Deuteronomy 13:5,18:20)? What will the future hold for those who are now proclaiming things that God has not really said (Read 2 Peter 2:1-6)?  What will be the fate of those who follow such men (Read Matthew 15:14)? Examine the leaders of your church. If they fail the test of false prophet or false teacher, then you may have unwittingly been misled into following a different god, a different gospel.  The time to look to the One True God is now. Direct your love and passion toward the One True God.  Hold your leaders accountable for what they say, and if they don’t repent, leave them.   Is it God you want to please, or is it men (Read 1Theselonians 2:4)? Now, as you have seen, God holds prophets accountable for what they say, and He will also judge those who teach, more strictly than everyone else (James 3:1),  He will also not allow ignorance to be an excuse.  We have been warned repeatedly that there would be false prophets and teachers, and God has shown us how to recognize them in His Word. Jehovah’s witnesses should be commended for their efforts in preaching the Gospel to all the world.  You have taken Christ’s command, to make disciples of all nations, to heart (Matthew 28:19) and your works certainly surpass many professing Christian groups.  But your integrity with God is in serious question.  You who say you love Him with all of your heart and soul have neglected to test your prophets and teachers.

And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak.  With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it.  You must not get frightened at him.  (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)  NWT

Charles Taze Russell believed that Jesus Christ was already present in 1874, but by 1914, God would judge all nations and establish His kingdom.  He also believed World War I was Armageddon.  Since World War I was shown to not be Armageddon, and it was clear that Christ was not present in 1874, Charles Taze Russell, according to the New World Translation, has proven to be a false prophet (see Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

After Charles Russell’s death, Joseph F. Rutherford was elected president of the Watchtower Society.

Joseph Rutherford taught that Christ’s presence really began in 1914 and he also claimed that in 1925, all the world powers would end, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (among others) would be resurrected from the dead.  These things did not occur, and again, according to Deuteronomy 18:21-22, Joseph F. Rutherford was also proven to be a false prophet. 

Under the leadership of Nathan Knorr, Watchtower publications strongly suggested that Armageddon would take place around 1975.  Many Jehovah’s Witnesses sold their homes and quit their jobs, devoting themselves to serving God full time in great anticipation of that day.  The Watchtower Society caused many Jehovah’s Witnesses to leave after they changed their mind about that date.  Nathan Knorr also falls into the ranks as false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

In 1977, Fredrick W. Franz became president of the Watchtower Society after Nathan Knorr died.  What is interesting to note about Fredrick Franz is that he was the chief theologian during Nathan Knorr’s presidency.  If Fredrick Franz was not a false prophet, or no false prophesies can be directly attributed to him, there is no evidence to suggest that he opposed Nathan Knorr’s assertion that Armageddon was imminent in 1975. As chief theologian, not to oppose such claims indicates agreement with them.  - Source - Jehovah's Witnesses, pages 1-13. Robert Bowman, Jr. Published by Zondervan

And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak.  With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it.  You must not get frightened at him.  (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)  NWT

This verse says nothing about the number of failed prophecies; it just states that if the prophecy does not come true, Jehovah did not speak it.  Again I must ask the question, why would anyone follow a person who has shown himself to be a false prophet, if he sincerely loves God? 

The truth is, we are not to follow men, but we are to follow God through Christ  (1Corinthians 1:10-25).  We should learn truth from men who have proven themselves to be trustworthy to dispatch truth according to the Word of God.  We do not follow those trustworthy men, we merely learn from them.  All of the presidents of the Watchtower Society, past and present, have proven themselves to be not trustworthy.  If you are devoted to God and Christ, why trust in men who have been proven to be untrustworthy?

Who is God?  He gave us a way to know who He is in His Word.  This is the only reliable means of information about Him.  We have already seen that we cannot trust men to disclose the truth about God, so we must at times, go directly to the source.  Those who examined the Scriptures carefully to see if what the apostle Paul was telling them was true, were considered to be of noble character (Acts 17:11). These people did not want to be deceived, and the apostle Paul was not offended that they did not take him at his word, but they made sure that what he was telling them, lined up with what the Scriptures said.  This is the only way we can be sure that what we are hearing, or reading for that matter, when it concerns God, is accurate.  We must be willing to examine the Scriptures to test everything that is presented to us about God (1 Thessalonians 5:21-21).

But you might be asking, “what Scriptures“?  There are so many versions out there, how can we be sure which one is correct?  That is a question each of us must decide after careful consideration is made about the contents of the versions in question, and how those versions came to be.  There are versions out there that are not worth the paper they are printed on because they give us a distorted view of who God is.  Just as we must be watchful for false prophets, we must also be watchful for fraudulent Bibles.  These false Bibles turn you toward false gods, who really are not gods at all.  They may not come out directly and say, “Let us follow other gods.”, but they lead people to follow them none-the-less.  The One True God, tests us to see if we truly love Him with all of our hearts and souls (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).  It is possible to say things without actually speaking them with your mouth.  A Bible that has been altered in such a way as to turn you away from the One True God is in effect saying, “Let us follow other gods.”  If that were not so, then why did the Watchtower Society under the leadership of Nathan Knorr, beginning in 1950, create a new translation and reject the translations that they had been using since Charles Taze Russell founded the Watchtower Society?  The Watchtower Society had no confidence in the previous versions.  As Nathan Knorr was known to be a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:21-22, doesn’t it stand to reason that anything he had written or approved of should be considered suspect?  The New World Translation came into being because Nathan Knorr had no confidence in the Scriptures he had already known.  Consider the fact that a known false prophet (Nathan Knorr) replaced the Scriptures which were accepted by Protestants everywhere, and are to this day accepted as the infallible Word of God, with his own version (NWT) which denies Christ as being God in the flesh.  One only needs to look at John 1:1 to see that Christ in the NWT has been reduced to a god, rather than the One True God in the flesh.   

Now let’s look at one of the primary ways the New World Translation attempts to turn us away from the One True God.  In the New International Version of the Bible, John 1:1 reads, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.". The New World Translation reads, "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."  It is interesting to see two important distinctions between these two versions.  First, the New World Translation (NWT) states that the Word was a god.  Second, the New International Version (NIV) and every other accepted protestant and Roman Catholic version state that "...the Word was God". How interesting it is that Jehovah would send Christ to us, allowing Him to receive praise, adoration, and worship, from a woman who was a known sinner (Luke 7:36-38), when in Exodus 20:5 God says, “...because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion...”  (NWT).  Christ never made anyone stand in His presence when they fell at His feet (Mark 5:22, 5:33, 7:25, Luke 8:47, John 11:32) because He knew that He was One with the Father.  Christ and the Father are One (John 10:30, 14:9-11). When the apostle Peter entered the house of Cornelius, Cornelius fell at his feet and did obeisance to him, but Peter rebuked him for it (Acts 10:25 NWT). And twice when the angel was showing the apostle John the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John fell at his feet to worship him and the angel said, “Do not do that!... Worship God!...”(Revelation 19:10, 22:9 NWT). Whenever people did obeisance to Christ, Christ allowed them to do it (Matthew 14:33, 28:9, 17, Luke 24:52, John 9:38).  When it was done to Peter, Peter rebuked him for it. When an angel was worshiped, John was rebuked for doing it. Christ never rebuked anyone when the worshiped Him.  Why would He allow people to revere Him in such a way in light of Exodus 20:25?  Was He unaware of what the Scriptures say about God the Father?  Not at all.  He was fully aware of all that the Scriptures have to say about the Father.  He was also aware of who He was in the Father.  That He and the Father were truly One (John 10:30), that the Father was in Him, and He was in the Father (John 14:9-6).  This is a message that seems to get lost in the NWT.  This is a message that attempts to steer us away from the One True God by denying the deity of Christ who is the only way to the Father (John 14:6).  The false prophet, Nathan Knorr, commissioned and approved of the New World Translation because he had no confidence in the translations that he had previously known and accepted.  This NWT attempts to remove the deity of Christ while all the other Protestant and Roman Catholic Versions recognize His deity. 

If Christ was not God in the flesh, then who is it that died in Revelation 1:17-18? Was it Jehovah who died?  Jehovah’s Witnesses will never say that Jehovah died but according to the NWT, it appears that Jehovah did die.  So let us reason from the New World Translation. 

In the book of Revelation, chapter 1 verse 8, who is it, that says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”?  According to the NWT it is Jehovah God who says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”  Now, who says in chapter 1 verse 17-18, “ Do not be fearful, I am the First and the Last, and the living one;  and I became dead, but look!  I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” ? It is Christ who died but now lives!  It is He who says, “I am the First and the Last...”!  He is the same One who says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” In verse 8.  But those who would deny the deity of Christ distorted the truth by creating a translation that would fit their own ideas about who God is.  The New World Translation has been misleading people since 1950, but those false ideas about God have been misleading people since the very first false prophet, Charles Taze Russell, became president of the Watchtower Society

Do you think you love God with all your heart and soul?  He tests you to see if it is really  Him that you love, or if you really love some other god.  Those who try to deceive us know what the Word of God says.  Even Satan quoted the Scriptures when trying to tempt Christ in the desert (Matthew 4:5).  They will be subtle in their deceptions, saying, “Let us follow other gods”, without actually coming out and saying it.  Would any well meaning Christian believe anyone who would say that?  Of course not!  Christians want to serve the True God only.  But there are some well meaning Christians who serve another god because they have allowed themselves to be deceived by known false prophets. Why are they so easily deceived?  Because they failed to love the truth (Read 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12). As a result of the teachings of those false prophets, a new translation of the Bible was created to fit what they taught.  That translation known as the New World Translation, denies Christ His due honor.  He is our God, and the NWT denies that fact.  But even in the NWT the name that Christ was given, Immanuel, means, “With us is God.” (Matthew 1:23). The Watchtower Society teaches that Christ is not God, but even its own translation says that He is.

And finally, Jehova's Witnesses deny that the body of Jesus physically rose from the dead. Instead they claim that His spirit was raised, but not His body.

NOTE: Except where noted, The New World Translation was used here for the purpose of speaking the same language as the Jehovah's Witness, to show them that even their translation proves that their prophets are false and that Jesus really is God.  Had I used the NIV, they might be able to argue that I was using a faulty source and disregard this article entirely without checking with their Scriptures.

The JW’s are emphatic on the point that Jesus could not have been raised in a physical body and they go out of their way to make sure of this. "He Jesus merely materialized flesh and blood to be seen and believed."( make sure of all Things p.314 1953 Ed.) "We deny that he raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural." (The Finished Mystery p.57 1917) "Having given up his flesh for the life of the world, Christ could never take it again and become a man once more." (You can live in Paradise on Earth p.169 1982) - Let Us Reason - Flesh and Blood cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven

Beloved Ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.  You gain the knowledge of the inspired expression from God by this:  Every inspired expression that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God, but every inspired expression that does not confess Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist's [inspired expression] which you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3 NIV

But what does the Bible say?

The fact that Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Jesus returned from death in the flesh proves that their prophets are false and have the spirit of antichrist. These are the men and the spirits which Jehovah's Witnesses follow. 

How many failed prophecies does it take to consider a person a false prophet?  It only takes one.  Why would anyone who sincerely loves God, follow a person who has shown himself to be a false prophet?  The Bible is clear about watching for such people, and staying away from them.

After Fredrick W. Franz’s death in 1992, Milton G. Henschel became president of the Watchtower Society. He followed known false prophets and their teachings to this day, and so do all of Jehovah’s witnesses.  

Fredrick Franz and Milton Henschel both had opportunities to follow the dictates of the One True God rather than the leaders that they had succeeded.  Those leaders should have known the Scriptures better than anyone, yet they ignored the fact that their predecessors were indeed false prophets.  Why would anyone knowingly, willingly subject themselves to the teachings of those who had in the past deceived them, or even now ignore the deceptions, and even practice deception themselves?

In the 1993, September 8 issue of Awake magazine published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, under the presidency of Milton Henschel, a prophecy is declared.  At the bottom of page 4 it reads, “ ...this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.”  Where is this generation that saw the events of 1914?  That generation is passing away as we speak.  Those who were born in 1914 and still living today are almost 90 years old.  Will any of them see this peaceful and secure new world? Or will all of them die making this prophecy utterly useless.  In the December 22, 2000 edition of Awake, there has been a subtle change in the wording of that old prophecy.  It now reads, “ ...this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things. (Emphasis mine).  Could it be that Mr. Milton Henschel had no confidence in the older prophecy?  The failed prophecy of Milton Henschel makes him a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

Following the resignation of Milton Henschel in 2000, Don Alden Adams became president of the Watch Tower Society. He was the former secretary to Society president, Nathan H. Knorr and is not considered to be an "anointed brother".

It should be clear that all of the leaders of the Watchtower Society have been declared at least on one occasion, to have made failed prophecies, with the exception of Fredrick Franz and Don Alden Adams (however, they should have known better than to go along with men who have proven themselves to be false prophets). Does the Bible make exceptions for certain people?  Does it say anywhere that one or two failed prophecies are acceptable?  Not at all.

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