Should You Follow False Prophets?
My third question concerns prophecy. I’d like to read something from the book of Deuteronomy 18:20…
‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
(Actually, “you shall not pay attention to him”.) People who claim to speak for Jehovah and predict things in His name that don’t happen are false prophets.
I have a number of issues, back issues, going back to the 1950’s from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in Brooklyn, New York not 5 miles from where I was born, their headquarters Bethel. Published right there, I’ve passed that building many times with the big clock on it on the other side of the Manhattan Bridge. And I read in these back issues of Awake magazine and Watchtowers and it said all kinds of things: “The politicians who said World War I would bring in worldwide peace – it would be the war to end all wars – were false prophets, they shall die.” Now of course those politicians didn’t claim to be speaking for Jehovah directly, but The Watchtower says that they are still false prophets because they predicted things that didn’t happen. If politicians who predict things that didn't happen are false prophets even though they didn’t represent themselves as speaking for Jehovah, how much more is somebody who claims to be speaking for Him a false prophet.
And so the Awake magazines and the Watchtower magazines that I’ll happily send you a photocopy of it you write us or contact us, says that various people in other religions, many of them calling themselves Christian, have done the same thing, predicted things that didn’t happen and those who follow them are following false prophets and are in rebellion against Jehovah. So The Watchtower Society says if somebody predicts something that doesn’t happen, get away from them or you’re in rebellion against Jehovah; especially if they claim to be Christian or speaking in His name. And they have a whole list of incidents where it’s happened.
I agree with them. They are absolutely right. People who predict things in the name of Jehovah that don’t happen are false prophets. Jehovah commands and demands that we get away from and don't come anywhere near them and if we don't get away from such people we are in rebellion against Jehovah. That is what The Watchtower Society teaches, that is what the book of Deuteronomy 18 commands, and they are right.
This is my question: I have a copy right in my hand at the moment of something called The Millennial Dawn published by the Watchtowerpublishing company originally in 1889 but re-published since. It’s Volume 2, The Time Is At Hand. It goes back to Charles Taze Russell. It says the following – I’m reading from page 101 in the chapter called Times of the Gentiles.
“Be not surprised then when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the kingdom of God has already begun. And that is pointed out in the prophecy as due to begin, the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the battle of the great day of God Almighty, Revelation 16:14, which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of the present rulership, is already commenced.”
On the previous page 100…
“So in this day of Jehovah, the day of trouble, our Lord takes His great power hitherto dormant and reigns, and this is that will cause trouble throughout the world and will not so recognize it for the time being. But by the end of 1914 they will recognize it. The present government of the world is going to be overthrown completely, and the kingdom established, the battle of the great day of the Lord. It will end in 1914, the battle of Armageddon.”
Today Jehovah's Witnesses will tell you, “Oh, well Christ turned His attention to the world in 1914”. But in 1889 they said He turned His attention to the world in 1878. I have it in your own literature. What you are now saying happened in 1914, your founder Mr. Russell said happened in 1878 – that’s when God turned His attention. And he prophesied, speaking in the name of Jehovah, claiming to be Jehovah’s spokesman, claiming that organization – your organization – is Jehovah’s organization, and said directly that the battle of Armageddon would end by the end of 1914 and the kingdom of this world would be overthrown and the millennium would have come.
Well, World War I was ugly and brutal, but it was not the battle of Armageddon. It didn't even take place in the Middle East and World War II was much worse. And some of that did take place in the Middle East. My question is if Jehovah forbids us to follow people who predict things in His name that don’t happen, if The Watchtower forbids us based on the command of Jehovah to follow people who predict things in His name that don't happen, if Awake magazine forbids us to follow people who predict things in the name of Jehovah that don’t happen, why are you doing it? It’s a fair question. If Jehovah says don’t do it, if your own organization says don't do it, if you’ve printed multiple issues of Watchtower and Awake magazine that I have that say don’t do it, why are you doing it?
I can prove Charles Taze Russell, Judge Rutherford, Nathan Knorr, one of your leaders after another did the very thing others are condemned for, that they have made you trust and believe in things that have not happened, they themselves saying you shouldn't pay attention to people who do such things. Well, they’d have to include themselves. “An unjust balance as an abomination to the Lord” it says in Proverbs. (Pr. 11:1) Please explain to me why you’re not in rebellion against Jehovah by doing something you admit Jehovah says don’t do?
I’ve had some Jehovah's Witnesses try to tell me, “Well, we have more light now”. Neither Deuteronomy 18 nor Awake magazine nor The Watchtower made allowances for mistakes. The other false prophets and other religions could say the same thing! “We made a mistake, we have more light now.” But if they had the light of Jehovah to begin with they wouldn't have made a mistake.
Please tell me why you want me to rebel against Jehovah by joining your organization and follow people that your organization says should not be followed. That's a fair question. Please answer it, then we’ll talk further about other things.
If you want this copy of what they published – of what you published, I’ll happily send it to you. I’ll show you things that your organization predicted for 1968, for 1974, 1975, for 1937.
There’s a house near the beach in San Diego, CA, a big, beautiful salubrious mansion called “Beth Sarim” in Hebrew – “house of the princes”. It was built by Judge Rutherford for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to live in when they would be resurrected. The Jehovah's Witnesses said, “We have to have a house for them to live in”, so they built them one in San Diego under Judge Rutherford. Beautiful house. For many, many years the Jehovah's Witness organization still owned it. It was built in the 1920’s ahead of the 1930’s when He was supposed to come by a specified date. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should have been living in it. But of course, when Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not show up, Judge Rutherford moved into it himself and lived in it the rest of his life.
Something is wrong here, dear friends. That’s the “Beth Sarim”? I thought that was built for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They said they were going to be resurrected, they were going to live in it. When they didn't, Rutherford moved in himself? How can you justify this? Why are you following people who do something your own religion teaches against, your own organization denounces? Please explain it to me. I think it's a fair question.
I really want to know the truth. If your organization is the truth, I want to know it, I want to join it, I want to be committed to it. If it’s really the one with the truth, I want to be committed to it. But explain to me why I should join an organization founded and led by people who predict things that don't happen when Jehovah says to get away from them and when your own organization says don’t follow them. Please answer that question. Why should I join it and follow such people? And while you’re at it, why have you joined it and why are youfollowing them when Jehovah said don’t do it, when they themselves said don’t follow people who do what we do? I’ll prove it to you in your own literature. All you’ve got to do is write me.