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The Facts On Jehovah's Witnesses (The Anker Series)
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A closer look at Jehovah's Witnesses living in the U.S. | Pew Research Center
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View More. Article Media. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. If you prefer to suggest your own revision of the article, you can go to edit mode requires login. Thank you for your feedback. The Watchtower Society prints over 15 million copies of its magazines every week into languages, and has over 5 million active Jehovah's Witnesses "publishers" spreading its doctrines in countries. What follows are some essential facts everyone should know about the history and beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
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Charles T. Russell founded the Jehovah's Witnesses movement. As a teenager he rejected his Presbyterian roots, joined a more liberal Congregational Church, then left this group as well.
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Russell had no formal Bible training, but borrowed and built upon various teachings that were popular at the time. For example, Adventism influenced his denial of hell, and a splinter Adventist group led by N. Barbour aroused his interest in end time prophecies.
From Barbour he borrowed the belief that Christ returned invisibly to the world in , and that was the year the world would be destroyed and the Millennium would begin. People were drawn to Russell's sensational end time predictions, and the organization grew. In spite of his lack of formal training in theology or biblical languages, Russell claimed to be the only one with the truth, and he vigorously condemned all other Christian religions.
As a result, ministers of various denominations began exposing Russell's false teachings and questionable character. Flawed Character Rev. Ross published a pamphlet that exposed Russell's false claims and doctrines. He revealed that Russell "never attended the higher schools of learning; knows comparatively nothing of philosophy, systematic or historical theology; and is totally ignorant of the [biblical] languages [i. Hebrew and Greek]. Ross for defamatory libel. However, Russell not only lost the suit, but in the process perjured himself in court when he lied under oath about his knowledge of the Greek language.
In the end Russell admitted the statements about himself in the pamphlet were true. When came and went, he changed the date to Russell died in , leaving his followers doubting and disillusioned by his predictive failures. Joseph Franklin Rutherford then took control of the organization. He published The Finished Mystery , a book which predicted that in God would destroy churches and millions of their members, and claimed that by every kingdom would be swallowed up in anarchy. Fear of Armageddon motivated Witnesses to work hard selling Rutherford's books and other Watchtower Society literature.
It taught that the millennium would start in and that Old Testament saints like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David would come back to life. In the meantime, however, Rutherford conveniently moved into the mansion. Knorr the WT Society put away date setting for a time and switched to a different strategy. Since many of their teachings are easily refuted by key verses in the King James Bible, Knorr set out to publish a different Bible for Jehovah's Witnesses to use.
Jehovah God is speaking and says, " they shall look upon me whom they have pierced " understood by Christians as a predictive reference to the crucifixion. Recognizing that Jesus' fulfillment of this prophecy would mean that he is Jehovah God, the Watchtower Society has changed this verse in the NWT to read "they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through," thus eliminating another reference to the deity of Jesus Christ.
The Society made similar changes to many other verses relating to the deity of Christ Colossians ; Titus ; Hebrews They have also altered verses that expose the WT Society's false teaching on subjects like the reality of eternal punishment Matthew , and the personality of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians ; 1 Timothy ; Jude In this way the Watchtower Society gives Jehovah's Witnesses and potential converts the illusion that the Bible supports its erroneous doctrines. The translation committee responsible for the NWT was kept anonymous, undoubtedly to cover up their complete lack of scholarly qualifications.
None of the men who worked on this project had any formal training in the biblical languages, except for Frederick Franz. He was chairman of the committee and had studied Greek for two years at the University of Cincinnati without graduating, and was only self-taught in Hebrew. Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of God by Vice President Franz concluded that the autumn of would mark the beginning of the seventh period of human history.
The Society was careful to avoid printing an outright prediction, but the message was clear to Jehovah's Witnesses everywhere — Armageddon was coming soon. Some even sold their homes and property in and were praised by their leaders for doing so. The Society has responded by publishing articles and books in which they admit they have made mistakes in their historical predictions and doctrinal teaching. They excuse these errors by attributing them to human fallibility and by saying the WT Society has never claimed to be inspired by God. A Watchtower magazine as recently as August 1, stated, "Jehovah particularly teaches his people by means of a weekly study of the Bible, using The Watchtower as a teaching aid.
Knorr provided the following testimony under oath in a court of law that the content of The Watchtower comes directly from God. Cross-examination of Frederick W. Franz in the case of Olin Moyle v. At any rate, Jehovah God is now the editor of the paper [ The Watchtower ], is that right? He is today the editor of the paper. How long has He been editor of the paper? Since its inception he has been guiding it. In fact, it [ The Watchtower ] is set forth directly as God's Word, isn't it? Yes, as His word. Many people remain unaware of these damaging facts, and the Witnesses continue to grow in number, distributing massive amounts of deceptive literature.
In spite of its past failures and recent claims to not be inspired, the WT Society still demands complete loyalty and continues to predict Armageddon is coming soon with sure annihilation for anyone who does not join the organization or leaves its ranks. Even with a history marred by manipulation and false prophecies, the WT Society still claims to be the only one teaching the truth. If its doctrines are true, they will be found in the Bible, and its teachings will be consistent and unchanging year after year.
A closer look at Jehovah’s Witnesses living in the U.S.
Jehovah's Witnesses, however, deny or twist many of the Bible's basic teachings, and their beliefs conflict with those held by orthodox Christians down through the centuries. Consider the following comparisons. The Nature of God. The Bible teaches that there is only one true God Isa. The Society also denies that Jesus is God see next point.
They deny the Holy Spirit is a person, and instead teach he is merely God's active force, analogous to electricity. While never less than God, at the appointed time He laid aside the glory He shared with the Father and took on a human nature John ; Phil. Following his death, Jesus Christ rose bodily from the grave, appeared to and was recognized in his body by over people. This fact was crucial to both the preaching and faith of the early church Luke ; John ; 1 Cor.
He first existed as Michael the archangel then later was born as a perfect man. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. Jesus was raised a spirit creature and "materialized" a fleshly body to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is again known as Michael the archangel. The Bible teaches that the atoning work of Christ alone provides the solution for man's sin problem. Jesus Christ took the personal sins of all men — past, present and future — in his own body on the tree 1 Pet. Therefore, any and all who receive him by simple faith John ; Acts , can be forgiven, declared righteous and restored to fellowship with God 2 Cor.
Only the , are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of remaining Jehovah's Witnesses, known as the "other sheep" or the "great crowd," the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth.
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