The False Prophecies of the Watchtower

The Jehovah’s Witness religion has a chequered history of giving false prophecies and setting dates for the end of the world. These are some examples:

A) 1880- “As the beginning of that change was marked by the coming of Christ from heaven, so the 2300 years above mentioned indicated that Christ was due to leave the most holy place- ‘heaven itself’- in 1844.” (The Watchtower, 7/1880, 3)

B) 1892- “The date of the close of that ‘battle’ is definitely marked in the Scripture as October 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October 1874.” (Watchtower Reprints, Jan 15, 1892, 1355)

C) 1917- “…the Spirit of 1918 will bring upon Christendom a spasm of anguish greater even than that experienced in the fall of 1914…in the year 1918 when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of ‘Christianity.'” (The Finished Mystery, 1918, 65, 485)

D) 1920- “Even the republics will disappear in 1920…The three days in which Pharaoh’s host pursued the Israelites into the wilderness represent the three years from 1917 to 1920…The wheels will come off their chariots- organization.” (Finished Mystery, 258)

E) 1925 “…1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old…based upon the promises set forth in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, 97)

F) 1940- “The Kingdom is here, the king is enthroned. Armageddon is just ahead. The glorious reign of Christ that shall bring great blessings to the world will immediately follow. Therefore the great climax has been reached. Tribulation has fallen upon those who stand by the Lord.” (The Messenger, Sept 1940, 6)

G) I968 – “Just think, brothers, there are only about 90 months left before the 6000 years of man’s existence on earth is completed…The majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out” (Kingdom Ministry, 3/68, 4)

H) 1975- “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to spend the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” (Kingdom Ministry, 5/1975, 3)

When you point these out to JWs they will quote Proverbs 4:18: “But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.” They would say though their leadership made errors in the past, their paths are now shining brighter and they have received “new light” on their doctrines over the years. They quickly assume that they are the righteous ones the Bible speaks of! This is classic circular reasoning.

God doesn’t take the issue of those who prophesy lies or mislead people lightly. He says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying unto you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD” (Jer. 23:16). When a religious group makes false predictions, they are proclaiming “false visions, divinations, idolatries and delusions of their own minds” and we are not listen to them (Jer. 14:14).

Yet JWs wrote:
“True, there have been those in time past who predicted an ‘end of the world’ even announcing a specific date…Yet nothing happened…Why? What was missing?…Missing from such people were God’s truths and the evidence that he was guiding and using them.” (Awake! Oct 8, 1968, 23)

Based on their history, the truth of God is missing from the Watchtower Society. Some JWs will tell you that the Watchtower Society has never claimed to be a prophet of God. But this is a deliberate lie to cover an obvious fraud.

The Watchtower April 1972 edition says:
“The scroll was doubtless delivered to Ezekiel by the hand of one of the cherubs…This would indicate that Jehovah’s Witnesses today make their declaration of the good news of the Kingdom under angelic direction…And since no work of Jehovah can fail, for he is God Almighty, the nations will see the fulfilment of what these witnesses say as directed from heaven.” (p. 200)

The Watchtower organization claims to be under angelic direction in what it writes and says its predictions will be fulfilled, yet they weren’t fulfilled. Evidently they are false prophets.

Interestingly, they wrote:
“False prophets will try to hide their reason for feeling shame by denying who they really are” (Paradise Restored to Mankind- By Theocracy! 1972, 354).

Of course, this is an apt self-description. That they admit giving false prophecies does not change God’s sentence hanging over them: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken…” (Deut. 18:22).

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A Critique of “the Gospel of Barnabas”

The caption was framed to gain attention “1500 Year Old Bible Confirms that Jesus Christ was not Crucified.” Muslims shamelessly embellished an article claiming that the gospel of Barnabas was discovered in Turkey containing the “scary truths” that Jesus is not the Son of God; was not crucified; apostle Paul was an impostor and Muhammad was a prophet of God. Read what the original article here

The gospel of Barnabas (first published in the 1970s in Pakistan) was alleged to be the “lost book” of the Bible written by Barnabas, a disciple of Christ 2000 years ago. In it we find Jesus say to him “Be not sore grieved Barnabas for those whom God hath chosen before the creation of the world shall not perish” (p 21).

This is a patent forgery. Barnabas was one of the apostles after Jesus ascended to heaven. He was not even called Barnabas until when he gave his field to the apostles. (Acts 4:36).

It says: “Others preached that he [Jesus] really died but rose again. Others preached, and yet preach that Jesus is the Son of God, among whom is Paul deceived” (p 273)

This is also false. Barnabas was the one who went to the great extent of showing the early Church that Paul (who was formerly an enemy) was a true Christian (Acts 9:27). When the church in Antioch was growing, the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas there to instruct the new believers, but he rather chose to go to Asia Minor to assist Paul (Acts 11:26). Both men returned to Antioch together (Acts 12:35) and Barnabas proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 13:33).

When the issue of circumcision as a condition for salvation came up among Jewish Christians, both Paul and Barnabas repudiated the doctrine (Acts 15:1-2). The only disagreement they had was the decision to take Mark with them (vs 38-40) and it was resolved later as the epistles shows (Col. 4:10, 2Tim. 4:11). What a shame that the author of the gospel of Barnabas chose a wrong name to use for his forgeries.

The “gospel” calls Jesus “the Christ” on pg 2, yet denies Jesus as the Messiah. Its writer didn’t know both titles are the same. The book exposes itself as a late work when it quotes from the Latin Vulgate (translated in 405 AD) and makes reference to “the golden jubilee” which was invented by Pope Boniface around 1300 AD (p 104). That implies that the book of Barnabas dates to 700 years after Muhammad.

The gospel of Barnabas plagiarized the works of Dante, a Medieval Italian poet. His descriptions of hell, paradise and purgatory in his book, Divina Comedia was smoothly plagiarized. The expression “Moses, his servants and go and serve false and lying gods” (p 27) was directly lifted from Dante’s Inferno (1:72).

Pg. 21 reads: “Behold then how beautiful is the world in summer time when all things bear fruits. The very peasant, intoxicated with gladness by reason of the harvest…maketh the valley and mountains resound with singing

The background described here fits that of Medieval western Europe (Italy/Spain) in summer, not that of Palestine where rain falls in winter and fields are parched in summer. The “gospel” says wines are stored in wine casks (p 196). But in first century Palestine, wines were stored in skins (Matt 9:17). Wooden casks were used in medieval Europe.

It also says that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were overlords of two towns – Bethany and Magdala. (p 242) The concept of feudalism was a medieval European custom. At the time of Christ, much of Palestine was controlled by the Romans. In pg 71, the book quotes Jesus saying “60 mites.” This is ridiculous because mites are coins of Spanish origin. Evidently this “gospel” was a late European islamic forgery.

The book makes some wild-eyed claims like claiming that Romans stirred up 600,000 Jews against 200,000 Jews over the case of Jesus (p 115). Jews were not up to that number in the first century.
Interestingly, the gospel of Barnabas contradicts even the Quran. It says Jesus is not the Messiah but Muhammad is (p 54), but the Quran says Jesus is the Messiah (Q 3:45). The Quran says there are “seven heavens” (2:29) while the book says “the heavens are nine” (p 223).

On page 5, the book, reflecting medieval Catholic belief in the painless birth of Christ says: “The Virgin was surrounded by a light exceeding bright and brought forth hers son without pain” But the Quran says: “And the pangs of childbirth drove her [Mary] unto the trunk of the palm tree” (Sura 19:23). No Muslim can believe both books.

It says angels will die on the last day (p 70) while the Quran says 8 angels will carry Allah’s throne on that day (69:15-17). The Quran says that men will still be alive on the last day (80:33-37), but this book says “every living thing shall die” at that time (p 70). Dear Muslims, you can’t have it both ways. This book is utterly spurious.