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, p. 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, January 15, 1892, p. 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.” (The 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, p. 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, September 1940, 6).

G) 1968 – “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 and their statement here we can conclude that 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:

So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?  These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? . . . This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses . . . Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a “prophet” of God. It is another thing to prove it (TheWatchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197).

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 fulfillment 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).

What 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.”

Some Muslim propagandists shamelessly embellished an article on the Internet to say that the gospel of Barnabas was discovered in Turkey containing the “scary truths” that Jesus is not the Son of God; that He was not crucified; that the apostle Paul was an impostor and Muhammad was a prophet of God.

Read 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 and eyewitness of Christ 2000 years ago.

In this book, we find Jesus purportedly say to him:

Be not sore grieved Barnabas for those whom God hath chosen before the creation of the world shall not perish” (Gospel of Barnabas, London, 1907, p. 21).

Now, this is a patent forgery. Barnabas became 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 this was resolved later as the epistles show (Col. 4:10, 2 Tim. 4:11).

What a shame that the author of the gospel of Barnabas chose a wrong name to use for his forgeries.

This “gospel” calls Jesus “the Christ” (Chrissto) on page 2, yet denies Jesus as the Messiah! The author didn’t know that Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word for the “Messiah.”

The gospel of Barnabas rehashes the hoary Islamic canard that the Old Testament was falsified:

“As God liveth, in whose presence my soul standeth, if the book of Moses with the book of our father David had not been corrupted by the human traditions of false Pharisees and doctors.” (Ch. 189, p. 424)

This is an obvious falsehood since the Pharisees (the doctors of the Law) only emerged between 135-104 B.C., whereas the Old Testament had been well preserved many centuries prior.

The book exposes itself as a late work when it quotes from the Latin Vulgate (translated in 405 A.D.) and makes reference to “the golden jubilee” which was invented by Pope Boniface about 1300 AD (p. 104).

That implies that the book of Barnabas was written about 700 years after Muhammad.

The gospel of Barnabas also 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 (vol. 1, p. 72).

On page 217 (Ch. 169) we read:

“Behold, then how beautiful is the world in summer-time, when all things bear fruit! The very peasant, intoxicated with gladness by reason of the harvest that is come, maketh the valleys and mountains resound with his singing, for that he loveth his labours supremely. Now lift up even so your heart to paradise, where all things are fruitful with fruits proportionate to him who hath cultivated it.

The background described here fits that of Medieval western Europe (Italy/Spain) in summer, not of Palestine where rain falls in winter and fields are parched in summer.

This “gospel” also says wines are stored in wine casks (p. 196), but in first century Palestine, wines were stored in skins (Matthew 9:17). Wooden casks were used in medieval Europe.

It says that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were overlords of two towns – Bethany and Magdala (p. 242), but the concept of feudalism was a medieval European custom.

At the time of Christ, much of Palestine was controlled by the Romans, so it would have been impossible for Lazarus to own towns.

In pg. 71, the book quotes Jesus saying “60 mites.” This is ridiculous because mites are coins of Spanish origin. Evidently, this “gospel” is a late European Islamic forgery.

The book also makes some wild-eyed claims such as the statement that the Romans stirred up 600,000 Jews against 200,000 Jews over the case of Jesus (p. 115). Historically, the Jews were not up to that number in the first century.

Interestingly, there are several areas where the gospel of Barnabas contradicts the Quran.

It says Jesus is not the Messiah but Muhammad is (p. 54), but the Quran says Jesus is the Messiah (sura 3:45).

The Quran says there are “seven heavens” (sura 2:29) but the book says “the heavens are nine” (p. 223).

The gospel of Barnabas teaches monogamy: “Let a man content himself therefore with the wife whom his creator hath given him, and let him forget every other woman.” (ch. 115, p. 266)

But in Sura 4:3, the Quran says “Marry such women as seem becoming unto you, two, three or four.”

In chapter 3 p. 5, the book of Barnabas, reflecting the 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 the opposite: “And the pangs of childbirth drove her [Mary] unto the trunk of the palm tree” (Sura 19:23).

No honest Muslim can believe both accounts as truth. Logically, you can’t have two contradictory “truths.”

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. If you use it against the Bible, we can as well use it to refute your Quran.

What is Wrong with Catholicism?

Many people wonder why Bible believing Christians attack many teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Respected evangelical leaders like Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Rick Warren, Hank Hanegraaff and even entire denominations like the Salvation Army and the Assemblies of God have embraced the Catholic Church as a true Christian church with maybe just a “tiny little bad history.”

This ecumenical tide has made it become “politically incorrect” to attack the church endorsed by such great evangelists. In fact, most people speaking against Catholicism nowadays are dismissed as rank Jehovah’s Witnesses or wild-eyed anti-Catholic fundamentalists who have had too much caffeine.

So it must be emphasized that our disagreement with Catholicism is not based on irrational or uninformed hostility, rather from an adherence to the truth of Scripture.

Unfortunately, most cult experts today have omitted the inclusion of Catholicism from their assessments. In the book, Agony of Deceit (written by different evangelical leaders to address false teachings in the church), we read: “The Catholic church resisted the mounting heresies with regard to the Person of Christ, and … Protestants would continue to affirm Catholic Christology” (p. 111)

From my study of Catholicism so far, this statement is false. One of the key doctrines of the Christian faith is what the Bible teaches about Christ (Christology). At a casual glance at catholic doctrines, it seem we both agree on this, but looks can be deceiving. Let’s examine the Christology of Roman Catholicism.

1. The Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ

According to Catholic doctrine, the communion wafer (host) becomes the body, soul and spirit of Jesus Christ when the priest ‘blesses’ it during Mass.

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (Catechism, 346 #1374).

The summary of what happens at the Catholic mass is summed up by Catholic priest, John O’ Brien:

When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from his throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man” (The Faith of Millions, 255).

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper with the disciples, He took bread and said ‘Take eat; this is My body’ The fact that He was still literally there with them and didn’t appear as bread and wine clearly shows His words here were figurative. And after He blessed the cup, He still called it “the fruit of the vine” – not literal blood (Mt. 26:25-29).

Paul the apostle emphasizes what Jesus said “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me … This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1Cor. 11:23-25).

Since this was to be done “in remembrance” of the Lord, “to show the Lord’s death until he comes” (v. 26), definitely, He is not literally present in the bread and wine, body, soul or spirit. It’s a memorial and symbolic observance. God’s Law also forbids cannibalism and vampirism (Lev. 11, Dt. 12:16, Acts 15:20), thus it would be abominable for Christ to physically take His own flesh and blood.

Jesus is in heaven in a glorified body that can never die. He doesn’t need to offer Himself in daily sacrifice like the Old Testament priests “for this He did ONCE when He offered up himself” on the cross (Heb. 7:27). Christ is spiritually present “where two or three are gathered in His name” and doesn’t become pieces of wafer on Catholic altars (Mt. 18:20).

2. Replacing Jesus with Mary

Catholicism subtly relegates Christ and exalts Mary in His stead. This is where Catholicism deviates from Bible Christianity, because true Christianity is based on Christ, while Catholicism is based on Mary.

(a) The titles of Christ are transferred to the Catholic Mary. Just as Jesus is the King, Mary is called “the Queen.” Jesus is our Lord, Mary is called “our Lady.” As He is the Second Adam, Mary is also called “the Second Eve.”

The Genesis 3:15 in the Catholic Douay-Rheims bible has been rendered to say: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: She shall crush thy head, and thou shall lie in wait for Her feet”. This is blasphemy

(b) The attributes of Christ are transferred to Mary. Christ is sinless, Catholicism too teaches Mary was sinless. Just as Jesus ascended to heaven, Mary too was declared to have assumed into heaven. Just as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, they teach that Mary also sits at the right hand of Jesus.

(c) Denying the exclusive Mediator-ship of Christ by teaching that Mary is a co-mediatrix with Christ. The doctor of the Catholic church, Alphonsos de Liguori wrote:

There is no doubt’ the saint adds, ‘that Jesus Christ is the only mediator of justice between men and God … but because men acknowledge and fear the Divine Majesty… it was necessary to assign us another advocate, to whom we might recourse with less fear and more confidence, and this advocate is Mary, than whom we cannot find one more powerful…” (The Glories of Mary, 195)

This is false. Jesus’s role as our mediator is essentially and necessarily different. He has a ground to stand on as a mediator because He was “made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest…and that he might make an atonement for the sins of the people.” No one, including Mary, possesses these attributes (Heb. 2:17).

Roman Catholicism misrepresents Christ as mean and inaccessible in order to justify looking up to ‘another advocate’, the “virgin Mary”, who is supposedly more merciful. But the Word of God says that Jesus is our great High priest and we are all to come boldly to His throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace in the time of need (Heb. 4:16). Why look to anyone else?

(d) Making Mary a Co-Redemptrix

The Bible says we are redeemed through the blood of Jesus (Col. 1:14), but Catholicism exalts its Mary on the same footing with Christ by teaching that Mary also redeemed us with her blood and the agonies of her heart:

That Woman [Mary] is the mother alike of the Redeemer and of the redeemed. It was first from her veins that the blood was drawn which now lies scattered cheaply about, but which has ransomed the world” (The Legion of Mary, 1975, 144)

3. Denial of Salvation by Christ alone.

Pope Pius IX said: “Our salvation is based upon the holy Virgin…so that if there is any hope and spiritual healing for us, we receive it solely and uniquely from her” (The Encyclical of February 2, 1849).

One of the many prayers in the booklet Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help says “In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee do I entrust my soul” (p. 46).

But God’s Word says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God Himself said “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22). Only God has the power to save. By attributing salvation to Mary, Catholicism elevates her to the status of a goddess.

4. Denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.

This is seen in the belief underlying the Mass and by the teaching that believers have always “carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others…[to] help their brothers obtain salvation from God…” (Vatican II Council: The Counciliar and Post Counciliar Documents, Vol 1, 65)

Now, if “by one offering he [Jesus] hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” and “by his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” how can any man add to that perfect sacrifice let alone save another? (Heb. 10:14, 9:12)

5. Replacing Christ with Men.

Catholic priests are said to be “Sacerdotus alter Christus” (the priest is another Christ) and Popes are called “Vicarius Christus” which means ‘another Christ’. A Catholic Dictionary says that the pope sits as Christ in the Vatican. Catholic priests are seen as representatives of Christ having the power to forgive sins and to re-sacrifice Jesus.

These are all false teachings that hinder Catholics from having a saving relationship with the real Jesus Christ. He has warned us against following false Christs (Matthew 24:5, 23-24).

6. Replacing the Living Christ with a dead one.

For example Catholic crucifixes having a “dead” Jesus on it, which Catholics pray to. Such objects are accursed (see Deut. 21:23). The resurrection of Christ is one of the cornerstones of the Christian Faith, otherwise our belief is in vain (1 Cor. 15:13). If Jesus were to remain on the cross as Catholicism portrays, we would all be doomed. Other examples of false Christs in Catholicism are images of Christ and various “visions” of the “dying and agonizing face of Christ.”

Yes, there are true Christians within Catholicism who have been saved by believing the Gospel of the Bible “which is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16), but still remain in that false church for one reason or the other. However, due to Rome’s false teachings, they are in a distinct minority. Logically, it’s impossible to believe two contradictory beliefs at the same time.

For example, how can one believe Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us is an accomplished fact of history and He is in heaven in a resurrected, glorified body and at the same time believe He is being literally “immolated in the sacrifice of the Mass?”

Or how can one believe Christ’s redemptive work on the cross is “Finished!” as He Himself said (John 19:30), and at the same time believe the Mass repeats Christ’s sacrifice?

Or how can one believe that by simple faith in Christ one receives eternal life and assurance of heaven as a free gift of God’s grace and at the same time believe that God’s grace and merits of Christ, Mary and the saints are contained in the treasury of the Catholic church and is dispensed in bits and pieces for attending Mass, penance or saying the rosary? It’s simply impossible. This is why true Christians who trust in Christ alone must renounce Catholicism and its false gospel.