A History of Jehovah’s Witnesses
PUBLISHED ON: April 24, 2003

Note: (C) This textfile is copyrighted.  Christian BBS Abba II has
obtained permission from the publishers to enter this article into
electronic media. This file may be uploaded to, and posted by other
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A History of Disappointments

Charles Taze Russell was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on
February 16,1852. Troubled by various church doctrines, such as
teachings on hell, he became a skeptic at age 17.

In 1870 he was exposed to the teachings of William Miller, one of
the originators of the Second Adventist movement. Miller had
originally taught that Christ would return in October,1843. When
this event failed, his followers continued to set new dates, each
a complete failure as a prophecy of “things to come.” But the
Millerites provided Charles with (1) a religious denial of hell,
and (2) stimulating studies in end-of-the age prophecies.

Russell gradually popularized his end-time studies and founded the
International Bible Students Association. On December 18,1884,
Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society became a publishing subsidiary of
the Association, extending Charles’ influence through works like
Millennial Dawn and Studies In The Scriptures.

By 1886 Russell had published The Divine Plan of  the Ages,
projecting that 1914 would witness Armageddon and the dawn of
Christ’s thousand year rule on earth. He also taught that the “end
times” started in 1799 and that Christ had returned in 1874. These
dates were later changed when Armageddon failed to appear in 1914.

After a legal separation from his wife in 1906 and the failure of
his 1914 and 1915 prophecies, Russell died on October 31,1916.
Joseph (“Judge”) Rutherford emerged as the new head. Reworking
Russell’s chronologies, he falsely predicted Armageddon would be
in 1918, then 1995.

Still expecting the resurrection of Old Testament saints to take
charge of God’s new world order, the Society erected a house in
San Diego, California,in 1929. The house, called Beth Sarim
(“House of Princes”), would shelter these coming “princes of the
earth,” among whom would be King David, Samson, and Joseph. Again,
this prophecy also failed.

Under Rutherford the publishing organization merged with the
church proper and gave birth to the present religious corporation.
In 1931 the title “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted.

A Lot of Publicity, A Lack of Integrity

In 1942 Nathan H. Knorr stepped into Rutherford’s position.
Knorr’s most memorable accomplishment was overseeing the
completion of The New World Translation of the Bible in 1961. Of
the four members of the translation committee (Frederick Franz,
Knorr, Albert Schroeder, and George Gangas), Frederick Franz was
the only one with any exposure to the biblical languages, having
studied Greek for two years at the University of Cincinnati but
being self taught in Hebrew. Franz, chairman of the committee,
eventually took the helm of the organization in 1977.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ growth increased dramatically when in
1966 Franz, in his Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of
God, determined that “the seventh period of a thousand years of
human history will begin in the fall of 1975 CE (Christian Era)”
(P 29)

This intimation became a full-blown expectation of Armageddon and
the visible establishment of Christ’s reign on earth. In 1974 many
Witnesses even sold their homes and property in anticipation of
the event. But like all the other dates set by the Watchtower,
1975 came and went uneventfully.

Despite the subsequent disillusionment of many and an internal
“purging of apostates” in the Brooklyn headquarters, the Jehovah’s
Witnesses still continue to grow in numbers. Indicative of this
growth is the massive circulation of The Watchtower magazine, a
major Witness periodical, which by September of 1@90 had ballooned
to 13,950,000 copies per issue.


JW: The doctrine of the Trinity is “a false, unbiblical doctrine”
originated by Satan (Make Sure Of All Things,1953 ed., p.386; Let
God Be True, p.101 ).

BIBLE: There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), but three distinct
Persons in the Godhead, the Father (Philippians 2:11), Jesus
Christ the Son (John 5:18), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4,9).

JW: Christ the Son was originally the first created being of
Jehovah God (Let God Be True, p. 32).

BIBLE: Christ the Son is eternal, uncreated God (John 8:58;cf.
Revelation 1:17-18 and Isaiah 44:6).

JW: Jesus Christ was actually the incarnation of Michael the
archangel; Christ resumed the name Michael when He ascended to
heaven (Your Will Be Done On Earth, p.316-7; New Heavens and a New
Earth, p.30).

BIBLE: Nowhere is Michael said to have become Christ or vice
versa; the Bible sharply distinguishes between angels and the
exalted office of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-14).

JW: Jesus Christ arose from the grave as a spirit person, Jehovah
allowing Him to materialize a different body in which to appear to
His disciples (Your Will Be Done On Earth, p.143; Make Sure Of All
Things,1953 ed., p.314) .

BIBLE: Jesus Christ arose in the same body that was laid in the
tomb, which explains the marks of crucifixion, the empty tomb, and
the empty burial wrappings (Luke 24:39; John 20:20,25,27; John
20:1-9, respectively).

JW: The Holy Spirit is not a Person, but rather the impersonal,
active force of God (Let God Be True, 2nd ed., p.108; The
Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p.24).

BIBLE: The Holy Spirit is an eternal Person, possessing all the
essence of God (John 14:16- 17,26; Acts 5:3-4) .


JW: A person’s soul is an inseparable part of the body, so that
when a person dies there is no continued existence of the soul
(Make Sure Of All Things,1953 ed., pp.349,352) .

BIBLE: Christ taught that there is life after death (Luke
16:19-31), Christ promised continuing life the same day after
death (Luke 23:39-43), and Paul taught an independent existence
apart from the body after death (2 Corinthians 5:5-8; Philippians
1 :19-24).

JW: The doctrine of the immortality of the soul finds its origin
with Satan (Let God Be True,2nd ed., pp.74,75).

BIBLE: The immortality of the soul is a God-inspired truth
(Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:1,6-8).

JW: Since there is no continued existence of the soul after death,
Jehovah’s Witnesses who die will eventually be recreated from
Jehovah’s memory to inhabit His kingdom (Make Sure Of All
Things,1953 ed., p.311) .

BIBLE: The resurrection is a returning of the soul back to its
body (1 Kings 17:17-24; Luke 7:11 -17), and will happen when
Christ returns (Luke 24:36-43; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians


JW: Christ’s death only purchased for mankind the earthly life and
earthly blessings lost when Adam sinned (Studies in the
Scriptures, V. S, p.145).

BIBLE: Christ’s death purchased present forgiveness of sins and
blessings beyond this earthly existence (Ephesians 1:3-14).

JW: Christ’s death only provides an opportunity for a person to
attain eternal life through obeying God’s laws. There is no
assurance of eternal life (Studies in the Scriptures, V.1,

BIBLE: Christ’s death provides salvation from sin for all who
accept by faith His sacrifice on their behalf (1 Peter 3:18,
Ephesians Z:8-9). The eternal life given by grace to believers is
also preserved by God (1 John 5:11 -13; John 6:39,10:28-29) .

JW: Christs blood shed on Calvary applies only to 144,000 elite
JWs (the “Israel of God”) and not for the “great crowd,” the
remainder of JWs (Aide To Bible Understanding, p.389).

BIBLE: Christ died on behalf of all men (1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John
2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Hebrews 2:9).

JW: One can live in God’s paradise only through (1) studying the
Bible, (2) associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses, (3) changing
living habits from the former way to God’s way (requiring JW
baptism), and (4) being a preacher and a witness of God’s kingdom
(From Paradise Lost To Paradise Regained, pp.242-249).

BIBLE: Salvation is offered only through trusting Jesus Christ as
Savior (Acts:10-12,10:42-43; Romans 3:21-24).

JW: The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured
eternally after death is false (Make Sure of All Things,1953 ed.,
pp.154-55) .

BIBLE: Hell is a place of everlasting torment for the unrepentant
wicked (Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 13:41 -42,49-SO; Mark
9:47-48) .

Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses

PRINCIPLE 1: Recognize that the real problem when witnessing to a
Jehovah’s Witness is the question of religious authority.

To a Witness, the Bible as interpreted by the Watchtower has
authority, and he is trained not to trust himself or others to
interpret the Bible. Even if you manage to give a Witness
arguments he cannot answer, he will just contact the Watchtower
and they will give him answers.

PRINCIPLE 2: To destroy a Witness’ blind obedience to the
Watchtower, you must demonstrate that the Watchtaower is not
reliable. You must prove that the Watchtower is not “God’s visible
organization on earth.”

Otherwise, a Witness cannot place his confidence in the Word of
God alone.

PRINCIPLE 3: The most efficient way of destroying a Witness’ blind
allegiance to the Watchtower is to show from Scripture and
official Watchtower literature that the Watchtower is a false
prophet. Since it is a false prophet, it is unreliable and
unworthy of trust or respect.

Throughout your discussion with a Witness, always place him on
your side and stress that the Watchtower is trying to deceive both
of you.  It is “We” against “them.”

Step 1: Establish from Scripture that a true prophet of God will
always be infallible in his prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:20-22;
Matthew 7:15-20). The Watchtower has claimed to be God’s inspired
prophet who gives prophecies under angelic direction and speaks in
Jehovah’s name (The Watchtower, April 1, 1 972, p. 1 97) .

Step 2: Demonstrate that in 100 years of giving prophecies the
Watchtower has had a 100% failure rate. (See Dr. Morey’s book
listed on the resource page for full documentation of these

Step 3: According to Deuteronomy 18 and Matthew 7, the Watchtower
is a false prophet and does not speak in God’s name.  As such, the
Scriptures commans us not to fear, respect, believe or trust what
the Watchtower says. Don’t be deceived. “Mistakes” are not the
same as “false prophecies.” We all make mistakes, but the Society
claimed to predict dates on God’s authority as His prophet.

Step 4: Just as the Watchtower has been false in its prophecies,
it is also false in its doctrines.

PRINCIPLE 4: Do not argue doctrine or argue over biblical passages
until you have caused the Witness to recognize and to acknowledge
that the Watch tower is a false prophet.

PRINCIPLE 5: After instilling doubt about Watch tower authority,
share your salvation testimony, point out specific verses on
salvation, or leave them with a gospel tract (see bottom of


Duggar, Gordon E. Jehovah’s Witnesses–Watch Out for the
Watchtower. Baker Book House,1985, Gruss, Edmond C.  Apostles of
Denial. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishers Co.,1970.  Morey,
Robert A. How to Answer a Jehovah’s Witness. Bethany House


Personal Freedom Outreach Box 26062, St Louis, MO 63136

Watchman Fellowship, Inc.  Box 13251, Arlington, Tx 76094 Bethel

Ministries Box 3818, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Witness, Inc.  Box 597, Clayton, CA 94517


Witnesses of Jehovah, distributed by Impact Resources,24722 Vista
Verde Dr., Murrieta, CA 92362. Call 1-800-333-6475.

An evangelistic companion to this tract I Am A Witness, is
available for distribution to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Order from:

American Tract Society ù Box 462008 ù Carland. TX 75046

Canadian Tract Society ù Box 203, Port Credit ù Mississauga, ONT
L5G 4L7

Note: (C) This textfile is copyrighted.  Christian BBS Abba II has
obtained permission from the publishers to enter this article into
electronic media. This file may be uploaded to, and posted by other
Bulletin Boards.  However, it’s content, including this notice, may
not be edited in any way.  For more unique, Christian files, call
Abba II at 619-487-7746.  Abba II can also be contacted via GEnie
(A.HEIN), or CompuServe (76450,601).

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