Light, New Light, Old Light
AUTHOR: Barhorst, Chris
PUBLISHED ON: April 24, 2003

                  Light, New Light, Old Light

                        Chris Barhorst
                          Sidney, OH
                      Contributing Writer

In discussing doctrine with a Jehovah’s Witness, it is highly
probable the terms “Old Light” and “New Light” will be brought
up.  This is especially true when discussing failed prophecies or
doctrinal changes made by the Watchtower Society.

This concept is based on Proverbs 4:18 which states, “But the
path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is
getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established,”
(NEW WORLD TRANSLATION, Watchtower Society).

The Watchtower Society sets forth the idea, that as time goes on,
the light, or understanding of Scripture, gets brighter or

Thus, when prophecies fail, or doctrinal changes are made, the
Society simply excuses it away as New Light.  But is New Light
always new?

The history of Jehovah’s Witness theological flip-flopping with
reference to Romans 13 is an outstanding example of one way in
which the Watchtower perpetuates fraud against their own people.

In discussing the superior authorities of Romans Chapter 13,
under the heading, “Identifying the Superior Authorities,” the
“Watchtower” magazine stated, “For some years, until 1962,
Jehovah’s Witnesses held that the superior authorities were
Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.

“However, in line with Proverbs 4:18 light increased, and this
view was adjusted which may raise questions in the minds of some.
Are we now correct in saying that these authorities are the
kings, presidents, prime ministers, mayors, magistrates, and
others who wield secular, political power in the world and that
we owe them subjection in a relative way?”  (1 November 1990,

The next paragraph answers the question when it states, “Irenaues
himself, though, viewed the superior authorities as ‘actual human
authorities.’  The context of Paul’s words show that Irenaeus was
correct,” (Ibid).

Notice the phrase “until 1962.”  This leaves the impression that
up until 1962 the Society had taught exclusively the doctrine
that the superior authorities of Romans Chapter 13 were Jehovah
God and Christ Jesus with the one change occurring in 1962, in
view of the New Light.

However, a review of Watchtower history reveals that the so-
called New Light which broke forth in 1962, was not so new after
all.  “In 1929 the clear light broke forth.  That year the
Watchtower published the Scriptural exposition of Romans Chapter
13.  It showed Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, rather than worldly
rulers and governors, are ‘The Higher Power’ and that Christian
souls must ‘obey God rather than men…'”  (THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE
YOU FREE, p.312).

Previous to the clear light of 1929, the current view of the
superior authorities (of Romans 13) was held.  (See STUDIES IN
THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. 1, p.266).

Hence, the original interpretation of Romans 13 held that the
superior authorities were human rulers.  Then in 1929, New Light
was given which explained the superior authorities were actually
Jehovah and Jesus.

Finally, in 1962, more New Light (or perhaps a resurgence of Old
Light) broke forth to show the superior authorities to be, in
actuality, human rulers!  In revealing this change in doctrine,
the Watchtower Organization seems reluctant to reveal all of its

Is the Watchtower Society really bringing forth “New Light” or is
someone at the Watchtower simply playing with the light switch?

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