The “witness” view is that true Christianity involved the days of Jesus and the apostles, then essentially died out until the Jehovah’s Witnesses surfaced in the 19th century to restore it, with the calling of Charles Taze Russell. Many in the movement disavow Russell today, but there is a lingering knowledge that the church seriously backslid and even disappeared until these last 150 years or so.
What does the Word say?
Matthew 16:13-16 “…I will build My Church… and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”
Q. Has there always been a church, since Jesus came?
JWA. Actually no. True Christianity died out after the apostles left, and that which is called the church is basically a pagan counterfeit.
Q. So is there a church now?
JWA. We prefer not to use that term, so as not to confuse what God has done among us, with that paganism and lukewarmness.
Q. So you are saying that you are the only people of God now, the true “Christians”?
JWA. Yes, that is correct. Jehovah has blessed us with insights and revelations from His Divine Scriptures that have reached millions around the world There is no doubt He has blessed this organization.
Q. What do you do with the verses quoted above?
JWA. What should I do?
Q. Jesus said that the church He would build would never succumb to death. Yet you say the church died and was resurrected in the 1800’s by Russell and Rutherford.
CA: And of course there is no answer to that question. Jesus did not say that the church would die and be raised at the end time. He said it would live forever. And so it has lived, and lives today. In some nations it is old and lukewarm and seems to be dying, true. In others it is warm and fresh and exploding. But the church lives on, doing the job Jesus called it to do, spreading His Good News to every member of creation, calling out a people who will populate His coming Kingdom.
In the 1800’s the American church world was distracted by the Adventist movement (see “Adventist”). The heart of their message was a question: When will Jesus come? They set about to answer that in ways that proved not fruitful at all.
Biblical chronology played a key role in the founding of the Watch Tower Society. The idea was to peruse carefully all the Scriptures that mentioned length of lives or situations. By tracking numbers through the Bible, one could come up with the dates for the very end of time, the return of Christ, Armageddon etc.
The starting point was “6000 years”. It was assumed that the Millennial “day” of 1000 years must be preceded by 6 “days” of 1000 years each. Reasonable. But how count to 6000? Many tried it, and they all came to different conclusions. When there was any agreement at all, men jumped at the “revelation” they were receiving. Such was the mentality of the men who were alive and teaching, in the days of founder Charles Russell.
What if the ancient calendar was not the same as ours?
What if there were missing generations in the genealogy?
Proposed dates for Adam, alone, range from 3483 B.C. to 11,013 B.C.!
The Watch Tower itself placed Adam anywhere from 4129 B.C.to 4026 B.C.
Was this study intended to be precise by the Lord? Is it possible to know these dates? Is it even necessary? One easily sees by reading the False Prophecies included in this book, the trouble the church is led to when it follows this line of thinking.
What does the Word say?
I Timothy 1:3-4. “…instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation…”
Q. Are you aware of the earliest years of the “Bible Student” movement?
Q. Mr. Russell. I know that your people do not want to claim him as your founder any longer, but it is true that he passed on many of his findings to Rutherford, who was very much sold on them, at least at first.
JWA. Which findings?
Q. Mr. Russell, though never an Adventist himself, was motivated by the Adventists of his day to set dates for various events spoken of in Scripture.
JWA. Yes, and as you say, we have repudiated, along with Judge Rutherford, much of what Mr. Russell first found. We honor him for having brought so many of these things to our attention, but he never claimed Divine inspiration, nor do we claim it for him.
Q. We’ll let that go for now. Actually “witness” leaders have acted as though they were inspired, though claiming not to be. But my point here is that Rutherford, and other men since, have continued on in the date-setting mold, to the point where your movement is now locked into certain teachings, which identify you as a group.
CA: We’re speaking here especially of the teachings about 1914 and 1935, and what events supposedly transpired then. The method by which they reached their conclusions was the very one that Paul condemns in this text: paying attention to endless genealogies. And they are endless. And they do lead to speculation, imagination, and worse: those attentions eventually created a system that now binds millions the world over.
Zechariah 1:8-11. The vision is explained, but what does it really mean to us? It tells us God is in control, directly and through His own agents watching the planet and His people. At this juncture there seems to be world peace under Emperor...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS To get a blood transfusion is more serious to the “witness” than to commit adultery. This medical procedure is refused even to children. Here is a quote from a website given to research on these things:...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Micah 7:5. How far should we take Micah’s word here? Sounds pretty tough. Micah, prophet of the Lord, has not misled us so far. He’s a friend, too, right? And he’d be the first to tell you, don’t trust even me! Trust only...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
BIRTHDAYS Birthday celebrations are forbidden to the Jehovah's Witnesses. The rationale: Only Pharaoh and Herod are mentioned in Scripture as having such celebrations, and they killed someone at that time. What the “witnesses” forget...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
MICAH Micah 1:10. Why not “tell it in Gath”? These were David’s very words when lamenting over Saul and Jonathan. The idea is that this is such bad news that we have no desire for our enemies (Gath was a Philistine city) to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
AWAKE A bimonthly periodical of the Jehovah’s Witnesses published in 107 languages (per 2016 figures), each issue producing nearly 58 million copies worldwide. It announces itself as “not for sale” though donations are always...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
AMOS Amos 1:1. Amos mentions “the earthquake” here as though we should know about it. What earthquake was this? Zechariah mentions the same one, which occurred during the days of Judah’s King Uzziah (Zechariah 14:5). Some would...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
ARMAGEDDON It is this coming conflagration in the Middle East that is the focus of the prophecies of the “witnesses” in our generation. Jesus has already come, in their thinking. What is next, is judgment and destruction, during which...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
HOSEA Hosea 2:14. When is Israel brought out to “the wilderness”? With just a little research we can find that this wilderness sojourn of the end times is a recurring theme of the prophets. For example, Ezekiel in 20:35-38 and 43:...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
"Annihilation" , continued from 1-12-17 Q= Questioner, JWA= Jehovah's Witness Answer, CA= Christian Answer. Luke 23:43. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Or is it, “Truly I tell you today, You will be...[ abbreviated | read entire ]