(WDGR LESSON 8: “Family Life that Pleases God”)
Is the end so close that one should not live a “normal” life? Do Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be inspired prophets? What does the record show? Are Watchtower “speculations” false prophecies?
CINDY: Hello Karen, how is the baby doing today? Did she get over the cold she had last week?
KAREN: Yes, Cindy. She is doing a lot better and seems to be getting over her coughing spells. Do you have any kids?
CINDY: No, Karen. Steve and I talked about it when we got married and decided instead to put our Kingdom ministry first. Just like we are studying today in the Watchtower brochure, What Does God Require of Us? Jehovah expects parents to “spend time with their children and study the Bible with them, caring for their spiritual and emotional needs.”1. Since Steve and I pioneer full-time, we don’t feel that we can devote the time and energy to rearing children in Jehovah’s ways and be able to serve in the ministry as much as we are serving Him now.
KAREN: Cindy, why is your time in the Kingdom ministry so important to you, that you and Steve would give up the joy of rearing children in order to spend more time serving in the Watchtower organization?
CINDY: Well, Karen, I think the Society said it best when they said in the February 15, 2000 issue of The Watchtower: “The people of Noah’s day ‘took no note,’ leading a life centered around their regular routine. In a time of emergency, one cannot live a ‘normal’ life.”2. You see, Karen, we’re living in the “last days” of this wicked system of things. In an article entitled “Keep on the Watch,” The Watchtower of January 15, 2000 said: “The destruction of this system of things will come with striking suddenness.…Indeed, it has never been more urgent for us to keep on the watch.”3. Just as the Society noted in the August 1, 2000 issue of The Watchtower: “While this does not imply that it is wrong to have children today, many Christian couples decline to have children so as to become more fully involved in the urgent work that Jehovah has given his people to do. Some couples.…have decided to remain childless and consider the possibility of bearing children in Jehovah’s righteous new world.”4.
KAREN: Cindy, are you saying that the reason you and Steve decided not to have children is because you believe the end is so close that you feel it would be better to give your time to the preaching work in hope that after the battle of Armageddon, you may have children in the new world?
CINDY: That’s right, Karen. One of the reasons we know the end is so close is because the Society said in The Watchtower of January 15, 2000 “It seems that by the year 1935, the general ingathering of the anointed was complete.…the number of genuine anointed disciples of Christ is dwindling, though some will evidently still be on earth when the great tribulation begins.”5. So you see, Karen, because the Society says that some of these anointed brothers will still be on earth when the tribulation begins, we know that the end must occur sometime before all of these brothers die. Since we know that the majority of the youngest members of this anointed class of people will be a hundred years old by the year 2035, Armageddon must be only a few years away.
KAREN: So let me get this straight. Cindy, is the Watchtower Society teaching that the generation of people living since 1935 must not pass away before the end comes?
CINDY: Well, I guess that is what they’re saying, Karen. I hadn’t thought of it in those terms before.
KAREN: Wasn’t it just a few years ago that the Watchtower stopped teaching that Armageddon would come before the generation of the people living in 1914 would pass away?
CINDY: Yes, Karen, the Society taught that for nearly thirty years, but in 1995, they received “new light.” In the November 1, 1995 issue of The Watchtower, the Society announced that the end could come at any time and should not be counted as a generation of people who started living in 1914.6.
KAREN: So, Cindy, what happened to the “new light”? Are they now speculating that the generation should be counted from 1935 instead of their original date of 1914?
CINDY: Well, I guess that’s what they’re saying.
KAREN: Cindy, how is this any different from the speculations the Watchtower made regarding the end occurring in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, the 1940’s, and 1975?7. Is this the case in which they hope that if they guess enough times, they’ll eventually get it right?
CINDY: I don’t know, Karen. All I know is that the end is very close. Don’t you think we’re living in the last days?
KAREN: Yes, Cindy, but didn’t Jesus warn that in the last days “…false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.”?8. Doesn’t Deuteronomy 18:20-22 warn that it only takes one false prophecy to make a false prophet? How many times does the Watchtower have to be wrong before people will recognize it is a false prophet?
CINDY: Karen, in the Watchtower book Reasoning from the Scriptures, the Society says: “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to be inspired prophets. They have made mistakes. Like the apostles of Jesus Christ, they have at times had some wrong expectations.” 9.
KAREN: Cindy, what is the difference between a “wrong expectation” and a false prophecy? What causes a prediction to be a “wrong expectation” but not a false prophecy?
CINDY: Karen, that is a good question. I guess I’d have to say that the difference is when a prophet claims that his prediction is from Jehovah God and it fails, I guess that would make him a false prophet. But Jehovah’s Witnesses are not false prophets because in the March 22, 1993 issue of the Awake!, the Watchtower Society said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’”10.
KAREN: Cindy, is the Society saying that they have never claimed that their predictions were “in the name of Jehovah”?
CINDY: That’s right Karen. This is why our speculations were only “wrong expectations,” not false prophecies!
KAREN: Cindy, have you read The Watchtower article of March 15, 1972? In that article, under the heading “What is Required of God’s Messenger,” the Society said: “Therefore, when it came time for the name of Jehovah and his purposes to be declared to the people, along with God’s warning that Christendom is in her ‘time of the end,’ who qualified to be commissioned?…was there any group on whom Jehovah would be willing to bestow the commission to speak as a ‘prophet’ in His name, as was done toward Ezekiel back there in 613 B.C.E.? What were the qualifications?”11. Then, in subsequent articles, the Society went on to explain that they fulfilled the qualifications to speak as a prophet in Jehovah’s name. Why is the Society being dishonest in their Awake! article by claiming that they never spoke in Jehovah’s name when the facts prove that they did? Do you really want to give your life to an organization that is a false prophet and lies about its history in order to conceal the evidence?
Friends, history reveals that not only has the Watchtower Society falsely prophesied the end on a number of occasions, but at various times throughout its history, the Society has encouraged its members to put off marriage, having children, and even obtaining additional education, simply because they said the end was so close.12. Is it any wonder many Jehovah’s Witnesses are leaving the Watchtower to find a real relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ? Are you tired of serving a counterfeit organization? Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” 13.
1. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 17
2. The Watchtower, February 15, 2000, p. 6
3. The Watchtower, January 15, 2000 p. 14
4. The Watchtower, August 1, 2000 p. 21
5. The Watchtower, January 15, 2000 pp. 16, 13
6. The Watchtower, November 1, 1995 pp. 17, 19
7. The Time Is At Hand, 1889, p. 101; The Time Is At Hand, 1915ed, p. 101; The Finished Mystery,1915, p. 485; Millions Now Living Will Never Die,1920, pp. 89-90, 97; The Watchtower, September 15, 1941, p. 288; Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, 1993, p. 633
8. Matthew 24:11, New American Standard Bible
9. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, 1989ed, p. 136
10.AWAKE! March 22, 1993, p. 4
11. The Watchtower, March 15, 1972, p. 189
12. Face The Facts, 1938, pp. 46-47, 50; Salvation, 1939, p. 325; Kingdom Ministry, May 1974, p. 3; The Watchtower, March 15, 1969, p. 171
13. Matthew 11:28, New American Standard Bible