Release From "Babylonish Captivity" in 1919?


Gedanken told me some time ago that we need to keep coming back to the basics on H2O, because new ones are always coming in or lurking here. I can't think of a single Watchtower Society topic, doctrine or policy we haven't discussed at length in the last several years, but new ones don't know that. Also, the archives can make it difficult for some to find topics that have been discussed.

So, I'm going to go back the most basic of basics, the claims made for the "faithful and discreet slave" authority by the Watchtower Society. If those claims can be disproved, the whole basis for Divine authority claimed by the Watchtower Society falls like a house of cards. I think they can be disproved with the simplest of evidence and the simplest of questions.

Every dub worth his/her publisher's record card knows that the Society teaches that the Watchtower Society went into "Babylonish captivity" between 1914-1918:

Modern historical evidence shows that during the world war of 1914-1918 the dedicated, baptized anointed remnant of Jehovah's Christian witnesses were brought into Babylonish captivity. [The Watchtower, December 1, 1972, pp. 724-725]

Of course no "modern historical evidence" is ever offered by the Watchtower Society.

John is told about witnesses who prophesied for a time (1914-1918), were killed by the wild beast and finally revived. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1983, p. 30]

After this period of "Babylonish captivity," Jehovah released them:

Comparably, after a Babylonish captivity, the anointed remnant was delivered in 1919, and under the guidance of God's spirit, the once desolate "soil" of spiritual Israel has been cleansed. [The Watchtower, September 15, 1988, p. 15]

Were they "cleansed?" We shall see.

Also during this period, there was an "evil slave class" who was revealed by the Watchtower Society:

The modern-day history of Jehovah's witnesses shows that attempts have been made by some, making up an "evil slave" class, to assume control over Jehovah's work and his people. This was especially seen during the World War I period. Jehovah, however, has cleansed his organization, and made it wholly theocratic. [The Watchtower, July 15, 1971, p. 437]

What did this "evil slave class" do? For one, they tried to stop Judge Rutherford from illegally seizing control of the society following C. T. Russell's death. For another, they tried to prevent the release of a book Rutherford had secretly printed with the Society's money and was about to issue without obtaining the permission of the directors as required by the Watchtower charter. What book was that? It was the wackiest, goofiest book ever produced by the Society, and would prove deeply embarrassing to them in later years. The book was, of course, The Finished Mystery. For another, many of them left the Watchtower Society because they realized the Society had falsely prophesied about what was going to happen in 1914. So here is a summary of their "sins" once again:

1) Trying to follow the corporate laws of the land, the Watchtower Society, and the written and explicit wishes of C. T. Russell

2) Trying to prevent Rutherford from issuing a book without their permission, which was required by the corporate charter.

3) Leaving the Watchtower Society because they recognized an obvious false prophet for what it was.

In short, this "evil slave" class tried to obey "Caesar's" laws as well as God's laws regarding false prophets.

Now, let's go back to this "cleansed" condition the "faithful and discreet slave" entered into in 1919. What had changed about them? What, exactly was it that was cleansed? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! They still used the cross, they still celebrated holidays, including Christmas. They still distributed The Finished Mystery. They still believed Russell was the "faithful and discreet slave", and that no one could come to Bible truth without using his writings.

No, the fact is this "Babylonish captivity" was nothing more than the jailing of Rutherford and his associates for distributing The Finished Mystery which encouraged sedition against the governments and vilified other religions in the most revolting manner.

As a result of this "cleansing" did the Watchtower Society stand fast to its beliefs and principles? No! The United States government ordered that they cut out a number of pages from The Finished Mystery and they meekly did so. Why would God in this "cleansing" still allow something to be written and printed in which none of it is even believed nor taught today?

The man "chosen" by God to lead this group of believers in this "cleansed" position was none other than Rutherford himself. He was without any shadow of a doubt the most corrupt, hypocritical, lying, vindictive man ever to lead the Watchtower Society. He had mansions, apartments, Cadillacs, cases of illegal liquor and never went in field service. He wrote books which to this day are a shameful disgrace to the Watchtower Society. He was a slanderer, and even published a Biblical "prophecy" in the Watchtower magazine which he personally applied to one of his personal enemies. He was sued for slander and had to settle out-of-court or face even more public humiliation. He applied the "7 trumpets" prophecy in Revelation directly to a series of puny little Watchtower assemblies in the 1920's. He said "Millions Now Living Will Never Die". He said the "superior authorities" [mentioned in Romans chapter 13] were Jehovah and Jesus, which gave him an excuse to smuggle liquor from Canada to the United States during prohibition. He said the earthly resurrection of the "ancient worthies" in 1925 was even more of a certainty than the flood of Noah's day. He abused, debased and publicly humiliated the humans he kept at Bethel who slaved for the benefit of his personal empire. He would not show Watchtower Society's financial records to anyone, including the directors of the society.

The Watchtower Society is today what it is directly as a result of things Rutherford started: the top-down "Theocracy", the 1914-1918 and 1919 beliefs (this is the cornerstone belief of the Watchtower Society, by the way), the hate of all other religious beliefs, Watchtower Society paranoia, hate of governments, the idea of "organization", the spurning of college educations, and greatly expanded disfellowshipping policies to name just a few.

There was no "Babylonish captivity" and no "release" from said captivity. Rutherford made it all up. Out of thin air. Furthermore, no reasonable person could believe God would wait 1900 years and then end up choosing a man as evil and corrupt as Rutherford to lead his "restored" church.