The Watchtower Society, the "True" Prophet?

Norman Hovland

There has been a lot of discussion about the status of the Watchtower Society as a prophet. Is it a prophet and if it is, is it a "true" prophet? Let us look at the Watchtower Society own definition of a true prophet as found in the Insight book:

"The three essentials for establishing the credentials of a true prophet, as given through Moses, were: The true prophet would speak in Jehovah's name; the things foretold would come to pass (De 18:20-22); and his prophesying must promote true worship". (Insight On The Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 696)

It is hardly a coincidence that this book made such a definition. Why? Because we all know who they would claim to be the only organization that would qualify, to meet the standards of their definition. So let us take a look at the first point, "The true prophet would speak in Jehovah's name". Have the Watchtower Society ever claimed to speak in Jehovah's name? According to themselves they have never claimed to do that:

"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.' Never did they say, 'These are the words of Jehovah.'" (Awake! March 22, 1993, page 4)

"They do not claim that their predictions are direct revelations from Jehovah and that in this sense they are prophesying in Jehovah's name." (Awake! March 22, 1993, page 3-4)

Well, that's extremely interesting. Here we have the official confirmation of what we have known all the time. The Watchtower Society isn't a true prophet, because according to themselves, they have NEVER spoken in Jehovah's name. How's that, you may ask? Well, look at the definition in the Insight book again, "The true prophet would speak in Jehovah's name". Got it now? It is good to have that one settled once and for all.

But with that point settled, we must ask ourselves, is it really true that the Watchtower Society have never claimed that their predictions did originate from Jehovah? The only way to find out is to take a look at what the Watchtower Society has said about this matter. What do we find? Take a look and see for yourself:

"So God's servants know what this world's rulers do not. They know Jehovah's purposes and his seasons ... Since Jehovah's servants of today obey him as ruler, God's holy spirit also reveals to them what season it is from his viewpoint. Amos 3:7 says: "The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets." (The Watchtower, April 15, 1986, page 18)

"The resolutions adopted by conventions of God's anointed people, booklets, magazines, and books published by them, contain the message of God's truth and are from the Almighty God, Jehovah, and provided by him through Christ Jesus and his underofficers ... It is his truth and not man's ..." (The Watchtower, May 1, 1938 p. 143)

When comparing these quotes, it is easy to see that they do not "add up". Here we have a clear claim that they KNOW "Jehovah's seasons". Why? Because Jehovah's "holy spirit also reveals" it to them! If Jehovah's spirit reveals something to you, how much more "direct" can it be? How can anyone not draw the conclusion that when information is revealed to you by Jehovah's spirit, this must naturally come from Jehovah himself? As you can see in the more sweeping statement from the Rutherford era, they claim that all of their literature comes from God. Of course the Watchtower Society considers itself a "true" prophet of Jehovah, this is how it looks when they want to hammer that very message home to the rank and file Jehovah's Witnesses:

"Who will be Jehovah's prophet to the nations, to speak to them everything that He should command? Who will be the modern Jeremiah? ... Back there, about forty years ago, that was the question. Today we may ask, how was the question answered? There are facts to show. We should not appeal to religious pride or boasting or self-made claims. We should appeal to the facts. Let facts speak for themselves.... Whom has God actually used as his prophet? ... Jehovah's witnesses are deeply grateful today that the plain facts show that God has been pleased to use them." (The Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1959, pp. 40, 41)

Again we have to turn for a moment back to the Insight book quote: "The true prophet would speak in Jehovah's name; the things foretold would come to pass". As we can see from the Watchtower quote from 1959, "facts speak for themselves", and as pointed out by the Awake article from 1993, the predictions made by the Watchtower Society never came true, and the reason for this was that they didn't come from Jehovah! So again the facts show that the Watchtower Society isn't Jehovah's true Prophet! The conclusion from above proved correct again. But let us take a look at some more claims made by the Watchtower Society:

"Spirit of Life from God Entered into Them
The announced purpose behind God's pouring out of his spirit upon all sorts of flesh was that the recipients thereof might prophesy. The facts substantiate that the remnant of Christ's anointed disciples have been doing that prophesying to all the nations for a witness in favor of God's kingdom. Logically, then, they must be the ones upon whom God's spirit has actually been poured out. That spirit is behind their worldwide preaching. Why argue about it?" (Holy Spirit, 1976, p. 148)

"No obstacle put in His way by the enemies will prove to be insurmountable for Jehovah. Just as at Mount Sinai He put his word in the mouth of his chosen people through the mediator Moses and thereafter he led them under the protective shadow of his hand into the Promised Land, so he has done for the remnant of spiritual Israel. He has put his word, his message of the hour, into the mouth of the spiritual remnant for them to confess openly before all the world, for their own salvation and for that of responsive hearers." (Holy Spirit, 1976, p. 175)

In one moment they have never tried "to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah.'" In the next they tell us that Jehovah has "Put his word into" their "mouth"! Which is it? If Jehovah put his words into your mouth, doesn't that make the words that you then utter in effect Jehovah's words?

But it gets better. Take a look at this next quote:

"Jehovah, the God of the true prophets, will put all false prophets to shame either by not fulfilling the false prediction of such self-assuming prophets or by having His own prophecies fulfilled in a way opposite to that predicted by the false prophets. False prophets will try to hide their reason for feeling shame by denying who they really are." (Paradise Restored To Mankind By Theocracy, 1972, pp. 353, 354)

And then compare it to this quote:

"They do not claim that their predictions are direct revelations from Jehovah and that in this sense they are prophesying in Jehovah's name." (Awake! March 22, 1993, page 3-4)

As documented so far in this short article, it is demonstrated how the Watchtower Society have claimed time and again to speak for Jehovah, how he have told them all about "Jehovah's purposes and his seasons", because his "holy spirit has revealed" it to them. And when all of these predictions fail, they turn around and tell us that, 'oh no, we didn't proclaim those predictions in Jehovah's name, we just said all these things because we so strongly wanted our own fantasies to be true, we're not false prophets, hey we're not even prophets!'

Do you remember this line from the above quoted Watchtower book: "False prophets will try to hide their reason for feeling shame by denying who they really are."

Could any of you think of a better description of the behavior of the Watchtower Society?

I certainly cannot!