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Posted by AF [AF] on February 13, 2000 at 22:07:56

Defenders of Jehovah's Witnesses generally claim that the Watchtower Society does not tell lies. "They only made mistakes", these misguided apologists will say.

The January 1, 2000 Watchtower contains two fine examples of WTS lies right on the same page 8. The first is a standard lie familiar to readers of this board. The second is one I have not seen pointed out before.

The First Lie

Paragraph 10 states:

In the latter part of the 19th century, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., a group of sincere Bible students was organized and became the nucleus of God's modern-day witness class. [1] These Christians drew attention to the Scriptural evidence that the conclusion of the present world system was at hand. [2] True to Bible prophecy, this world's "conclusion" began in 1914 and was marked by the outbreak of the first world war.

I've marked the the two statements of interest [1] and [2].

Statement [1] taken by itself is true as long as the reader understands a number of things that the Bible Students under C. T. Russell taught about the "Scriptural evidence": (1) The "conclusion of the present world system" that was at hand meant a final and complete destruction of all the nations of the world in 1914 after several years of anarchy; (2) men would not rule the earth after 1914; (3) Christ alone would rule the earth after 1914; (4) by the end of 1914 Russell and his associates would be taken to heaven; (5) the Jews would literally be restored to their homeland by 1914; (6) these things would all comprise the events associated with the end of "the Gentile times". Of course, not one of these things came to pass.

Statement [2] taken by itself is true if: (1) The Watchtower Society's "1914 chronology" is correct; (2) the phrase "this world's 'conclusion'" means the same thing as current JW teaching, i.e., that "the conclusion of the system of things" (which is the same as "the time of the end" and "the last days") is an extended period that began in 1914 and will end with the Battle of Armageddon.

Since the "conclusions" mentioned in statements [1] and [2] are obviously dramatically different, the statements cannot be referring to the same "conclusion". Logically, therefore, one should conclude that the two statements are unrelated.

However, the context of the paragraph most certainly does indicate that statements [1] and [2] are related. Number [1] speaks of "Scriptural evidence" about "the conclusion of the present world system". Number [2] speaks of "Bible prophecy" that indicated that "this world's conclusion began in 1914". To any normal reader there is an exact correspondence between the phrases "Scriptural evidence" and "Bible prophecy", and between the phrases "the conclusion of the present world system" and "this world's conclusion that began in 1914".

But we have seen that for statements [1] and [2] to both be true, there can be no correspondence between the phrases. Thus, the writer once again has used deceptive weasel words to misrepresent Watchtower history and to mislead the reader into thinking that pre-1914 Bible Students had divine backing in making their false predictions when in fact they did not.

The Second Lie

Note that this 2nd lie immediately follows, and is based on, the 1st lie described above. Just as paragraph 10 attempts to portray the pre-1914 Bible Students as a "watchman" class that pointed forward to 1914 as a bringer of great and wondrous events in connection with "God's Kingdom", so do the next few paragraphs attempt to portray the immediately post-1914 Bible Students as "watchmen" who were intimately familiar with Jehovah's "prophetic mind". Of course, both portrayals are gross and deliberate misrepresentations of the facts.

Paragraphs 11-13 state:

In June 1918, Satan frantically tried to wipe out those Bible students ... He also sought to destroy their legal corporation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Responsible officers of the Society were imprisoned ... But in 1919, these officers were released, enabling them to continue their ministry. Later, they were fully exonerated.

A "Lookout" on the Watch

When "the time of the end" began, therefore, Jehovah again had a watchman on the scene, alerting people to events having to do with the fulfillment of His purposes... Until this day, that watchman class -- anointed Christians, the Israel of God -- has been acting in harmony with Isaiah's description of the prophetic watchman: ... This is a watchman who takes his task seriously!

What did this watchman see? Again, Jehovah's watchman, his witness class, announced: "She has fallen! Babylon has fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he [Jehovah] has broken to the earth!" ... This time, following World War I, it is Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, that is toppled from its perch of authority... In 1919, Babylon the Great could not prevent the Bible Students, as Jehovah's Witnesses were then known, from escaping from their inactive state and embarking on a worldwide witnessing campaign that still continues... That signaled a fall for Babylon the Great, just as the release of Israel in the sixth century B.C.E. signaled a fall for ancient Babylon.

One can summarize the above verbiage into two simple statements: In 1919 Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, fell in a spiritual sense, and so Jehovah's "watchman" class was released from bondage to it. This "watchman" saw it and announced, "Babylon the Great has fallen!"

Now one can argue all day about the 1st statement and not get anywhere, but it is the 2nd one that concerns us: Is it really so that this so-called "watchman class", those Bible Students who the Society now classes as "anointed Christians", announced in 1919 that "Babylon the Great has fallen"? No, it is not. The fact is that the Watchtower Society taught nothing about this whatsoever until 1963, when the book Babylon the Great Has Fallen! God's Kingdom Rules! was published. Thus it was in 1963, not 1919, that for the first time the Society began teaching that "Babylon the Great" fell in a spiritual sense in 1919. Therefore if one can say anything about this so-called "watchman class" and 1919 and "Babylon the Great", it would have to be that in 1963 the "watchman" announced that Babylon the Great fell in 1919. But since the above-quoted Watchtower gives the nearly certain impression that the "watchman" announced this in 1919, we can see that the WTS writer has told a baldfaced lie.

The above information will likely surprise ex-JWs and JWs alike. It certainly surprised me when I did some research and found the truth. The Society's new teachings about "Babylon the Great" and its "fall in 1919" were announced with great fanfare at the 1963 "Around the World 'Everlasting Good News' Assemblies". At this assembly the Babylon book was released, and a special "resolution" was adopted.

Concerning the new teachings, The Watchtower of October 15, 1963 said this:

Wednesday brought the remarkable talk "Messengers of Liberation," by F. W. Franz, which talk made clear why the fall of Babylon the Great had to occur before Armageddon. The main reason is that a religious liberation must take place before the destruction of Babylonish religion. (The Watchtower, October 15, 1963, p. 630)

Following the adoption of the Resolution, Knorr spoke on the subject "Execution of Divine Judgment upon False Religion." Here he stressed that the Bible teaches only one true religion, that the Devil is the source of false religion, which began in the ancient city of Babylon, founded by Nimrod who set himself in opposition to Jehovah God. After the confounding of the language of the builders of the Tower of Babel, men spread out to all parts of the earth, carrying with them their false Babylonish religious ideas. The identity of the mysterious Babylon the Great of the book of Revelation was revealed. It is a symbol for the world empire of false religion based on Babylon's religion, be this professed Christian or pagan. What applause when Knorr announced that hundreds of thousands of persons have already forsaken her and are now preaching God's kingdom. (The Watchtower, October 15, 1963, p. 632)

In view of the above, when the January 1, 2000 Watchtower gave the impression that the Bible Students in 1919 began announcing the fall of "Babylon the Great", the Society was out and out lying to its readers. Collectors of examples of Watchtower lies now have another one to add.

It is remarkable that after so many critics have pointed out such lies, the Watchtower Society never seems to learn that its lies will be exposed for all the world to see. All the more reason to work for its reform, if not its downfall.