Jehovah's Witnesses are certainly blessed to know the truth – the primary doctrinal truth contained in the Bible, that is. But prophecy is another matter.
As has been the topic of numerous articles on e-watchman over the years, God allows “an operation of error” to go forward to true Christians in order to test their love of the truth. So, the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses are laboring under the fallacy that Christ came into his kingdom in 1914, initiating a supposed invisible presence, and numerous other erroneous interpretations of prophecy connected to that, overall, those many errors are, in fact, allowed by God to have influence over his people up until the pivotal moment that Christ actually arrives and the judgment begins. But the point is, those under the influence of the “operation of error” otherwise know truth.
Christians have always had to put up a hard fight for the faith because of the insidious machinations of Satan, which, again, God allows. As Jehovah's Witnesses well know the apostles themselves foretold that wicked men would infiltrate the congregation and the truth would be cleverly twisted.
The aged apostle John spoke of the last hour before the coming of the antichrist. John was, evidently, the last surviving apostle. The last hour about which he wrote initially had to do with the last hour before the centuries-long darkness was to descend upon the organization that originally served as the light of the world. That is also why Jesus urged his hearers to walk in the light while it was shining, saying: “The light will be among you a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness does not overpower you; and he that walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, exercise faith in the light, in order to become sons of light.”
While Jesus was obviously referring to himself as the light, his immediate followers were also to become light-bearers – “sons of light.” True to John’s inspired word, shortly after the death of the apostles and other stalwarts who had personally known Jesus, certain men rose to prominence within the congregations and began to debate who Jesus was. In the fourth century pagan emperor, Constantine, inserted himself into Christianity as the arbiter of the debate about Jesus. Eventually, the truth that the apostles preached was completely snuffed out by the Devil’s earthly agents, his antichrists.
But according to the prophecies and everything the apostles wrote, and more especially the words of Jesus Christ and what is found in the book of Revelation, Christ's congregation would be revitalized and exist in a recognizable form at the time of his return. To illustrate the point, Jesus’ coming as a thief in the night is for the purpose of judging those whom he himself has appointed to feed those who are domestics in the household of God. Although the faithful slave has not been distinguished yet, and even the Watchtower now recognizes that the master has not appointed the slave over all of his belongings, still, according to Jesus there would be a genuine congregation on earth when the parousia commences.
The Watchtower Society is undoubtedly the instrumentality through which the appointed slave feeds the people of God. There are many reasons to accept that conclusion. Foremost, the Watchtower Society long ago recognized that every Christian has the obligation to preach the word, to be a minister. Jehovah’s Witnesses happily accept that responsibility in the knowledge that it is God’s will for the good news to be preached to the ends of the earth. And to that end Bethel has organized Jehovah's Witnesses into an effective evangelical society in order to obey Christ’s command to go and make disciples. That is no small task. What other religious organization trains its members and motivates them to preach and teach about God's kingdom? There is none.
SATAN KEEPS TRANSFORMING HIMSELF INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT
Paradoxically, it is also undeniably true that the Watchtower Society fits the prophetic profile of which Paul wrote concerning the man of lawlessness, from whom emanates weighty verbal announcements and apostolic-like written messages heralding that the parousia has begun and the day of Jehovah is here. The fact that Paul referred to “the mystery of this lawlessness” explains why Jehovah’s Witnesses are mystified by the contradictions and hypocrisy of the leadership of the organization. Just as Paul exposed the false apostles within the Corinthian congregation, whom Paul revealed had cleverly transformed themselves into "ministers of righteousness," and just as Satan poses as an angel of light, the operation of Satan accomplishes the same deception among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Or are we to assume that the deceptive angel of light and his human agents have no influence upon Christians today? That is obviously what Jehovah's Witnesses believe, is it not? But the question ought to be asked: Where does that belief originate? Whose interests does it serve?
Please note, that, Paul wrote that "Satan keeps transforming himself into an angel of light." It is not a one-and-done thing, but rather, the general modus operandi of the Devil, for the purpose of insinuating himself into the minds of God's chosen ones.
As an obvious machination of the deceivers, the Watchtower teaches that the man of lawlessness merely claims to sit within the temple of The God. But according to Paul the man of lawlessness actually sits down in the temple – that is to say, within the congregation of Christ – and remains there until the manifestation of the Lord brings him to nothing. (The man of lawlessness is the ultimate antichrist, as he will oppose Christ during his parousia.)
And this mind-jarring contradiction is also inherently implied in the fact that Jesus indicated that there would be an evil slave within the same house of God as the faithful slaves up until the moment the master arrives like a thief in the night.
The apostle Peter and Jude also foretold that there would be false teachers and treacherous shepherds within. Peter wrote: “However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves.”
Note that the false teachers will be “among you.” And the destruction that comes upon them must coincide with the destruction of the man of lawlessness and the judgment of the evil slave.
The demons, of course, work both sides. While seeking to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses and others that the Watchtower is a false prophet and therefore could not be “the truth,” it is the demons who have promoted the infiltration of the organization with false teachers and “an operation of error” because they know it is Christ’s congregation.
Jude likened the transformers to rocks below the water, when he wrote: “These are the rocks hidden below water in your love feasts while they feast with you, shepherds that feed themselves without fear; waterless clouds carried this way and that by winds; trees in late autumn, but fruitless, having died twice, having been uprooted; wild waves of the sea that foam up their own causes for shame; stars with no set course, for which the blackness of darkness stands reserved forever.”
The “love feasts” likely refer to Christian gatherings like conventions and assemblies, which are attended by Satan’s “shepherds,” who go undetected like submerged rocks. Their “having died twice” means they have already received the judgment of the second death, which is why the man of lawlessness is also called “the son of destruction.”
Now that the Watchtower has conceded that Christ has not yet appointed the slave of over all of his belongings, and regardless of whether it is acknowledged or not, it is an admission that the judgment of the house of God has not taken place. The judgment of the stewards of God at the coming of Christ is what the apostle Paul was writing about at 1 Corinthians 4:1-5: “Let a man so appraise us as being subordinates of Christ and stewards of sacred secrets of God. Besides, in this case, what is looked for in stewards is for a man to be found faithful. Now to me it is a very trivial matter that I should be examined by you or by a human tribunal. Even I do not examine myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself. Yet by this I am not proved righteous, but he that examines me is Jehovah. Hence do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring the secret things of darkness to light and make the counsels of the hearts manifest, and then each one will have his praise come to him from God.”
What did the apostle mean, though, when he counseled Christians not to judge anything "before the due time"? Our judging then will be a matter of accepting the judgment of Christ. "The secret things of darkness," no doubt, has to do with the revealing of the man of lawlessness. At that time a great division will occur. The sons of light and the sons of the wicked one will then be finally separated. As Jesus foretold, one will be taken and the other abandoned. The sons of the light will then shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, while the sons of the wicked one will find themselves thrown into "the outer darkness," or as Jude wrote: "for which the blackness of darkness stands reserved forever” for them.
So, in answer to the question posed in the title: Has the Watchtower misled Jehovah's Witnesses? The answer is not so simple. “No,” it has not misled Jehovah's Witnesses to their destruction – not yet anyway. But, it has the potential to do that very thing. That is because the 1914 “operation of error” is considered the very cornerstone of the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses and many will refuse to abandon their idolatrous attachment to the Society and their error even when Christ has brought “the secret things of darkness to light.” Consequently, “many will be stumbled,” as Jesus foretold.
Conversely, those who will abandon the then- discredited Watchtower ( whatever is left of it after the collapse) and follow the sons of light, the true brothers of Christ, will inherit the promised kingdom. This is the yet-to-be-revealed judgment of Jehovah inherent in prophecy.