The apostle exhorted Christians to “make sure of all things.” The Watchtower Society even published a minister’s handbook by that title that is intended to aid Jehovah’s Witnesses to help others see the falsity of many of Christendom’s teachings. However, ought not Jehovah’s Witnesses also make sure of what the Watchtower teaches, particularly with regards to prophecy and the return of Christ?
Most of the questions below are issues that have been dealt with on e-watchman dot com over the years, as well as in the book, Jehovah Himself Has Become King. To date the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses remain oblivious to the manifold contradictions and absurdities that exist in the Watchtower’s interpretation of Bible prophecy.
To demonstrate the depth of the Watchtower Society’s error in these matters I am inviting active Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bible studies and interested persons as well, to participate in a campaign to put some relevant questions directly before the Bethel elders who are assigned to respond to correspondence.
In order to help out you must be willing to use your real name and address and the congregation you are associated with. If you are brave enough pass a copy of your question to your local elders for their consideration too. Notifying your elders would also serve a useful purpose. If Bethel suspects the questions are a concerted campaign and refuses to respond the local elders would be witnesses to the Watchtower’s avoidance.
The Society typically takes a few months to respond, so be patient. As inquiries are answered you may forward them to me and I will post them on this page so that a public record is established and a discussion may take place.
Feel free to rewrite the questions as you see fit, putting things in your own words. Make sure to address them as “Dear Brothers” and be respectful. You might want to use a word processor template for a formal letter.
I would do the work myself except I have mailed the Watchtower on numerous occasions and I am fairly certain they are well acquainted with my name and various mailing addresses. And it would not be wise to make any reference to me, or this website. Also, if you have any suggested questions for submission please feel free to pass them to me. I will be adding to the list of possible questions on a daily basis.
Please help if you feel so inclined.
Question #1: The 12th chapter of Daniel says: Then one said to the man clothed with the linen, who was up above the waters of the stream: “How long will it be to the end of the wonderful things?” And I began to hear the man clothed with the linen, who was up above the waters of the stream, as he proceeded to raise his right hand and his left hand to the heavens and to swear by the One who is alive for time indefinite: “It will be for an appointed time, appointed times and a half. And as soon as there will have been a finishing of the dashing of the power of the holy people to pieces, all these things will come to their finish.”
The Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy book teaches that the appointed times for the holy ones to be dashed to pieces ended in 1919, but there is no explanation of what the “wonderful things” may be that are also to come to an end at that same appointed time. What were these “wonderful things” that came to an end in 1919?
Question #2: At Hebrews 9:28 Paul used the expression “the second time he appears” in reference to the return of Christ. Since Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and they visibly saw him, what is the biblical basis for Jehovah’s Witnesses to believe in an invisible presence? I cannot find the exact term “invisible presence” in the Bible.
Question #3: The Revelation Grand Climax book says that people have already received the 666 mark of the beast because of supporting the UN and the political system in general, particularly since 1945. But doesn’t receiving the symbolic mark mean that a person is doomed to everlasting destruction? If people are already marked then what is the point of preaching to them? Can they lose the mark by repenting? And if so, what is the point of the mark in the first place?
Question #4: If the book of Daniel was unsealed in 1914 why is it that the Watchtower does not know who the king of the north is presently?
Question #5: Jehovah’s Witnesses used to believe that the separation of the sheep and the goats is presently taking place. Now, though, the Watchtower teaches that it is to occur in the future. Does that mean that Jesus has not arrived in his glory and sat down upon his glorious throne yet?
Question #6: In the 13th chapter of Matthew Jesus explained the parable of the wheat and the weeds. He said the harvest represented a conclusion of the system of things, when the angels go out and remove out from Christ’s kingdom all persons doing lawlessness and all things causing stumbling. If the wheat are harvested out of Christendom, as the Watchtower teaches, how have the angels removed all persons doing lawlessness and all things that cause stumbling? Are we to believe that the angels removed lawless persons from Christendom too? Or are we to believe that there are no lawless persons or things that cause stumbling among Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Question #7: The 8th chapter of Daniel refers to the Prince of princes defeating the last king, called the king fierce in countenance. The Watchtower teaches that the Prince is Jehovah. But isn’t a prince the son of a king? Elsewhere, the Bible uses expressions like Prince of peace and Michael, the great prince, which we recognize applies to the Messiah. Since Jesus is also called Lord of lords and King of kings, and he inherits the kingdom from his Father, the King, isn’t it more reasonable that Jesus is also the Prince of princes, while Jehovah is the God of gods? Identifying Jesus as the Prince of princes would also harmonize with the fact that all the prophecies of Daniel point forward to Christ vanquishing all earthly kingdoms.
Question #8: In 1969, Fred Franz made an announcement at a district convention that the great tribulation hadn’t started yet. That was described as an ‘electrifying’ announcement in the Watchtower. But doesn’t it logically follow that if the great tribulation hasn’t started yet, then all the prophetic interpretations/explanations/applications regarding the time period of 1914-1919 would need to be revised, in addition to the time period of 1922-1927, when the sounding of the 7 trumpets supposedly occurred?
Question #9: The May 15, 1995, Watchtower carried an article explaining how the spiritual light keeps getting brighter for God’s people. It cited how great flashes of spiritual light enlightened the Bible Students back in 1926. As a result they came to realize that Christmas and the cross originated in pagandom. However, the book The Two Babylons, which was originally published back in the 1850’s, painstakingly made the case that Christmas and the cross came from pre-Christian babylonish religion. Since the Watchtower was undoubtedly familiar with Alexander Hislop’s work, why did it take over a half century for the Bible Students to receive a flash of divine light from the Watchtower? Is it not disingenuous for the Watchtower not to credit Hislop for his research and instead give the impression to your readers that Jehovah suddenly showered his truth down upon the Watchtower Society?
Question #10: The Watchtower teaches that Jehovah’s Witnesses reside in a spiritual paradise. But according to the prophecies that depict that blessed condition God will not allow any harm to be done to his people, symbolized by the wolf laying down with the lamb, the lion with the calf, etc. But the reality is, thousands of tender lamb-like children have suffered horribly at the hands of cunning, animalistic child predators within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. How could this be possible if the organization is really a predator-free spiritual paradise?
Question #11: According to Revelation, when the four horsemen are released authority is given them over a fourth part of the earth, to kill with the long sword, food shortages and deadly plague. But the First World War and the Spanish Flu only killed a small percentage of the world back then – nowhere near 25%. And since 1914 the world’s population has been steadily growing in spite of wars and disease, so that now there are seven-billion people on earth. If the horsemen of the Apocalypse were given authority over a quarter of the earth back in 1914 shouldn’t we expect to see massive population reduction, such as when the Black Plague stalked Europe centuries ago?
Question #12: The Reasoning from the Scriptures publication under the heading of the Last Days gives assurance that there could not be another world war, since it would inevitably involve nuclear weapons and an all-out nuclear war would render the earth uninhabitable. But isn’t it possible that a massive war could erupt seeing the relatively limited use of atomic weaponry, especially the newly developed bunker-busting nuclear devices and tactical, battlefield nukes? The question is especially relevant since the world seems to be marching headlong towards global war.
Question #13: When Jesus spoke to his disciples about the coming destruction of the temple and Jerusalem he told them that “Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” It seems highly unlikely that the disciples would have understood Jesus to be referring back to the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon five centuries earlier. After all, Jehovah restored Jerusalem and even empowered the Jews to rebuild the temple. And even though the Jews did not have their own kingdom and Judah was a jurisdictional district of the empires that came after Babylon, the Jews still enjoyed relative freedom – particularly freedom of worship. The question is, in what way was Jerusalem being trampled upon by the nations prior to the time the Romans literally trampled upon the holy city?
The 11th chapter of Revelation also foretells that the nations will trample the symbolic holy city and temple for a specified time. In view of the fact Bible prophecy interprets itself, isn’t the 42 months the appointed times of the nations of which Jesus spoke, rather than the seven times of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness?
Question #14: Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are living the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zephaniah regarding God giving his people the change to a pure language. The February 15, 2001, Watchtower teaches that the prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1914. But the article also points out the original fulfillment of Zephaniah was when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem, which the Watchtower teaches finds a parallel in the future destruction of Christendom. The Watchtower also exhorts Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow the exhortation found at Zephaniah 2:3; namely, to seek Jehovah, meekness and righteousness before the burning anger of Jehovah comes upon the earth, which clearly has not occurred yet either.
However, according to Zephaniah 3:8-9 God’s people are to remain in expectation of Jehovah rising up to the booty and the pouring out of his rage upon the nations because it is “then,” in the context of that terrible judgment, that God gives the change to a pure language. The question is: Why does the Watchtower’s interpretation place the change to a pure language many years before God rises up to the prize, when Zephaniah clearly places it as taking place concurrent with God expressing his wrath? Also, who are the “haughtily exultant ones” who speak with a “tricky tongue” who will be removed from the midst of God’s people during the fiery day of Jehovah’s judgment?
Question #15: The apostle Peter assured Christians that the apostles had not misled them with artfully contrived false stories related to the power and presence (parousia) of Christ. The apostle’s authority was based upon the fact that he, along with James and John, had been an eyewitness to Christ’s magnificence displayed in the Transfiguration.
Jehovah’s Witnesses realize the Transfiguration was a foregleam of the parousia. But since Peter, James and John personally witnessed a visible parousia, what scriptural basis is there for an invisible parousia? Is it possible that the chosen ones will be eyewitnesses to a visible parousia in the future? How can Jehovah’s Witnesses be sure that they have not been told an “artfully contrived false story” regarding an invisible parousia?
Question #16: The Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy commentary asserts that the king fierce in countenance is the Anglo-America duo and they brought the mighty ones of the world to ruin, along with the holy ones, back during the Second World War. How are we to understand that? Who were the “mighty ones” that were brought to ruin then?
Also, in what way were Jehovah’s Witnesses brought to ruin? First century Christians were also persecuted, imprisoned and set upon by mobs, yet nowhere do we read that the holy ones were brought to ruin back then.
Secondly, although draft age men who refused military service were sent to prison in America, they were a relatively small percentage of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And even though Jehovah’s Witnesses were set upon by crazed mobs, isn’t it also true that the U.S. government defended the rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses with many favorable Supreme Court rulings? The fact of the matter is, even in Nazi Germany Jehovah’s Witnesses kept zealously preaching in spite of the persecution brought upon them.
Also, the prophecy states that the king fierce in countenance will bring many to ruin “during a freedom of care.” So, again, how exactly were the holy ones brought to ruin by the Anglo-American powers when the Society fared quite well during that dark time? And is it reasonable to believe that the period of the Great Depression and World War Two fits the prophecy’s description of a carefree time?
Another perplexing contradiction is this: The Pay Attention book states that the time for the dashing of the power of the holy ones expired in 1918, but if that is true, how could the holy ones be brought to ruin again after the time God allowed for the power of holy ones to be dashed?
Question #17: Jesus forewarned his followers to stay awake and be ready because the master is coming as a thief in the night, at a time they do not think to be it. According to Jesus, when the master of the house unexpectedly arrives he will appoint the faithful slave over all of his belongings and punish the evil slave with the greatest severity. If this took place in 1918, as the Watchtower teaches, (It now no longer teaches that) why must Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to stay on the watch for the master’s thief-like arrival? What is the biblical basis for the Watchtower to imply that Christ comes as a thief in the night on more than one occasion?
Question #18: In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins the bridegroom comes while the foolish virgins are off purchasing oil for their flickering lamps and the door to the marriage feast is closed to them. The Watchtower asserts that the bridegroom came in 1919 and the wise virgins were allowed entry before the door was locked. Since virtually every anointed Christian living now was anointed after the door was apparently closed, are we to expect the bridegroom to reopen the door at some future time in order to allow the rest of the faithful virgins into the feast who have been locked out?
Question #19: The 9th chapter of Revelation depicts symbolic locusts, which torment men who do not have the seal of God. The Watchtower teaches that the clergy are those without the mark and that the locusts have been stinging them for decades. But since the final sealing occurs during the tribulation, after the mountains crash and the heavens go into eclipse, is it not unreasonable to suppose that the stinging of those without the seal occurs before the sealing is concluded?
Also, Revelation 9:6 states that those who are tormented by the locusts will seek death and it eludes them; but what proof is there that the message of the Watchtower has driven the clergy to want to kill themselves? If Jehovah’s Witnesses were to emphasize this obscure aspect of the Watchtower’s interpretation of Revelation in the field ministry, wouldn’t householders justifiably question their soundness of mind?
Question #20: Since the 1930’s the Watchtower has taught that the locust and other insect invaders of the prophecy of Joel represent Jehovah’s Witnesses, while the priests who are distressed by the invasion and who are told to call upon the name of Jehovah for aid are the clergy. Is it even sensible to teach that the message of the Watchtower has caused the clergy to howl in misery and beseech God for relief from the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Also, does not the prophecy of Joel indicate that God answers the prayers of those who are plagued by the pests and drives the invaders into the sea? That being the case, are we to expect God to destroy Jehovah’s Witnesses in answer to the prayers of the clergy?
Question #21: In the Revelation Grand Climax book in the chapter entitled Earthquakes in the Lord’s Day, it states: “Consider what John describes at the opening of the sixth seal: ‘And I saw when he opened the sixth seal,and a great earthquake occurred.’ This must fall within the same time frame as the opening of the other seals. Just when in the Lord’s day does this earthquake occur, and what kind of quake is it?”
The opening of the sixth seal describes a unique and horrifying development involving the luminaries of the heavens going dark and all the mountains crashing down. Jehovah’s Witnesses understand this symbolism to apply to the coming tribulation. Christ also spoke of similar phenomenon that would occur during the tribulation. But while the Grand Climax book rightly interprets the opening of the sixth seal to the great tribulation, it contradictorily states that the sixth seal has already been unsealed and that the world wars were merely preliminary tremors preceding the big one. But since the end of World War Two the world has enjoyed a prolonged period of relative peace and prosperity. That being the case, is it really a straightforward interpretation to suppose that an initial period of upheaval gives way to a prolonged period of stability after the sixth seal is opened? And is it reasonable that a century or more passes from the time the seal is broken until the events depicted therein actually transpire?
Since the world-shaking tribulation has not begun, why ought Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to believe and teach that the sixth seal is already opened? Is the reason the Watchtower concocted the notion of a preliminary quaking a ploy to allow the Society to continue to assert the previous seals have already been opened?
Question #22: The 13th chapter of Revelation depicts one head of the seven-headed beast receiving a death-dealing blow, only to revive. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the head of the beast is the Anglo-American power and that the beast received the mortal blow during the First World War. But how can that be reconciled with the fact that Great Britain and America were victorious?
The Bible’s symbolism of the head of the beast being slaughtered must surely depict the ruling powers ceasing to function for a time – even suffering a collapse. Yet, neither the United States nor Britain experienced anything even remotely close to instability. True, hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in senseless slaughter, but that did not bring down the governments or lead to anarchy or economic collapse. Besides, America lost far more men and came closer to collapse during the Civil war than WWI. The facts of history simply do not justify the Watchtower’s interpretation. Isn’t it apparent that the beast has not been slaughtered yet?
Question #23: The Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy book claims that the prophecy in the seventh chapter of Daniel, regarding the three horns of the beast that are plucked out, took place long ago over a span of more than two centuries, beginning with the British defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and culminating with the defeat of the French navy at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The three horns supposedly represent Spain, the Netherlands and France. Since the horns represent ruling powers associated with the Roman beast, their being plucked out must signify that the horns cease from ruling any longer. But even though the Spanish, French and Dutch all lost decisive naval battles to the British they did not cease from being political and military powers. In fact, France has been a key ally of Great Britain since the First World War and is even a nuclear power today.
In view of the financial crisis rocking the nations of the Eurozone and threatening to bring down entire nations in ruin, isn’t it more reasonable to conclude that the three horns have not been plucked out yet?
Question #24: In recent decades the Society has retracted previously published statements concerning various aspects of the sign of Christ’s presence supposedly having already been fulfilled. For example, the Watchtower used to teach that the great tribulation began during WWI, but that God cut it short. The Watchtower used to teach that the disgusting thing was already standing in a holy place, but no longer. The Watchtower used to teach that the sheep and the goats were now being separated, but not any more. The Watchtower used to teach that people today were faint with fear in expectation of the horrible things coming upon the world, but that has been dropped too.
It was in the context of men becoming faint with fright that Jesus also told his followers: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” Since the Watchtower now recognizes that not all of “these things” have started to occur, on what basis ought Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to believe their deliverance is getting near?
Question #25: The May 15th, 1977, Watchtower carries an article on the meaning of the Egyptian cedar that was cut down by the tyrants of the nations. The article asks the question: Who will be Jehovah’s instrument that will do the work of the depots and tyrants of the nations? The article points out that it will not be Jehovah’s Witnesses since they are not despotic or tyrannical. It will be none other than Jesus Christ. But how is it that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not despotic or tyrannical, but Jesus Christ is?
Question #26: Both the 11th and 17th chapters of Revelation refer to a beast from the abyss. However, the Watchtower teaches that they are two different beasts that come out of two different sorts of abysses on separate occasions. Since the Scriptures also use the word abyss in reference to the literal seas covering the earth the Watchtower asserts that the abyss in the 11th chapter is the symbolic sea, which would seem to harmonize with the 13th chapter of Revelation that describes the seven-headed beast coming up out of the sea.
But is it not a case of resorting to a private interpretation of prophecy in arbitrarily assigning a different meaning to one usage of the word abyss? The Watchtower even explains that the word abyss in prophecy is used to denote a state of inactivity. So, if the beast in the 11th chapter comes from the abyss, in what way was it inactive prior to its emergence from the abyss? Is it not rather the case that the Watchtower was compelled to come up with an artificial interpretation in order to buttress the notion that the two witnesses were killed back in 1918?
Question #27: Revelation 17:12 states: “And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast.”
The Grand Climax book asserts that the ten kings have already received authority to rule as kings for one hour. When was that exactly? Was it when the League of Nations was formed? That does not seem likely since 10 stands for earthly completeness, meaning all the kings of the earth are given a measure of authority. But the League only had 58 member nations and the mighty USA was not even a member and it had no real power anyway. Did the ten kings receive a kingdom in 1945, when the UN was created? If so that would mean that the symbolic one hour has lasted more than 65 years. How reasonable is that? But again, what ruling authority does the United Nations have?
If Bible symbolism is to convey anything shouldn’t it at least be reasonable? Elsewhere in prophecy the slaughtered beast from the abyss is allotted 42 months. Isn’t it more sensible that the one-hour corresponds with the 1,260 days/42 months/time, times and half a time prophetic period? And since by the Watchtower’s own admission, Bible prophecy cannot be understood until it is fulfilled, ought not Jehovah’s Witnesses consider the likelihood that the one-hour has not arrived yet?
Haggai 2:6 & 7 states: “For this is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Yet once—it is a little while—and I am rocking the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry ground. And I will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in…”
The Watchtower has long taught that Jehovah began to rock the nations in 1914 and the rocking has supposedly continued now for nearly a century. But the apostle Paul quoted this very same verse of Haggai and explained: “Now the expression ‘Yet once more’ signifies the removal of the things being shaken as things that have been made, in order that the things not being shaken may remain.”
According to the inspired apostle, the shaking “signifies the removal of the things being shaken.” Yet, God has presumably been shaking the world for 100 years and still the world has not been removed. Is it not more reasonable to conclude that the great tribulation is the time when God will rock all the nations? After all, did not Jesus say the chosen ones would be gathered from the four winds when God cuts short the world-wrecking tribulation? Since all prophecy is harmonious, and even the Watchtower now recognizes that the sheep and the goats have not been separated yet, is not that also when the desirable things are gathered too? That being so, would it be wrong to conclude that there remains a great gathering that is outside the scope of the worldwide work in which Jehovah’s Witnesses are presently engaged?
Question #29: The Watchtower is on record in many places stating that the great tribulation commences when Babylon the great is destroyed. Usually the Society simply cites verses in the 17th or 18th chapter of Revelation to substantiate that teaching. Yet, there is nothing in either of those chapters that can be used to support that notion. At times the Watchtower links the standing of the disgusting thing in a holy place to the destruction of Christendom, but as all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know, Babylon the great encompasses much more than merely Christendom.
Because this is one of the few aspects of prophecy that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe has not occurred, what exactly is the Scriptural basis for the belief that the great tribulation begins with the destruction of Babylon the great?
Question #30: The Watchtower Society used to keep close watch on world events, as a watchman is supposed to. For example, back in the years leading up to 1914 the Watchtower kept its readers informed as to developments in Europe. The same was true in the run-up to the Second World War. In fact, the Society rightly alerted its readers to the danger that the US was going to be subverted into a fascist state, like Germany. All during the Cold War the Watchtower tried to keep the public aware of the perilous situation. Now, though, with the entire global financial system facing imminent disintegration, with leaders openly warning of the possibility of a nuclear world war three, with national food banks empty and entire nations faced with crippling austerity and the possibility of collapse into anarchy, martial law and tyranny, the Watchtower has seemingly gone mute.
Is this because the Society feels it has already said it all, or is it because Bethel sees no real significance in these critical developments?