If you were once a Jehovah’s Witness, are you now concerned about worsening world conditions being a sign that soon Christ will return to the earth and bring about the end of the world? Although you may no longer believe in what JWs teach and don’t want to go back to the religion, do you still wonder if there is a chance that the Witnesses are right about the world’s end happening very soon and that you will be destroyed because you’re not a JW?
If you answer “sometimes I think about it,” the following information could be of use to you. I will be making some strong statements, but don’t be put off by them because whatever conclusions you reach will affect how you spend the rest of your life.
Please try to keep an open mind. Later, after you’ve finished reading this article, think carefully about what you’ve just read, do additional research, and then you will be able to sort things out for yourself.
Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” The way to be set free from wondering whether you should be worried about the return of Christ and the end of the world is to seek truthful information on the topic.
As you may be aware, for most of the time that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been around, a man by the name of Frederick Franz played an important role in the group. Beginning in the mid-1920s, it was “Freddie” who was the “oracle” or “visionary” that came up with most of the Watch Tower’s “new” religious ideas – until he went blind in the early 1980s and completely senile later in that decade.
When I was examining Franz’s personal library as a researcher for the Watchtower’s Writing Department, I saw that the shelves were filled with old and worn historical books. Later, after I left the religion, I realized Franz basically used what he learned in those books to regenerate religious ideas from the 15th to the 17th century as “new truths” under the guise of “progressive revelation,” just as the founder of the Watch Tower organization (C. T. Russell,1852-1916) did before him.
Interestingly, in the dozens of books that the second president of the Watch Tower, J. F. Rutherford, published in the 1920s and ’30s were where Rutherford introduced his own “new light” from the Bible. (These books were known as the “The Rainbow Series” because they were the same size and shape, and each had a cover with a different bright color.) However, based on material I found in Freddie’s office file cabinet, I believe it was he who contributed most of the ideas found in those books and credited to Rutherford.
The Watch Tower “publishing company” ground out these books regularly, year after year. It’s interesting to note that many of the beliefs contained in “The Rainbow Series” that centered on “the return of Christ” were (in the 1990s) repudiated by the modern-day organization of JWs as “old light.” This trend continued during the early years of the 21st century.
Most of the literature published since 1879 by the Watchtower organization and credited to Russell and Rutherford, plus, WT books not credited to anyone, were primarily centered on the soon-to-come second coming of Christ and the soon-to-end world, both of which obviously did not happen.
Did you know Russell never intended to start a new religion? His intention was to share relevant Biblical thoughts with the “Elect” (those who would go to heaven mentioned in the Bible book of Revelation that numbered 144,000), about harmonizing the chronology pointing to the “last days,” and the return of Christ. In fact, in July 1879, the opening words in Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence were about the “last days.”
The teaching about living forever in a paradise earth as taught by JWs is pure fantasy. This dogma goes back to the pre-Jesus Christ Jewish nation. This is why scriptures can be found in the Old Testament about such things. In addition, it was during the Protestant Reformation when this idea was given a big push because many wanted to go back to what they called “primitive” Christianity – which, in reality, was going back to a “primitive” Jewish movement.
The Puritans were the people pushing these beliefs. They brought them to America from Europe. Even Christopher Columbus believed in millennium apocalyptic ideas which drove him to take these teachings to other lands to save people from the soon-to-come destruction by God.
The English statesman, Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan who expected Christ would return very soon in his time, believed he was preparing his nation for that very event when he caused the deaths of thousands who would not convert but held on to their orthodox beliefs.
Charles Taze Russell’s religious ideas were merely reruns of religious teachings and failed beliefs that the Puritans and people like them during the 15th through the 17th centuries believed in (including Isaac Newton). The “William Miller movement” picked up on these same beliefs, resulting in disappointment when in the years 1843 and 1844 Jesus did not return.
If you want to do research on this subject, I suggest that you read an extraordinary book, APOCALYPSES, Prophecies, Cults, and Millennial Beliefs through the Ages, by Eugene Weber. Weber is a professor of Modern European History at the University of California, LA. I bought a used copy of APOCALYPSES in excellent shape through Amazon.com for a little over $3.00. With shipping the total was around $7.50. New paperback versions are also available. (For those in the UK, the total cost should be around $15.00.)
When I was a JW, I was afraid to read anything other than the prophetic utterances recorded in Watchtower literature. Until I learned about the cover-up of child sexual abuse inside the Watchtower organization, I wouldn’t listen to reason or do research into anything different from what JWs taught. However, in the 1990s, because Witness leaders refused to take any steps to change their awful child abuse policies (and still haven’t changed them), mentally I was no longer under their control for I had lost complete respect for them and their organization.
In 1997 I began to thoroughly investigate JW teachings and history and I was shocked at what I found. I later left the organization and continued my own quest to discover the truth about the “Truth.”
When you read APOCALYPSES, you’ll see exactly where the religion of C. T. Russell came from. By reading this book and other history books, you’ll understand that the JW religion is nothing more than “a re-run religion” borrowed from popular theological teachings dating back to the 15th century through the 17th century but in truth can be traced back before the birth of Christ. And I might add, promoted by people throughout the ages who were obsessed with Bible prophecies.
Whenever there were serious societal problems with no apparent solutions, once again millennialism would be reborn. When nothing happened and the end didn’t arrive, apocalyptic scenarios were “postponed” and eventually forgotten which can be likened to religious amnesia. Later in difficult times, these ideas would start afresh.
I ask you, “Why did our forefathers, including C. T. Russell, regenerate or resurrect failure?” Quite simply because no one wants to die! Apocalyptic millennialism gave people hope that they would never die and that the dead would be restored to life again. In fact, the belief in a “returning redeemer” can be traced back to before the Persian empire. If you do further research you will find that most ancient cultures put their hope in “a savior coming to earth to rescue down-trodden humankind out from under the hand of the wicked” including the worst enemy of all, death!
I’m going to put it to you bluntly: Please, if you wonder if JWs do have the “Truth,” don’t waste anymore of your time thinking about it. Jehovah’s Witness beliefs are centered on empty hopes. Are these really the last days? The Puritans in England during the 17th century thought they were living in the “last days” according to what they read in Matt. 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13. If God didn’t bring an end then to unjust and horrible living conditions, why should he do so now when living conditions are dramatically improving for people living in all parts of the world? In fact, “the poor” in most of the Western World have the option of actually living better than kings did in past centuries.
Charles Taze Russell said we are “deep in the time of the end.” Watch Tower presidents Rutherford, Knorr, Franz, and Henschel, including all deceased Governing Body members, were of the same opinion. Present-day Governing Body members also believe we are “deep in the time of the end.” More than one-hundred and thirty years have passed since Russell’s day and Jesus has not returned to the earth bringing death and destruction to unbelievers as Watchtower leaders expected. Let this be a lesson to us — Just because we believe in something, it doesn’t make it necessarily so!
By the way, read Luke 21: 8:
When the now-deceased Governing Body member, Albert Schroeder, was asked about this scripture in light of the frequent dating of Jesus’ return by JWs, he replied that “this scripture did not apply to JWs.” It baffles me how he could have simply tossed that little “fact” out when the scripture is quite plain and doesn’t provide for any exceptions or disclaimers.
There are scriptures that encouraged first-century Christians, who expected Jesus to come back in their lifetime, to “be on the watch” for him but nowhere was there a command to date his return.
Is there any proof that these scriptures are applicable to Christians 2,000 years later? No. The belief in the immediate “second coming of Christ” since the second-century AD was based on interpretation of scripture by various movements and was subjective purely based on events taking place in their time.
Did you know that the words “Second Coming of Christ” are not found anywhere in the Bible?
Of course, there are some good things about being a JW and associating with JWs, namely, a closeness that comes from belonging to a community of like-believers. But no amount of community goodwill can ever make up for all the harm this organization has caused and is still causing by their child abuse, blood transfusion and shunning policies – all policies opposite to the basic principles of love.
Please press on to have a good life without the fantasy ideas that are not worth the paper that JW literature is printed on. I hope you find the foregoing helpful in your quest for truth.