The soul-damning heresies propagated by the false cult known as Jehovah's Witnesses were set forth by Charles Taze Russell in six volumes, entitled "Millennial Dawn." The name of the movement since its inception in 1874 has been changed several times and has been represented under other names such as Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, The People’s Pulpit Association, The International Bible Student’s Association, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. This latter name was taken at Columbus, Ohio, in 1931.
The self-styled "Pastor" Russell was a man of rather questionable character. "It is history ... that both the lower and higher court to which he appealed granted his wife a separation and described his conduct toward her as insulting and domineering. It is history that the testimony in court charged him with improper conduct with other women. It is only fair to say, however, that he was not proven guilty of any immorality. It is history that he tried to defraud his wife of her dower interest by transferring all his property to certain corporations, over which, of course, he had full control, and that he tried to defraud her of the alimony fixed by the court by fleeing from one state to another. It is history that he has secured enormous funds to carry on his propaganda by persuading people that this age is soon to end and that they should dispose of their property to him...... It is history that he has encouraged dealing in what was called "Miracle Wheat," which was supposed to grow about fifteen times as much as the average wheat and which was sold only to the faithful for sixty dollars per bushel." (Russelism Unveiled, by William Edward, pp. 6-7) See James 3:11-12! A man with such record certainly could not qualify as a spiritual leader according to I Timothy 3:1 ff.
When the "Pastor" passed from the scene (he died on a Santa Fe train, October 31, 1916), he was succeeded by Judge Rutherford as the chief exponent of Millennial Dawnism. "As the Moslems have one God, Allah, with Mohammed as his prophet; so the witnesses have one oracle of eternal truth, Pastor Russell, with Judge Rutherford as his faithful poll-parrot. Rutherford, we are assured, did not alter the gospel of Russelism. All he did was to reproduce it in an endless array of books and phonograph records! A spokesman for the witnesses explains, 'When the dear Pastor's voice was stilled by death, Judge Rutherford in effect became Pastor Russell's successor, speaking forth the message of the Kingdom.'" (Jehovah's Witnesses, by Dan Gilbert, p. 10) The Judge, too, is now dead; but unfortunately for the housewives of the nation, his voice is not stilled. The voice of Rutherford speaking the doctrines of Russelism is still heard by means of phonograph records upon which it has been preserved.
Rutherford's books are listed on the last pages of his book, Riches, concerning which books he declares with brazen presumption, "The Lord has graciously provided for the publication of his message in the form of books, that the people may be informed of the truth ... Those books do not contain the opinion of any man." Rutherford is thus asking us to conclude that his writings are of equal authority with the inspired Word of God. But both the "Pastor" and the Judge came on the scene 1800 years too late! The canon of scripture was completed and closed with the revelation given to John on the isle of Patmos, approximately 95 A.D. Beware of any system which asks you to believe in the Bible plus! The Bible as it stands is God's full, final, complete revelation of God to man, and we are not to expect any further additional revelations. The doctrine of Russell and Rutherford is one of the doctrines of demons against which we are warned in I Timothy 4:1-2.
What are the diabolic doctrines of this soul-destroying system of Russell-Rutherfordites?
l.-It denies the doctrine of the Trinity. In his book, Riches, Rutherford
discusses the Trinity in a chapter entitled, "Lies." He says, "Another lie made and told by Satan for the purpose of reproaching God's name and turning men away from God is that of the 'trinity.' That doctrine is taught by the religionists of 'Christendom' and is in substance this: 'That there are three gods in one: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, all equal in power, substance and eternity.' No man can explain that doctrine, because it is false.
Answer: It is clear in the first place that the Judge does not understand the doctrine of the Trinity. The Bible does not teach that there are three gods in one, but that there is one God existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three persons are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory..See Deuteronomy 6:4, "The Lord (Jehovah) our God (Elohim, a plurality) is one Lord (Jehovah)." This verse clearly teaches a plurality of persons existing as a unity, one Jehovah. The idea of plurality in unity is not at all absurd as the Rutherfordites make it appear to be. It may be illustrated by the marriage relationship in which husband and wife are one flesh (Gen. 2:24), yet two distinct persons. If this be so, then there is certainly nothing absurd in the Bible doctrine that three distinct persons exist in one Godhead under the name Jehovah. These three persons are mentioned in such passages as Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19 (here the three are referred to under one name, "the name," singular; not, "names," plural); John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; II Corinthians 13:14.
2.-It denies that Jesus Christ was God before His incarnation. It claims that "God created Jesus Christ, that He created Him an angel, that before Christ came into this world He was the angel Michael." (Vol. I, P.188; Vol. 5, P.84) "At the time of the beginning of life, he was created by the everlasting God.....In other words, he was the first and direct creation of Jehovah God." ("The Kingdom is At Hand," Watchtower Publishers.)
Answer: If asked whether they believe in the deity of Christ, the Witnesses will answer in the affirmative, which makes their approach more deceitfully subtle. For they do not believe that He is Jehovah of the Old Testament. They ascribe to Him only a derived deity as the first created being and call him "a son of God" instead of "the Son of God." What saith the Scriptures? The following verses establish the eternal pre-existence and absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ: Isaiah 9:6-7 (the child was born; the son was given, and He is called The Mighty God and the everlasting Father); John 14:7-11; Micah 5:2 (His goings forth are from everlasting); John 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-19; 2:9; Philippians 2:5-11. Did the Jews understand Christ's assertion of Divine Sonship as a claim to absolute Deity and equality with God? They did, John 5:18; 10:30-33; 19:7. Compare Isaiah 6:1-8 with John 12:41; Isaiah 45:18-23 with Romans 14:9-12, and Philippians 2:11, to show that Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament. Such passages as John 14:28 in which the Lord Jesus acknowledges inferiority to His Father have only to do with His role of a servant in His humanity, and do not apply in any sense whatsoever to His essential Being. See also John 20:28; Hebrews 1:6-12.
3.- It teaches that in the incarnation Jesus Christ ceased to be a spirit being, and that on earth He had only one nature, being nothing more than a mere man.
Russelism declares "That Christ at His incarnation gave up his spirit being, and that while He walked on earth He was nothing more than 'a perfect human being.'" (Volume I, p. 179)
Answer: See John 1:14; 10:30; 14:9 for the answer to this blasphemy. The Holy Spirit through Paul declares that "God was manifest in the flesh," (I Tim. 3:16) and that the blood of Christ is the blood of Cod, Acts 20:28.
4.-It teaches that the work of Christ upon the cross was only the work of a mere man. "As a human being he gave himself a ransom for men...... It was His flesh, His life as a man, his humanity that was sacrificed for our redemption...... We, as members of Christ's body, are yielding up our lives in sacrifice during this age, and these sacrificed lives counted in with His constitute the blood of Christ which seals the new covenant between God and the world." (volume II, pp 107, 129)
Answer: Blasphemy upon blasphemy! According to Russell, there was no Deity at the cross! But see Acts 20:28, "the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood." A mere man could never have redeemed the human race. That is why it was necessary that the Second Person of the Trinity become man, taking to Himself a body, in order that He as the God-Man might offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin of infinite value in the sight of God. See Hebrews 9:11-15; 10:1-14.
5.-It teaches that Jesus Christ was annihilated on the cross. "Death is a period of absolute unconsciousness--more than that it is a period of absolute non-existence." (Vol. 5, p. 329) "The dead are dead, utterly destroyed." (Vol. 5, p.347) "Our Lord's being or soul was non-existent during tho period of death. It was necessary, not only that the man Christ Jesus should die, But just as necessary that the man Christ Jesus should never live again, should remain dead to all eternity." (Vol. 5, P.362)
Answer: If death means extinction of being, what then became of Jesus Christ when He died on Calvary? The inevitable logic of such an unholy premise leads to but one conclusion, that He became extinct, absolutely non-existent; that He was annihilated and ceased to be. This is exactly what the J.W.’s teach. The underlying fallacy of such an assumption lies in the fact that they suppose death to be synonymous with non-existence. Death is a state of existence, and does not mean non-existence. See Matthew 10:28 (the soul lives on after the body is destroyed); Matthew 22:32 (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are living, though dead physically); I Timothy 5:6 ("dead while she liveth"--it would sound silly to say, "non-existent while she liveth!); Luke 16:19-31 (the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham, though dead physically, were very much alive; one in hell, and the other two in Paradise). This blasphemous doctrine, that Christ was annihilated on the cross, should in itself be sufficient to demonstrate the entire system to be of Satanic origin.
6.- It teaches that Jesus did not rise in the same body in which He died. "We know nothing about what became of it. Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God's love, no one knows." (Volume II, p.129)
Answer: What saith the Scriptures? In John 2:19, 21, the Lord Jesus predicted the resurrection of His body. The wounds so visible in His resurrection body prove it to be the same as that which hung upon the cross, Luke 24:39. How marvelously the Holy Spirit anticipated this devilish denial of the J.W.'s! See Acts 1:3.
7.-It teaches that Jesus Christ at His resurrection became once more a spirit being, and is not now a man. "Jesus at and after His resurrection was a spirit--a spirit being, and no longer a human being in any sense." (Vol. I, p.231) "We must bear in mind that our Lord is no longer a human being." (Vol. II, p. 107)
Answer: What saith the scripture? One verse will be sufficient to prove the above statements to be a lie from the pit of hell; see I Timothy 2:5, "the man Christ Jesus." As we have said, this verse alone would be sufficient, but see also Acts 7:56; Rev. 1:13. Both Stephen and John beheld the Son of Man.
8.-It thus denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Our Lord's being or soul was non-existent during the period of death." (Volume 5, P.362) "When he was raised to life again by the power of the Father, it was not to human existence." (Volume 2, p. 129)
Answer: Lack of simple logic is one of the chief characteristics of a system founded upon ignorance. In one breath we are told that the soul of our Lord was non-existent during the period of death, and in the next breath we are told that he was raised to life again. While the J.W.’s use the term, "resurrection," it is an absurdity in relation to their doctrine. For if the soul of our Lord was non-existent in death, it would have to be re-created, not resurrected. Resurrection implies continuity of personal identity through the death-resurrection process, and cannot rightly be used of the bringing back of a soul from a non-existent state.
9.-It denies the actual ascension and present intercession of Christ at the right hand of God. "The body in which Christ Jesus was seen ascending Heavenward was not the body which was nailed to the tree. It was a body which he had materialized for the time being in order to appear to his disciples. When the cloud hid him from their sight, then he dissolved that body as he had done to other bodies he assumed during the forty days previous. At his resurrection he was ‘made alive in the spirit', and he is now spirit and hence invisible.' (The Truth Shall Make You Free)
Answer: What a whopping big fairy tale this is! See Hebrews 1:3! Acts 2:32-33; Hebrews 9:23-24 for His present location in the Glory throughout this age. The body in which He ascended (Acts 1:9-11) is the same body He presented to His disciples in the evening of the resurrection day, Luke 24:39. They suppose that He is a spirit, and He clearly emphasizes to them that He is not merely a spirit, but has a material body of flesh and bones.
10.-It denies the physical, visible return of our Lord Jesus Christ. "We should not, therefore, expect the Lord's second coming to be in a body visible to human eyes, but should expect that he would be present, exercising his power in his own sovereign way." (The Harp of God)
Answer: What saith the Scripture? See Acts 1:11; Zechariah 12:10; 13:6; Revelation 1:7; II Thess. 1:7-9; Matthew 24:30.
11.- It teaches that the full establishment of the Kingdom of God took place in 1914, and that in 1918 Christ came to earth to reign spiritually. "We consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A.D. 1914," (Volume 2, p. 99) "The times of the Gentiles will run fully out with the year A.D. 1914, and...... at that time they will be overturned and Christ's kingdom fully established." (Volume 2, page 170) "The present governments must all be overturned about the close of A.D. 1914." (Volume 2, p. 242) "The 'Battle of the great day of God Almighty' will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership." (Volume 2, page 101) "The Gospel age harvest will end October 1914 and the overthrow of 'Christendom,' so-called, must be expected to immediately follow." (Volume 2, p.245) "Sometime before the end of A.D. 1914 the last member of the divinely recognized Church of Christ, the 'royal priesthood,' the 'body of Christ,' will be glorified with the Head." (Volume 2, p. 77) "The second coming of Christ and the end of Satan's world was due in 1914 and the evidence was there brought forward showing his second coming...The physical facts of prophecy prove beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ came to the temple in 1918 and there began the gathering unto himself of his faithful followers." (Rutherford, in Protection)
Answer: If we have been in the Millennium since 1914, all we can say is, what a millennium! The facts of history disprove the predictive ability of the false prophet of Millennial Dawnism. Too bad the "Pastor" didn't read his Bible! See Mark 13;21,32. When Christ does return to establish His kingdom, He will do so physically and visibly, not merely in spiritual presence as the J.W.'s teach.
12.-It teaches that immortality will be given to 144,000 associates of Jesus in the kingdom, and to none others. "The entire period from Pentecost until the second coming of Christ and his kingdom is occupied in the selection of those who will be associated with Christ Jesus in his kingdom. It is the one hundred and forty-four thousand that are to be selected to be made members of the royal house....God will give immortality to the one hundred and forty-four thousand associates of Jesus in the kingdom and will give it to none others." (Rutherford, in Riches)
Answer: What saith the scripture? See Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5. The 144,000 are literal, physical Jews. The tribes are mentioned. They are sealed before the tribulation judgment begins, and are openly marked in their foreheads. They are all males, 14:4, and unmarried (too bad for the "Pastor", for Russell himself was married and divorced--he certainly could not qualify); they are the firstfruits of the nation of Israel unto God and to the Lamb. These are the true Jehovah's witnesses who will witness faithfully for the Lord during the tribulation period. Needless to say, they bear no resemblance to the self-professed J.W.'s of today.
13.-It rejects the doctrine of eternal punishment."To teach that there is an eternal Hell for the wicked after death is blasphemy against God; no honorable man would treat a rat that way." (Finished Mystery, p. 219)
Answer: What saith the Scripture? See Luke 16:23-31; Matthew 5:22; 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8. Such passages as these completely refute the doctrine of the J.W.'s that hell is the grave and that death is non-existence. No rat ever treated the Son of God the way Christ-rejecting men have treated Him! See Hebrews 10:29.
14.-It teaches that the unsaved will have a second chance after death. "The prevailing opinion is that death ends all probation; but there is no Scripture which so teaches." (Volume I, P. 105) "Men, not God, have limited to this age the chance or opportunity of attaining life." (Volume I, p. 131)
Answer: The "Pastor" ought to have read his Bible with his eyes open. See II Corinthians 6:2; Luke 16:26; John 5:28-29. The wicked dead will be raised to damnation, not a second chance. A period of a thousand years separates these two resurrections, Revelation 20:4-6. The saved dead are raised before the 1,000 years reign of Christ; the unsaved dead will be raised after this thousand year period. But Russell and Rutherford will not have it so. The J.W.’s generously offer a second chance to all humanity during the Millennium. Those who are "Faithful" and "obedient" during that time will escape eternal extinction even though they will be eternally barred from heaven. Only the 144,000 will gain heaven and immortality. Those who pass probation through their own faithfulness and obedience during the Millennium will be given "everlasting life" on this earth. Those who fail this second chance will be annihilated. It is clear that the Russell-Rutherford system of "salvation" is a system of works, and is therefore not the Gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9). Its distinction between immortality and everlasting life during the eternal state is superficial and unscriptural. This present earth is under the judgment of God and will pass away (II Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:11; 21:1); a new heaven and a new earth will be ushered in. The notion of a renovated earth has no support in Scripture. The Greek word for earth in Revelation 21:1 is the word which signifies the material earth, and it expressly states that it is new, not renovated.
15.-It teaches a system of salvation by works, through human effort, motivated by fear. "While on earth those who receive God's approval must be witnesses to the name and kingdom of Jehovah. In no other way can they be faithful and perform their commission." (Riches, by Rutherford) "If Jehovah's witnesses should fail or refuse to deliver the message, they would be unfaithful to God and would suffer destruction." (His Vengeance, by Rutherford)
Answer: This is not the Gospel of God's sovereign saving grace through the finished work of Christ upon the cross! Any system that makes salvation dependent upon human effort is a system of works and has the anathema of God upon it, Galatians 1:6-9; 3:10. The salvation which God offers sinners is salvation by pure grace through simple faith in the finished work of redemption wrought by Christ upon the cross, See Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7; Romans 3:19-28; 4:4-5: 11:5-6; Hebrews 4:10. The next time you see a J.W. standing on a street corner passing out literature, or trudging through the rain from door to door, don't admire them for their "sincerity" and "self-sacrificing" character. What they do, they are doing motivated by fear under threat of eternal destruction. Blinded by Satan to the simple Gospel of God's saving grace, they are victims of the grand delusion of Russell and Rutherford. Their message is not the "whosoever will" message of the Scriptures; it excludes from the kingdom of Heaven all but the "little flock", the 144,000 elite who through "faithfulness" and "obedience" earn immortality. In striking contrast to this Devilish system of works, the Bible teaches that those who are truly saved, are saved, not through their own obedience, but by the obedience of Christ, Romans 5:19.
16.- It teaches disrespect for the American flag and for constituted governmental authority. "Not only shall the American flag not be saluted or defended by his witnesses; but it shall to torn down in the process of achieving their goal of making themselves rulers of the earth .... The army and navy and war equipment are kept and maintained, not for the purpose of repulsing a foreign foe, but for the protection of selfish commercial interests." (Rutherford, in his pamphlet, Supremacy)
Answer: Shades of Benedict Arnold! Did traitors ever descend to baser slander against the stars and stripes than this? See what the Bible says about respect for constituted governmental authority, Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7.
"TO THE LAW AND TO THE TESTIMONY! IF THEY SPEAK NOT ACCORDING TO
THIS WORD, IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM. (Isaiah 8:20)
Paper written by Rev. Hayes K. Minick