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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Gregorian Calendar

Some have suggested that because the Watchtower Society has adopted the use of the Gregorian calendar which uses the names of pagan Roman gods, that they are not totally untouched by the influence of paganism.

However, this is purely specious reasoning used as an excuse to participate in customs which are truly pagan celebrations with all the trimmings.

The calendar currently used by the Watchtower Society is the Gregorian calendar. This calendar is named in honour of Pope Gregory XIII. Its months are named in honour of the pagan Roman kings/gods Augustus (August), and Julius (July) as well as having months named in honour of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses such as Janus (January), Mars (March), Maia (May), Juno (June), and a pagan ritual- "febura" (February).

And some of the days of the week are named for Norse gods (and others): Woden's Day; Thor's Day; Freya's Day - but it is obtuse to think that, although these names are involved, that we are honoring these pagan gods by using the common day and month designations for our society. We have no practical option but to use them.

But as for customs which are devoted to honoring these gods, we do have a choice and, according to Scripture, we should take advantage of that choice.

There are many things which originated, necessarily, under paganism. Pharmacies, Doctors, and who knows what all, but that doesn't make these necessary things a celebration of pagan gods. What is being spoken to by Jehovah's Witnesses is the participation of Christendom in paganistic customs and celebrations which were deliberately borrowed by the Church from pagan celebrations and ceremonies honoring their gods.

There simply is no honest comparison between using necessary information such as the universal use of pagan names for days, months, cities, personal names, etc. with the personal CHOICE to celebrate completely nonessential pagan celebrations.

The early Christians didn't see the need to use their own alternate names for (nor to avoid going to) cities and places which had pagan-related names, nor using the paganistic personal names of individuals. (See Luke and Paul's examples below.) There is a place for reasonable avoidance of actual customs and celebrations devoted to pagan gods and the everyday use of common words.

It is the use of pagan things associated with pagan worship that is at the heart of the issue. It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship", by their very name. The mere reference to a day or month on a calendar is not.

Biblical Examples

The mere reference to a day or month on a calendar cannot possibly be equated to the making of unusual efforts to participate in customs with known pagan origins (like celebrating holidays).

For biblical examples, when Luke wrote in Acts mentioning the Areopagus ('Ares Hill' - Ares is the Greek god of war; 'Mars' is the Latin god of war), he didn't feel the need to change its already established name to something no one would recognize. Furthermore, Paul actually went to this place devoted to a pagan god and preached.

And Paul accepted the Areopagite, Dionysius (Greek name for 'god of wine') and had him join him - Acts 17:19-34. Luke and Paul certainly did not become participants in something associated with pagan origins.

The following article is taken from the 5/15/67 Watchtower, Questions from Readers:

"Why did the Jews use the name of the pagan god Tammuz as the name for one of their months?

"Tammuz was the name of a Babylonian deity. (Ezek. 8:14) And though the Bible does not apply the name in this way, postexilic works, such as the Jewish Talmud, use the name for the fourth Jewish lunar month of the sacred calendar, the tenth of the secular calendar. (Ezek. 1:1) So it would correspond to the latter part of June and the first part of July.

"The use of the pagan name Tammuz as applying to the fourth month of the sacred calendar may have been only a matter of convenience among the Jews. We should remember that they were then a subjugated people, obliged to deal with and report to the foreign powers dominating them. So it is understandable that they might utilize the names of the months employed by these foreign powers. Similarly, the Gregorian calendar used today has months named after the gods Janus, Mars and Juno, as well as for Julius and Augustus Caesar. Yet it continues to be used by Christians who are subject to the "superior authorities." - Rom. 13:1." (Emphasis mine.)

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Monday, September 19, 2011

1975 and Jehovah's Witnesses - The Opposers' Claims Vs. The Facts

The following will address in order:

1.) The basis for the original speculation of 1975.

2.) How even though there were articles printed that were speculative in nature, not one ever stated that Armageddon would definitely come in 1975 and, in fact, the then President of the Watchtower Society even instructed his listeners against saying anything as such.

3.) The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's acknowledgement of "implied" statements concerning 1975 and the significance of this.

4.) The reason opposers focus on this issue.

5.) How Jehovah's Witnesses accusers employ two sets of rules.

Understanding the Speculation Concerning 1975

"The Witnesses had long shared the belief that the Thousand Year Reign of Christ would follow after 6,000 years of human history. But when would 6,000 years of human existence end? The book Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God, released at a series of district conventions held in 1966, pointed to 1975. Right at the convention, as the brothers examined the contents, the new book triggered much discussion about 1975." - Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom; pg. 104, Declaring the Good News Without Letup (1942-1975)

Speculative Articles, But NO Definite Statement

While there was likely a lot of speculation surrounding 1975 by individuals, no publication ever provided a definitive statement saying that the end would come in 1975. Some articles seemed to say that it was highly possible, though they always qualified it.

For example, the 5/01/67 Watchtower says:

"...1975 marks the end of 6,000 years of human experience.....Will it be the time when God executes the wicked?....It very well could be, but we will have to wait and see."

Other articles frequently used words such as "may", "could" and "possibly"," regarding this.

Even Frederick Franz (the then President of the WBTS) forcefully instructed:

"... don’t any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975."  - Rejoicing over “God’s Sons of Liberty” Spiritual Feast; Heading: the Year 1975; 10/15/66 Watchtower

Acknowledgement of "Implied" Statements

"In the years following 1966, many of Jehovah’s Witnesses acted in harmony with the spirit of that counsel (of Frederick Franz). However, other statements were published on this subject, and some were likely more definite than advisable. This was acknowledged in The Watchtower of March 15, 1980 (see quote below). But Jehovah’s Witnesses were also cautioned to concentrate mainly on doing Jehovah’s will and not to be swept up by dates and expectations of an early salvation." - Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pg. 104, Declaring the Good News Without Letup (1942-1975)

"There were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year (1975) was more of a probability than a mere possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated." - Watchtower, 1980 March 15, p.17, par. 5

Rather than to be met with scepticism or scorn, these acknowledgements of "implied" statements concerning 1975 is an obvious willingness to attempt to learn from them. And this is a relatively unimportant, non-essential issue when contrasted to the fundamentals Jesus laid out for the knowledge necessary for eternal life! (John 17:3)

In comparison, most other religions will not change doctrines(!) such as the Trinity, the immortal soul, and hell fire even though their own scholars admit that these beliefs are not taught in the Bible. Yet Jehovah's Witnesses have always been willing to change any belief in order to harmonize better with increased knowledge of Scriptural teaching.

The Reason Opposers Focus on 1975

The primary reason Jehovah's Witnesses opposers even bring up the topic of 1975 is to try and paint Jehovah's Witnesses as 'False Prophets'. By a definition of their choosing, Jehovah's Witnesses critics ignore what is meant by the word 'prophet' and what was intended by WBTS publications.

Though some may accuse the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of claiming otherwise, from the beginning, the Watchtower has never claimed to be "inspired and infallible and without mistakes":

"[the fact that some have Jehovah's spirit] does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's Witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine, The Watchtower, are inspired and infallible and without mistakes." - May 15, 1947, page 157.

Admittedly, earlier WBTS publications have occasionally published information that was speculative in nature and turned out to be mistaken. However, these publications also had provided accompanying statements cautioning it's readers that there was no certainty as to what would happen.

Two Sets of Rules?

Some critics focus solely on Jehovah's Witnesses concerning non-essential, mistaken expectations about the fulfillment of Bible prophecies. Yet at the same time, they ignore these high-profile religious figures who have made mistakes similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Protestant leader Martin Luther believed that the Turkish war in his day would be

"the final wrath of God, in which the world will come to an end and Christ will come to destroy Gog and Magog and set free His own"? [John T. Baldwin, "Luther's Eschatological Appraisal of the Turkish Threat in Eine Heerpredigt -wider den Tuerken - Army Sermon Against the Turks]," Andrews University Seminary Studies 33.2 (Autumn 1995), 196.

He also said that

"Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door". - Ibid, p. 201.

And Methodist founder John Wesley wrote:

"1836 The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of the 'little time,' and of the three times and a half; the destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan. - Wesley's Notes of the Bible

In 1950, Billy Graham, the well-known US evangelist, told a rally in Los Angeles:

“I sincerely believe that the Lord draweth nigh. We may have another year, maybe two years, to work for Jesus Christ, and, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe it is all going to be over ... two years and it’s all going to be over.” - McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185. See also “US News and World Report” (December 19, 1994)

Would opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses condemn Luther, Wesley or Graham as false prophets? Or would they correctly conclude that they had simply interpreted Bible prophecy? Likewise, the WBTS is not a false prophet simply because interpreting Bible prophecy is not the same as prophesying.

Also see:

Did the Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses Ever Say That Armageddon Was Definitely Going to Come In 1975? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

The Problem with "False Prophecy" Polemics (Bible Translation and Study)

Dates (1914; 1975) (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

False Prophecy or Misguided Interpretation of Prophecy? (Jimspace)

Inaccurate False 'Prophet' Claim Made Against Jehovah's Witnesses - Links to Accurate Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Date of 607 B.C.E. For Jerusalem's Destruction

(More information about this topic can be found at the bottom of this article.)

The Destruction of Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E?

Some who wish to accuse the Watchtower organization of being a "false prophet" claim that the 607 B.C. date chosen by the Society for the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon is proof. Christendom endorses and teaches the date of 587 B.C. (which is the opinion of secular historians today).

Most secular historians tell us that some captives were taken from Jerusalem in 598 B.C., but that the city was not harmed at that time. They also tell us that a later siege in 587 B.C. destroyed Jerusalem and that all but a handful of the inhabitants of all of Judah were deported from the land at that time.

"All archeologically studied towns of Judah (see Jer. 25:11, 17, 18) were DESTROYED at this time (587 B.C.)." - Encyclopedia Americana, 1957, v. 3, p. 9.

They also tell us that

"the edict of Cyrus in 538 B.C., substantially confirmed by modern archeological discoveries, permitted the Jews to return to their homeland." - Americana.

Now if we insist on perfection in the statements of God's inspired prophets of the Bible concerning time factors, then either the inspired prophets who warned of the desolation of Jerusalem by Babylon must have proclaimed a 49 (or 50) year desolation of Jerusalem - from 587 B.C. to 538 B.C. (or 537 B.C. if we properly allow for preparation and travel time after Cyrus' edict)! OR the secular historians of today are wrong about the 587 B.C. date which most of Christendom (and apostate ex-Jehovah's Witnesses) accepts.

Now Jehovah's Witnesses accept the 538 B.C. date for the edict of Cyrus since the evidence produced "by modern archeological discoveries" is probably better established for it, and it certainly correlates more properly with Bible chronology. And since the date 587 B.C. for the beginning of the desolation period is probably more doubtful than that of the "substantially confirmed" 538 B.C. date for the edict which led to the end of the desolation period and does not fit proper Bible chronology, Jehovah's Witnesses have decided that the date of the desolation of Jerusalem must have been 607 B.C. Why? Because Jehovah's Witnesses believe the inspired prophets Jeremiah and Daniel are more likely to be correct than secular historians! (Be sure to read pp. 186-189 in Let Your Kingdom Come, 1981 Watchtower publication.)

Daniel wrote that he was "reading the scriptures and reflecting on the SEVENTY years which, according to the word of the Lord [Jehovah] to the prophet Jeremiah, were to pass while Jerusalem lay in ruins." - Dan. 9:2, NEB. Also see Jer. 25:8-11, 17, 18.

Now isn't it interesting that Christendom (especially those most vocal dissident ex-Jehovah's Witnesses) condemns Jehovah's Witnesses as being false prophets for interpreting certain ancient dates (most notably the destruction of Jerusalem as 607 B.C.) based upon the clear statements of inspired Bible prophets which seem to contradict the conclusions of secular historians today?

Think about it. What's really happening when certain "Christians" insist that a figurative "prophet" be perfect in its interpretation of time and then turn around and say,

"Yes, Daniel was an inspired prophet (and so was Jeremiah), but, although he literally said Jerusalem would lie desolate for 70 years, HE REALLY MEANT 50 YEARS. We believe the authorities today who tell us it was really 50 years," these `Christians' say, "more than we believe the literal accuracy of the inspired prophet, Daniel (or Jeremiah)."?

In other words, it's o.k. to condemn those who have never claimed to be inspired prophets for an apparent error in the interpretation of a date and proclaim them false prophets, and, in so doing, indirectly (but necessarily) accuse the truly inspired Bible writers, who, they believe, made the very same kind of time "errors," of being false prophets .

Yes, those who insist on the secular historians' dates (which make a 50 year desolation) are, by necessity, insisting that the Bible prophets stated the wrong chronology (70 years of desolation). By their insistence on the 587 B.C. date they are saying the inspired prophets did not prophesy a literally accurate time!

The real difference is that Jehovah's Witnesses admit to being human, making nonessential errors at times, and not being an inspired "prophet." They truly believe the organization, as a whole, and over the long term, has the guidance of Holy Spirit, but this does not mean that every step, every thought, every utterance of every member will be perfect in this present system of things. The first Christians, who were obviously guided by Holy Spirit, admitted as much about themselves. And yet these Jehovah's Witnesses, imperfect as they may be, are courageous enough to say that Daniel and Jeremiah are inspired prophets of God and are certainly more likely to be correct than secular historians.

If Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong on this nonessential "time interpretation," does that make them false prophets because they have chosen the literal accuracy of God's inspired prophets over the statements of uninspired historians? I think not! I believe, instead, a strong statement of their obedience to proper authority (the Bible in this case) is being made in spite of the ridicule and dishonest accusations of many false Christians.

On the other hand, what if the actual inspired prophets (Daniel and Jeremiah) are literally correct? Where does that put those "Christians" who are, in actuality, saying that Daniel and Jeremiah were false prophets? It seems we have a real test of faith and proper heart condition here.

Related Articles:

When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part One; Why It Matters; What the Evidence Shows (w11 10/1 pp. 26-31; Watchtower Online Library)

When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?—Part Two; What the Clay Documents Really Show (w11 11/1 pp. 22-28; Watchtower Online Library)

Jerusalem 607 B.C.E. (Search Results From the Watchtower Online Library)

The Destruction of Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E.? (Search For Bible Truths)

'False Prophet' Claim and Jerusalem 607 B.C.E. (Search For Bible Truths)

Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E. (Jerusalem - 607 B.C.E.)

Was 607 B.C.E. Actually the Year Jerusalem Fell? (From God's Word)

Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. (Pastor Russsel)

Seven Times - The Times of The Gentiles (Pastor Russsel)

1914—A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy (Pastor Russsel)

Appointed Times of the Nations (Pastor Russsel)

Links to more sources concerning 607 B.C.E. (Y/A)

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Does a Substantial Health Danger Justify Having an Abortion?

"If at the time of childbirth a choice must be made between the life of the mother and that of the child, it is up to the individuals directly involved to make that choice. However, advances in medical procedures in many lands have made this situation very rare." - AWAKE! 6/09 p. 8 Why We Did Not Have an Abortion

While this is a problem involving very deep human feelings and concerns, the perfect counsel of God shows that a potential risk to mother or child does not justify inducing an abortion.

Human views on this question are varied and often conflicting. But fundamental to the Bible view is life and respect for it. Human life has both a divine origin and a divine purpose. (Gen. 1:27; Job 33:4; Ps. 100:3-5) Throughout the Bible we see reflected God’s deep respect for life. He lovingly urged humans to treasure their lives and to respect as sacred the lives of others. One who, without regard for divine law, took the life of another human, even a babe in the womb, was both guilty and accountable.—Gen. 9:5, 6; Ex. 21:14, 22-25.

It cannot be denied that sometimes a pregnant woman faces a considerable danger. A health problem, such as diabetes, hypertension or other cardio-vascular diseases, may lead sincerely concerned doctors to conclude that her life is in jeopardy. She may be told, ‘Either have an abortion, or you will die.’ Or abortion may be recommended when it seems that the child may be born blind or deformed, such as when the mother contracts rubella (measles) during the pregnancy. Some might reason in such cases that having an abortion is actually showing respect for life. Though in no way minimizing the seriousness of such problems or the sincerity of those recommending the abortion, one should have in mind the life of both the mother and the child.

There is no such thing today as a perfect pregnancy, for all humans are imperfect. (Rom. 5:12) Thus every pregnant woman faces a certain risk; the sad fact is that some women, even healthy women, die during pregnancy and childbirth. (Gen. 35:16-19) Is every pregnancy to be aborted just because a risk to the mother’s life or health exists? Obviously not. True, in some instances the danger is greater than normal because of the woman’s age or health. Still, do not most women, including many who face unusual risks, survive childbirth? And it must be admitted that however well meant it is, a medical diagnosis can be wrong. So how could one who accepts God’s view of the sacredness of life conclude that a potential danger would justify an abortion? Is the developing child’s life to be cut off simply because of what might occur?

Similarly, with every pregnancy there is the possibility that the child will be born with a defect or deformity. “About one in 14 babies is born with a genetic disorder; the afflicted range from the diabetic . . . to the hopeless cripple who may live only a few days.” (New York Times Magazine, Sept. 8, 1974, p. 100) Should this potential risk lead to the conclusion that all pregnancies should be ended by abortion? Not at all.

Here too in some instances the risk of the child’s having a defect may be above normal. This seems to be so, for example, when the woman is over forty years of age or in cases where she took certain potent medicines or contracted a potentially damaging disease in the early stages of pregnancy. About 10 to 15 percent of infants born to mothers infected with rubella during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy have some harmful effects of the disease that are recognizable in the first year of life. (Of course, this also means that 85 to 90 percent of such children are not thus affected.) But how can one having deep respect for life say that a mere potential risk of damage to a child justifies ending the developing child’s life?

Illustrating that such dangers must be viewed as still only possibilities is the case of a woman in South Africa. Before she was aware of her pregnancy she received an injection for a kidney ailment. Later her doctor said that, as a result, her child would be either an imbecile or horribly deformed; he urged her to have an abortion. When she learned from Jehovah’s witnesses what the Bible says about respect for life, she declined the abortion. She realized that, even if her child was damaged, Jehovah could undo the damage in the coming New Order. (Compare Isaiah 35:5, 6; Revelation 21:4.) What was the outcome? She gave birth to a healthy baby girl. But even if her daughter had been affected and needed extra care and treatment, would that change the rightness of deciding to let the girl live, with the prospect of eternal life?

Consequently, a woman who has been urged to have a therapeutic abortion because of a danger to her health or life, or to her child, needs to fix in mind the Bible’s view. A possible or potential danger, even a grave one, does not justify taking matters into one’s own hands and deliberately cutting off the life of the child in the womb. Deciding according to the Scriptural view will take real faith and courage, but it assuredly will be the proper decision, and one that Jehovah will approve of forever.

Tubal Pregnancy

Sometimes the treatment of a diseased condition, such as cancer of the cervix, causes the death of the developing embryo. But this may be an unavoidable side effect of the treatment; abortion is neither the treatment itself nor the objective. Similarly, in some cases a fertilized ovum implants and begins to grow in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Such a tubal ectopic pregnancy cannot develop fully in this small tube; in time it will terminate with the rupture of the tube and the death of the embryo. If this condition is detected in advance, doctors usually treat it by removing the affected fallopian tube before it ruptures. A Christian woman with a tubal pregnancy can decide whether to accept this operation. Normally she undoubtedly would be willing to face any risks of pregnancy so that her child could live. But with a tubal pregnancy she faces a grave risk while there is no possibility that the embryo can continue to live and a child be born. -3/15/75 Watchtower; Questions From Readers

For more, see the category:

Abortion (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Countering the Trinitarian 'Proof'-Text Gen. 19:24 ("Jehovah rained down fire ... from Jehovah")

"Then the LORD rained down upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven." - KJV.

This trinitarian 'proof'-text seems too ridiculous to even bother with, but some trinitarians appear to be serious about it.  It goes this way: when we read Gen. 19:24, we find there are two different persons who have the only personal name of God, "Jehovah," (or "LORD" in some mistranslations).  Therefore these two different persons with God's personal name show the "plural personality" of that one God.
Even if we assume this to be a correct translation, it seems obvious that it can be honestly interpreted as a simple repetition of the same person's name.  That is, the very same person who produced the brimstone and fire, Jehovah, is also the one who rained it down upon these cities.
The explanatory note by trinitarian Dr. Young in Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary, Baker Book House, for this verse states: "JEHOVAH...JEHOVAH, i.e. from Himself."
If that is the correct explanation, then this scripture might provide a somewhat parallel example: "And King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon." - 1 Kings 10:13, RSV.  (Cf. KJV.)  Even though this is a very literal translation of the original manuscripts and the one personal name of King Solomon is actually used twice, we surely don't believe there were two different persons making up the one King Solomon!  Wouldn't we interpret this as Dr. Young (and others) have done with "Jehovah" above?   That is obviously how the Living Bible, NIV, MLB, NASB, etc. have interpreted it.   ("King Solomon gave her everything she asked him for, besides the presents he had already planned." - LB.)
Another honest explanation for Gen. 19:24 given by trinitarian scholars themselves is that the use of the phrase in question ("from the LORD out of heaven") is in doubt.  The very trinitarian New American Bible, 1970 ed. (Catholic) encloses the last part of Gen. 19:24 in brackets: "the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah [from the LORD out of heaven]."  And the preface to the NAB tells us: "Doubtful readings ... appear within brackets." - p. 45, St. Joseph Edition.
That is why these trinitarian Bible translations have actually omitted that doubtful portion: NEB, REB, AT, Mo, LB, and GNB.  (E.g. "then the LORD rained down fire and brimstone from the skies on Sodom and Gomorrah." - New English Bible.)  And others, like the NJB, have rendered it "[Jehovah] rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending."  Certainly no trinitarian Bible translation would do this if it could possibly be used as honest trinitarian evidence!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

How Accurate is The New World Translation?

Concerning it's accuracy, the New World Translation has been found to be "one of the most accurate English translations of the New Testament currently available" and is "the most accurate of the [8 major] translations compared." -Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament by Jason BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Also the comments made by Professor Benjamin Kedar of Israel can be found by clicking on the link below and scrolling to the last sub-heading, "Why the Harsh Criticism?":

Recommended Links to Information and Quotes Praising and Supporting the New World Translation: Scholarly Quotes on the New World Translation (From God's Word); Advantages of the New World Translation (Jehovah's Witnesses United); Advantages of the NWT (In Defense of the NWT); The New World Translation (Pastor Russell)

Accusations Against The New World Translation Hypocritical 

Some have hypocritically accused the New World Translation Bible of inaccuracies, bias, and written by those with poor credentials. When, in reality, what kind of credentials do the writers of most every other modern Bible have? And yet these copyists allowed the insertion the title "LORD" instead of the divine name in most of the nearly SEVEN THOUSAND instances in their 'translation' of the Hebrew Scriptures. Not only is this inaccurate, but it is a purposeful, blatant misuse of God's Name! (Ex. 20:7) The NWT is accurate in that it uses God's Name in all instances found in Scripture. (For the subject of God's Name in the N.T., see the "Jehovah" in The New Testament Category.)

Also, (unlike the NWT) most of these other translations used were made by those who were influenced by the pagan philosophies and unscriptural traditions that their religious systems had passed down from long ago as well as other influences. For just one instance, the majority of Bible scholars (including Trinitarian ones) freely admit that 1 John 5:7 in the King James Version is spurious. But Trinitarian scholars and copyists felt compelled to ADD it to the Holy Scriptures because of their trinitarian biases.
(Also see: How Can You Choose a Good Bible Translation?; w08 5/1 pp. 18-22; Watchtower Online Library)

For more, see:

A “Remarkably Good” Translation (w04 12/1 p. 30; Watchtower Online Library)

Comments by Greek Scholars (g 11/07 pp. 12-14; Watchtower Online Library)

The “New World Translation”—Scholarly and Honest (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Have Their Own Bible? (JW.ORG)

Have Jehovah’s Witnesses Changed the Bible to Fit Their Beliefs? (JW.ORG)

Why Have We Produced the New World Translation? (JW.ORG)

Index of Links and Pages that Defend the New World Translation (Defending The New World Translation)

NWT FAQs (Defending The New World Translation)

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why does the New World Translation 'add' the words, within square brackets, "the angel of" at Zechariah 3:2?

All Bible translations add words to make the intended meaning of the original language clear to the readers of another language. Some Bibles indicate the added words in footnotes. Some, like the King James Version, frequently signifies these additions by italicizing such added words. The New World Translation usually indicates added words with brackets [ ].

In the case of Zechariah 3:2, the New World Translation is not the only Bible to add "the angel of" or its equivalent here.

A New Commentary on Holy Scripture explains their reason why:

"[v]2. the Lord. Read the angel of the Lord, as the speech that follows seems to require."- SPCK, London, reprint 1946 (1st pub.1928).

Another footnote, this one belonging to The Revised English Bible (1989) reveals why it reads at Zechariah 3:2 "The angel said to Satan." The footnote states: "3:2 angel: prob[able] r[ea]d[in]g, so Syriac; Heb[rew] LORD." (Additions in square brackets aim to aid in better understanding.)

This is similiar to what we can read in the footnote to this verse in the Reference Edition of the New World Translation (1984): "2* "The angel (messenger) of Jehovah," Sy[riac]; MLXXVg, "Jehovah."

Other translations that render this passage the same way as the New World Translation:

"The angel of the Lord said to Satan," (Good News Translation)

"The angel of Yahweh said to Satan," (The Jerusalem Bible; Scroll down)
"And the angel of the LORD..." (New American Bible)

"The LORD rebuke you," the Angel of the LORD said..." (The Holy Bible, An American Translation; W.F. Beck)
"The messenger of Yahweh..." (vs.1) (The Emphasised Bible; J. B. Rotherham)
"Then [the messenger] of Jehovah..." (2001 Translation – An American English Bible)

"So the angel of the LORD said...." (The Bible, An American Translation; Powis-Smith and Goodspeed)

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Friday, August 12, 2011

The New World Translation and the use of "Other" at Col. 1:16

"Other" at Col. 1:16:

"For through [Jesus] all things were created in heaven and on earth" - MLB.

"by means of [Jesus] all [other] things were created" - NWT.

The use of the word "other" by the New World Translation at Col. 1:16 makes many trinitarian "scholars" very upset. The accusation is perfectly clear: they are claiming that the NWT has dishonestly added to God's Word. But what is the truth about words added to the original text?

Well, the KJV also adds words at many places in the scriptures and frequently signifies these additions by italicizing such added words. In fact all Bible translations add words to make the intended meaning of the original language clear to the readers of another language. The NWT usually indicates added words with brackets [ ] and does so at Col. 1:16, 17 with ["other"]!

Yes, all Bible translators supply needed words in accordance with their own under-standing of what meaning the Bible writer actually intended. Any serious Bible student knows this elementary fact. You can see that the KJV translators (and NIV, NKJV, TEV/GNB, Beck, etc.) added the word "other" at Acts 5:29 (and rightly so) even though it is not actually written in the original text (also compare KJV at Job 24:24). Were they, then, dishonestly, blasphemously adding to God's Word? Of course not!

The Bible writers very often excluded the subject (and others) when using the term "all" (and "every"). This is a common usage even today. For example, the police sergeant making an arrest of a criminal group might say: "Everyone in this room is under arrest!" Obviously the sergeant does not include himself (nor his captain who is with him) even though he says "everyone"! Or "the criminal tied up everyone in the room before stealing the gems."

Here is the most recent example that just presented itself a few minutes after I was re-reviewing this study paper in 2004:

Jun 5, 5:47 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Ronald Reagan, the cheerful crusader who devoted his presidency to winning the Cold War, trying to scale back government and making people believe it was "morning again in America," died Saturday after a long twilight struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 93.


"Reagan lived longer than any U.S. President, ...."

But to be accurate we must remember that Reagan was one of those U.S. Presidents! Obviously the AP writer did not mean to imply that Reagan hadn't ever been President. We all understand that what he meant was "Reagan lived longer than any other President." [added 5 June 2004, emphasis added.]

This also applies to the word "all" as used in the early Greek manuscripts of the Bible. For example, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Kittel and Friedrich (abridged in one volume by G.W. Bromiley) tells us of this word in the ancient Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint): "In many passages, of course, the use is rhetorical". And in the NT this esteemed work tells us of the word "all" that it is often "used in the NT simply to denote a great number," not literally "all." -pp. 796, 797, Eerdmans, 1992 reprint.

And Dr. Young wrote in the foreword ("Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation") of his well-known Bible Concordance:

"Some particles such as ALL, are frequently used for SOME or MOST, e.g., Matt. 3:5; 26:52 [even King David?]; 1 Cor. 6:12; Col. 3:22" Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible, Eerdmans, 1978 reprint.

(Also see p. 97, vol.1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans, 1984; examine Isaiah 44:24)

The highly regarded NASB (and NEB; REB; NIV; JB; NJB; NKJV; ETRV; BBE; NLV; MKJV; MLB; Darby; Beck; and Young's) translate Is. 45:14 - "There is no other God." The word "other" is not in the Hebrew OT manuscripts and has been added by the translators (and rightly so)! The NWT renders it "there is no [other] God." RSV and NRSV have also added "other" and also another, similar phrase: "there is no other, no god besides him."

And we find NEB; REB; NJB; NAB ('91); GNB; and LB (for example) have honestly added "other" at Ezek. 31:5 to show that a certain tree towered above "all other trees" whereas KJV, NASB, RSV (for example) have it towering "above all trees." Since it does not tower above itself, the Bible writer obviously excluded it from the phrase "all trees" (even though it is also a tree itself and a part of "all trees") just as Col. 1:16 excludes Jesus from all other things.

In Matthew 10:22, Jesus tells his followers: "and you will be hated by all because of my name." - NRSV. Certainly, Jesus didn't mean that his true followers would be hated by Jesus himself or God. And most certainly he didn't mean they would be hated by themselves! (Remember, the subject - as in 1 Cor. 1:16 - is most often understood to be excluded from the "all" statements.)

The Moffatt translation, An American Translation, The Common Bible, The Amplified Bible, and translations by C. B. Williams, and Beck all add "other" after "all" at 1 Cor. 15:24 (e.g. "when he will put an end to all other government, authority, and power" - C. B. Williams, The New Testament in the Language of the People, Moody Press, 1963). Although the NWT does not happen to add "other" at that scripture, its translators (as well as every other Jehovah's Witness on earth) would whole-heartedly agree that those who have added "other" there have done so properly and that the original Bible writer so intended the meaning! And conversely, at Jn 2:10 the NWT has added "other," and, although most [other] translations do not add it, I'm sure most people would agree that, whether actually written in the scripture or not, context demands such an understanding: "Every other man puts out the fine wine first..."

Again, at 1 Cor. 6:18 the respected trinitarian Bibles NIV, NASB, NEB, REB, AT, GNB, TEV, JB, NJB (among others) have added "other" to the text. And the NWT agrees whole-heartedly! And at Matt. 6:33 JB, AT, GNB, TEV, and Beck (Lutheran scholar) have added "other" (NEB has added "the rest"), and, again, the NWT agrees. Or how about Luke 13:2:

"all the other Galileans" - NIV, Luke 13:2

"all other Galileans" - NASB

"all other Galileans" - NAB ('91)

"all other Galileans" - NRSV

"all other Galileans" - NKJV

"all the other Galileans" - RSV

"anyone else in Galilee" - NEB and REB

"than any other Galileans" - JB

"than all other Galileans" - NJB

"any other Galileans" - AT

"everyone else in Galilee" - CEV.

"all other Galileans" - TEV.

"all other Galilaeans" - BBE

"other people from Galilee" - GodsWord

"all the other Galileans" - ISV NT

"the rest of the Galileans" - Moffatt

When Gen. 3:20 tells us that Eve "was the mother of all living," does that really make her the mother of Adam? of all animals? of all plants? of angels? of God? So, although the literal Hebrew says "all," we know from the teachings of the rest of the Bible that this is a severely qualified "all," and it would be perfectly honest to add some qualifying word or phrase ("all other humans" - after all, she, although the subject, wasn't her own mother, or Adam's).

Notice also God's words to Noah at Gen. 6:17, "I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens" - NIV. Since the rest of the Bible shows that Noah did not die in that flood, this scripture could honestly be rendered "to destroy all [other] life." Noah knew God was using a qualified "all" which did not apply to himself and so should we!

When the angel of Jehovah told his mother about Ishmael that "His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand will be against him," She did not think by this that Ishmael's own hand would be against himself. As usual the "every" or "all" excepted the one who was the subject.

Another good example of honest adding can be seen in reference to another too literal interpretation of "all." Romans 3:23 says literally, "All have sinned" -- but, obviously, Jesus, the Father, and myriads of faithful angels have not sinned! So some Bibles (including TEV and NAB [1970 ed.]) have honestly qualified this "all" by adding to this scripture and translated it "All men have sinned." You may notice also that they haven't even bothered to indicate that the word "men" has been added.

Also in Romans we find the very same words used by Paul in Col. 1:16 (ta panta) - "He [God] didn't spare His own Son but gave him up for all of us - He will certainly with Him give us everything [ta panta]." - Ro. 8:32, Beck (Lutheran). Obviously, the "everything" that is given to Christians does not include God or Jesus, or even fellow created Christians. It certainly would not be improper to translate this as: "He will ... give us all [other] things." In fact, notice these trinitarian Bible translations:

"... how can he fail to lavish every other gift upon us?" - REB.

" ... will he not with him also give us everything else?" - NRSV

"... won't he also surely give us everything else?" - Living Bible.

"... will he not also give us everything else along with him?" - NAB ('91)

"... will He not with Him graciously give us everything else?" - CBW.

Since ta panta does not include all created things in this scripture, it certainly does not have to mean all created things in Col. 1:16!

Even the Seventh-day Adventists themselves admit: "It is also very clear that in Genesis 9:3 the word 'every' tacitly excludes the unclean animals and those whose flesh might be poison to man, as some creatures are today." - Signs of the Times, Feb. 1976, p. 28. Here they admit that "every" (or "all") must sometimes be qualified! But if the NWT does something similar it has "obscured" or "mutilated" God's Word!

Yes, Col. 1:16, 17 needs a qualified "all" as the teaching of the rest of the Bible testifies. It is similar to Hebrews 2:8 in this respect.

At Heb. 2:8 we read: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him." However, it would certainly be honest and proper for a translator familiar with the teachings of the rest of the Bible (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:27) to add the qualifying words to this scripture that were understood and intended by the original writer. E.g., "Thou hast put all [other] things in subjection...;" or even, "Thou hast put all things [except the Father and yourself] in subjection..." - see 1 Cor. 15:27.

Similarly, we find Paul saying at Phil. 2:9 that God exalted Jesus and "bestowed on him the name above all names." - NEB. But, obviously, his name is not above the name of the God who exalted him. Nor can it be above his [Jesus'] own name. Therefore, it is not wrong to add "other" and render this as "God ... gave him the name which is above all other names" as did the translators of JB; NJB; NAB (1970); AT; GNB/TEV; LB; CBW; Beck (NT); ETRV; and NLV.

Paul continues in Phil. 2:10, "So that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth...." But, obviously, the Father in heaven does not bend his knee, and Jesus certainly does not bend his knee to himself! This, too, should be a qualified "every knee"! (And analyze 1 Pet. 4:7)

So how accurate is Martin when he says the translators of the NWT have made a "dishonest rendering of Col. 1:16, 17, and 19 by the insertion of the word "other"?

Well, let's look at Col. 1:17 itself: "And he is before all things." - KJV. This is the literal wording and what Martin wants.

But look at what these (other) trinitarian translations have added to this verse:

"He is before all else that is..." - NAB ('70).

"He was before all else began..." - LB.

"Before anything was created, he existed" - JB.

"Christ was there before anything was made." - ETRV.

Since it is obvious that Christ did not exist before himself, nor before the Father, these two, at least, have to be excluded from "all things." Therefore, the very trinitarian NAB and LB above have properly added "else" to this scripture. This is the same thing as writing "before every [other] thing"!

And the trinitarian Jerusalem Bible has added "created" and the trinitarian ETRV has added "was made" for the very same reason.

Certainly it is not wrong from a grammatical viewpoint (nor is it a "dishonest rendering") to add "other" as the NWT has done at Col. 1:16, 17 (and the LB and the NAB have done with "else" at Col. 1:17) and so many trinitarian translators have done in other similar situations. Whether it is doctrinally correct as Rev. 3:14, Prov. 8:22-30, 1 John 4:9 ("only-begotten"), and Col. 1:15 ("firstborn of all creation") suggest is a matter for all honest-hearted persons to discover but not a reason for falsely accusing someone of dishonestly rendering God's Word!

[If above reasoning is refused, consider John 10:29: "My greater than all" -KJV.

Then the Father is greater than the Son and greater than the Holy Spirit and "greater even than Himself???"

The Living Bible says, My Father "is more powerful than anyone else," which still means He is greater than the Son and greater than the Holy Spirit [if it were really a person], but, of course, shows He is not greater than Himself. The NRSV also uses "else" here.]

[[Note to self: analyze the following:

Eph. 3:9 "... God who created all things." - NRSV, NASB, etc.  (Obviously he didn't create Himself).

(NKJV) Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things [panta] is God.

(NASB) Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things [panta] is God.

And, Rev. 4:11 "For you [the Father seated on the throne] created everything" - CBW. (But, literally, panta -"all" or "all things" - would have to include the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!).]

For more, see:

Does the New World Translation Add Words to Colossians 1:16, 17? (Bible Translation and Study)

Why does the New World Translation employ the word "other" in verses 16, 17 and 20? (IN Defense of the NWT)

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Did Jehovah's Witnesses Really Believe That God's Throne Dwelled in the Alcyone Star System in the Pleiades Group?

On occasion, opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses have on offered this eons-old quote to try and discredit them:

"Alcyone, the central one of the renowned Pleiadic Stars... Alcyone, then, as far as science has been able to perceive, would seem to be the 'midnight throne' in which the whole system of gravitation has its seat, and from which the Almighty governs his universe..." - Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. III, 1891, p 327 and Reconciliation, 1928, p. 14

Some astronomers of that time long ago (1891) calculated that the Pleiades group of which Alcyone is the brightest was the center of our universe and the source of all gravitational attraction. Astronomers felt that the Pleiades were veiled by an unusual amount of "nebulous matter, a cosmical fog." The Bible uses the direction "north" often in referring to God and His actions. The Bible Students at that time and theologians from other religions assumed that all this gave evidence that God's throne or dwelling was in this system.

Note that even armed with the best astronomical data at the time, the quote above still does not make absolute statements (i.e. " far as science has been able to perceive", and "...would seem to be".)

Just like all other religions of the time, the early Bible Students were simply using the scientific knowledge of their day and trying to relate it to what the Bible says regarding God and His heavenly dwelling.

Just one example: All religions used to believe that the Earth and heavenly bodies were held up by an invisible "fluid" called "ether." But now everyone has changed this view as more accurate scientific information has become available.
So is it really fair to go back more than a hundred years to a religion's roots and point out everything that was wrong, especially if it has corrected it's understandings? These claims against Jehovah's Witnesses are hypocritical because they fail to tell others that EVERY religion has changed it's beliefs and practices over the same time period.

The very fact that critics of Witnesses constantly resort to such ridiculous arguments only proves that they realize that they have no real evidence against their beliefs now.

Additionally, is it really fair to say that this disproves what Jehovah's Witnesses believe now?

Jehovah's Witnesses have always been willing to change any belief in order to harmonize better with increased knowledge of Scriptural teaching. On the other hand, most other religions have proved that they will not change MAJOR doctrines such as the Trinity, the immortal soul, and hell fire even though their own scholars admit these beliefs are not taught in Scripture.

While Witnesses still adjust minor understandings of prophecy and periphery beliefs, major doctrines will not be changed. This is because the doctrinal knowledge has increased tremendously, so any recent changes have not been to doctrine but simple refinements in knowledge.

For those who wish to learn more about Jehovah's Witnesses, instead of relying on unreliable sources, you may wish to visit THE source at the Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses:

The Home Page of the Official Web Site of Jehovah's Witnesses

Search The Online Library of the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site

Jehovah's Witnesses FAQs

Questions Often Asked by Interested People

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Monday, July 25, 2011

How Important or Essential are the Subjects of Opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses?

Most other religions have proved that they will not change doctrines such as the Trinity, the immortal soul, and hell fire even though their own scholars admit these beliefs are not taught in Scripture. In contrast, Jehovah's Witnesses have always been willing to change any belief in order to harmonize better with increased knowledge of Scriptural teaching.

In reality, everything that opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses believe to be so important today is comparatively inconsequential. While Jehovah's Witnesses still adjust minor understandings of prophecy and periphery beliefs, major doctrines will not be changed because the doctrinal knowledge has increased so much that any recent changes have not been to doctrine but simple refinements in knowledge.

Opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses constantly have to go back many decades or more to find significant changes. Any recent adjustments in Witnesses' understandings must be over-exaggerated by opposers who cannot disprove the doctrines of Witnesses nor support their own beliefs Scripturally. This is why views that were presented in ancient articles by the early Bible Students just does not matter nor does it disprove what Jehovah's Witnesses believe now.

The very fact that opposers of Witnesses constantly resort to non-essential (and many times, ridiculous) arguments only proves that they realize that they have no real evidence against their beliefs.

The essential teachings of the Watchtower organization should convince any interested person which organization is the one organization. Because when considering only these few essentials even, it becomes obvious that there is either only one organization today being guided by Jehovah's spirit or there is none.

As Peter said when even Jesus taught some things that stumbled his followers who didn't completely understand,

"Who shall we go to? You have the MESSAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE" - John 6:68 The Jerusalem Bible.

Many who became Jehovah's Witnesses came to this same conclusion in spite of some doubts about the certainty of various other teachings and scriptural interpretations by the Watchtower Society. Some of these teachings can seem quite important, but, even if wrong, these are not really the "messages of eternal life".

Shouldn't people hope to follow the God-appointed leadership on earth which has "the message of eternal life" even if it tells them a few things they personally find difficult to accept? Even if they believe they can prove it is probably wrong in certain of these secondary areas? After all, "Who else is there to go to?" Who else has the message of eternal life?

It's not worth being "right" and end up risk losing a hope of everlasting life for it. There must be priorities in all things. Being right in one area does not compensate for being wrong in a greater area. For instance, who would choose an operation to remove a small non-harmful blemish which may be causing some slight irritation when there is a distinct possibility that the operation itself will lead to death?

Also see:

Organization and Obedience (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

United by LOVE OF GOD (w05 1/1 pp. 4-6; Watchtower Online Library)

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

J. F. Rutherford and "Beth-Sarim"


Opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses have occasionally made references (most of the details being incorrect) to J. F. Rutherford and "Beth - Sarim" in an attempt to discredit the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. A look at the context and actual records would be beneficial:

The 1975 Year Book tells us that

"Brother Rutherford had a severe case of pneumonia after his release from unjust imprisonment during 1918-1919 because of his faithfulness to Jehovah. Thereafter he had only one good lung. It was virtually impossible for him to remain in Brooklyn, New York, during the winter and still carry out his duties as the Society's president. In the 1920's he went to San Diego under a doctor's treatment. The climate there was exceptionally good and the doctor urged him to spend as much time as possible in San Diego. That is what Rutherford did ultimately.

"In time, a direct contribution was made for the purpose of constructing a house in San Diego for Brother Rutherford's use. It was not built at the expense of the Watch Tower Society. Concerning this property, the 1939 book Salvation stated: `At San Diego, California, there is a small piece of land, on which, in the year 1929, there was built a house, which is called and known as Beth-Sarim.'" - p. 194.

By November of 1941 Brother Rutherford's condition compelled him to return to Beth-Sarim for his final illness. He died there January 8, 1942.
However, the Salvation book (written by Brother Rutherford) quoted above goes on to say:

"The Hebrew words `Beth Sarim' mean `House of the Princes'; and the purpose of acquiring that property and building the house was that there might be some tangible proof that there are those on earth today who fully believe God and Christ Jesus and in His kingdom, and who believe that the faithful men of old will soon be resurrected by the Lord, be back on earth, and take charge of the visible affairs of earth. The title to Beth-Sarim is vested in the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in trust, to be used by the president of the Society and his assistants for the present, and thereafter to be for ever at the disposal of the aforementioned princes on the earth. .... and if and when the princes do return and some of them occupy the property, such will be a confirmation of the faith and hope that induced the building of Beth-Sarim." - p.311.

Apparently Brother Rutherford had earlier written that he expected the return of these princes in the year 1925. I don't have a copy of that, but I see no reason to doubt it. Note, however, that Beth-Sarim wasn't built until 1929.

Money had been contributed for the specific purpose of "constructing a house in San Diego for Brother Rutherford's use" during his illnesses. The money, of course, could not be legally (or morally) used for any other purpose.

It's not surprising that in his book Brother Rutherford didn't care to detail these conditions which would have necessarily put his physical illnesses on public display. His decision to also dedicate this ground and building to those princes whom he truly expected to soon return is certainly understandable.

The fact that the princes did not return as soon as he expected was obvious even before Beth-Sarim was even built and certainly does not make Brother Rutherford a False Prophet.

Related Article:

Beth-Sarim (1929 - 1947) (Pastor Russell)

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