If Jehovah’s Witnesses are false-prophets, who can we look to as a “prophet(s)?
A false prophet as described in the Old Testament under the Mosaic Law Covenant:
The Law covenant between Jehovah and the nation of natural Israel was made in the third month after their leaving Egypt, in 1513 B.C.E. (Ex 19:1) It was a national covenant. One born a natural Israelite was, by birth, in the Law covenant and was thus in this special relationship with Jehovah. The Law was in the form of a code, arranged in an orderly way, its statutes grouped together. The Law was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator. (Ga 3:19)
“‘However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: “How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?” when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him.’ Deuteronomy 18:20-22
A false prophet as described in the Christian Greek Scriptures, in union with Jesus Christ, mediator of the new covenant:
Jehovah foretold the new covenant by the prophet Jeremiah in the seventh century B.C.E., stating that it would not be like the Law covenant, which Israel broke. (Jer 31:31-34) On the night before his death, Nisan 14, 33 C.E., when he established the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal, Jesus Christ announced the new covenant, to be validated by his sacrifice. (Lu 22:20) On the 50th day from his resurrection and 10 days after he had ascended to his Father, he poured out the holy spirit, which he had received from Jehovah, on his disciples gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem.—Ac 2:1-4, 17, 33; 2Co 3:6, 8, 9; Heb 2:3, 4.
The New Covenant established Christianity and is defined in the New Testament. This is what has direct application to Christians.
“Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to you in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those [men]. Matthew 7:15-20
However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. 2 Peter 2:1
Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world. 1 John 4:1
- A person's actions can designate a religious leader a false prophet.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia and other sources, Benedict IX was around 18 to 20 years old when made pontiff, although some sources claim 11 or 12. He reportedly led an extremely dissolute life, and also allegedly had few qualifications for the papacy other than connections with a socially powerful family, although in terms of theology and the ordinary activities of the Church he was entirely orthodox. St. Peter Damian described him as "feasting on immorality" and "a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest" in the Liber Gomorrhianus. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter."
- A person that promotes false teachings inside the Christian congregation is described as a false prophet.
- A person that claims to be under divine inspiration and promotes false teachings is also described as a false prophet.
A person can speak about the future in infallible terms without being labeled a “false prophet.”
Awake! 3/22/1993 pp. 3-4 Why So Many False Alarms?
Does the failure of such predictions to come true convict as false prophets those who made them, within the meaning of Deuteronomy 18:20-22? That text reads: “The prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: ‘How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?’ when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak.”
There are some who make spectacular predictions of the world’s end to grab attention and a following, but others are sincerely convinced that their proclamations are true. They are voicing expectations based on their own interpretation of some scripture text or physical event. They do not claim that their predictions are direct revelations from Jehovah and that in this sense they are prophesying in Jehovah’s name. Hence, in such cases, when their words do not come true, they should not be viewed as false prophets such as those warned against at Deuteronomy 18:20-22. In their human fallibility, they misinterpreted matters.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’ Never did they say, ‘These are the words of Jehovah.’ The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has said: “We have not the gift of prophecy.” (January 1883, page 425) “Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible.” (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that 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) “The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic.” (August 15, 1950, page 263) “The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)”—February 15, 1981, page 19.