Is there a difference between a "wrong expectation" and a "false prophecy"?

by booker-t 31 Replies latest jw friends

  • BlackSwan of Memphis
    BlackSwan of Memphis

    Hey booker,

    I looked up this topic in a book that I I have which I really recommend: Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses by Ron Rhodes, I really suggest picking up a copy. I don't have a scanner so bear with me, I'm just gonna do this the old fashioned way.

    "Those who have followed the watchtower literature over the years can attest to the fact that the society has consistently changed it's prophecies in order to cover it's many errors. Former Jehovah's Witness William J. Schnell obeserved that "The Watchtower magazine changed our doctrines between 1917 and 1928 no less then 148 times."

    "Incredibly, the Watchtower society argues that it should not be critisized for it's past errors regarding prophecy. After all, biblical prophets and apostles made mistakes, and they were not condemned as being false.

    "One example Jehovah's Witnesses cite in support of this is the prophet Nathan.When King David wanted to build a house of worship for God,Nathan told David to do as he wished. But later God told Nathan to inform David that was not to be the one who would build the temple. Despite Nathans error, however, Nathan was not condemned by God or by anyone else. Indeed, God continued to use Nathan because he humbly corrected the matter when God made it plain to him.

    "Orthodox Christians point out, however, that Nathan's original messege to David about building the house was not claimed by Nathan to be instruction from God (1st Chronicles 17:2).His subsequent messege about not building the house was claimed to be instruction by God(17:3-15). Hence, again, we find the Watchtower society twisting scripture to suit it's own ends.

    "Amazingly, despite it's many failed predictions, the Watchtower Society has not learned it's lesson. Even since 1981 it continues to say that Armageddon and the world's end is very near.

    "You might remind the Jehovah's Witness that The Watchtower magazine says that when one discovers false prophets, "the people should no longer trust them as safe guides." (May 15, 1930 Watchtower)


    * Do you agree with the Watchtower instruction that when one discovers false prophets, then "the people should no longer trust them as safe gudes?"

    * Since the Watchtower Society was wrong in 1874, 1914, 1925 and 1975 do you think you should still trust the Society as a "safe guide"?

    Another good point to make, is when Jesus supposedly inspected the 'Christian' congregation in 1919, what were the teachings? At that time the idea of Pyramidology was still in use and I believe it was within this time frame after Rutherford was released from prison that he began teaching the 'flock' that 1925 would mark the end. Rather then repenting from making the error regarding 1874 and 1914, they continued on with the same course of action. Even had they repented from that course, Where in the Bible does it teach that that would make everything ok? It doesn't.

    Another thing from the book:


    * Can you point me to a single example in scripture in which a prophet was issuing a "thus saith the Lord" prophecy direct from the Lord and was subsequently shown to be in error?"

    The idea expressed in the book re the apostles was that while they may have had "false notions as human beings" they Never taught that such notions were from God. "No true prophet of God ever made a mistake while uttering a prophecy because he was delivering God's words to humankind, not his own."

    This particular book has been very helpful for me. I really suggest that you get a copy. The publisher is Harvest House. Ron Rhodes has written a ton of stuff regarding cults.

    Look through 'the best of" threads, you might find some really helpful stuff.

    Keep in mind, that if your mom has been a witness for this long, there is so much emotional attachment. Not just friends and family, but the whole idea that she has been duped for this long can make a person feel kinda dumb. Even if you see that she does 'see' that something isn't right, be very patient. Be very loving, reassuring and make it a point to draw close to her. If she slowly realises that things just aren't right with the org, that's a great thing, but as I am sure you already know, she could get very depressed. Older people lose a certain sense of self worth and self esteem as they age. They begin to see how fragile life is, and subsequently, how fragile they are. They start to forget things and start to feel naive. So, anyhoo I wish you so much luck and good for you to have enough love for your mom to reach out to her. Please take care.


    P.s. hope i didn't get anything wrong with the book

  • jeanniebeanz


    The WTBTS is twisting the Nathan thing. His original advice to David was his own idea, he was corrected by God and that's why the switch in positions. It's a bogus example.

    Sounds like your mom is a real firecracker! I love listening to really sharp older women, their viewpoints are many times quite poignant, and they can definitely yank the rug right out from under you and land you on your 'bum' when you least expect it. All I can say is that if she cares enough for you to take on an evil 'poztate', then hang in there! She needs you...

    That being said, Euph is quite correct and I really like the points that BlackSwan brought up. I'll be buying the book as soon as I can find it.


  • Kenneson

    Amazin above quoted Matt. 24:34-36 "Assuredly, I say to you this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place...but of that day and hour no one knows...

    I was wondering if this falls under the category of prophecy or wrong expectation. If the first part of Matt. 24 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem than it seems like it was prophecy (unless, of course, someone was looking back at what had already happened and applying Jesus' words to them). Now, if the latter part refers to Jesus second coming and the end of the world, than we have a problem. These did not occur in Jesus' generation. So, would this be a false expectation. If it was a prophecy, than Jesus, as well as Russell and Rutherford and today's Witnesses all have predicted the end of the world. It presents a quandary in my opinion.

    There is a discussion of this at the following

    By the way, welcome Amazin.

  • Brummie
    Re: Is there a difference between a "wrong expectation" and a "false prophecy"?

    Well since all false prophets had wrong expectations I guess not, however for those that believed the false prophet, I guess they just had been deceived into having wrong expectations and couldnt be accused of being false prophets.

    Sooo, to put that in simple terms the answer is, yes and no.

    Hope this helps ;)

    Brummie (wtf am I onna bout anyway)

  • AlanF

    Excellent comments on this issue!

    Booker, a 1993 Awake! article gave the JWs some ammunition to deflect charges of "false prophesy". Unfortunately for the Society's intellectual honesty, most of it was complete BS. For an extensive look at why JWs are indeed false prophets, look here:

    The bottom line is simple: if you proclaim that your expectations are a product of divine direction, then your expectations are by definition prophecy. If you proclaim your false expectations while also claiming to be the only one in the world who speaks for God, then you're a false prophet. There's nothing more to it than that.

    As for Nathan the prophet, what JWs like your mom fail to note is that Nathan, being a true prophet of God (so the Bible says), was immediately corrected by God so that Nathan's wrong statements didn't mislead hundreds of thousands of people for many years. Furthermore, upon receiving correction from God, Nathan turned right around and went back to David and gave David correct information. Did the Watchtower Society do that with its many false predictions, such as about the claimed coming of Armageddon in 1914, 1918, 1920, 1920, 1941, 1975, and by 2000? Of course not. They took pains to cover these false prophecies up so that future generations of JWs would have no idea whatsoever that their leaders had made many, many false predictions in God's name.


  • amazin

    Hi Kenneson. Well, if God cannot lie, then Jesus cannot lie, but Charles Taze Russell and Judge Rutherford can, then who do you choose to believe? The verse says 'we know neither the day nor the hour' and at least we should have the good sense to know that and, as someone posted previously, not run around like a bunch of idiots predicting the end is coming. It falls under the catagory of "Charles T. Russell and Judge Rutherford Were Just Plain Liars and Were Quite Possibly Nuts." I wish someone would answer my question "If a JW can't fellowship with churches or pray with people outside the cult, how can they marry outside it, say to a Baptist, and have sex with them? This seems like fellowship to me.

  • Kenneson


    I'm saying that if the end of the world was supposed to happen during Jesus' generation, it didn't. And yet the writer of Matthew has Jesus ask: "Tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?" Jesus' reply, according to Matthew, was that all these things were to happen in "this generation." "This generation" apparently means Jesus' generation. Why, then, is the world still around? And why didn't Jesus return during that time? I don't want to think that Jesus lied either. But I see a problem and I don't really know how to answer it. Maybe Matthew misunderstood what Jesus actually said. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding the passage. Yet to focus on Russell and Rutherford lies doesn't solve it for me.

  • londoner

    Hi booker,

    The main problem you have is not finding evidence to refute what she says, that?s the easy bit; the hard bit is getting her to accept that evidence. For example, if the WT prints an article stating that the Moon is made of green cheese then all JW's will accept it as fact because the article came from the faithful and discreet slave, who are guided by Holy Spirit. Even is you take them to NASA headquarters and show them moon dust and a piece of moon rock they will use that same old argument, " that moon dust was created by Satan to deceive mankind", an argument often used by the org when archaeological discoveries have been made that prove one of there teachings wrong.

    The only way you will win the argument with your mom is to get her to prove herself wrong or get her to contradict herself on this point, use there own arguments against them ( the benefits of pioneer training school ), Use the argument that they use against Mormons.

    Also start off with a leading question. Ask her. Are all the beliefs of the Society based on what is printed in the Bible or are any of their beliefs based on an opinion or a man made assumption ? You already know what she's going to say, but get her to say it, it's important for your argument later.

    When faced with a Mormon, the witnesses argue that Joseph Smith could not have been a Prophet of God; the argument they use is that the Bible, in Deuteronomy chapters 13 and 18, provides two tests for anyone claiming to be a prophet and speak for God. If the person fails either test given by God, then we can know for sure they are a false prophet and we are to reject their teaching.

    The first test is in Deut, 13:1-2, their argument against Joseph Smith is that where it states that if a prophet gives a portent and it comes true but then tells you to follow him he is a false prophet.

    Now the second test is the cruncher you can use.

    It's in the same verse that your mom quoted Deut 18:20-22, their argument against Joseph Smith being a prophet is that in this scripture the God of Israel tells his people how they can keep from being deceived by someone claiming to be a prophet and that is if even one of the prophet?s sayings do not come true he is a false prophet, first part of verse: 22, 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, ( in other words what he said was made up )

    They say Joseph Smith is false because what he said would happen did not occur, ( there are 7 documented events he predicted that did not occur at all or within the time he said they would ) .

    The Society has stated events that would occur that have not, and made predictions that didn't come true. What?s the difference ?

    Your mom argues that so did Peter but he said, "thus saith the lord" in his error. Ask you mom to show you where it says in the Scriptures that Peter must have said "thus saith the lord" in his error, or are they assuming he said it in error, and remind her of the question you asked earlier, Are all the beliefs of the Society based on what is printed in the Bible or are any of there beliefs based on an opinion or a man made assumption ?

    Ask her to tell you which of the following is true. Either Peter was a false prophet, there is a contradiction in the Scripture here as to how you know when a prophet is false, or the society is using Deut 18:22 one way when arguing against the Mormons and another way when applying it to themselves.

    It's just one example of how the org twist scriptures different ways to suit the occasion.

    You can try, but I fear 40 yrs of programming will prevent her from questioning the org, the only way to find fault with the org is to look for it , an she's not looking, she's defending them.

    Keep us informed.

  • stillajwexelder

    A wrong expectation is a genuine mistake - a false prohecy is a lie

  • Honesty

    Hi Booker,

    I fear that Londoner is correct.

    The only way your mom is going to see the real light is if she looks objectively at the borg. I showed several former friends (their choice, not mine) the SEC filing for Rand/Regi US and all the UN info right from the UN website. I have talked with WTBTS Australian Branch Overseer Don Maclean on several occasions in the past from my shortwave radio station and they know it. When I showed them the Hansard transcripts derived from the Australian government's own website with Don's participation as the WTBTS NGO representative they just looked at me and said "So what, it's still Jehovah's organisation and we have to be loyal to the organisation." They will go to their graves believing the WTBTS is God and nothing will change that unless they are extremely humble. It was very difficult for me to believe all the documentation staring me in the face because I knew that if I severed ties with the borg I would lose all of my friends, my family would probably never talk to me again, my children would call me apostate and worst of all 'where else is there to go'. Well, everything happened just as I feared except for the most important and that was I found truths in the Bible that the WTBTS is doing their best to hide from their flock of 6 million + members and another 8 million + prospective members. When it comes to a choice of either giving loyalty, allegiance and faith to God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ or allegiance to an organisation that, from all available evidence never had the approval of Jesus, completely controls and directs the thoughts, actions and fears of millions of people too many are afraid of man and therefore will cling to the borg and by doing so will still have their family and friends to enjoy in this present life. My ex-wife, when presented unrefutable evidence of the WTBTS's apostate doctrines, actions and practices asked me if it was alright with me (as if I am to judge any human) if she stayed in the borg because that's where all her friends and family are. It just goes to show what kind of hold Satan and his demons have on the world. YES, without a doubt, the WATCHTOWER BIBLE and TRACT SOCIETY is a principle agent of SATAN. I will more than likely be banned from this site for these comments as I have been banned and rejected contact with my family and friends but that is of no consequence as loyalty and faithfulness to the God of the Bible and his Son, Jesus is of far more value than anything that this world can offer.

    P.S. - If you can obtain a 1995 Awake Bound Volume point out the discreprancies in God's promise found in the box on page 4 'Why Awake is Published" between articles prior to December 1995 and the rest of the year. Without any doubt, the WATCHTOWER BIBLE and TRACT SOCIETY has deliberately attempted to make the the Word of God appear invalid by their apostate publications. In doing so, they have not only denied Jesus but also have implicated all those innocent people who still subscribe to and promote their blasphemous and obscene activities committed in the name of God. How dare that they have the audacity to condemn any other group who desires to worship God according to what is set out in the scriptures when they deliberately distort and twist those very scriptures with their despicable demon-inspired translation of the NEW WORLD TRANSLATION of the HOLY SCRIPTURES to justify their failed prophesies and doctrines that are so very far removed from the Good News of the Kingdom that Jesus and his loyal followers of the early church promoted and preached to the Roman World.

    By relegating everyone in the borg except themselves, including the so called 'remnant' of Memorial Partakers, to the inferior position of putting their faith in the WTBTS instead of putting faith in God's Son, the Governing Body of the apostate religious organisation known as Jehovah's Witnesses has in effect partially, if not completely, fulfilled Jesus words found at Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 They have made the followers of the WTBS spiritual prostitutes by denying them access to God the Father by means of His Son.

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