WATCHTOWER SOCIETY - JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

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Which "Spirits" Are "Directing" the WatchTower Society and its Leaders?


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"A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God." -- Charles Taze Russell, 1879.

"WE seriously question all the claims of Astrology; yet the following -- from whatever source the suggestions come, even though of the Adversary himself -- seem remarkably true to our expectations based upon the Word of the Lord. -- Charles Taze Russell, 1903.

"To assume that God is in every place, in every niche of space throughout the Universe, seems to us an absurdity, not taught in the Bible; and to assume that God knows about every little tadpole, pollywog, microbe, or that He even takes knowledge of every act of each one of the human family, when there are millions upon millions of these, is beyond our understanding. If we should limit God's attention to the Church, still there are thousands of these; and the capacity to understand and deal with ten or twenty thousand people in an instant seems to us to be an impossibility. Nor would such an arrangement be what we would expect God to have. ... angels are His ministers, and that these have a charge over His people. ... we are not to suppose that the Lord Jesus has every detail of the affairs of the world under His personal supervision; but rather that those angels report to Him whatever is necessary. -- Charles Taze Russell, 1915.

"I came directly under the influence of evil spirits, ... I was completely under demonical control." -- Clayton J. Woodworth, 1913.

"With the Lord's coming to his temple [in 1918], there was no further need for the administration of the holy spirit as a comforter or advocate." ... ... [Presently,] "angels are delegated by the Lord to convey his instructions to the members of his organization on earth. Just how this is done is not necessary for us to understand." -- "Judge" Rutherford, 1930-32.

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To begin to understand the WatchTower Society's historic relationship with Satan and his demons, inquirers merely have to go to the very first issue -- July 1879 -- of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine. There, in the article entitled, "What is Truth?", while sounding like a Greek philosopher, founder Charles Taze Russell shamelessly disclosed his personal philosophy:

"We should learn to love and value truth for its own sake; to respect and honor it by owning and acknowledging it wherever we find it and by whomsoever presented. A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God.

"Perhaps no class of people are more apt to overlook this fact than the Christian. How often do they in controversy overlook and ignore truth presented by their opponents. This is particularly the case when arguing with an infidel. They feel at perfect liberty to dispute everything he says on religious subjects. This is not the correct principle. Many infidels are honest -- as anxious to speak and believe the truth as are Christians ... Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts, and rely for ability to afterwards harmonize it with others ...

"Truth, like a modest little flower in the wilderness of life, ... If you would find it you must be ever on the lookout. ... If you would possess it you must stoop to get it.

"Be not content with one flower of truth. Had one been sufficient, there would have been no more. Gather ever, seek for more."

The problem for Christians with this flawed philosophy of Charles Taze Russell is that Russell contradicts the very teachings of Jesus Christ. In John 8:44, Jesus warned his followers about any perceived "truth" which might come from Satan or his minions:

"[Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever [Satan] speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for [Satan] is a liar, and the father of lies." (NASB)

When Jesus spent 40 days in the "wilderness", He was not looking for additional "flowers of truth," nor was He stooping and picking additional "flowers of truth." No, after refuting the half-truth deceptions of Satan the Devil, Jesus ordered the Deceiver, "GO AWAY, SATAN!"

Instead of teaching His followers that they "should learn to love and value truth for its own sake; to respect and honor it by owning and acknowledging it wherever [they] find it, and by whomsoever presented" -- effectively holding out and worshipping "truth" as a god -- Jesus declared, 

"It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service." (NWT)

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Russell Affirms "ANY SOURCE -- EVEN SATAN" Philosophy, Plus Issues "WATCHTOWER HOROSCOPE"

Years ago, we read an online post in which the WatchTower Apologist stated that undoubtedly Russell later had regreted publishing the "What Is Truth" article, and particularly had regreted making the statement that, "A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God."

In fact, not only did Charles Taze Russell not regret having done either, Russell "doubled-down" in 1903:


ZION'S WATCH TOWER

May 1, 1903

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

"AN ASTROLOGER'S OUTLOOK"

WE seriously question all the claims of Astrology; yet the following -- from whatever source the suggestions come, even though of the Adversary himself -- seem remarkably true to our expectations based upon the Word of the Lord. For this reason alone we present them here, as follows:

"Saturn is the representative of the great motive power that has dominated the mind of man up to the present time. The great organizations of Capital, attracting now so much attention, are in reality the last great struggle of this Saturn-god to save his throne. But his efforts will be futile, yet far from useless, for he is blindly doing service for a still greater God in the same way as the other planets have contributed blindly to Saturn's glory.

"Jupiter, representing law, religion and morality, has been perforce subservient to Saturn's greater and more potent force. It explains why the church, the law, the charitable and educational institutions have contributed to increasing the power and prestige of the worldly and material Saturn, whose selfish monopolizing material nature must be disposed of and made tributary to a higher, nobler force that will carry out the work of human evolution.

"Jupiter must also transfer his allegiance from the grasping Saturn to the newly discovered factor that stands for universal brotherhood; namely, Uranus. When Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius in 1914, the long-promised era will have made a fair start in the work of setting man free to work out his own salvation, and will insure the ultimate realization of dreams and ideals of all poets and sages in history.

"Uranus is preparing the way for Neptune, who symbolizes Love in its very highest form -- the fulfilling of the law. By this, we see that Socialism, or whatever the new order may be called, will not and can not be the rule of the common or ignorant masses, but the leadership of the very highest developed members of the human family.

"In 1903 Jupiter will be in the Sign of Pisces -- sign of the feet, or understanding, and the synthesis of the new religion is Love; -- Love, that words cannot define. We are nearing a condition where "masters" will be unknown -- where humanity will instinctively conform to the injunction, 'Call no man master, neither be ye called master.'

"Note -- Uranus: Great commotions are expected when it shall take its ascendancy over Saturn."

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Origin of Charles Taze Russell's "ANY SOURCE -- EVEN SATAN" Philosophy

It was Charles Taze Russell's dangerous human philosophy -- that unbelievers, and even Satan himself and his demon followers, could be looked to for "truths" that could be "reconciled" and "harmonized" with biblical truth -- that was the basis for the plethora of heretical teachings that Russell had been developing, and would thereafter be developed by Charles Taze Russell, and which Russell planned to promote in the pages of his new "ZION'S WATCH TOWER" magazine.

It was not until the May 1890 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, that Charles Taze Russell ever-so-briefly disclosed his previous study of human philosophy, which Russell conveniently then described as "the logic of Infidelity":

"... we begin the narrative at the year 1868, when the [16 year-old] editor, having been a consecrated child of God for some years, and a member of the Congregational Church and of the Y.M.C.A., began to be shaken in faith regarding many long-accepted doctrines. Brought up a Presbyterian and indoctrinated from the Catechism, and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell a ready prey to the logic of Infidelity as soon as I began to think for myself. ...

"Gradually I was led to see that though each of the creeds contained some elements of truth, they were, on the whole, misleading and contradictory of God's Word. Among other theories, I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, ... There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists from the preacher, Mr. Jonas Wendell, long since deceased. Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, ..."

THE WATCHTOWER, July 15, 1950, somehow came up with a different story:

"In his teens Charles Taze Russell, the editor, had been a member of the Congregational Church and a strong believer in the doctrine of eternal torture of damned human souls in a hell of literal fire and brimstone. But when trying to reclaim an acquaintance, an infidel, to Christianity, he himself was routed from his sectarian position and driven into skepticism. Hungrily he began investigating the heathen religions in search of the truth on God's purpose and man's destiny. Proving all these unsatisfactory and before giving up religious investigation altogether, he took up the search of the Holy Scriptures from a skeptic's standpoint, ... ."

Then, in 1993, PROCLAIMER'S stated, "Turning away from church creeds and searching for truth, Russell examined some leading Oriental religions, ... ."

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Charles Taze Russell Begins His Never-Ending "FASCINATION" With SPIRITISM

The following is from the July 1886 ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine. We ask, is Russell discouraging or encouraging ZWT readers to investigate spiritism?

"Another similar effort to hand-truck Christian people into the great Omnibus of Spiritism, is a little paper published on the Pacific Coast, which goes under various names, one of the most popular of which is the 'Father's Love'. This journal selects from other papers some good, simple articles as a sugar coating, which with its title, we doubt not often entraps for a time at least God's hungry children, only to feed them on no ransom, and dispensational evolution, and to introduce to them out and out spiritist publications."


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Charles Taze Russell Meets With a WITCH

Does anyone else suspect that Charles Taze Russell had more than average curiosity about "spiritism"? In the July 1, 1897 issue of ZION"S WATCH TOWER appeared a lengthy article entitled, "WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT SPIRITISM?" Within that lengthy article is Russell's greatly "spun" account of Russell having agreed to meet with the sister of a Russellite follower from Cleveland (James Cole? John Kuehn?), who was a WITCH. Do you really believe that Russell had not been informed of such before he agreed to meet with her?

"A case of this kind came under the writer's observation in 1895. A gentleman who had occasionally attended on preaching asked that an interview be granted his sister whom he would bring from Cleveland for the purpose. She was, he said, laboring under the delusion that she had committed the unpardonable sin, and he hoped we could disabuse her mind of the thought which sometimes made her 'wild'. We consented, and she came. She conversed rationally enough but assured us that her case was hopeless. We explained the Scriptures relating to the 'Sin unto death', and endeavored to show her that she had never had sufficient light to come under its conditions, but we could make no headway. She declared that she had been in a salvable condition once, but was so no longer.

"She told us how she had met in California a man who had a familiar spirit and occult powers: at first disbelieving, she afterward became his co-worker in 'mysteries' resembling witchcraft, and had finally inveigled and injured a dear female friend. Since then remorse had seized her, and she had been tortured and at times frenzied and hope had forever fled. Before she left us she seemed comforted a little by what we told her of divine compassion and the abundant provision made in the great ransom for all given at Calvary. But we have heard since that she lost hope again and has been placed in an asylum to hinder her from taking her own life. She could not be trusted alone: she would attempt to throw herself headlong from a window, or while quietly walking the street would attempt to throw herself under passing vehicles; -- reminding us of the case mentioned in Mark 9:22. We have regretted, since, that instead of merely reasoning with the poor woman we did not, also, in the name of the Lord, exorcise the evil spirit which evidently possessed her; or, failing to cast it out, at least have instructed and helped her to exercise her will power to resist the demon."

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Everything WatchTower Readers Ever Wanted To Know About "SPIRITISM", But Were Afraid To Ask

Presented as a warning to WatchTower readers to avoid anything and everything to do with "spiritism", Russell then proceeded to publish a "How-To" within that same 1897 ZWT article:

"One of the simple modern devices for awakening interest and leading on to fuller 'mediumship', 'possession', and 'control', is described in a letter just received, dated March 11, '97, from a Christian lady, a school teacher in Georgia, and a deeply interested student of God's plan of the ages. The writer says:

"I have been having a rather strange and perhaps unwise experience lately. My husband's brother is a Spiritualist, takes the Progressive Thinker and is thoroughly imbued with its teachings, and, when I visit there, he reads articles from it and asks my opinion concerning them; especially those from persons claiming to have received messages from 'departed friends' through the aid of the mediums. Now I never have thought it 'all humbug' as many do, tho there is much fraud connected with it -- for it seems to me that the Bible plainly teaches that spirits have had, and will have, the power to communicate with men. I have told him that I believed those communications came from fallen angels who personated the dead for the purpose of deceiving men into believing Satan's old lie, "Thou shalt not surely die." But as my brother-in-law does not accept the Bible as the Word of God, my opinion had little weight with him. His wife (who is a firm believer in DAWN) is much troubled over his belief; and both have found their difference of opinion any thing but pleasant, tho his wife avoids the subject as much as possible with fidelity to the truth. Some time ago he bought a Psychograph, an instrument used by mediums for communing with spirits, but he could not use it.

"A few days ago it was placed in my hands, and, as I found I was a medium, I resolved to "try the spirits." ... About the first thing it said to me was that there is a valuable gold mine on our place: that did not surprise me, as we had been told that a "vein" had been traced across the place. It described the exact location to dig for it; said it is only 7.5 feet below the surface. So that will not be difficult to prove. Then it gave me some Scripture messages, Col. 1:4,5 and 2:4. I asked what was meant by "enticing words" and was answered, Bellamy, Christian Science, Spiritualism, Ingersolism, etc. I asked who was talking, and was told Epaphras. That did not seem to please my brother-in-law very much, and he said he would like to hear from some one we had known in the flesh, so I asked if such an one were present, and was told, "Yes, Eastman" (a stranger to me, but my brother-in-law and his wife, who alone were present, were both acquainted with him). When asked what he wished to say he cited us to Titus 3:5, said MILLENNIAL DAWN doctrine is true, and that his wealth had hindered him from gaining the prize of the high calling. I, said Eastman, was not thought a very good Christian, tho a member of the church.

"The next day I tried the wheel or Psychograph again, and was told that a dear good friend of mine who had lived in speaking distance of me for several years was talking to me. She asked me to write to her husband and tell him, that she said, a certain boy (giving name) was having a bad influence over their boy. She told me that my husband (who is in Florida) was hurt and was very lame, and I got a letter from him day before yesterday confirming it. She said she regretted that she had not given DAWN the attention that I had wished her to, that she had life on the angelic plane; she also told me of the "mine." I asked did she know the one claiming to be Eastman, and she said yes, that it was a deceiving spirit personating him, and that I would best not make use of the means through which I could receive such communications. One claiming to be Cephas cited me to the first chapter of Daniel. Another, claiming to be my father, said in substance the same. All said the same about the gold "mine," and all professed to believe in Christ and that DAWN is a correct exponent of God's Word, and told me that I was failing to make the best use of one of my "gifts" -- teaching; that I should teach publicly as well as individuals, but was cautioned with 1 Cor. 3:7 and Eph. 4:2.

"During the little time I experimented with the instrument I was told many things (a few of which were not true) that would take too much of your time to tell you; and several of the "spirits claimed that they would heal the sick through me, if I would only trust them. A great deal of Scripture was given, and all very appropriate to those for whom it was given; but the Devil quoted Scripture to Christ; and I still think the same as I did before "trying the spirits," -- only I was not sure that fallen angels would admit, even for the purpose of deceiving, that Christ had "come in the flesh;" but it seems now they will. Probably 1 John 4:1-3 refers to doctrines of men wholly. Of course, it would be possible for those who shall have "part in the first resurrection" to speak through such a device, but is it probable that they will? I will be glad to hear from you on this subject.

[... In one instance under our notice two deaths within a year were foretold: one of the parties died, the other became seriously ill, but recovered. Some power is in Satan's hand, but with limitations. ... -- EDITOR.]

"What experience I have had tends to confirm your teaching -- that the communications are from the fallen angels. They are very unreliable. One can but feel how impossible it will be in these closing days of the Gospel age for any one to "stand" who has not a firm foundation for faith."

SIGNATURE

BUT, Russell was not through with this "How-To" lesson. Those readers who previously knew nothing about "spiritism" certainly received an "education" in this issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER:

"The Sister sent us an advertisement of the Psychograph which says,

"Do you wish to investigate Spiritualism? Do you wish to develop Mediumship? Do you desire to receive communications? The psychograph is an invaluable assistant. Many, who were not aware of their mediumistic gift, have, after a few sittings, been able to receive delightful messages. Many, who began with it as an amusing toy, found that the intelligence controlling it knew more than themselves, and became converts to Spiritualism."

... By the same mail came the samples of 'The Progressive Thinker', a Spiritualist organ of the most pronounced type. We examined it, having in view matter for this article, and to our surprise found that several of its leading articles freely conceded that the vast majority of the communicating spirits are evil spirits which seek influence over human beings in order to work their ruin: and if possible to get possession of them to make them crazy. It told of written communications dropped into a room signed "Beelzebub" and "Devil." In one column under the caption "A Critical Study of Obsession," was an account of a poor woman who had been so beset by evil spirits that she was sent to an Insane Asylum and who finally got rid of their torments; and it gives her statement, "I prayed them away." Asked, "To whom did you pray?" her recorded answer is, "To the Ever-living God. He only can answer prayer." And yet in another column God's name is blasphemed, under the caption, "Peter and Paul," from which we quote these words -- "Moses, who tho said to be learned in all the Egyptian skill, was the very meanest of men, and for his God erroneously took Jehovah, a departed spirit of an Egyptian disappointed aspirant to some lucrative or ecclesiastical office."

In the same issue (April 3, '97), under the heading -- "Thoughts Illustrating the Status of Spiritualism, and the Dangers that Beset the Honest Investigator," by Charles Dawbran, we have a notice of a book by an English Clergyman, entitled "The Great Secret or the Modern Mystery of Spiritualism." Introducing the author the article says:

"His experiences commenced with the development of his wife as a writing medium, through whom, from time to time, he received such tests as delight the heart of the worshiper of phenomena. He also seems to have made the acquaintance of almost every public medium who has at any time been high priest or priestess of the Occult, to the worthy citizens of London. And he has apparently been a welcomed visitor to the homes and seances of every distinguished investigator or full fledged believer in that city during the forty years of which he writes. He has included hypnotism in his investigations, and has been successful both as operator and subject. He has even dabbled a little in 'Black Magic,' at least sufficient to prove it a dread reality. So we have in this author a man most unusually qualified to deal intelligently with the subject. That he is now, and has for almost all these years been a believer is evident, for he narrates incidents and proofs which would carry conviction to every intelligent and unprejudiced mind. But his trouble has been that of every experienced investigator. He has not only witnessed much phenomena that could be explained as due to the normal or abnormal powers of the mortal, but where there has been an evident 'ghost' at work, mistakes, and at times evident fraud, have troubled his ecclesiastical soul.

"So we have little but the usual mixed experiences of the average intelligent investigator. A grain of wheat to a bushel of chaff is claimed by the Spiritualist as abundant compensation for the toil and trouble of long years of waiting upon the 'dear spirits.' And to some minds perhaps it is. But to others there have ever been fierce attempts to increase the crop of truth. And it is herein that the experiences of this clergyman become interesting to every truth-lover the world over. He, as we have said, has had abundant experience in both public and private seances, but his pathway to progress seemed blocked. He was just as liable to the usual imperfections of spirit intercourse after many years of such investigation, as in the very first sittings with his own wife and a few chosen friends.

"So the question became: 'Is progress possible?' And to solve this he tried an experiment which inspires the present writer to call this attention to his book. For as we have seen, the rest was what almost everybody can endorse, and say 'me too.' He determined to seek spirit intercourse from the highest plane possible to the mortal, so that if there be truth to the maxim 'like to like' he might attract the very highest, and repel those who come from the unseen to trouble and perplex weary mortals. He devoted a house to that purpose. Not merely were there rooms for use by mediums and circles of investigators or believers, but a chapel was prepared where he himself conducted a religious service twice a week, and it was at the conclusion of this service that a special seance was held by the believers present. The surroundings were most solemn. Frivolity was conspicuous only by its absence. The spirits had promised great results. For over a year at one time, and for months at others, these meetings were continued. But no promise was fulfilled. Prayers to God for light and truth proved no more efficacious than the eternal 'Nearer my God to thee' of the usual public seance, with its miscellaneous crowd.

"So our poor clergyman has his one grain of wheat after forty years of honest attempt to make at least a pint of it. He clings to that atom of truth with his whole soul, but his earnest attempt at progress has proved a life-long failure, altho, apparently, every condition was favorable to success. Since such is the experience of the thousands, once zealous, who have become 'silent' believers from the same cause, we may well ask: Is modern Spiritualism fixed and bounded like the theological systems of the past and present? Is there no hope of solving its problems, overcoming its barriers, and reaching a higher manhood on this side of the life line? Is the honest and convinced investigator presently to become discouraged, almost as a matter of course?"

The claim made by Spiritists is that good spirits commune with good people, and evil spirits with evil people is thus disproved. Could stronger testimony than this be produced in evidence that all spirit communications are from evil spirits and are wholly unreliable? The writer, further on in the same Spiritist journal, gives the following account of the experiences of another "believer," for which he vouches:

"For a score of years he had been true to his convictions, endeavoring to reduce all belief to a basis of provable facts. His own sensitiveness permitted spirit approach, and sometimes the heavens had seemed to open to shower blessings on his soul. But foes came as readily as friends whenever the gate was ajar, so that, for the most part, safety compelled him to avoid personal experience of spirit return. The active mind offers poor foothold to any spirit, so he accepted public office and labored zealously for the public weal. But at intervals the experiences reappeared, and it seemed as if the battle had to be fought all over again. He failed to find a direct cause which might account for the presence of his foes. But they seemed to have certain gathering points. For instance, he could rarely visit a public library to select a book but that he would be followed and annoyed for hours by some "invisible," seeking to control him. It is true, each battle, when fought to victory, was usually followed by a brief and happy re-union with angel friends, but the sense of danger made him only the more earnest to close the door to all spirit return. His method of fighting off the influence was to resolutely fix his mind on some matter of interest in his daily affairs. And this would, sooner or later, prove successful every time. Any attempt to gain help from the spirit side of life only seemed to give added power to the foe."

This man had evidently progressed in Spiritism so that he had become a "clairaudient medium." The supposed good spirits or "angel friends" which sometimes visited him were merely the same evil spirits called by the writer "foes;" but they transformed themselves to his mind by assuming an opposite attitude when they found him getting away from their influence; to keep him from abandoning them altogether, and in hope that by and by they would get such an influence over him that escape would be impossible.

From the same journal, under the heading, "Incidents With Good Advice," after giving two cases of pronounced insanity, the direct result of "spirit control," we find the following advice:

"The lesson I would draw is this: Never sit alone, if there is the least probability of the controls overcoming one's judgment. Even though their intentions may be good, as in Mr. B.'s case; yet their experience has been insufficient with regard to the management of mediums, and their operations may become very injudicious. Never permit a control to cause you to do that which your judgment cannot sanction, no matter under what promise it is given. Only evil designing controls are liable to resort to such measures.

"These cases call to mind the thought that undoubtedly there are many others in the asylums, who are simply the victims of control. I could cite another case, where during her first confinement, a young woman was given chloroform and other treatment which weakened her system to such an extent that a degraded spirit took hold of her organism, and the language he made that previously moral girl use, was deplorable. Under these conditions she was committed to the asylum, where she is at present and at last reports was, at times, able to control her body, and, of course, at those times she was considered 'rational' by the authorities.

"Let all Spiritualists be sure to caution persons who are beginning their investigation by sitting alone to be very careful -- and to make a regular practice of reporting, so that those of experience may know what is taking place and advise accordingly. And further, let us make a practice of looking into all cases of so-called 'insanity' before they are sent to the asylums; perchance it may be a case like those I have cited."


Charles Taze Russell continued the article, "WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT SPIRITISM?" into the July 15, 1897 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, he continued to educate ZWT readers on the topic of "spiritism":
"Another popular Spiritualist paper is 'The Philosophical Journal'. It continually urges that its gospel of Spiritism be tested, and declares it to be the one thing the world needs; ... We clip a statement in support of this from its issue of April 22, '97, signed by A. N. Waterman, one of the leading Spiritualist lights. Under the caption, "Real Authorship of Spirit Communications," he says: ... ... ...

"Another letter received recently from Florida, from a brother in Christ, a WATCH TOWER reader, well educated in several languages, informs us concerning some peculiar experiences recently had with these 'seducing spirits'. He became aware of the presence of invisible spirit beings, and they seemed to manifest a curious interest in his work: he was translating MILLENNIAL DAWN into a foreign language.

"Well informed along the Scriptural lines presented foregoing, as to who these 'seducing spirits' are, he nevertheless forgot, or failed to heed the divine instruction, -- that mankind should hold no communication whatever with these 'lying spirits' and 'have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.' The neglect of this instruction caused him serious trouble; and but for the interposition of divine mercy, in response to his and our prayers, it might have made shipwreck of him -- soul and body.

"He was allured to the conference by a mixture of curiosity with a benevolent desire to do them good by preaching to them the glorious gospel of divine love and mercy operating through Christ toward all mankind; and the eventual hope of a judgment (probationary trial) for the fallen angels, declared in the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 6:3.) At first they gave close attention and appeared to take a deep and reverent interest in the message; but before long they became very 'familiar' spirits, intruding themselves and their questions and remarks at all times and places, disputing with him and with each other in a manner and upon topics far from edifying, so that he remonstrated: finally he demanded that they depart, but having gained his 'inner ear' (having made of him what Spiritists would term a 'clairaudient medium') they were not disposed to go, and only through earnest prayer was he finally delivered. He should have been on his guard against their seductive influences; he should have remembered that whatever message of grace the Lord may yet have for these fallen angels he has not yet sent it to them, and that none are authorized to speak for the Lord without authority. 'How shall they preach except they be sent?' The message of salvation thus far is to mankind only; and even here it is limited, for altho all are to be counseled to repent of sin and to reform, yet the gospel of salvation is restricted to repentant "believers" only, -- 'the meek of the earth'."

Russell published so much additional educational material about "spiritism" in the July 15, 1897 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, that for the sake of time and space we have deleted everything but the "smell". Some of the "..." include two, three, and four paragraphs. We simply wish readers to understand how much unnecessary material Russell included. It would be like multiple centerfolds being included in a current WatchTower article denouncing pornography. Once you have warned your audience to, "STAY AWAY!", why then publish a lengthy list of possible "positives"?
"Joseph Hartman has published a book of 378 pages in which he recounts his experiences as a Spirit medium ... Mr. H. had come in contact with the "Planchette," a wooden device which holds a pencil and moves readily under the hands of certain mediums or "sensitives," even children, writing answers to questions propounded to it; ...

"In a pamphlet entitled 'The Nature of Insanity; its Cause and Cure", by J. D. Rhymus, ...

"Judge Edmonds of New York [a noted Spiritist and both a Clairvoyant and Clairaudient medium, now deceased], ...

"Here is an account of Dr. Peebles' visit to Melbourne, Australia, this year, 1897. He writes to 'The Philadelphia Journal' as follows: ... the Melbourne press says there are already 500 mediums in the city and suburbs,

"An English journal called 'Black and White' gives a detailed and illustrated account of recent apparitions at the town of Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy, France.

"... in a very recent issue of 'The Ram's Horn', a radical orthodox journal of Chicago ...

"... clipped from the Jan. 2, '97, issue of 'The Philosophical Journal' (Spiritualist). ...

"Note the following hand-bill announcement of Spiritist performances and tests, given at Muskegon, Michigan, ...

"Opera House, under the auspices of the Religio-Philosophical Society of Boston, Mass., Sunday night, April 11, 1897.

"The newspapers gave an account of a Spiritist baptism service, at the "First Church of Spiritualists," Pittsburg, on Sunday, Dec. 13, '96, ...

"Brother Thori of St. Paul, Minn., sends us the card of a Dr. Snyder of that city, who styles himself a Christian Spiritualist and claims that he and others there hold regular seances in which the Lord as a spirit being shows himself to their mortal eyes. ... Brother Thori remarks that the Doctor appears to be very pious, and professes faith in the ransom and in restitution.

... ... ...

A FATHER'S DELUSION

A ZION'S WATCH TOWER reader, after perusing the articles on Spiritism, writes as follows: "After my mother's death my father married a woman who was a spirit medium, and has since tried to convince me of Spiritism. He has given me, repeatedly, accounts of materializing seances which he has attended both in his own home and in other places. He says he has seen as many as fifteen spirits developed at one time, both adults and infants while the medium sat in her cabinet in view of her audience. He says that sometimes he has seen a misty cloud appear near the ceiling and gradually descend to the floor, taking form as it came down, until it stood upon the floor as solid, tangible human being, and would clasp his hand. The hand felt as tangible in his grasp as my own would feel. He says his dead daughters (my sisters) and other friends who are dead have thus appeared to him robed in pure white. Sometimes they would materialize a sparkling lace shawl and hold it up and shake it before him; they would sit down by his side or in his lap and put their arms around his neck and converse with him of their heavenly home, its beauties, its lovely flowers, etc., and of his own future, and of their care for him. Finally they would say, 'Well, I must go, ''and the hand clasped in his, and which he was holding tightly, would begin to sink out of his grasp, the body would grow thin until objects across the room could be discerned through the almost transparent body; then it would disappear, sometimes going down through the floor. His father (my grandfather) who was a physician in life, he says, has, through mediums, written prescriptions for medicines for him, etc.

"My father has told us things which his medium wife has told him, matters about our family, which really surprised us, as we knew she had no means of knowing except through supernatural agency, but we saw by years of observation of Spiritism sufficient of its abominations to convince us of its Satanic origin, and hence I never had much faith in it, and finally learned to abhor it. And since seeing the light of present truth, as we now see it, we realize its wickedness and its demon-nature more fully than ever. I have repeatedly seen mediums 'under control, 'and have noted how fully they are made the victims of the demons who possess them at such times, being unaware of their conditions or at least unable to control their words and actions. Their facial expression at such times is very peculiar."

AN EPISCOPAL CLERGYMAN WRITES:

"The WATCH TOWER speaks in several past numbers of Spiritists and mentions Clairudiant mediums. I have been living alone as a bachelor missionary in Burma for some years, and ever since my wife and little boy fell asleep in '89 and '90, I have been alone: and I pursued somewhat an inquiry into animal magnetism with reference to telegraphing thought at a distance and, I am sorry to add, 'transfer of sensation. 'After practicing this (and abhorring Spiritism, tho not knowing why, and not connecting the two together) I found suddenly one afternoon voices all round me which have continued ever since more or less: and I now write to you to beseech Jehovah to have mercy on my body and make it 'the sanctuary of God through the spirit, 'taking away any unclean spirit which may inhabit it, and giving me grace and power to resist, or flee, or get free from, any and every influence, or power, or control, that Satan may have over me."

***

Russell Announces Satanic-Demonic Activity On The Increase

Imagine that in 1907 that you are a reader of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, or even a recent Russellite convert, who had struggled to overcome an addiction to "spiritism" or "spiritistic practices". How would the following article, "Christ's Sermon To The Fallen Angels", published in the October 1, 1907 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, affect you? Pay particular attention to the teaching introduced in the last quoted paragraph:

"... Our understanding is that this great day of the Lord began chronologically in October, 1874, and from what we can learn it is since that date that "materializations" have become more and more common. ... Not only have such cases been reported in the public press, but some friends of the Truth who at one time were identified with Spiritism have corroborated these.

"A sister in the Truth who was at one time a spirit medium assures us that not long since (RECENT) in the parlor of her own home, the door being shut, a spirit materialized before her in the form of a man who spoke to her. His request being refused he threateningly caught her by the arm with a firm grasp, but at that instant her brother opened the parlor door and the materialization instantly dissolved.

"Another sister in the Truth, who had been less directly connected with Spiritism, informed us that RECENTLY one of the demons personating her deceased sister, opening the spring lock, walked into her room while she was wide awake and tried to choke her, afterwards leaving, as she had come, through the door.

"Another case was that of a brother who at one time had made some slight investigations of Spiritism, but ceased when he obtained light as to its demon origin. An apparition representing his wife appeared to him in his room as he was walking toward his bed, and reached out a hand while walking by his side. He, recognizing the source of such manifestations, and remaining firm to his resolution to have nothing further to do with the spirits in any sense or degree, refused to take the hand, and instead turned his heart to the Lord in prayer for deliverance from the Adversary's power; then the apparition vanished.

"... these evil spirits have special power and liberty with those who have at any time yielded to curiosity in connection with spirit manifestations. 

"Our surmise is that this loosing and liberating from the chains of darkness will increase, perhaps very rapidly; that these fallen spirits are permitted to gradually invent a method by which they can accomplish such materializations, and that the knowledge of this and their proficiency in it will be permitted to develop during the remaining seven years of this harvest time, ...

"These fallen angels (demons), still in opposition to God, will doubtless ignore the Lord's restraints ... Those having respect to the Lord and his will would of course refuse to use such powers as he had condemned and forbidden and restrained, and thus their loyalty to the Lord would be demonstrated. Indeed we may be sure that whichever of these fallen angels have repented of their wrong course have abstained from all attempts to communicate with humanity in harmony with the Lord's prohibitions. ..."

***

Is Communicating With Satan and his Demons a "Bad Thing" or a "Good Thing"?

In the May 1, 1912 issue of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, Charles Taze Russell published the following "advertisement" for communicating with Satan and his demons. Please point out the negatives or downside of practicing spiritism made obvious in Russell's "advertisement". Was this follower's life better or worse as a practicer of spiritism? Please point out the "lies" told by Satan and his demons, as related in this account, or do demons only tell "the truth"? Again, what did Russell hope his readers would take from this "Letter To The Editor"?

The 10 "points" (all positive) made in this article regarding Satan, demons, and ouija boards:

1) "it would perform rather difficult feats with the least solicitation"

2) "it did all I asked of it"

3) "it ... would 'do anything' for me"

4) "Satan ... advised me not to neglect my brethren or my Bible"

5) "Yes; the DAWNS are correct, not only in doctrine, but in chronology as well."

6) "I then asked by what power the board was operated. It answered, 'By evil, spirit power.' It further confessed to me that the spirits who operate the board have no other mission than to hinder all of the Lord's people."

7) "It further stated that they took 'special delight in buffeting, hindering and endeavoring to ensnare Brother Russell and his colaborers at the Bethel Home.'"

8) "I asked it if there was any possibility of my ever becoming as accomplished as 'Hermann the Great'. The answer came, 'No'."

9) "I wanted to know why it answered me thus. ... The answer in substance follows: 'Because God will not permit it.'"

10) "I inquired as to what 'God' was meant. I was informed that it meant 'the Almighty'."

***

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

MY BELOVED BRETHREN IN THE ANOINTED:

I wish to thank you for sending me THE TOWER. A year ago I requested that you send it on credit, promising to pay for same later. I found it impossible to fulfil my promise, but will again promise to meet my obligations as soon as I secure a position. I am at present unemployed. Please continue sending THE TOWER, for to me it is worth its weight in gold.

I could not have said this awhile ago. I must confess that during the past couple of years I have been very unfaithful. I was anything but a humble, faithful follower of the dear Lord. I was serving sin and self. I had no desire for "Present Truth," still I had enough respect for it to not combat it. I did not meet with the dear brethren. In short, I was very nearly trapped beyond hope of regaining freedom, in one of Satan's most successful devices, viz., Spiritism. I was induced to purchase a "ouija" board, "just for amusement"; but I dare say that that "amusement" almost cost me my "crown."

I spent all my spare time in operating the "board," and became so skilled in its manipulation that it would perform rather difficult feats with the least solicitation. A neighbor, having become fascinated upon seeing what the "little thing would do and say," purchased one for his own use. After trying to operate it (without success, however), he came to me, requesting that I "try my hand." Strange as it may appear, it did all I asked of it, and told me that it was a cousin to my board, and would "do anything" for me.

I can easily see that Satan, the chief operator of all "ouija" and planchette boards, was only trying with all his might to get me more firmly into his clutches. My good morals were not entirely destroyed, however, and the Adversary, knowing this, advised me not to neglect my brethren or my Bible. I then asked whether the DAWNS are a correct interpretation of God's Word. To this the reply came, "Yes; the DAWNS are correct, not only in doctrine, but in chronology as well." I then asked by what power the board was operated. It answered, "By evil, spirit power." It further confessed to me that the spirits who operate the board have no other mission than to hinder all of the Lord's people. It further stated that they took "special delight in buffeting, hindering and endeavoring to ensnare Brother Russell and his colaborers at the Bethel Home."

After thus confessing, I concluded to destroy the board, which I finally did. Before the destruction it pleaded for mercy and tried every way to work on my sympathy. It told me that it would much rather be given away or sold.

Before closing, I wish to add that, shortly after I bought the "ouija," I asked it if there was any possibility of my ever becoming as accomplished as "Hermann the Great." The answer came, "No." This answer rather surprised me, and I wanted to know why it answered me thus. I used untold persuasion before I received the reason for the "No." And when I did get the answer, I got it a word at a time. The answer in substance follows: "Because God will not permit it." In order that I might not be mistaken I inquired as to what "God" was meant. I was informed that it meant "the Almighty."

I need not explain that such a reply shocked me. It bewildered me to think that Satan had to confess thus. If Satan, or any of his force, ever told the truth it was then. Yes, dear, beloved brethren, I am a miracle of the dear Father's grace, through the wonderful merit of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Oh, how my yearning heart goes out to Him for His love to me! -- I, the least of the least!

Dear ones, pray for me that I may stand all the tests that will come upon me to try me from now on. And if this letter should reach the remainder of the Lord's fold, I solicit all their prayers. I feel I need them. I feel my nothingness. I feel my need of a Savior now more than ever. And while I begrudge all the time I wasted in foolishness, I thank the dear Father for the lessons learned. I tried to write you several times during the past wasted years, but it seems as though it was not the proper time to do so. The battle was not yet completed. I feel that I have at last broken away from the Adversary, and, trusting to God's grace, I expect it to be final. I am sorry I consumed so much of your needed time by writing so lengthy a letter, but I could not keep quiet any longer.

In closing, I will request that you continue THE TOWER, for I need it, I want it, and I will pay both years' subscription as soon as possible. Thanking you for all past favors, and always making mention of you all in prayer since I have taken the blessed "Vow," I remain,

Yours in the only Hope,

HARRY W. DAVIDGE. N.J.

***

WatchTower Leader - Editor- Author Publicly Announces Demon Possession

As evidenced in the FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, Clayton J. Woodworth was a top lieutenant to both C. T. Russell and his successor, J. F. Rutherford -- holding various corporate offices and directorships in both the two WatchTower Society corporations and various affiliated businesses. Woodworth authored the largest "Revelation" section of THE FINISHED MYSTERY book, and for such served prison time alongside "Judge" Rutherford. From 1919 until 1946, Woodworth was "editor" of THE GOLDEN AGE and CONSOLATION magazines (forerunners of THE AWAKE!). 

Well traveled and well known to Bible Students nationwide, at the Summer 1913 Bible Students' Convention in Asheville, North Carolina, Clayton Woodworth SHOCKED the audience when he confessed to having nearly fomented a coup against "Pastor" Russell.

Having been assigned a talk promoting "The Vow", Woodworth told the audience that he had been against "The Vow"from the very start. Woodworth initially believed it to be a contrivance of "Pastor" Russell's as a response to personal issues that had been raised during Russell's lengthy Divorce trial. Woodworth initially did not believe "The Vow" to be biblical.

"I thought that ... Brother Russell was wrong. ... I began to pray and to fight it ("The Vow") in my own way -- with the Scriptures. After a few months, the Scriptures ... began to open up ... demonstrating its unscripturalness. ... I prepared a 36-page book against "The Vow", ... in which all scriptures which seemed to be directly or indirectly against "The Vow" were arranged.

"I know now that all these Scriptures were suggested to my mind by the EVIL SPIRITS. One of the suggestions was that in the fifteenth chapter of Numbers, where it mentions the "Ribband of blue," it had reference, anti-typically, to "The Vow".

"But then these lying spirits turned the truth into a lie by claiming that "The Vow" had been suggested to Brother Russell by the evil spirits.

"There was a time for five consecutive nights when I never slept a wink. Then came a time when the strain was too much. My mind became unbalanced, and I came directly under the influence of evil spirits, so much so, that for three days I was completely under demonical control ... ."

Woodworth then claimed that the manuscript for his 36 page booklet was a result of "automatic writing" during his demon-possession. Woodworth further claimed that Russell had convinced him of at least one error, and his inquiry into such led to the breaking of the demon possession sufficient that he was able to destroy the manuscript.

Four years later, in 1917, Clayton Woodworth inserted the following commentary in THE FINISHED MYSTERY, pages 126-27:

"... Have you carefully and prayerfully read the comments on Rev. 7:1? Then brace yourself for the truth that it is evidently God's purpose soon to allow the minds of many of His little ones to become an open battle ground, upon which the fallen angels shall be judged, and the manner in which we meet the tests will prove our worthiness of crowns at the same time that it proves these disobedient spirits unworthy of life on any plane. This is something with which some but not many are yet familiar.

"Truly, we know the Apostle in writing of this evil day says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wicked ones in heavenly places". (Eph. 6:12)

"Truly, we know the Lord Jesus, at the First Advent began His ministry with forty days of conflict with the Adversary, who all that time sought to sway His mind. (Matt. 4:1-11)

"Truly, we have reason to believe He must have had other terrible battles when He spent all night in prayer, and especially when He was so depressed in the garden of Gethsemane. But without actual experience it is quite impossible to conceive of the intensity of such struggles as Eph. 6:12 suggests. The base of the brain is seized as in a vise. Interpretations of Scripture, ingenious, but misleading beyond description, are projected into the mind as water might be projected through a hose. Visions may be tried, wonderful illuminations of the mind as by a soft but glorious greenish or yellowish haze. Seductive suggestions may be made, based on circumstances of the environment. Offers of inspiration may be made. The privilege of sleep may be taken away for days at a stretch. All this is with the object of forcing the unfortunate into at least temporary insanity so as to destroy big influence and, if possible, his faith in God. Failing in all other attempts, the mind may be flooded with thoughts that are vile beyond description. THEN REMEMBER THE VOW.

Undoubtedly, Clayton Woodworth is here describing in detail his own personal experience of demon possession as previously admitted at the Summer 1913 Bible Students' Convention in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Astrology Proposed As "God's Witness At Night".

Second only to Clayton J. Woodworth in mental instability was WatchTower Pilgrim Raymond G. Jolly. During 1914, as the expectations regarding October 1914 grew closer and closer, Raymond Jolly began delivering a "new teaching" during his scheduled Pilgrim visits. Only bad weather prevented this sermon's delivery at the June 1914 WatchTower Convention in New Jersey. In August, Jolly delivered this sermon to the prominent "Temple Congregation" in Wash D.C.

The title of R.G. Jolly's new sermon was "THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES WITH STELLAR CORRESPONDENCIES". This sermon taught that just as the Great Pyramid was "God's Stone Witness", which concealed/revealed "The Divine Plan of the Ages", so God also had built the same into His design of the constellations such that "the stars should declare the Divine Plan of the Ages. ... Indeed the same Bible which points to the Great Pyramid, points also to the Heavens as declaring the wonderful Plan of Salvation."

It would appear that this new teaching must have had the blessing of Charles Taze Russell given all of the aforementioned, PLUS the fact that such teaching appears to be merely an extension of Russell's teachings in the May 1903 ZWT article discussed above. Here are excerpts from this sermon sufficient to give readers a good feel for what it taught:

IT is not my purpose in this discourse to present anything new, but merely to outline the simple Plan of the Ages, pointing out certain corroborations from the stars which God has set in the heavens. ... It is indeed wonderful that the stars should declare the Divine Plan of the Ages. Even though we should see exact correspondencies, we should be very slow to look upon the stars as having any special significance, were it not for the fact that God in His word points us to the heavens as showing forth His handiwork, declaring that He has ordained the stars for signs. Our principal thoughts will be in connection with the Zodiac, viz. -- the circle of stars lying in the earth's path about the sun. The word, Zodiac, comes from the Greek word Zoo, meaning life. It is this same word that is used in Revelation 4:7. to represent the living ones, improperly translated beasts. The Zodiac, then, is the circle in the heavens composed of figures representing Zodia, or living ones. 

... we may suppose that the signs (the constellations) of the Zodiac are approximately as old as the human race and perhaps of Divine origin. This is also reasonable from three other standpoints: 1st -- Like the Bible, the Zodiac is ascribed to God by the most ancient; 2nd -- No nation has ever claimed the invention of the Zodiac, though doubtless they would have been glad to have had the honor had they invented it; and 3rd -- The higher critics of today, though denying the inspiration of the Scriptures, admit that there is a close and strange agreement between the Bible and the Zodiac. If, then, we find the Divine Plan written in these constellations, realizing that men could not have written a Plan that they did not even understand, it would be only reasonable to ascribe its origin to God. Indeed the same Bible which points to the Great Pyramid, points also to the Heavens as declaring the wonderful Plan of Salvation. 

Psalm 19: "The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament (the expanse) showeth His handiwork (Strong -- the operation of his power). Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language; their voice is not heard (how true). ... ... ...

In considering the Zodiac, it will be necessary to carefully avoid the many errors that have attached themselves in connection with the various heathen religions. The very fact that there is a false [religion], proves that there is a true. There are twelve constellations in the Zodiac, the sun apparently passing through these signs at the rate of one a month. Each constellation, therefore, rules a month. During God's dealings with His typical people, viz., from the Exodus from Egypt till after Christ's death, the Vernal Equinox was in the constellation known as "The Ram," the Latin name for which is Aries. The signs are today universally designated by the Latin names. The month of the Spring Equinox, God fixed for Israel as their first month, Exodus 12:1-5. It would be proper, therefore, to begin reading at this point, the one fixed by God. We shall find that just as the twelve tribes were divided into four groups of three each, with the central tribe in each group bearing a standard, so the Zodia are arranged in a similar manner. There are four groups of three each, the central one corresponding to a standard in the camp of Israel. The first group, according to the chart of the Zodiac will consist of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini, with Taurus (the bullock) corresponding to the standard of Ephraim, the son of Joseph. ... ...

The Pleiades, the center of the universe, are located in Taurus, and as though to emphasize the foundation, the original meaning of Alcyone, one of the chief stars of the Pleiades, is "foundation." How significant that the whole universe should throughout the Ages swing about that constellation and that star which alone picture so clearly the Ransom! The bullock offered on the brazen altar in the court was indeed the foundation: it represented the sacrifice of our Lord. The bullock in the sky represents the very same thing. ... Was man aware of God's plan when he named this star, or did God supervise its naming to harmonize with Deuteronomy 33:17? ... The importance of the foundation is again emphasized in both the first and the second Jewish temples, for the foundations of both these temples were laid in the second month, the month ruled by Taurus. So also the foundation of God's Antitypical Temple was laid at Calvary when the bullock was slain. ... ... ...

While Taurus sets the standard for the first quarter of the Zodiac, viz., that of sacrifice and the consequent power growing from this as a foundation, Aries emphasizes the humility and service rendered by the Lord as the Paschal Lamb. True to its standard, Aries is a sacrificial animal. It is a ram, for the Passover lamb as specified in Exodus 12:1-5 was to be a male of the first year. The lamb was to be slain in the first month, the month of Nisan, so the ram was placed in the sky as the sign of the first month, and Jesus was also slain on the 14th day of the first month. All is in perfect harmony! ... ...

Gemini, then, may be considered as an emblem of the Atonement, especially as applied to the New Creatures, united in Christ. ... ...

As the lion was the standard of the tribe of Judah which pitched toward the sun rising (Numbers 2:3), so Leo is the standard of the second portion of the Zodiac; it pictures the newly risen lion of the tribe of Judah, who prevailed to open the seals of the Book. ... In Genesis and Ezekiel, as we have already seen, the newly risen Lord, is called respectively a lion's whelp and a young lion. ... ...

In Cancer, the first sign of Resurrection and Life, ... ... ...

Virgo, then, pictures the lowly beginning of the church, and it also emphasizes the Seed. The branch in the right hand of Virgo may represent the Lord as a part of the promised Seed. We read in Zechariah 6:12, 13 -- "Behold the man whose name is The Branch; He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord (Jehovah): Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." We shall see this fulfilled in the last quarter of the Zodiac. ... ... ...

Brother Russell has shown in the Pyramid Chapter that Alpha Draconis, the dragon-star, is "a symbol of sin and Satan." The original meaning attached to the Little Bear, was "Salvation," and the meaning of the New Polar Star is, "Judge of Heaven," and "Life of Heaven." The dragon star, the guide of the Ages, has been supplanted by the New Polar Star; just so Satan, the ruler of this evil world, is about to be supplanted by the Judge of Heaven, the Savior, who shall guide everyone to the fountain of eternal life.  ... ... ...

  

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UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Jehovah and Jesus Demoted!

Angels Promoted!


ZION'S WATCH TOWER

February 15, 1915

The Ministry Of Angels

(edited)

... To assume that God is in every place, in every niche of space throughout the Universe, seems to us an absurdity, not taught in the Bible; and to assume that God knows about every little tadpole, pollywog, microbe, or that He even takes knowledge of every act of each one of the human family, when there are millions upon millions of these, is beyond our understanding.

If we should limit God's attention to the Church, still there are thousands of these; and the capacity to understand and deal with ten or twenty thousand people in an instant seems to us to be an impossibility. Nor would such an arrangement be what we would expect God to have. ...

We read that "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him"; also, "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." But this does not give us the thought that God personally beholds every individual act of every person on earth, but that He takes cognizance of matters throughout the world by means of His power, His agencies. These "eyes" referred to are the Lord's influence, His power of knowing, whatever the means. Whether His power is exercised and His will executed through angels or through other forces and agencies, it makes no difference ...

Now ... we can appreciate our Heavenly Father more by thinking of Him as having full ability to come into communication with His children, and as having various agents of communication. God has means, no doubt, far superior to any of ours. He has not revealed the matter clearly to us except to tell us that He is informed respecting all that concerns us, as well as respecting all the affairs of the world. He does tell us that angels are His ministers, and that these have a charge over His people. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" They do not minister in the sense of directly providing bread for us, nor in the sense of cooking our food, nor of building our houses -- in none of these ways do they minister. How, then, do they serve us? We have no way of knowing positively how they serve except from the words of our Lord Jesus, that the angels of God's "little ones" always behold the face of the Father, always have access to Him.

The fact that these angels represent the Lord's "little ones" would imply that they would have immediate access to God and have immediate attention. What would be the use of the Father's receiving the angels into His presence unless there was something to be communicated? Our understanding is that God's knowledge of our affairs and interests is gained by methods with which we are not acquainted. We may assume, however, that the mediums used are largely the angelic messengers. ... Just so God has certain laws ... that govern His entire Universe; that the angels have insight into these laws; and that they are Jehovah's deputies, ...

... the Lord Jesus is the Chief Messenger, or Angel, of Jehovah. He has surely been the Chief Messenger to the Gospel Church. Our thought, then, is that through the angels and other agencies God is governing the world, and especially caring for His people, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of all the Divine spiritual powers and has charge of all Jehovah's affairs. We have been brought into the School of Christ. He is our Teacher. When we go to the Father in prayer, we do not ignore this Teacher, but we go in His name; and we are not to suppose that the Father would ignore Him. He would be the Father's Representative in dealing with us. But we are not to suppose that the Lord Jesus has every detail of the affairs of the world under His personal supervision; but rather that those angels report to Him whatever is necessary, and that thus there are certain principles operating. This seems to us to be the reasonable and logical arrangement of Divine operations. ...

In view of the fact that the Church has been put under the special guidance of the Lord Jesus, it would not be a far-fetched thought that Jehovah encampeth round about His people through Jesus, and that the angels are under His direction. If Satan is the chief of his band of angels, so our Lord would have angels under His control, and He would be their Prince. ... So we think of all the spirit beings as under the direction and guidance of Jesus Christ. Into His hands God has committed all power in Heaven and on earth. All the angels of God were made subject to Him; and through these, under the control of our Lord, all the interests of God's people are supervised. This is our thought, and we like to think so.

EACH SAINT HAS HIS MINISTERING ANGEL

While we may not be too positive in our interpretation on this subject, we understand that each one of the Lord's people, in proportion as he is one of God's true children, has a ministering spirit, a person, an angel, who has charge of his affairs. This angel makes his report to the Lord, whether monthly, weekly or hourly we do not know. If God sees this to be the wise, proper course, we have every confidence in His Wisdom. Whatever God has arranged is fully satisfactory to us in this matter, and we are sure that it is quite right and fully in harmony with the Divine character.

... after the Gospel Dispensation was ushered in, outward demonstrations, such as the gifts of the Holy Spirit -- the gift of healing, the gift of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, and discerning of spirits -- and angelic visitations passed away; and that during the Gospel Age it has been God's will that the Spiritual House of Israel should walk by faith and not by sight, and that therefore it would be inappropriate after the Church was fully established to expect angels to appear, to manifest themselves outwardly.

But the angels of the Lord, nevertheless, have a charge more particularly over us of the Gospel Church than over any other of the Lord's people at any previous time in the world's history. The Lord is especially interested in Spiritual Israel. These angels, then, care for us, supervise our affairs, and are God's agencies or channels of communication to us as to His will; that is, communication in the sense of providences for us, causing this providence or the other providence.

We would not give the thought of the angels whispering into our ears. We think that the angels which now whisper in the ear are the same ones that give table-tippings, planchette communications, communications through the hand by writing, and various other communications to the ear and the eye of spirit-mediums; namely, evil spirits, fallen angels. Our understanding is that the holy angels do nothing of the kind. The Lord's people of the present Age are to find their instruction in His Word. There is no need of a book on ... clairvoyant or clairaudient power for the Lord's children. These are all snares of the Adversary and his demons.

The followers of Christ have the Bible and the invisible ministries of the holy angels to provide for their interests and to providentially guard and guide their affairs. This, to us, is very real and of great comfort. If we had the thought that God was doing all this personally, we would think that He had certainly forgotten us. But having the assurance of His Word that not a hair of our heads can fall to the ground without our Father's attention, our mind can rest in the fact that He accomplishes His purposes in Christ for His children through the ministrations of the holy angels.

***

"Angels and Women" Novel Recommended To Bible Students

In the July 30, 1924 issue of THE GOLDEN AGE, Clayton Woodworth reviewed the book "Angels and Women". Historically, Woodworth claimed that the Society normally did not review books in THE GOLDEN AGE except when they believed in the book enough or thought it was an important work.

"'ANGELS AND WOMEN' is the title of a book just off the press. It is a reproduction and revision off the novel, "Seola" which was written in 1878, and which deals with conditions prior to the flood. Pastor Russell read this book with keen interest, and requested some of his friends to read it because of its striking harmony with the Scriptural account of the sons of God described in the sixth chapter of Genesis. Those sons of God became evil, and debauched the human family prior to, and up to, the time of the great deluge. We call attention to this book because we believe it will be of interest to Bible Students, who are familiar with the machinations of the devil and the demons and the influence exercised by them prior to the flood and also now in this evil day. The book throws light on the subject and is believed, will aid those who carefully consider it to avoid the baneful effects of spiritism, now so prevalent in the world.

"The book is revised and published by a personal friend of Pastor Russell, and one who was close to him in his work. It is published by the A. B. Abac Company, New York city.

"The publishers advise that the regular price of the book is $2.00; but to all subscribers to The Golden Age, it will furnished at $1.00 per volume, when ordered in lots of ten or more. This is not an advertisement, but a voluntary comment."

The WatchTower Society's endorsement of ANGELS AND WOMEN apparently received mixed reviews from the not-as-stupid-as-Woodworth-thought-they-were "Bible Students". Most Bible Students probably viewed this book for it was -- spiritism; while only a few Bible Students understood that this book promoted the Society's belief that some demons could repent and come back to God's organization.

Typically, during those few occasions when the rank-and-file have refused to go along with one of the WatchTower Society's unbiblical money-making schemes, the WatchTower Society picked out one genuine letter which expressed concern, and then fabricated a letter expressing support, as a response.

Then, in the December 3, 1924 issue of THE GOLDEN AGE:

Angels and Women

WE PRESENT some letters regarding this book (a review of which recently appeared in our columns) which we feel sure will be of interest to our readers:

TO THE GOLDEN AGE:

Pardon me for taking this much of your time on what may be so simple a matter; but I was approached about going into a club to get a certain book called, "Angels and Women". I made some inquiries, and was told that it was a book that a fallen angel dictated to a women, showing a desire to come back into harmony with God; and that Pastor Russell approved of the book. I had never heard of the book before; and as we are to shun anything akin to spiritism I should like to know positively whether the book has your approval before buying one; so if it is not asking to much would like a reply.

(Mrs.) W. S. Davis, Los Angeles, Cal.


TO THE GOLDEN AGE:

With much pleasure and profit has the book, "Angels and Women" been read by Truth friends. It contains much to encourage one to loyalty and faith in God.

Do you think that it would be a real service to purchase these books in quantities of ten or more copies at a time so as to get the special $1 per copy rate that you have so kindly secured for us, and thus to have them on hand as Christmas and birthday presents or for other gift occasions to give to our relatives and friends, whom we have been unable to otherwise interest in Present Truth or only slightly so?

Would not some be disposed to read a fascinating novel of this kind, who might not be able to get first interested in "The Harp" or STUDIES?

Would this not be considered one way of instructing the people about matters concerning which there is so much ignorance, and direct them to the real Bible keys, the WATCH TOWER publications?

Should we send such orders to THE GOLDEN AGE?

If not, will you kindly give us the complete address of the A. B. Abac Company? There are many who would like to get a little more information regarding these items.

An Appreciative Reader

___________________

Reply

TO BOTH above letters we reply as follows:

When Pastor Russell was here, he read a book dealing with conditions that obtained prior to the flood. He requested some other brethren to read it. It was so much in harmony with the Bible account of the fallen angels that he regarded the book as remarkable. Under his supervision it was revised, and later published by one who was formerly his confidential associate. The new book is published under the title "Angels and Women". Scriptural citations are given. An appendix is added. Pastor Russell remarked that at some opportune time the book, revised, should be published.

As to its being a violation of the Vow to read this book, such an idea is not worthy of consideration. It would be no more wrong to read it than to read "What Say the Scriptures about Spiritism" or "Talking With the Dead"; for both these books quote much as to what the evil spirits do. Many have derived much benefit from reading "Angels and Women" because it aids in getting a clearer vision of how Satan overreached the angels and overreached the human race, and caused all the havoc amongst men and angels. It helps one to a better understanding of the devil's organization.

The book is published by the A. B. Abac Company, Madison Square, P.O. Box 101, New York City, N. Y.

THE GOLDEN AGE does not handle this publication; but all who desire it should write directly to the publisher at the above address.


***

Here is the "Foreword" as published in "Angels and Women". It pretty much speaks for itself:


FOREWORD

TRITE but true is the saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction." Fiction sometimes illuminates the truth.

A number of years ago Mrs. J. G. Smith published a novel entitled Seola. She claims to have been impelled to write it after listening to beautiful music. She made no pretense of a knowledge of the Bible. Yet many of her sayings are so thoroughly in accord with the correct understanding of certain scriptures that the novel is exceedingly interesting and sometimes thrilling.

The greatest Bible scholar of modern times read this book shortly before his death. To a close personal friend he said : "This book, if revised according to the facts we now know concerning spiritism, would be instructive and helpful." Long prior thereto this noted Bible scholar had written and published the first clear exposition of the Bible teaching on spiritism. He advised his personal friend to revise the novel Seola and to fiublish it if opportunity was afforded at some future time. 

This book deals with the events transpiring between the date of the creation of man and the great deluge. The principal characters figuring in the novel are Satan, fallen angels and women. Angels are heavenly messengers. There was a time when all angels were good. The time came when many of them allied themselves with Satan and became evil, hence called "fallen angels." Woman possesses finer sensibilities than man. She is more susceptible to seductive influences. Satan and his allies have taken advantage of this fact in overreaching woman and through woman overreaching man. Holy angels are the exemplification of good. Good women are blessed creatures. Evil spirit beings started good human beings on the downward road. Evil angels and bad women have made countless millions mourn.

The Bible story of fallen angels or evil spirits is briefly told as follows:

Lucifer, once a good spirit being, of great knowledge and authority, in order to satisfy his ambitious desire for greater authority, deceived Eve, the first woman, causmg her to sin. Adam, the first man, joined her in the transgression. The sentence of death and expulsion from Eden resulted. Nine hundred and thirty years were employed in executing that death sentence. During that time there was bom to Adam and Eve a number of children. Sixteen hundred years later, among these descendants of Adam and Eve, were Noah and his family.

Lucifer, now degraded, was named by Jehovah the Dragon, that old Serpent, Satan the Devil. God had permitted the angels, prior to the flood, to have supervision of the peoples of earth, (Hebrews 2:3.) These angels had power to materialize in human form and mingle amongst the human race. Satan seduced many of these angels and caused them to become wicked or fallen ones. They in turn debauched the women descendants of Adam. The materialized angels, called "sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." (Genesis 6:2.) A mongrel race resulted from these fallen angels with the offspring of Adam. These filled the earth with wickedness and violence. Their wickedness became so great that the Lord Jehovah brought upon the world the great deluge that destroyed all of this mongrel race.

The sons of God who succumbed to the temptations and thus became the fallen angels are alluded to as "Devas" in this book; their offspring as "Darvands." The fallen angels or evil spirits were not destroyed in the flood, but imprisoned in the darkness of the atmosphere near the earth. Upon this point the inspired words of holy writ are: "For God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." (2 Peter 2:4.) "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6.)

The fallen angels or evil spirits were not destroyed in the flood, but imprisoned in the darkness of the atmosphere near the earth. Upon this point the inspired words of holy writ are: "For God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." (2 Peter 2:4.) "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6.)

Since the flood these evil angels have had no power to materialize, yet they have had the power and exercised it, of communicating with human beings through willing dupes known as spirit mediums. Thus have been deceived hundreds of thousands of honest people into believing that their dead friends are alive and that the living can talk with the dead.

All students, familiar with the Bible teaching concerning spiritism, will read this book with the keenest interest because it shows the method employed by Satan and the wicked angels to debauch and overthrow the human race. The reviser of this book is of the opinion that the original manuscript was dictated to the woman who wrote it by one of the fallen angels who desired to return to divine favor. It is believed that reverential persons now examining the revised edition of this book will have a better understanding of the evil influence about us and be better fortified in the Lord's word and grace to shield and protect themselves from these evil influences.

Spiritism, otherwise named demonism, is working great evil amongst men. It should be studiously avoided. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Hence this publication.


************                    *************

"Judge" Rutherford "FIRES" Holy Spirit -- Claims To Be Led By "Angels"

It is a fundamental belief of true Christians that God sent the Holy Spirit to guide and direct the Christian congregation from its very founding. True Christians also believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit -- that the Holy Spirit guides, directs, and even "speaks" to true Christians, personally.

Practically all Jehovah's Witnesses would agree with the first statement. Some Jehovah's Witnesses might agree with the second statement.

Probably NO JEHOVAH"S WITNESS today knows that, from 1930 until 1944, that the WatchTower Society taught that whatever "holy spirit" had been leading it until then had been withdrawn from both the WatchTower Society and so-called "anointed" Jehovah's Witnesses. 

"Judge" Rutherford introduced this new teaching based on the WatchTower's main teaching that Jesus Christ had become "King" in 1914. Further teaching that Jesus Christ had "come to the temple of Jehovah God" in 1918, Rutherford reasoned that Jesus had taken over from the "holy spirit" the guidance and direction of the WatchTower Society and its anointed members. More specifically, Rutherford began teachings that Jesus had begun using "angels" as his agents to do the work previously done by the "holy spirit".

In 1930, in the September 1 issue of THE WATCHTOWER magazine, page 263, Rutherford declared, "It was the holy spirit that operated upon (sic) the minds of men in the early church ... , but now the Lord Jesus ... is in his temple, and, acting by and through his holy angels, puts it into the mind and heart of the remnant class to take positive action and to do a certain work, ... . ... When Jesus came to his temple ... he would direct his holy angels to take the necessary action ... , and would use his angels to bear messages .... it is the angels of the Lord that are charged with certain work ... ."

In the 1931 YEARBOOK, in the comments for November 2, Rutherford stated, "With the Lord's coming to his temple (in 1918), there was no further need for the administration of the holy spirit as a comforter or advocate."

In 1931, in the June 1 issue of THE WATCHTOWER magazine, page 167, as well as in 1932, in the PRESERVATION book, page 51, Rutherford stated, "After the holy spirit as an advocate or paraclete ceased to function in behalf of the consecrated, then the angels are employed in behalf of those who are being made ready for the kingdom."

In 1933, in the August 1 issue of THE WATCHTOWER magazine, page 231, in an article attempting to interpret Zechariah 1, Rutherford stated, "This is proof that the interpretation of prophecy does not proceed from man, but that the Lord Jesus ... sends the necessary information to his people by and through his holy angels."

In 1933, in the August 15 issue of THE WATCHTOWER magazine, page 248, Rutherford declared, "... the angels of the Lord ... are used to enlighten and comfort the anointed ones and to bring them refreshing truths. ... the Lord enlightens them, sending his angels for that very purpose."

In 1933, in the the December 1 issue of THE WATCHTOWER magazine, page 364, in an article attempting to interpret Daniel's prophecy, Rutherford first declared that the "desolating of the temple" had begun on May 25, 1926, and had run 2300 days until October 15, 1932, which marked the "cleansing of the temple". Attempting to convince local Jehovah's Witnesses that they must obey orders from the WatchTower Society, Rutherford declared that "angels are delegated by the Lord to convey his instructions to the members of his organization on earth. Just how this is done is not necessary for us to understand."

With that last comment, Rutherford made it clear that he had no intention to disclose how "angels" were communicating with him. That is understandable. Given the fact that by 1930, "Judge" Rutherord was a serial adulterer with multiple Bethelite mistresses, and was well on his way to being a full-blown alcoholic, and given WatchTower Society Leaders track record with demon possesion and demon fascination, any honest hearted Jehovah's Witness should be extremely concerned as to WHICH "angels' were guiding and directing "Judge" Rutherford!


***

WatchTower Society Finds More "TRUTHS" From Satan

Johannes Greber was once a Catholic priest who either was excommunicated or allowed to resign due to his spiritistic beliefs and/or practices. Greber, a German, authored a book entitled, "Communication with the Spirit World, Its Laws and Its Purpose", which was copyrighted in the United States in 1932. Greber also authored "The New Testament -- A New Translation and Explanation Based on the Oldest Manuscripts", which was copyrighted in the United States in 1937. Each book had a different NYC publisher. Neither Greber nor his publishers did anything to hide Greber's ties to spiritualism. 

Thus, while others are claiming that the WatchTower knew about Greber's background around 1955, when the WatchTower Society first mentioned his name in one of their publications, in fact, whomever purchased his book(s), and whomever read his books, would have known Greber's background before 1955.

Another point is that the publishers had Greber's books professionally translated from German to English. A Committee of clergymen supposedly corrected the translation. I'm not wasting a lot of time on this issue, but has that "Committee" been identified? Which NYC "clergymen" would want to be connected with Greber and his new translation? There may be a good reason that John 1:1 is the same in Greber's 1937 translation as in the later NWT??? 

***

THE WATCHTOWER

October 1, 1955

What Do the Scriptures Say About "Survival After Death"?

(edited)

33 Is such official Catholic teaching as the above an impenetrable defense against the invasion of spiritism? No! It is an invitation to spiritism, and the conditions in Roman Catholic lands, such as Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti, show Roman Catholicism to be no bulwark against this spreading peril. In such lands the Catholic people, even up to 90 per cent, mix spiritism or voodooism right in with Roman Catholicism, practicing both at the same time with no objection or penalty by the priests. It comes as no surprise that one Johannes Greber, a former Catholic clergyman, has become a spiritualist and has published the book entitled "Communication with the Spirit World, Its laws and Its Purpose." (1932, Macoy Publishing Company, New York) In its Foreword he makes the typical misstatement: "The most significant spiritualistic book is the Bible; for its principal contents hinge upon the messages of the beyond to those existing in the present." -- THE WATCHTOWER, October 1, 1955, p. 603.


***

THE WATCHTOWER
February 15, 1956
"Triumphing over Wicked Spirit Forces" 
(edited/reformatted)

Says Johannes Greber in the introduction of his translation of The New Testament, copyrighted in 1937: 

"I myself was a Catholic priest, and until I was forty-eight years old had never as much as believed in the possibility of communicating with the world of God's spirits. The day came, however, when I involuntarily took my first step toward such communication, and experienced things that shook me to the depths of my soul. ... 

My experiences are related in a book that has appeared in both German and English, and bears the title, "Communication with the Spirit-World: Its Laws and Its Purpose." (Page 15: paragraphs 2, 3) 

In keeping with his Roman Catholic extraction, [Johannes] Greber's translation is bound with a gold-leaf cross on its stiff front cover. In the Foreword of his aforementioned book, ex-priest [Johannes] Greber says: "The most significant spiritualistic book is the Bible." Under this impression Greber endeavors to make his New Testament translation read very spiritualistic. Spiritualism claims that there are good spirits and bad spirits, and that it does not want to have anything to do with the bad spirits, but tries to communicate only with the good spirits. 

At 1 John 4:1-3 the Bible says: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 

[Johannes] Greber's translation of these verses reads: "My dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to learn whether they come from God. For many false spirits have emerged from the abyss and gone out into the world, and are speaking through human mediums. This is how you can find out whether a spirit comes from God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ appeared on earth as a man, comes from God. While every spirit who seeks to destroy belief in Jesus as our Lord incarnated does not come from God, but is sent by the adversary of Christ. You have been told that such spirits would come, and they are already appearing in the world." 

Very plainly the spirits in which ex-priest [Johannes] Greber believes helped him in his translation. 
However, when the apostle John says, "Try the spirits", or, "Test the spirits", he does not mean for us to dabble in spiritualism and get in touch with the spirits by means of spirit mediums, ouija boards, or planchettes, or other spiritistic paraphernalia, and try out which is a good spirit and which is a bad one. By "spirits" here, John is referring, not to invisible spirit creatures, but to the purpose, the intent, or the motivation of the prophesying or public declaration made by men respecting God and Christ. 

Hence An American Translation reads: "Do not believe every inspired utterance, but test the utterances to see whether they come from God, for many false prophets have come out into the world." 

And the New World Translation reads: "Do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God." To test these inspired utterances or inspired expressions of the prophets or mouthpieces of various religions to see whether they are inspired by God's spirit or not, we do not have to go to spiritualist seances or mediums.

***

THE WATCHTOWER
September 15, 1962
"The Word" -- Who Is He? According to John
(edited)

Similar is the reading by a former Roman Catholic priest: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without it nothing created sprang into existence." (John 1:1-3)*

*Footnote: "The New Testament -- A New Translation and Explanation Based on the Oldest Manuscripts", by Johannes Greber (a translation from German into English), edition of 1937, the front cover of this bound translation being stamped with a golden cross.

THIS EXACT SAME ARTICLE EXCERPT IS DUPLICATED IN THE WATCHTOWER'S BOOKLET ENTITLED, "THE WORD -- WHO IS HE? ACCORDING TO JOHN", PARAGRAPH 4, PAGE 5.

***

"A translation by a former Roman Catholic priest, Johannes Greber (1937 ed.) renders the second appearance of the word "god" in the sentence as "a god". -- Aid To Bible Understanding, 1971, The Word, p. 1669.

***

"The translation by Johannes Greber (1937) of these verses reads as follows: 'Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city.'" -- Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, Memorial Tomb, p. 1134.

***

THE WATCHTOWER
October 15, 1975 
"Questions From Readers"
(edited)

Does Matthew 27:52, 53 mean that at the time of Jesus' death some persons in the grave were resurrected?

Many Bible commentators feel that this is what these verses mean. Yet scholars admit that the sense and proper translation of these verses is unusually difficult. Actually, there are reasons to believe that these verses mean that when Jesus died the accompanying earthquake broke open tombs near Jerusalem and thus exposed corpses to passersby. ...

Without wresting the Greek grammar, a translator can render Matthew 27:52, 53 in a way that suggests that a similar exposing of corpses resulted from the earthquake occurring at Jesus' death. Thus the translation by Johannes Greber (1937) renders these verses: "Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried there were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city." -- Compare the New World Translation.

***

THE WATCHTOWER
April 15, 1976
"Insight On the News - Event Clarifies Bible"
(edited)

The recent Guatemalan earthquake affected even some of those already dead. "Time" magazine reports that "several mourners who went to bury their dead in family plots found that the coffins of long-dead relatives had been uncovered by the quake." Something similar occurred during an earthquake in the Jerusalem area at Jesus' death. At that time, dead bodies were customarily placed in vaults or chambers cut from Palestine's soft limestone rock, often in hillsides. 

A report in the Bible, as translated by Johannes Greber, says that when Jesus died, "the earth quaked, and the rocks were shattered. Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried there were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city." Hence, rather than a resurrection, as some Bible translations imply, there appears to have been merely an exposure of the dead to observers, as in Guatemala." -- Matt. 27:51-53


***

THE WATCHTOWER
April 1, 1983 
Questions From Readers
(edited)

Why, in recent years, has "The Watchtower" not made use of the translation by the former Catholic priest, Johannes Greber?

This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings of Matthew 27:52, 53 and John 1:1, as given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on "God's Spirit World" to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages. 

It is stated: "His wife, a medium of God's Spirit world was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God's Messengers to Pastor Greber." The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) The scholarship that forms the basis for the rendering of the above-cited texts in the New World Translation is sound and for this reason does not depend at all on Greber's translation for authority. Nothing is lost, therefore, by ceasing to use his New Testament.



WatchTower Society Still Seeking "Truths" From Satan

Here We Go Again! With the admission that [Johannes] Greber's [translation] work was directed by "spirits," the Watch Tower [Society] had to find another authority for some of their unorthodox teachings. A classic example concerns their rendering of John 1:1. The New American Standard Bible renders the verse 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

This verse is one of the strong statements in the Bible concerning the deity of Jesus Christ, and all legitimate, recognized translations have a similar rendering. However, the Watch Tower renders the last phrase "and the Word was a god." In other words, he is a lesser god -- one of many. This effectively denigrates Christ's deity. {Johannes] Greber's New Testament translation of John 1:1 supported the "a god" teaching. 

In the 1985 edition of "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures", the WatchTower [Society] has provided an elaborate appendix at the back. On pages 1139-40, they tender new support for their "a god" translation of John 1:1. On page 1139, the KIT uses as an authority John S. Thompson of Baltimore, who wrote "The Monotessaron, or The Gospel History, According to the Four Evangelists", in 1829.

Then, with the introduction of the New World Translation Study Edition in 2015 (revised 2021), in Appendix C4, "Translations and Reference Works Supporting the Use of the Divine Name in the 'New Testament'", under footnote J86, is cited "'The Monotessaron, or The Gospel History, According to the Four Evangelists', by John S. Thompson, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A., 1829. This translation uses 'Jehovah' or 'JEHOVAH' in the main text of some verses."

The "American Quarterly Review" of September 1830, volume 8, pages 227-245, provides us with some interesting facts concerning John S. Thompson. He apparently was not a modest man, for in his autobiographic statement in "The Review", he states, 

"I shall rejoice in having been the happy instrument, in the hand of God, of having done fourfold as much for mankind, as all the professed commentators of the last fifteen centuries!" 

A religious eclectic, [John S.] Thompson changed from Calvinism to Arminianism, becoming a Methodist preacher. Then "The Review" goes on to state that he became a Restorationist, then an Arian Restorationist, and finally, by the time he wrote his volume in 1829, he had become a Unitarian Universalist! [John S.] Thompson, like [Johannes] Greber and Greber's "spirit messengers," held the clergy in low regard (which automatically made him eligible for WatchTower "sainthood"):

"The meanest being on earth stands higher, in my approbation, than a deceitful, whining preacher! And I verily believe, I and God are of one opinion on this subject." 

Perhaps the most interesting similarity between [John S.] Thompson and [Johannes] Greber is the source of their inspiration and direction -- the spirit world. [John] Thompson describes a visit by one of these spirits: 

"... on retiring to rest, I enjoyed a return of the same happy and celestial influence. Whether in a dream or vision I was unable to determine; but I thought a seraph entered my room, filling it with a luminous effulgence, exceeding tenfold that of the sun: whilst I distinctly perceived. ... the apparition, I heard a voice, saying -- read 1 Kings 3: 10, 11, and the room became gradually dark, as the light withdrew at one of the windows."

The spirits had instructions for [John S.] Thompson, which he reveals in his account: 

"I awoke, one night, and heard a considerable noise in my room. I listened carefully for some time, and the sound was that of a thousand pens, writing in great haste what was dictated. (automatic writing)

"I heard a voice very distinctly, saying, 'In all your writings, be careful to represent Jesus as only the instrument of God in all he does.' I immediately interrupted, by exclaiming, 'Silence! I'll not believe one of you.' The noise immediately stopped; and I was often afterward sorry that I had interrupted the dictation."

Though initially disturbed by the spirits' messages, [John S.] Thompson finally comes under their power, for the above account continues, 

"Not long after, sleeping in the same room, I awoke by pressure, which removed immediately on awaking. I began to reflect, whether it was a dream, or an external force applied to my body. Whilst I doubted, some being took hold of my hands, and pressed them with violence, which excited in me great surprise. My hands were let loose, but, in one minute, they were again seized, with renewed violence. I then cried, 'Let me loose! I believe! Do not injure me! I am entirely satisfied of your existence!'"

Apparently, John S. Thompson took the advice of the "voice" which commanded him to "represent Jesus as only the instrument of God in all he does," for in the Watch Tower Society's "Kingdom Interlinear Translation", 1985, on page 1139, [John S.] Thompson's rendering of John 1: 1 "and the Logos was a god" is quoted as an authority for their own "a god" teaching. [See above for more recent inclusion in NWT Study Edition (2015, 2021).]

So in spite of the fact that the Watch Tower organization was caught red-handed in their use of a spirit medium's translation -- Johannes Greber -- and had to attempt a cover-up of the matter, we now find them once again using the translation of yet a second "spirit" directed authority.

The words of the apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy are appropriate in closing: 

"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons." (1 Timothy 4: 1). -- Leonard Chretien (edited).



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RECOMMENDED READING:

Short BIBLE TOPIC Readings Selected For Those With Jehovah's Witnesses Backgrounds

Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah's Witness Women

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness

The Theocratic War Doctrine: Why Jehovah's Witnesses Lie In Court

 

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