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Friday, October 21, 2011

I Am A Witness

I was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness in 1960 at age 26 with my wife, Marjorie. We had studied together with the Witnesses and were converts. As a member in good standing I served as an appointed congregation Elder since the mid-1970’s. I was regular in the door-to-door field service, conducted home Bible studies, and did all that the Watchtower Society requires. Marjorie and I even raised our child as a Witness and looked forward to surviving Armageddon into endless life on paradise earth.
From the mid-1960’s the Society had pointed to 1975 as the time for the conclusion of the present world system. The publications of that time were very clear about this, and we were also taught the same predictions in our meetings and book studies. Because we were taught that the only Witnesses in good standing would survive Armageddon, we even sold a prosperous business in 1972 and our home in 1974 so that we could more fully serve Jehovah in the short time remaining.
Understandably, many Witnesses were disappointed and disillusioned when 1975 came and went. I became suspicious when the Watchtower denied responsibility for the predictions both preached and printed in the prior decade. Instead, they laid the blame for the unfulfilled prophecy on what they called “overenthusiastic members”!
As I considered other times when the organization had supposedly prophesied the end of the world, I decided to examine those predictions for myself. The Watchtower, of course, doesn’t tolerate a critical analysis of its history or teaching, severely censoring anyone who tires. Since my life as an Elder would not allow the time I needed for research, I resigned as Presiding Overseer of my congregation. It was a serious and far-reaching decision.
So began an odyssey of research and scrutiny of past Watchtower prophecies and teachings. My wife and I developed an extensive library of old Watchtower literature and discovered some incredible claims made by the Society.
The Society had taught that the world would end in 1914. When 1914 came and went, President C. T. Russell changed the date to 1915, then 1918. Later, second President J. F. Rutherford chose 1925 for the end of the world and claimed that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other “ancient worthies” would be resurrected in 1925 to usher in the new world!
By 1929 Rutherford, still convinced of that resurrection of “ancient worthies,” built a mansion for them in San Diego, calling the house Beth Sarim, “House of the Princes.” He finally died in the house in 1942 shortly after proclaiming that the end of the world was only months away. The Watchtower now teaches that the world only entered its time of the end in 1914, taking attention away from the failed prophecy of that year. The current teaching is that the generation that saw the events of 1914 will see the end of the world.
All of this and more made Marjorie and me realize that the Watchtower Society is a “false prophet” organization, perfectly fitting in the biblical definition of a false prophet in Deuteronomy 18:21-22:
            You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or           come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken      presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
As a result, we turned in our formal letter of disassociation from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Of course, we were totally shunned by our Witness friends whom we had known for years.
After sending our letter of disassociation, a peace of mind and a freedom that I had never known in my 22 years as a Jehovah’s Witness came over me. Jesus Christ had personally come into my life, and I knew for certain that my salvation did not rest on worthless works, but had been given to me as a free gift, and outpouring of grace.
We had been taught that we had to go through the Watchtower organization to get to the Father, but we are witnesses to the truth in Jesus Christ when He said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). You do not need the so-called “144,000 mediator class” to help you work out your salvation. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Jehovah loves you with a greater love than the Society has told you about, and Marjorie and I are witnesses of the marvelous salvation He freely offers in Christ. I invite you to accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior and renounce the errors of the Watchtower Society. Stop trusting in your good works, and ask the Lord Jesus to save you. “Whoever believes in the Son [Jesus Christ] has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
Yes, the living Lord extends this invitation to Jehovah’s Witnesses today: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
--Leonard A. Chretien
American Tract Society
3 Truths Every Jehovah’s Witness Should Know:
The Bible is God’s Holy Word, and It is the final authority on every question that mankind faces.  The Bible tells of God’s goodness and love for you.  It also tells how you can have eternal life in heaven when you die.  The Bible states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” (1 John 5:13).  In this…we will examine three vital truths from the Bible that you should know so you can spend eternity in heaven.
The first is that the Bible clearly teaches that there is a place of eternal punishment, torment, and destruction for those who reject God.  This place is called the lake of fie.  The Bible says, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41), the lake of fire is a place of eternal punishment for sinners.  The Bible teaches, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).
The truth of the existence of eternal punishment brings us to the second truth found in the Bible.  This truth is that God has provided a substitute to take your punishment that you, as a sinner deserve.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ “…being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).  God the Son took your punishment if you will only accept Him as your Saviour.
The third vital truth found in God’s Word is that when Jesus Christ arose from the dead in bodily form, He proved His deity.  After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and told them, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39).  In fact, it is recorded in the Bible that more than five hundred people saw Jesus in His physical, glorified body after the resurrection.  “For I delivered unto your first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
Believing that Jesus rose from the dead is necessary for your salvation.  God promises in His Word, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9).  God gives you this promise, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).
If you add anything to God’s Holy Word, you have failed to trust Him.  “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any may shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).
Salvation is so simple!  All it requires is to believe what God said in the Bible. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:10, 13).
If you will accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour, please pray this prayer or one similar to it: Dear God, I admit I am a sinner, going to hell.  I know that I cannot save myself.  I repent of my sins and put my faith in the blood that you shed for me on the cross to pay for all my sins.  I now accept you as my Saviour, submit to you as Lord, and trust you to take me to heaven.  Thank you for saving me.  Amen.
Fellowship Tract League

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