“If any prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name that I did not command him to speak or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. However, you may say in your heart: ‘How will we know that Jehovah has not spoken the word?’ When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word is not fulfilled or does not come true, then Jehovah did not speak that word. The prophet spoke it presumptuously. You should not fear him.’ (Deuteronomy 18:20-22, Watchtower translation)

In this post, I will show you what the Watchtower itself has said about false prophesying and false prophets.

I’ll follow their statements with my responses.


Watchtower: “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end’ to the world, even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God’s truths and the evidence that He was using and guiding them.” (Awake!, October 8, 1968)

 Response: What person or religious organization can you name who has incorrectly predicted the end of the world more times than the Watchtower? Do they avoid being false prophets simply because they named specific years or time frames but didn’t give a specific month and day?


Watchtower: “Does this admission of making mistakes stamp them [Watchtower] as false prophets? Not at all, for false prophets do not admit to making mistakes.” (The Watchtower, November 1, 1972, p. 644)


  • Nowhere does the Bible say that false prophets never admit making mistakes.
  • The Watchtower itself has said: “False prophets will try to hide their reason for feeling shame by denying who they really are.” (Paradise Restored to Mankind—By Theocracy! 353-354)
  • Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (set out above) says nothing about false prophets being exonerated if they later admitted they had made mistakes.
  • The false prophets of Jeremiah’s day proclaimed that God’s people would not be taken captive to Babylon. If they survived the Babylonian siege, do you think they continued to proclaim that they had been right?


Watchtower: “If these prophesies have not been fulfilled, and if all possibility of fulfilment is past, then these prophets are proven false.” (Prophecy, 1929, p 22)


Don’t you think it ironic that this statement was written by Joseph Rutherford, the same man who—nine years earlier—wrote that we could confidently expect the resurrection of Abraham and the other patriarchs to take place in 1925?

This was the same man who had the Watchtower build a 10-room mansion in San Diego (Beth Sarim), deed it in trust for the patriarchs, and then moved in until they would arrive.


Watchtower: “‘Sometime between April 16 and 23, 1957, Armageddon will sweep the world! Millions of persons will perish in its flames and the land will be scorched.’ So prophesied a certain California pastor, Mihran Ask, in January 1957. Such false prophets tend to put the subject of Armageddon in disrepute.” (The Watchtower, October 15, 1958, p. 613)


  • The Watchtower proclaimed World War I to be the Armageddon of the scriptures.
  • The Watchtower put forward the dates 1918, 1920, 1925, and 1975 for apocalyptic destruction.
  • The Watchtower taught that many people who were alive in 1914 would live to see Armageddon.
  • The Watchtower taught that Armageddon would come by the close of the 20th century.
  • Doesn’t this “tend to put the subject of Armageddon in disrepute?”



“Ever since ‘The Watchtower’ began to be published in July of 1879 it has looked ahead into the future.… No, ‘The Watchtower’ is no inspired prophet, but it follows and explains a Book of prophecy the predictions in which have proved to be unerring and unfailing till now. ‘The Watchtower’ is therefore under safe guidance. It may be read with confidence, for its statements may be checked against the prophetic Book.” (The Watchtower, January 1, 1969, p. 2).


What does this disclaimer of being an “inspired prophet” mean when you continually make claims like these?

  • “Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. What does it show?” (The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, p. 197)
  • “It is vital that we… respond to the directions of the ‘slave’ as we would to the voice of God, because it is his provision.” (The Watchtower, June 15, 1957, p. 370)
  • “Avoid Independent Thinking .. How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization.” (The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, p. 22)
  • “Rebellion against the slave is rebellion against God.” (The Watchtower, June 1, 1956, p. 346)
  • “[God] has put his ‘words’, his message, into the mouths of his servants, for them to proclaim earthwide.” (Survival into a New Earth, 1984, p. 109)
  • “The anointed and their other sheep companions recognize that by following the lead of the modern-day Governing Body, they are in fact following their Leader, Christ.” (The Watchtower, September 15, 2010, p. 21)


Watchtower: “Down through the centuries since Jesus’ day, so many unfulfilled predictions have been made that many no longer take them seriously. … Undeterred by previous failures, some seem to have been spurred on by the approach of the year 2000 and have made further predictions of the end of the world. … The flood of false alarms is unfortunate. They are like the wolf-wolf cries of the shepherd boy—people soon dismiss them, and when the true warning comes, it too is ignored.” (Awake!, March 22, 1993, “Why So Many False Alarms?,” pp. 3-4) `

Response: Who—“undeterred by previous failures”—has made more false alarm predictions of Armageddon than the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society? That’s not a rhetorical question. Who?


Watchtower: “Jehovah is the Grand identifier of his true messengers. He identifies them by making the messages he delivers through them come true. Jehovah is also the Great Exposer of false messengers.” (The Watchtower, May 1, 1997, p. 8)


  • Were the prophecies of the Watchtower messages from Jehovah?
  • Did he make them come true?
  • In fact, if Jehovah gave the Watchtower the predictions they made, why didn’t any of them come true?
  • In proclaiming its many predictions of God’s timetable, was the Watchtower a true messenger of Jehovah or a false messenger?


Watchtower: “No wonder the Bible strongly condemns false religion! For instance, the Mosaic Law specifically warned God’s chosen people against false prophets. Anyone promoting untrue teachings and the worship of false gods was to be ‘put to death for speaking of revolt against Jehovah.’” (The Watchtower, March 15, 2006, p. 27)

Response: Using this as a standard, were the untrue predictions the Watchtower made while claiming to be “the faithful and discreet slave” and “God’s sole channel of communication to mankind” in reality a revolt against Jehovah?


Watchtower: “Valueless things can include words. For example, Jehovah said to Jeremiah: ‘Falsehood is what the prophets are prophesying in my name. I have not sent them, nor have I commanded them or spoken to them. A false vision and divination and a valueless thing and the trickiness of their heart they are speaking prophetically to you people.” (Jer. 14:14) Those false prophets claimed to speak in Jehovah’s name, but they were promoting their own ideas, their own wisdom. Thus, their words were ‘a valueless thing’ They were worthless and posed a real spiritual threat.” (The Watchtower, April 15, 2008, p. 5)


  • When the Watchtower prophesied dates and time frames for Armageddon that proved to be false, were they really promoting Jehovah’s wisdom or their own ideas and “wisdom”?
  • Were their words “valueless things”?
  • Had Jehovah sent them, commanded them, or spoken to them regarding the dates and time frames they promoted?
  • Doesn’t that make them false prophets who claimed to speak in Jehovah’s name?
  • Do they pose a “real spiritual threat” to people who believe them?`


Watchtower: “RELIGIOUS LEADERS sometimes predict tragic worldwide events to warn mankind and gather followers. Doomsday prophet Harold Camping and his disciples widely advertised that the earth would be destroyed in 2011. Needless to say, the world is still here.” (The Watchtower, May 1, 2014, p. 3)


  • Hasn’t the Watchtower many times predicted tragic worldwide events “to warn mankind and gather followers”?
  • If Harold Camping was a “doomsday prophet,” doesn’t the Watchtower also meet that description?
  • Needless to say, this world and its wicked system are still here.


Watchtower: “Well, it is true that religious leaders who claim to follow the Bible have produced many confusing and conflicting ideas. This is because they have not, in fact, based their beliefs on the Bible. The apostle Peter describes them as ‘false prophets’ and ‘false teachers’ who would create ‘destructive sects.’” (The Watchtower, August 1, 2001, p. 6)


Doesn’t everyone find the following claims to be “confusing and conflicting ideas?

When Jesus talked about “this generation” in Matthew 24, he meant:

  • Everyone in the new creation from the first century onward
  • Anyone who was 15 years or older in 1914
  • Anyone who was 10 years or older in 1914
  • People who were older than babies in 1914
  • People who were babies or older in 1914
  • People who rejected Christ’s message and were facing God’s judgment
  • Contemporaries who are not tied to a starting date such as 1914
  • The “anointed brothers of Christ” without regard to 1914
  • Two groups of “anointed”—those who were alive in 1914 (Group 1) and those whose lives overlapped with theirs (Group 2).

Applying the Watchtower’s own standards of condemnation, don’t these “confusing and contradictory ideas” it has promoted show:

  • That the Watchtower has not, in fact, based its prophetic beliefs on the Bible?
  • That the Watchtower is a “destructive sect”?

Why does the Watchtower’s sweeping condemnation apply to everyone but itself?


This series has shown the evidence that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is, indeed, a false prophet. Many Witnesses are not aware of many of these prophecies, and you will need to be careful if you share them not to trigger their expectations of being persecuted. But for some Witnesses, these may be the impetus for beginning to doubt the organization.

“The False Prophecies Approach” (Chapter 20 of my book) contains many suggestions regarding how to how to discuss prophecy with Jehovah’s Witnesses, including how to address numerous explanations and defenses put forth by the Watchtower organization.

My book is available on Amazon