Rev. A. KOLESNIKOFF.
1956 (1) Jehovah Witnesses
Orthodox Life 1956 (1)
THE WITNESSES OF JEHOVAH
Religion in the United States is divided into a great number of different denominations, among which "The Witnesses of Jehovah" is steadily rising in popularity. Its beginning dates back to the 1880s when The Watchtower magazine was first published. This organization became recognized after the First World War. In connection with the name of Judge Rutherford, its popularity widened in the years of the 1930s, only to be checked again during the Second World War. It has grown considerably since the war.
The main speech, made in 1951 at the convention of "The Witnesses of Jehovah," was transmitted by hundreds of U. S. radio stations, as well as by some in other countries. According to the reports by the Witnesses, it was heard by millions of people in countries all over the world. Never before in the history of man has a human voice been carried over a similar distance and been heard by such a wide circle. In 1950 the Congress of the Witnesses counted 150,000 people, most of them American farmers. The figure at their meetings is as high as tens of thousands. The Watchtower magazine is issued in 27 different languages and numbers 1,310,000 copies. Booklets are published in 20 languages in more than 1,000,000 copies. There are representatives in 120 countries. In the year 1947, the president of the Witnesses gave his speech, "Joy to All People," flying by airoplane to all the main centers of the East, of Africa, and Europe, to Christians and non-Christians. On the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan, the Witnesses observe "the eve of remembrance" of the death of Christ. For this occasion in 1951 there assembled 623,000 people from 120 different countries. True, the emblems were received by only 21,000, while the rest of the 602,000 only watched.
Funds present no obstacle to the Witnesses. "If the Catholic or Protestant organizations," they say, "would find among themselves a representative who would start an open discussion over the radio that would be heard by the whole world and could cover half of the expenses for that discussion out of their own funds, the 'Witnesses of Jehovah' would find enough money to cover the other half." (Crisis, 42-43) The Witnesses do not stop at propaganda by print, radio, public, reports – they penetrate into private homes. According to them, their only aim is "to attract the attention of people to the fact that, according to the Bible, the sorrows and terrible difficulties in the World of today have been foretold by God Jehovah in order to show people what the reason for all this is and what the end will be." (Crisis, l2.) As behooves "prophets," they claim they are announcing only the truth. "My duty is," asserts Judge Rutherford, "to tell the truth." (Flight to the Kingdom, 5) By prophesying, the Witnesses feel they are doing the will of God. "In 1918 Jehovah commanded the World War to stop for the sole purpose of giving people an opportunity to hear the truth about Him and His Kingdom. The Lord sent His Witnesses to communicate to the people of the world the necessary information about the reasons for all the misery and the results thereupon." (Flight to the Kingdom, 9.) "The Witnesses of Jehovah are trying to bring the assurance to the people of the world that God will save and defend those who will firmly and decidedly stand on His side. The Witnesses of Jehovah are bringing this information to people submitting to the command of Jehovah. They are hurrying to round up the world....people have to study the word of the Truth of God. Jehovah is sending His Witnesses so that people can hear the Truth from them." (Flight to the Kingdom, 14, etc.)
"Let people know what God has to say through His Witnesses. Indisputable proof of the Word is that in the nearest future, Jehovah will send to people a solid peace, welfare, absolute health, happiness, and eternal life." (Flight to the Kingdom, 45.) "Also, knowledge of this truth is absolutely necessary to those who wish to stay alive through the misery that threatens to invade the world before the coming of the Kingdom of Jehovah." (Dominion, 5.) "According to the word of God, one can safely ascertain that the most terrible war of all centuries, the greatest dance of death, is going to descend on us in the nearest future. Jehovah has authorized His Witnesses to inform people of this fact and to explain the reasons for it in accordance to the Bible, as to why the war has come, the results of it, and the way to salvation. Therefore, the message of The Witnesses of Jehovah is of great importance to people who wish to save their lives." (Flight to the Kingdom, 7) "And now is the time for you to learn the truth, so that every one of you should decide for himself whether he wishes to follow the devil and his agents and perish. . . . or submit to God Jehovah and live." (Dominion, 11.)
"Many centuries ago, God Jehovah gave orders to describe in the Bible the conditions to come in the last days, and I," says Judge Rutherford, "call you as witnesses of the fact that these conditions are here. This shows that we have reached the last days" (Dominion, 7.)
It often happened before in history, that preachers and witnesses of the truth, especially the divine truth, have suffered persecution and pursuit. "The Witnesses of Jehovah" claim that the same happens to them at the present time. "The devil instills his followers on earth to fiercely resist any attempt of communication of the truth." (Flight to the Kingdom. 9.) "At the present time in America, The Witnesses of Jehovah (so they say – A. K.) are subjected to inhuman persecution for the reason that they want to inform people about the Kingdom of God. Not so long ago, in different cities of the United States, many good women and men who attempted to bring comfort to people have been arrested, were cursed, have been cruelly maltreated by the police, and thrown into prison. Those men and women were Witnesses of Jehovah." (Crisis, 25 and 30.)
"However, this does not discourage the Witnesses. They have to and will obey God. . . .not people. Death and prison frighten them not, for they love Jehovah and wish to obey Him." (Dominion, 20 and 36.) "For God Jehovah ordered His Witnesses to announce the day of wrath and vengeance of God upon the organization of Satan and bring the glad tidings of His Kingdom to all those who mourn." (Crisis, 45.)
This announcement is liable to recall the austere figure of John the Baptist, as though one hears the stern voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. . . .but He that cometh after me will thoroughly purge His floor and gather the wheat into the garner, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew, 3, 2-11-12.) But this would be the right time to remember warnings from our great Fathers and teachers of the Church, who said that "in the last days, the antichrist will imitate Christ in everything." Thus arises a natural question: are we not now noticing a similar appearance of false prophets introducing the coming of the kingdom of antichrist?..
The Russian immigrants have been bothered very little by the movement of "The Witnesses of Jehovah," as yet, but arrangements for their induction are in full swing. Almost all booklets written by the leaders of the movement have been translated into the Russian language; an article has been published, "The Truth Will Deliver You," and The Watchtower magazine is now published in Russian. Be this as it may, the movement, as such, deserves notice . . . . . . even if the above-mentioned statistics are exaggerated. The teachings of "The Witnesses of Jehovah" demand a certain evaluation: as a very skillfully built-up theory about the antichrist, hidden under a form supposedly Christian.
1. Accusation of Christianity and the prophecy of its approaching downfall:
Thundering accusations by "The Witnesses of Jehovah" are directed against Christianity, followed by prophecies of disastrous destruction soon to come.
"Through The Witnesses of Jehovah, people are being given an opportunity to acquire faith in God and learn submission to Him so as to avoid the terrible tide of massacre, which is destined to come upon the so-called "Christianity" in the nearest future." (Flight to the Kingdom, 21.) "The great war is nearing fast. In the Revelation of St. John, 16, it is written that the War will spread over the whole world, especially the countries of the so-called Christianity. Christian countries will suffer special hardships and the greatest loss of human lives, because the Holy Scriptures clearly say so." (Flight to the Kingdom, 12.)
Where in the Holy Scriptures is it "clearly said so"? "The wars of ancient times, described in the Bible, are examples showing the destiny that will soon befall the people of the so-called -Christianity . . . . the Chaldeans, mentioned there, are just a sample of the pursuit of Jehovah, to be sent against Christianity for its destruction . . . . ..God said, that He shall rise and come forth, and beat the Christian people to ashes, so that they fall and never rise again." (Flight to the Kingdom, 13, 14, 36.) "But why," asks Judge Rutherford, "do I declare that total salvation will follow only after the downfall of Christianity to which America belongs? The answer is: because Jehovah says so" . . . . . .and here we read a reference to Chapter 3, pages 8 and 9 of the Prophet Zephania, (Crisis 26), where, of course, there never was and never can be the slightest implication of the destruction of Christians. In fact all the predictions of the Prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others actually applied to the Jewish people and, though referring to the Jews, are being applied by the Witness to the Christians, not only analogigically, but directly, literally. Under the cover of religion, we see here an open instigation of which we become the more certain, the deeper we go into the reasons, held out by the Witnesses as to why the wrath of God strikes Christians.
There seem to be three reasons:
"The three visible component parts, which govern people are: the commercial, the political. and the religious., the most powerful of which is the commercial. With avaricious hands, compared to the feelers of an octopus, the great trade appropriated the wealth of the nation. People who have developed the American country are robbed and today have to beg for a piece of bread in a land of innumerable abundance. Today every visible property belongs to the great trade. Through financial manipulations, the consumers have appropriated almost all rights of ownership of the lands and properties. A handful of rich people fix the prices on products produced by farmers who were helped by workers at the harvest of the crops. As a result, the farmers are being robbed, and the help doomed to hunger. Hundreds of thousands of honest tillers of land lose their lands and dwellings. The great trade owns ships, airplanes and railroads." (Crisis. 6, etc.) "The representatives of Satan on earth are trying to concentrate the wealth of the world in their own hands in order to turn people into slaves. The ownership of land quickly changes from the hands of its rightful owners, who tilled it, into the hands of powerful corporations." (Flight to the Kingdom, 22).
"There are three main groups of power ruling the world: the commercial, the political, and the religious. We all know that our World is far from being perfect. This is why it cannot possibly be the World of God. Therefore, we can't expect God's blessing upon it. This is exactly what Jesus and his disciples meant by saying that Satan is the supreme, invisible ruler of the world – John 12, 13." (Flight to the Kingdom, 10 and 11.)
"There is not and cannot be any peace and welfare in Christianity, and it will never be granted by God Jehovah as long as the unholy union of commercial and political rulers exists, oppressing people with their hypocritical religion. Satan and his organization, represented in the form of three toads in the Revelation of John (6: 13-16), are preparing the World for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, during which battle the fall of Christianity shall come to pass." (Flight to the Kingdom, 35 and 36). "The wholesale trade, the politicians, and the great churches have formed a union. This union has full control over the gold and properties of the world and, as agents of Satan, caused the oppression of people so that, as a consequence of this oppression, people are sighing and weeping. . . . People must refrain from joining this union and must not be led by it, for God Jehovah is telling all people of goodwill (Zephania 3; 8 and 9.) – "And so wait for Me, says the Lord, until such day when I shall arise for destruction." (Zephania, 37).
Let us refer to two or three more excerpts. concerning especially governments, and the United States and clergy in particular.
"All worldly governments, beginning with the first, established on earth by Nemrod – Babylon, who followed the path opposed to the word of God, have oppressed the poor". . .. (Dominion, 5 and others.)
"Great sorrow is to befall the so-called Christianity, including America. Referring to the word of God, I ask the question: can the government of America last? And I answer it with a definite "no". The terrible suffering, despair, and injustice prevailing in this country of plenty are enough reason for such answer." (Crisis, 27 et all.
"The government of America has been weighed on a scale and found inadequate. It cannot last. Along with other governments, it will fall soon. And this fall will come in spite of the great trade, politicians, and clergy – the devil and his hoardes – who will try their best to prevent it. It has to fall and is going to, because the Kingdom of Jehovah has begun." (Crisis, 29).
We could bring more such excerpts! Anyone with a slight knowledge of the works of Karl Marx and his disciples can notice directly the similarity of purpose contained in the sermons of "The Witnesses of Jehovah" and in those of the Marxists. The only difference is in the terminology: "capitalism and bourgeoisie" is changed into "great commercialism," "capitalist government" into "politicians," etc. The propaganda itself is covered up by pretenses of religious character, as an "unmasking of Satan's organization."
Relations between the Christian people and the others occupy second place. Here we find thundering accusations:
"The Western civilization has rudely divided the human race into two parts. The first is called 'Christian,' the second pagan. The Christian nations are the minority of the world population – about 30% of it. But they have played a major part in world affairs. They are boasting about social, political, and physical science progress. At the same time, they failed to. lead mankind to general peace, security, justice, and toward eternal life. Christianity is responsible for two world wars of the 20th century, wars that destroyed the world, deteriorating the conditions of the non-Christians economically and otherwise. Therefore, forcing Christians onto the so-called heathens will never secure peace and will never eliminate the threat of war and oppression. After more than 16 centuries of its existence, beginning with the era of Emperor Constantine up to the present time, Christianity has failed to fulfill its mission toward humanity, did not facilitate privation and suffering. For that reason, we cannot ask Christianity for advice as to how to attain hope for all people and bring it into life." (Joy to All People, 4, etc.)
At this point, the anti-Christian propaganda is taking on world-proportions: It accuses Christianity of impotence as a religion, one that "failed its mission to humanity". The people who are bearers of this religion, are accused not only of their disability to lead mankind to peaceful welfare, but of bringing the world to the brink of disaster. The conclusion is obvious: people have to be offered a religion more perfect than Christianity which is not a true religion!
"Christianity has a great resemblance with the ones it calls idol-worshippers or pagans. Some of Christian beliefs were known to pagans long before Christianity appeared, however. Actually much has been adopted from the pagans. The immortality of the soul has been recognized by pagans long before the Catholic St. Augustine preached it. Long before the Pope Gregory the Great was telling about tortures of the immortal soul after death, the Taoists of China and the Buddists of India believed in the tortures of hell and had even images of it in their temples. Long before Emperor Constantine issued orders of recognition of the Holy Trinity as a "must" for all Christians after the Congress of Nicea in 325 A.D., religious fanatics of ancient Egypt, China, and Babylon were teaching the three indivisible related gods: father, son, and mother. Ancient pagans of Asia used rosaries for often-repeated prayers. Believing in human immortality, the Hindu and other peoples of ancient times believed in the reincarnation and transmigration of the soul from one physical body into another. This way we can see, from what we just have mentioned, that the fundamental Christian teachings are in agreement with the main teachings of those whom they call pagans. It is clear, therefore, that the world religions, including the Christian. which has been copied and adopted from the pagans, are inspired by the devil. The western civilization, formed by Christianity. has actually been influenced not only by pagan teachings (immortality of soul, eternal tortures for sinners, the divine Trinity, etc.). but also by pagan customs: rosaries, pompous cathedrals, canonization of saints, worship of the Cross and ikons, monasteries. etc." (Joy to All People, 6 and 7).
Here we find: the beginning of accusing sermons against social demagogism, instigation of laborers and farmers against the capitalists for the purpose of enticing the labor class toward "The Witnesses of Jehovah" by way of the latter's sympathy toward the laborer. At the same time, effort is being made to undermine the foundation of standards of economy and law of civilization. Aggressive attacks are turned against the governments of people, especially that of the United States. Finally a resolute and decisive hit crashes down on the Christian religion, whose humiliation and despite is the most important goal of the movement.
2. A contrived Christ:
If the accusing part of the teachings of "The Witnesses of Jehovah" begins with politics and ends with accusations of the Christian religion, then the positive part of it, to the contrary, begins with religion – and ends with politics!
"According to the Bible, the highest, almighty universal Ruler is the living, true God, without beginning nor end. His word is speaking of Him as the God Jehovah. The Christian calls Him 'Trinity'. But not only is there not a word about it in the Holy Scriptures, but there is not even a hint there of a Trinity of God." (Truth will Save Us, 30 et. al.)
"God is the Creator of all creation, visible and invisible. Long before the creation of man, Jehovah created heavenly sons, spirits, invisible to us. There was among them a wonderful, wise, and powerful creature whom the Bible calls "Heilil" (Lucifer). Besides him have been created hundreds and millions of other heavenly sons." (Joy to All People, 11-12).
"When God created the earth, He put a perfect human being into it, appointing Lucifer for a brilliant first god on earth. Lucifer, however, rebelled against God and declared that he was able to make people curse God Jehovah. This challenge has put a question before all creation: Who is the all-highest. . . the devil or God? To give Satan the possibility to prove the truthfulness of his challenge, the Lord God accepted it and permitted Satan to do everything in his power to put his threat into action." (Flight to the Kingdom, 7.)
"Beginning with people in his immediate care, turning the man and woman away from God through disobedience, Satan then seduced many of the spiritual creatures into insubordination. They split from the rest of God's sons, and thus became demons. Lucifer became their prince. This explains the existence of evil, invisible spirits, dominating human actions, and trying to keep people ignorant of God Jehovah, luring them into resistance to God. The demons spread everywhere and hover over men like an ungodly, corrupt heaven, standing between people and the true God. Humans, by themselves, are not able to throw off the dark web of diabolical power and control ensnaring them. But God Jehovah has the power to do it and will in His good time restore people to the former blissful life." (Joy to All, 12 et al.)
"As was indicated before, God created the heavenly sons long before creating man. His first creation was His favored, only begotten Son, who has been His collaborator in the creation of the universe (John 1; 1-3). In the beginning, the Son had no immortality, but had first to earn it. The Word, created before all else, became the prince of all creation. In this capacity, he was bestowed with a name in heaven, that of Michael."
"God sent the man He created on the earth and ordered him to obedience, for disobedience to the law of God Jehovah would bring death to him. But man submitted to the devil. So God, in accordance with His law, sentenced man to death. For this reason, as well as due to inheritance, death came to all people. But Jehovah promised, that in time, he would send a Power, _through Whom all will be blessed. All people, beginning with Adam were sinners, imperfect, mortal. God had necessarily to interfere in this situation with the help of His only begotten Son. In oder to redeem life of the same value, as the one Adam lost for himself and his descendants, He felt it necessary to produce a life of equal value. So He arranged for His only begotten Son to leave life in heaven and to become a human being. His name was to be Jesus. The Son then underwent a human birth through a woman, was born, and lived on earth like an ordinary man. To pay God back with equal redeeming value for the sinners, He had to die. But God Jehovah resurrected Him on the third day as a Supreme Being, giving Him immortality incorruptible. On the fortieth day, He left the earth and ascended to heaven, to sit at the right of God Jehovah. Jesus Christ, who died for the people and was resurrected by God, has been justly given by Jehovah the highest office of a Ruler of the world. But after His ascension, He was not given His position right away, for Jehovah said to Him . . . . . ."Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (Ps. 100). (Flight to the Kingdom, 46).
"The Kingdom of God under Christ has started. We live now through a time called 'the last days', when the organization of Satan is to be destroyed by the approaching movement of the Great Conqueror – Christ God". (Flight to the Kingdom 27, etc.).
"From the ascension of Christ up to the 20th century came the time of waiting. But now the time of God has arrived, and He has sent Jesus to rule and judge the world. During the time of waiting, Satan, whom God has not prevented from luring people away from Him, founded a powerful organization (Christianity) which became a fierce opponent of God and His Kingdom. The Holy Scripture indicates, and it has been confirmed as a real fact, that 1914 has put an end to this period of waiting and that in that year, Christ the King has begun His reign (Matthew 24; 1-2). (Flight to the Kingdom, 46 etc.)
3. The thousand year Kingdom of God-Jehovah:
How shall the coming of "the great Conqueror Christ God" manifest itself?
"In 1914 God Jehovah elevated Christ Jesus to the throne as the King of the world, introduced Him to Christianity, providing Him with many spoken proofs from prophets and actual events, that indicate that the time has come and the King of God has started His reign. But Christianity rejected Christ and His Kingdom. In 1918 (the end of World War I) Christ descended into the temple of Jehovah and pronounced a court sentence of the destruction of Christianity." (Flight to the Kingdom, 38.) The time of His carrying out the sentence, according to His personal saying (Revelation 16; 12), will be the war of Armageddon, which is otherwise called 'the battle of the great day of the Almighty. God'."
Jehovah's time of establishment of His Kingdom among people on earth has arrived. The universal organization of Satan has to be destroyed. Jehovah God has assembled the true followers of Jesus Christ and received them as members of His organization (Witnesses of Jehovah). Satan is preparing the people on earth to get ready for war. The great war is nearing fast. Armies of the whole world, covered by darkness, terrified, will precipitate at each other and destroy one another." (Dominion, 26, etc.)
"The 20th Psalm says that Jehovah will find all his enemies and destroy them. But who are you. . . . .friend or enemy of God? The only possibility to become God's friend is to stand at the side of God and His Kingdom under Christ. He who wishes to find a way to escape destruction during Armageddon has to separate himself from the hypocritical religion. Soon all Christians will have to decide whether they are for or against the Kingdom of Jehovah. All those who wish to avoid destruction, and wish to survive the great war, will have to take a firm stand on the side of Jehovah and do His will." (Flight to the Kingdom, 16, etc.)
"Millions of people who produced wealth, owned today by only a few, are jobless, without money. and are crying for help. This cry comes from an unbearable load they have to carry. Will the cruel, oppressive power of trade last forever? What are people to do for their rescue? Would a revolution be an answer to the problem? No! There is nobody in America fit to lead a revolution successfully. Satan has seen to it that all the power in America be concentrated in the hands of the great commercial. Army, fleet and politicians are meekly submitting to its orders. People are helpless here. A revolution would be doomed to failure with no good results. Lord Jehovah Himself will decide the last, great battle. The day of deliverance is nearing rapidly. Satan and his organization will fall; this includes the government of America. During the battle of Armageddon the oppressing powers will be fully destroyed, the people saved." (Crisis 20, etc.) "And you, my brethren," exclaims Judge Rutherford, "continue to spread wisely and gladly the tidings of the Witnesses of Jehovah and his Kingdom. Let your battle-hymn be: 'The Sword of Jehovah_and His glorious King.' Let not your hands sink, but raise high the banner of Jehovah's Kingdom!" (Flight to the Kingdom, 21).
"After the battle of Armageddon, God Jehovah will send through Christ a period of one thousand years to people, when Christ will rule the world, and the earth will enjoy a peace and welfare reaching far beyond any human expectations." (Flight to the Kingdom, 43). "The greatest crisis of all times has already begun now. For centuries people had to suffer from wars and other miseries; but we have come to the Kingdom of Jehovah, and the day of liberation is near." (Flight to the Kingdom, 53.)
"Formerly, people believed that a person had to die and the righteous would go to heaven to enjoy eternal bliss. But the time, predicted by God, has come when people will be given a better interpretation of His intentions, which will explain that only a small number of people shall go to heaven (144,000 – Revelation, 14); the great masses will live on earth as a place of their eternal dwelling." (Flight to the Kingdom. 40).
"In the Kingdom of Jehovah, people will enjoy peace, abundance of food, and a general material welfare, physical health, resurrection of the dead and immortality."
"The Kingdom of Jehovah will bring to people an everlasting peace . . . . ..forever. With the end of Armageddon. there will never be another war, but peace eternal will reign on earth. But to achieve this peace on earth, people will have to join God's organization, the symbolic word of which, according to the Holy Scripture, is Jerusalem.." (Flight to the Kingdom, 52.)
"The Kingdom of Christ will bring the right and just method of relationship between people, and under His reign, nobody will be allowed to acquire wealth at the price of unhappiness of His neighbour. There will be no rich or poor, but everyone will be even. The King of Righteousness will be in full power, so that people will rejoice, for they will be guaranteed that none will deprive them of the fruit of their labor. Farmers and laborers will have the assurance of having abundance of food for all times. Under the just rulership of Christ, people will enjoy work and will have plenty to eat." (Flight to the Kingdom, 57).
Through several thousand years, people have been ill and millions of people have died. At a time appointed by God, they will arise from their graves. This will be the greatest kindness, as a result of the Kingdom. Millions of people living on earth now will see the Kingdom with their own eyes, will meet their dead relatives and friends, resurrected from the dead. Under the righteous rule of Christ, this enemy, death, will be annihilated." (Flight to the Kingdom, 59.)
"Blessed will be the people when the time of tears and sorrows will be gone and they will not have to be afraid of death or any other evil. Then will the people live together in peace and wellbeing and will enjoy a never–ending happiness." (Flight to the Kingdom, 61).
What kind of arrangement will this remarkable kingdom have˜?
"The Kingdom of God has only one Ruler, Christ Jesus, the chief and highest Executor of the will of God, and His is the power. He is the perfection of justice. wisdom. love and rulership. Christ is the righteous Master of the world."
"But Christ will never be visible to the human eye. Who then, will rule over the Visible Kingdom of God˜? The Holy Scripture says that the rule of the earthly power shall be given into the hands of those only who belong to God's organization. The certain number of these people is given in the 11th chapter of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. Beginning with Abel up to John the Baptist, there have lived on earth several men who at all times were in perfect unity and accordance with God and who proved with their lifeblood their fidelity to the Highest. God promised that when those faithful men will be resurrected, they will become the visible representatives of the Kingdom of Christ on earth, (Hebrews 11, 16-40) and will act under the authority and leadership of the highest Ruler. There are many millions of people living on earth right now who shall see those faithful men of ancient times, with their own eyes, resurrected from the dead, in the capacity of perfect people taking over the office of rulership over the affairs of the Kingdom of God under Christ." (Flight to the Kingdom, 48 et. al.)
4. Analyses of the political "teachings" of the "Witnesses":
The teachings of the "Witnesses of Jehovah" are a strange combination of two elements: political and religious, and it is hard to determine which of them is the dominating one. The accusing part, the religious element, stands out over the other, while politics are used primarily as a method of achievement. Contrary to this, politics are playing a substantial part in the positive element, where we find religion the foundation on which the political ideals are being built and which prepares the way of arriving to the goal: the foundation of a social government.
The goal of the accusing part is, of course, the destruction of Christianity and the present civilization, built up on the Christian faith. In the political part, there actually is a great resemblance between the "Witnesses of Jehovah" and the followers of Karl Marx. The only difference is that Marx thought it necessary to hide the anti-Christian element of his preachings by talking not against the "Christian" form, but the "capitalistic," not against the "Christian" government," but the "capitalistic" (bourgeois), not against the "Christian" culture, but the "exploitatory." The "Witnesses of Jehovah" openly declare their position with no reservations. This tells us a great deal! The time of precautions has obviously passed. There is no need for pretending respect toward other faiths any longer. And even that is not enough! We have only to remember the remarks, of the "Witnesses" mentioned above, to discern the hatred revealed in those remarks, the gloating over the coming destruction of Christianity. And this is still not all! The Witnesses openly demand of the Christians and their governments to refrain from any resistance, but meekly submit to slavery when the right moment arrives. All that would be well, if this criticism sprang from a sincere religious conviction! It is true that many Christians of our era have forgotten God. That there are such among the Christians who for the last 200 years not only openly persecute Him, but are even leaders of those persecutions. We can humbly testify to the fact that many Christian people at present not only have forgotten God and His commandments, but also have sunk deeply into the pit of materialism, losing their spiritual life and aims. We can also agree with the many religious mistakes Christians have made lately. . . . the greatest example of which, by the way, is the Witnesses of Jehovah themselves. All this is undeniable. But at the same time, the main pressure of the criticism of the Witnesses of Jehovah is directed against the social-political life, because they are well aware of the fact that they would make no progress if they pursued a purely religious line. Their method is primitive and coarse: instigation of the poor against the rich, the worker against his employer, the consumer against the producer. The goal here is obvious: to shake the foundation of existence of the contemporary Christian people. One thing is puzzling here, however: a great deal of criticism is directed against America, its social and political standard form. Attacks are also pointed against Generalissimo Franco. But what about the Soviet Union? Here we find complete silence though the majority of booklets were published in the middle of the 1930s.
If we turn to the positive part of their teaching, the political side, we find the marxist demagogue. Remember the "Kingdom of Jehovah," what do we find? "Abundance of food, equality of the rich and poor, work for all, absence of exploitation of one man by another, abundance of material things, absence of prisons and police, absolute finish of wars," etc. How familiar all this sounds! And how clear the purpose of saying all this. The aim? To prepare the path of taking over the governments that are still free. First of all, the United States.
But, you ask, aren't the Witnesses of Jehovah against revolution? According to them, the American government will be taken from its present rulers and placed into the hands of the resurrected fathers of the Bible who shall rule it in the name and under the leadership of Christ. . . . invisibly enthroned in the temple of Jehovah! We answer, yes, the Witnesses are against revolution. Why? Don't they say so? A revolution in America, they say, is doomed to failure: (1) because there is no fit leader among the people; (2) the government is too firmly established. Therefore, there must be found another way, a third one, of overpowering the regime. We call it the third way, because Marx and Engels already named two: for Russia – "a terrible social catastrophy," for England – "the way through Parliament." For America there is indicated another method: that of political and economical disorganization, privations, and general bewilderment as an aftermath of a coming World War, a disarmament of the social powers by way of adroitly infiltrated propaganda of nonresistance to the inevitable. Simultaneously, they plan to take over the government. "Armageddon" with its colorful descriptions is by no means the babble of a madman. It is a carefully worked–out plan for taking over the power in a land which represents the last pillar of moral political order in the world.
A great novelty is the project of the Witnesses to establish a new Kingdom of "Jehovah" by the invisible King – Christ, with the collaboration of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets resurrected. But would it be hard to declare these or other patriarchs and prophets as "resurrected," or even, "show" them to people? As to the "invisible King – Christ," enthroned in the temple of Jehovah". . . .has not that novelty been predicted by the Word of God? Did not the Apostle Paul say "for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (Thess. 2; 3-4.)
There is nothing new here, except that the Witnesses wish to make their Christ "invisible". Or has this "invisibility" a particular meaning to it? Isn't there an indication in the Revelation of John (13; 14 and 15) of an important part being played in the Kingdom of the antichrist by the image of a "beast"? Evidently he will personally reveal himself to a very few, but his image will be of the greatest importance, a sort of a "likeness" of the beast, which shall be proclaimed the greatest relic, before which family and social worship will be held, oaths given and promises. If we take words of the Witnesses literally, we can easily imagine a real "ikon," which will represent "him" sitting on the throne in the temple.
Everything has been precalculated, foreseen. The only thing remaining to the faithful is to remember in strong hope the words of the Scripture: "The living in heaven will laugh, the Lord will mock them . . .
Rev. A. KOLESNIKOFF.
Professor of Canon Law.