Today I would like to explore the topic of vindication from the view point of the Watchtower. The Merriam Webster definition has this word being defined one of two ways:
- to show that (someone) should not be blamed for a crime, mistake, etc. : to show that (someone) is not guilty
- to show that (someone or something that has been criticized or doubted) is correct, true, or reasonable
Today I will focus on the second one since the Watchtower has tried to prove its teachings fit the second definition of being correct, true, and reasonable. With this in mind, let’s look at this concept in Watchtower literature:
So, in similar attitude of mind, must we wait; for the servant is not above his Lord, and our rejoicing in view of the future will, if we have the mind of Christ, be not only because of our own prospective vindication and glory, but also in prospect of the vindication and glory of God and of our Lord Jesus, and of the prospective everlasting triumph of truth and righteousness.
Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. March 1, 1892 Reprints p. 1375
This is a quote that I can’t really argue except that the initial focus is upon self. They should have simply stated God and Jesus. They would need no vindication if that was the case. A question to ask is if they needed vindication, were they possibly being viewed as teaching things that were incorrect or untrue?
And, like his heavenly Father, through it all he was cheered in consideration of that "due time," though then in the far distant future, when his character, and also the Father's character, would be fully vindicated and manifested to every creature in heaven and in earth. And still our blessed Lord Jesus and our adorable heavenly Father await with patience the grand consummation. So, in similar attitude of mind, we must wait; for the servant is not above his Lord, and our rejoicing in view of the future will, if we have the mind of Christ, be not only because of our own prospective vindication and glory, but also in prospect of the vindication and glory of God and of our Lord Jesus, and of the prospective everlasting triumph of truth and righteousness.
Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. June 1, 1906 Reprints p. 3784
Here there is getting slightly worse since there is a surety of the Watchtowerites, then known as Bible Students being vindicated, yet it is mentioned in “prospect” of God and Jesus, seemingly make it seem like the outcome is uncertain. Reading on, we are going to slightly transition to Rutherford prior to him taking over the organization:
"AN ECCLESIASTICAL BATTLE" BY
JUDGE J. F. RUTHERFORD.
DEAR MR. COWARD:--
I have to thank you for the copy of the vindication of Pastor Russell, which you were kind enough to send me, and which, I need hardly tell you, I read with interest, having, as you know, been to some extent prejudiced against your leader and his work.
Its perusal cannot fail to increase my interest in his writings, as each point raised by his champion carries conviction with it to any one who enters the jury box with an open mind, as, thanks to your interview, I was prepared to do.
Again thanking you, and with best wishes for yourself and work, I am
Yours faithfully, CHAS. A. SMITH.--West Indies.
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. January 15, 1916 Reprints p. 5842
What is interesting here is that if Russell was truly teaching everything in accordance with what the Bible actually stated, would he have been needed to be vindicated? Again, since the organization was not going to print anything negative at all, why was Russell not vindicated in court with various controversies such as the “miracle wheat” debacle? When we have a shift over to Judge Rutherford, vindicating became even more important.
Prior to the coming of the Lord to his temple in 1918 the consecrated believed that God’s purpose was to save a few in heaven and to restore other obedient ones of mankind on earth. They were blind to the two opposing organizations, and particularly to the fact that the greatest of all doctrines is the vindication of God’s word and name by and through his kingdom.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. October 15, 1931 p. 310
This concept went even further from just making a mention of this conceptual word to being the title of a trilogy. These books entitled Vindication (Parts I, II, III) were to expand upon the prophecy by Ezekiel in the book of the Bible containing the same name. It is 47 pages and within the present day New World Translation is 71 pages in length has been expanded to:
Vindication Part I-337 pages
Vindication Part II-339 pages
Vindication Part III-348 pages
Total: 1024 pages
New World Translation: 1618 pages
Comparing the length, those books combined are 63% of the present day New World Translation. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the statements set forth in these books that focused on Ezekiel.
The year 1922 was manifestly God’s due time to begin to make known his judgments against the nations of Christendom and to pronounce his judgment by and through his anointed people. It was in that same year, to wit, 1922, that the commandment came from the temple of God to his angels to begin the pouring out of the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth, and God’s covenant people in convention assembled at Cedar Point participated in that work.
Vindication-Part I. 1931. p. 55
Can anyone find where in Ezekiel that this prophecy exists? I’m unable to find it.
Particularly from and after 1922 God’s covenant people have assaulted “organized Christianity” with the weapons of truth provided by the Lord, and have continued so to do with zeal and vigor.
Vindication-Part I. 1931. p. 56
The “weapons of truth” that were in use at this time have all been discarded or deemphasized such as the King James Version.
The Prophet Nahum, prophesying concerning the preparation of God’s organization to make assault upon the enemy, says: “He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face.” (Nah. 2: 1)
Vindication-Part I. 1931. p. 98
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has long claimed that it is “God’s organization. When it comes to the assault, why is it that Jehovah has not allowed the Jehovah’s Witnesses to make a significant dent given that the organization is still outnumbered when you look at the size of Christianity?
This prophecy therefore points in time to the period following 1918, when the Lord came to the temple and inaugurated the day of vindication upon “Christendom” so called.
Vindication-Part II. 1932. p. 24
We have yet another time based prophecy pointing to a specific year, can this be validated in Scripture?
Satan, therefore, is the creator of the wicked system of commerce that oppresses humankind, and he has practiced this from the beginning of man.
Vindication-Part II. 1932. p. 95
This is interesting that commerce is an invention of Satan. The present day Watchtower is a massive real estate company. Are they willing to admit that they are part of Satan’s system?
The Lord Jesus, the great Judge at the temple, began his judgment work in 1918, and the latter part of the sixteenth verse shows that because of the condition existing in the house of God judgment was necessary.
Vindication-Part II. 1932. p. 234
Again, mention of 1918 yet I am unable to find it spelled out in the Bible.
“Organized Christianity,” so called, falsely takes the name of Christ and then devours up men and oppresses mankind.
Vindication-Part II. 1932. p. 263
This is a most interesting quote. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society calls itself “God’s organization.” Based upon this statement by Rutherford, this must mean the organization and those who follow it falsely take Christ’s name.
It is the name of Jehovah God that must be vindicated. That is the important issue.
Vindication-Part II. 1932. p. 266
Here we finally have a focus on Jehovah.
Satan is assembling his forces for Armageddon, and these forces are under the immediate command of his field marshal Gog.
Vindication-Part III. 1932. p. 11
This statement is from 1932. How long does Satan need to assemble his forces considering one can fly around the globe in a day or two?
This warning is given by carrying the message of truth to the people and calling upon the people to take their stand upon the side of the Lord or upon the side of the Devil. This was particularly begun on the 26th of July, 1931.
Vindication-Part III. 1932. p. 87, 88
Why did taking a stand have to wait until that particular date?
Since the coming of the Lord to his temple, in 1918, the faithful ones have received the approval of the Lord, evidenced by the robe of righteousness, and have been clothed with the garments of salvation, which identifies them as members of Jehovah’s organization. They have entered into the joy of the Lord and delight to have some part in the vindication of Jehovah’s holy name.
Vindication-Part III. 1932. p. 125, 126
We finally have some focus on the name Jehovah and vindicating His name.
These angels are invisible to human eyes and are there to carry out the orders of the Lord. No doubt they first hear the instruction which the Lord issues to his remnant and then these invisible messengers pass such instruction on to the remnant. The facts show that the angels of the Lord with him at his temple have been thus rendering sacred service unto the remnant since 1919.
Vindication-Part III. 1932. p.250
This is a most interesting statement. Let’s contrast this with Galatians 1:8 (New World Translation)-However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed.
Remember the quote where I said it was the “greatest doctrine?” Let’s see how the Watchtower kicked this out:
Similarly, for a long time, Witnesses spoke of the vindication of Jehovah’s name. But had Satan called Jehovah’s name into question? For that matter, had any of Satan’s agents done so, as if Jehovah did not have a right to that name? No, not at all. It was not the name of Jehovah that was challenged and that needed to be vindicated. That is why the Watch Tower Society’s recent publications do not speak of Jehovah’s name as being vindicated. They speak of Jehovah’s sovereignty as being vindicated and of his name as being sanctified. This is in keeping with what Jesus told us to pray: “Let your name be sanctified.” (Matthew 6:9) Time and again, Jehovah said that he was going to sanctify his name, which the Israelites had not challenged but had profaned.—Ezekiel 20:9, 14, 22; 36:23.
Interestingly, in 1971, the book “The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah”—How? made this distinction: “Jesus Christ fights . . . for the vindication of Jehovah’s universal Sovereignty and for the glorification of Jehovah’s name.” (Pages 364-5) In 1973, God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached said: “The coming ‘great tribulation’ is the time for Almighty God Jehovah to vindicate his universal sovereignty and to sanctify his worthy name.” (Page 409) Then, in 1975, Man’s Salvation Out Of World Distress at Hand! stated: “The greatest event of universal history will then have been accomplished, the vindication of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and the sanctification of his sacred name.”—Page 281.
How blessed Jehovah’s people are to be basking in all this spiritual light!
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 15, 1995 p. 25, 26
So what we have is an organization that had it’s people in spiritual darkness until this statement came out just over 20 years ago. Jehovah’s name as I feel didn’t need to be vindicated as He said in I Corinthians 1:25 (New World Translation) Because a foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and a weak thing of God is stronger than men.
Looking very little at the organization, remember there were two definitions of “vindication?” The first one again said: to show that (someone) should not be blamed for a crime, mistake, etc. : to show that (someone) is not guilty
So that leads in part to how will this organization vindicate it’s name and reputation? I contend it never has completely been clean and open, nor will it. Since it most likely will never do so, will you remain part of this organization that purports itself to be the chosen channel? If not, the first step is to perform the sinner’s prayer.
Once that is done the next practical step is to remove yourself from the local Kingdom Hall and find yourself a good bible believing fellowship. if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.