Millions Now Living...
"Judge" Joseph Rutherford's Prediction for The Resurrection and a House called "Beth-Sarim"
Joseph Rutherford (1869-1942) was the second president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. He was elected to the office after the death of Charles Taze Russell in 1916. A man of tremendous fortitude and ingenuity, he restructured and reorganized the Watchtower to essentially give it the form we see today. It was actually Rutherford who coined the term "Jehovah's Witnesses" as the name of the movement corporate.
One of his earlier publications after he became president was "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" (1920). In it, he made the prediction that in the fall of 1925, all the Patriarchs, as well as all the individuals named in Hebrews Chapter 11, would be raised to life. He implied that at that time or shortly thereafter, all worthy humans would likewise experience the change to everlasting life.
To the right is a scanned image of page 88 of the original booklet, which makes in no uncertain terms the claim as a matter of fact, not speculation or hypothesis. This same claim was published by the Watchtower in The Golden Age, on page 381 on 3/16/21, The Watch Tower, on 9/1/22, page 262, and The Watch Tower, 4/1/23, page 106, where he claimed that his chronology was "from God" and not of himself. Rutherford was so sure of upcoming appearance of the saints of old that he (on behalf of the Watchtower) actually purchased a house in San Diego to provide shelter for the Patriarchs even after date had come and gone.. The house, "Beth Sarim" (lit. House of Princes) was held in trust by the Watchtower, until, as the deed actually stated:
"David...Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthae, and Joseph...and Samuel, and other faithful men who were named with approval in the Bible at Hebrews the eleventh chapter"
would actually arrive, identify themselves, and take proper ownership of the house and property. However, none of the great saints ever showed up (discounting one vagrant, of course, who knew the purpose of the property and tried to pawn himself off as "King David"... Rutherford to his credit, was not fooled.) Despite the fact that over a decade had passed without any sign of the Patriarchs, the Watchtower purchased yet another property, calling it "Beth-Shan", and likewise deeded it by name to all of the heroes of faith found in Hebrews 11.
Beth-Sarim (see picture to the right) was sold by the Watchtower just a few years after Judge Rutherford died. Although they now claim that Beth-Sarim was merely a winter home for Judge Rutherford, the deed, as well as Watchtower publications before the Judges death all confirm that the house existed for the express purpose of being the dwelling place of the "worthies" found in Hebrews 11 that were expected in the Fall of 1925. Rutherford had even given an interview to the San Diego Sun in 1930, where he described how he was going to identify the various patriarchs when they showed up at the estate.
Without belaboring the point anymore, it fair to say that Judge Rutherford and the Watchtower were wrong on this issue. Quite frankly, it is just another failed prophecy made by the Watchtower. The Watchtower, however, being "Jehovah's mouthpiece", cannot concede that it has made errors of this magnitude. Although they readily admit that they have made "adjustments" to their chronologies, they refuse to acknowledge when they have been flat out wrong on events of such proportions, lest anyone question their veracity on other points of chronology, like Christ's alleged invisible return in 1873, the period of the Gentiles ending in 1914, etc. What makes all of this so disturbing, however, is the fact that even though the authorities at the Watchtower know they have erred on numerous occasions, they deny the right of individuals in the organization to weigh out the veracity of Watchtower teaching, based on the fact that they have a "less than perfect" batting average. To even have mental reservations of the Watchtower's accuracy, based on the knowledge that they have been wrong before, is labeled "dangerous" and equated with the sin of pride.
"...And just as in the first century there was only one true Christian organization so today Jehovah is using only one organization (Ephesians 4:4,5; Matthew 24:45-47). Yet there are some who point out that the organization has had to make adjustments before, and so they argue: 'This shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe.' This is independent thinking. Why is it so dangerous? Such thinking is evidence of pride." WT, 1/15/83, p.27
This statement leaves the sincere Bible student in a quandary. Either the Watchtower is unquestionably right and there can be no allowance made at all for error, or an individual can be a good "Berean" and be "carefully examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so" (Acts 17:11, NWT) at which point they become a dangerous "independent thinker" in the eyes of the Watchtower. Such "independent thinking" has even been made grounds for disfellowshipping. Either the Watchtower is always right, and they are justified in asserting their teaching with their organization, or they are (or have been) wrong, which means they are compounding their error by not allowing their people to scrutinize their statements. There are scores of public declarations and books, plus a house called "Beth-Sarim" that sat vacant for many years, that testify to whether the Watchtower's teaching has been accurate or not..
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