The latest of the major cults arising and exercising much influence in our country is today known as Jehovah’s Witnesses—a cult which will soon count itself to be 100 years old, though its earlier days are strangely passed by in its more recent literature. Although this cult has always produced an enormous literature (one periodical has 3 million circulation a week) and its members are zealous in the promotion of beliefs and the circulation of books and magazines, it may be surprising that, according to their own statistics, they do not have today in this country—though approaching the century mark—more than one quarter of a million followers.
The very name Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has been the organization’s official title for the last 30 years, indicates somewhat the basic tenets of the group. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” is a title based upon a phrase found three times in a central passage in one book of the Bible, namely, Isaiah 43:10, 12, and 44:8, in which the Lord says, “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen.” This title deserves more careful study than it has received. In the first place, the words of the Lord were spoken to the people of Israel. In these two chapters of Isaiah, the Lord again and again identifies the people to whom he is speaking as Israel, and sometimes calls them by the name of Jacob, the father of the 12 tribes from which Israel developed. God is speaking as “the king of Israel” (44:6). Whatever else Jehovah’s Witnesses may say, they would not dare to claim that 2,500 years ago, God, speaking through Isaiah, was referring to this cult when he used the phrase, “my servant whom I have chosen,” and yet it is to these “chosen” people that God assigns this particular ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more