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ARE THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CHANGING THEIR NAME TO “BIBLE STUDENTS?”

KHARE THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CHANGING THEIR NAME TO “BIBLE STUDENTS?”

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? In 1931, at a Columbus Ohio Convention, with great fanfare, J. F. Rutherford introduced a name change from “Bible Students” to “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The real reason, we think was to differentiate themselves to the public and brethren from the Bible Students who were very active in the witness work. Ever since then, an emphasis on the importance of honoring “Jehovah’s” name has been a cornerstone of the organizations teachings. To imagine that the Watchtower organization would change its name back to “Bible Students” seems unthinkable. That was my reaction at first when Sister Jacqueline shared her opinion about the name change with me. However, now I am beginning to wonder.

At a recent state fair in Indiana, Bible Students had a booth and we provided free literature to the public. One day when sister Jaqueline was serving at the booth, some JWs walked by and she was able to engage them in conversation. When Sister Jacqueline told the told them that we are the Bible Students, a JW elder’s wife sternly retorted back, “No! We are the Bible Students!”

Having been a JW for 60 years, Sister Jacqueline has experience observing the process of how the organization subtly begins to introduce a change in belief – new light. By the time the new light is officially announced, most of the JWs already have accepted the change.

This year, the JW Organization published a new book which will be studied by JWs around the world beginning early in 2015. The new book is called, “God’s Kingdom Rules!” Notice, it is “God’s Kingdom,” not “Jehovah’s Kingdom!” For their personal study material, are JWs now starting to use “God” instead of Jehovah?”

I have read through this new book and hope to soon post an article discussing it on our site. There is a lot to say about the book. It seems that the book is doing damage control. JWs are becoming more and more aware now of the existence of Bible Students and the real history of the early Watchtower. The organization would have benefited by coming out with this book years ago before so much of the Internet history information damage had been done. Now, they appear to be implementing damage control by introducing all the JWs to the history that is already out on the Internet, but now with the Organizations perspective. This may be a smart move by the Governing Body. As JWs hear the organizations revised and expanded view on history, they will quickly adopt that view as their own. Therefore, when they find a different perspective on the Internet, it will come across as lies and deceptions.

As I read through the book, I could see what sister Jacqueline was telling me. Throughout the book the early Watchtower brethren are frequently referred to and always called Bible Students. So more and more, JWs are being conditioned to view themselves as the original Bible Students who simply made a name change.

But why go back to the old name, “Bible Students?” In business marketing, this is called “rebranding.” There is a stigma in the minds of the general public against the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Now, imagine going out on service, knocking on a door and saying, “Hi. We are Bible Students visiting in your area.” If the person at the door asks, “Are you Jehovah’s Witnesses?” You simply respond, “We are Bible Students.” The door is not slammed in your face.

There is another advantage of rebranding – attempting to eliminate the Bible Student threat. Jehovah’s Witness members can easily find the original Bible Students on the Internet with a Google search. This has caused great problems as now it appears JWs have an alternative. The JW point of view has been that these old Bible Students left the organization, lost Jehovah’s blessing and went out of existence. Yet that was never true. We Bible Students have existed and actively witnessed to the public continuously since the days of the early Watchtower.

Now imagine if JWs changed their name to “Bible Students.” There would be so much on the Internet about Bible Students (the JW Organization), that people might never come accross the original Bible Students with a Google search. So a name change would help to hide our existence and hopefully, from their point of view, diminish questions and doubts. These efforts look like a smart strategy to counteract and diminish the existence of the original Bible Students as a threat to the organizations stability! So perhaps they want to eliminate both the alternative and room for doubt.

So what do you think? Are the JWs changing their name to “Bible Students?” Or is this a stupid/crazy suggestion? Personally, I don’t know, but Sister Jacqueline is starting to win me over. Also, if you have any relevant factual information you can contribute? Please do.

111 comments to ARE THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CHANGING THEIR NAME TO “BIBLE STUDENTS?”

  • Edgar_dlvg@yahoo.com Ed

    ” jehovah’s christian witnesses” would probably will become the future name of our organization.this new name is more emphatic in preaching work because it defines the meaning of the name jesus as “salvation of jehovah”more than that hesus himself said that only those who are taught by jehovah and leatned from him are the ones who will become accepted as christians (john chapter 6).therefore this designation will clearly separate us from the rest who claimed to be christian.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Hi Edgar, thanks for commenting. I remember when witnesses were told to introduce themselves this way but I also was aware that 22 congregations in Texas and Florida were breaking away by making xerox and changes to the Kingdom Ministry or watchtowers if they disagreed.
      They put “Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses” on the outside of their kingdom halls but the society said it was encroachment on their name that it was witnesses identity. So as pioneers we were told to make sure everyone introduced themselves and referred to themselves by that name to prove use and win the lawsuit.
      I have visited by mistake some of these kingdom halls until it was explained to me by my brother who they were. Their kingdom halls don’t follow blueprints and they own their buildings as congregations instead of the watchtower society. They order literature from them at that time also. The society lost and they could use that name and the watchtower society uses it on all their letterhead since then just in case a whole new religion tried to use “Jehovah’s Christian witnesses”.
      Sometimes it helps to know the story behind some of the changes.
      I am a witness of Jesus , reserving Isa. 43:10-12 to be referring to the Jews who are forever his witnesses and we are as Christians witnesses of Jesus.
      When people make fun of the witnesses or just refer to them they often are not holding that name holy, so I stopped referring to myself as that many years ago.
      Edgar are you still with the witnesses? I have lots of family still within the organization.
      Take Care. Jacqueline

  • Sherry

    Jim Baker show showed a new book on Jesus today. Also a born again Christian gave me a CD on songs about Jesus. It was quite moving.

  • doug

    I apoligise my mistake Russel was not called a prophet directly,
    God’s kingdom rules: page 14 par. 5 Who, though , was the other “messenger” the first one mentioned at Mal.3:1 This Prophetic figure would be on the scene well before the Messianic Kings presence In the decades before 1914,did any one “clear up the way before the messianic King .
    Russel was referred to as a prophetic figure.

    • Chris

      Doug. I was at the watchtower study where they said Anyone before Rutherford was not considered the Faithful and Discreet Slave.

  • doug

    The J W are becoming more like the international Bible students,
    note I was not on the website of J W.org for a long time +- 14 months
    and was serprised to see the changes lately and their agreement with Russel and by calling him a prophet. (about changing their name I am not so sure about it)
    I had a serprise visit yesterday, one of the sisters came around and invited me to the Kingdom hall.

    • Chris

      Where is he called a prophet by them Doug? I have noticed that they are becoming more like they have in the past.

      • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

        Chris Br. Russell is referred to because now they have him and any before Rutherford as the “John Class”. However they forget John was a forerunner for Christ not for a coming organization and faithful slave. They say the “Faithful and Discreet slave is only ones of the governingbody that has actually lived in Bethel IN NEW YORK CITY. So since Br. Russell and brothers from his time are the John class then they have put themselves in Jesus place. And that is what we are saying. They are a supplanter of Christ. They are saying salvation come thru them as God’s organization. This is made up by these men but the witnesses embrace it. It requires that they can just read the watchtower sell the books give donations and they will be saved thru armageddon. Many teeanagers are seeing thru this.

  • Sheery

    I missed the convention.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      oh okay Sherry. There are summations on other sites. Thanks.

    • Chris

      Sherry. I’ve learned more about Jesus as a Bible Student than as a Jehovah’s Witness. I’ve learned that everything in the bible is centered around Jesus. As a JW I felt like he was so secondary figure after the Governing Body. That he was just some figure to be imitated. We didn’t pray to him, we didn’t thank him. Jesus said “come to me all of you who are heavy burdened. ” the watchtower said in an article “Now is the time to come to Jehovah’s Organization for salvation.” Jesus in the organization was just like any bible figure like Abraham. I told the JWs after a while that I felt like a Jew almost. It’s like we acknowledged that Jesus existed but placing faith in him was almost never discussed. It was only discussed when it was contrasting us with Christendom such as the cross or resurrection as a spirit being. We are to come to Jesus for salvation. But this is how the Watchtowet describes salvation.

      “Similarly, Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.” Watchtower 1983 Feb 15 p.12

      “survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovahs universal organization.” Watchtower 2006 May 15 p.22 “Are You Prepared for Survival?”

      Jesus didn’t teach any of that. He simply said “Come to me.” Now many JWs quick response is “that’s outdated literature.” Well ask yourself have the JW come to the conclusion that everyone that are not JW’s acceptable to
      God and their religions too? Or only JWs? I let the JWs 2 months ago and it hasn’t changed.

  • Sherry

    Mitch

    Check the new book handed out at the convention this year. You will know more about Jesus then you ever did.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Hi Sherry haven’t spoken to you lately. Are you a witness? If so, aren’t you finding more spiritual food here? The records show you have been on here for years under various names and we welcome you. Please tell us more about the convention as many here are not attendees.
      We have a General Convention coming up this year and conventions all year round. Most can be assessed by adobe connect where you actually see the speakers, signees and the crowd. Take Care and thanks for your years of commenting on this site. At least we know there is another book out about Jesus. Hopefully it puts him in the proper place in God’s arrangement.

    • Chris

      All it is is a remake of the Greatest Man book. And Jaqueline. It’s on their website under “Convention Releases”

      • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

        Thanks Chris I knew that, just figured Sherry could critique she has been on the site for years. A waste of paper to rewrite the same book. How are you doing. Death caused me to miss facebook activity.
        It was a witness funeral and I actually enjoyed seeing all my old friends and sang the new resurrection song. For my family I went inside.
        Two of my brothers (elders) and their family tried to get me barred from the eating etc. but my sis in law and other elders put him in his place along with about 15 members of their families. I was under tremendous stress but even disfellowshipped relatives not seen for 10-40 years came in town and only a couple of us knew they were either DF or in other religions. We didn’t tell our superfine elder brothers and they hugged, kissed and associated freely. Just goes to show. This brother was a peacemaker and outspoken against injustice. Had over 500 at the funeral the kingdom hall was too small they were outside and standing room only. The brother did a great job, he knew him. My brother was a major player in the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. He was a teenage apprentice printer who distributed the flyers with the times and info on the boycotts etc. No one suspected a JW with a bag of books going door to door and handing out paper on the streets. They packed out the place. Numbers were possibly higher. Brothers stopped counting, because parking lot was full. I am still drained from the 14hour drive there and back after coming straight off a job. Take Care.
        PS: I canceled the Florida Atlanta trips until later. But will see you one day as my relatives live there.

  • Mitch Jensen

    Hi Peter,

    I would love to talk more with you about learning the key concepts of the Bible Students and in time we can expand throughout the United States and bring more people to Jehovah’s side with a heavy emphasis on Jesus Christ’s name. I feel pity for all the witnesses who lose their faith and head on ex-JW sites only to swing to the atheists side without doing their own homework. If you’ve been websites like (JWN) they attack anyone with faith and especially those who don’t put their faith in topics like Macro Evolution.

    We need to offer people living the Watchtower Organization another choice and that’s where the Bible Students come in and fill a gap of emptiness left by the Watchtower. I was a Jehovah Witness apologist, read as much old historical material and studied the ancient Bible languages through correspondence courses obtaining a degree in Divinity. People feel the “Preaching Work” is coming to a close, that can’t be further from the truth as we watch once atheist countries asking Jesus Christ by the millions of believers. It’s estimated Christianity will hit 400 million people in China as wealthy Chinese search for answers of life and meaning, we can help various Asian countries learn the truth as the Bible Students without all the dogmatic anger the Watchtower creates inside it’s followers.

    In the Middle East Arabs are having “Jesus Dreams” becoming very common, so do you think the end of the preaching work is happening when the biggest fields of harvest are just opening up? Jesus warned the Apostle Paul not to step in to Asia Minor because the time was wrong, now times have changed with ears ready to listen to God’s Word having Jesus Christ’s Ransom fill their hearts with hope! The Watchtower won’t change it’s name, they have spent “Millions if not Billions” on this trademark, why throw away almost 100 years of a name people despise, Witnesses don’t realize the persecution they get is not the persecution Jesus said his true followers would experience. Experiencing rejection because your false prophets don’t add any currency to their thoughts of cashing out all the good works they think Jehovah is adding to their Earthly Spiritual Bank Accounts, if only they knew the truth!

    • Mitch Jensen

      Peter, is there any way to edit my posts where I messed up and thoughts are not conveyed or sentences got messed up? If I could redo the post above, I would appreciate your help. I love your website and all the information we got access to, Brother Russell would be proud there are people who use their brains to worship Jehovah and his wonderful Son, his pride and joy! May Jehovah bless you through Jesus’s wonderful name!

      Mitch

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Mitch, I was just thinking about the assumed persecution of the witnesses. I get the google alert on the witnesses and find that in Russia Baptist, Islam and many more religions are receiving the same type of discrimination as the witnesses, they are not singled out. I find defying the government openly isn’t necessary in some of the instances as their is so many more ways to talk about Jesus.
      I agree most witnesses are hated not for the good work that they do but from hounding people, breaking up families and in some instances causing their death from policies. (Just had this type of death in family recently, will compose article when I mentally stabilize). In families where the person is not a witness, brothers foster not love but a distance approach.
      I have been taking a careful look at my family member’s families that left theorg 40, 30, 20 years ago and the ones that rejected the corporate religion. Their families are often more loving to parents and not any worse than the witnesses. In fact if I am truthful the witness families are fragmented. The governing body knows to keep control they need to squash any family member that has an original thought, so they will shun to put the person in line. Sadly most esteem being able to talk to their family as more important than peering into the Bible on their own. Just thought I would add that. I have been reading comments but on the road and in the bowels of terror at a huge family death among wolves, but now I am rested up. Take Care Mitch you are thinking, it only gets better with time.

  • Mitch Jensen

    Hi, I am seeking answers as my faith is faltering because of all the wickedness I’ve encountered in the Kingdom Halls by people who are suppose to be loyal life long friends. After serving for decades as a elder, it’s very sad how quickly our loving brotherhood soon forgets all those sleepless nights me and my family endured to handle problems thrown upon us.

    My question has to do with your idea if we are changing our name to “The Bible Students” which I think would create a logjam because we cherish being the only ones receiving Jehovah’s bless(that’s what I once thought) by bearing witness to his name. The problem I am having is the Governing Body is getting even further away from using Jesus Christ’s name, why is that? In the May 2015 Video, Brother Lett did not use Jesus name until the 33 minute mark, if Jehovah gave “Jesus a name above all other names” (Phillipians 2) and the Early Christians were called “Christians by divine providence”, how come the Watchtower’s leadership is hiding the name of Jesus Christ?

    Brother Russell freely used Jesus name, he was very aware and appreciated Jehovah’s love by sending his only Son to Earth so we could have life (John 3:16), (John 17:3) not death. Why has the Watchtower leaders been systematically eliminated Jesus Christ’s name in proportion to “Organization” and “Jehovah’s People”, if you watch all the videos your going to notice the Organization is not looking to change it’s name to the “Bible Students” because the Bible implies Jesus from the beginning (Gen 3:16-17) and all the Prophets spoke of the Messiah who would bring Reconciliation between Jehovah and Man through Jesus Christ, not some man made Organization hiding his name. Can you help me understand why the Watchtower has lost interest in Jesus name, often when I use his name like Pastor Russell did, the friends at the Kingdom Halls think I’ve gone off the deep end, what say you?

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Mitch,

      Nice to hear from you. I think the emphasis is placed on Jehovah as He is viewed as a tougher, no nonsence, authoritative figure. It is easier to maintain control and fear with the misunderstood merciful Jehovah.

      Jesus said to love your enemies and to turn the other cheek. Is this something the JW leadership wants to practice?

      if the Jehovah’s Witness organization is not changing its name to Bible Students, wouldn’t you agree that at least they are also using the name Bible Students and calling themselves as such when they knock on doors to preach the message.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Mitch Hello, I came to the conclusion that the governingbody has such a space that it encroaches on Jesus position in the Divine arrangement. If you remove it you will find that Jesus will have a spot.
      From time to time they will do a whole convention on Jesus and release a book as they are doing this year at the conventions. If you however read the watchtower or go to the meetings you won”t hear much about Jesus unless it has to be mentioned.
      So I think the governing body has supplanted Jesus. Plus, this is a corporation and they have to operate under world standards to compete in the commercial world. Their first article when applying in the new location for their huge complex in upstate New York stated as much that they are a real estate corp that buy and restore historic buildings.
      Often witnesses expect spiritual only info from the witness organization but a billionaire corporation is in direct opposition to the way Jesus walked on the earth. They need money to operate. Christians only need the Bible. They need huge buildings with palace like accommodations for their top heavy Hierarchy, the governing body and the supporting staff.
      Think about it, did the early Christians or Christ of any of the martyrs down thru the ages need any of this? Or any servant of God in the Bible?
      This is what convinced me I had to stop supporting this worldly corporation.
      Some elders handle their congregations according to scripture as much as they can without bumping the corporation laws, but most are in ignorance as to what they are supporting and keeping in business. Without the support of the elders, it would fall (hierarchy body).
      Just my opinion.

  • Sherry

    Preach the good news of the kingdom.

    Judge no one.

    You will be judged by the way you judge.

    Forgive everyone.

    Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    Pray for the sanctification of God’s name.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses try.

    Could they be better? All could. But we try. As we struggle with knowing good and bad!

    Questions! After Jesus turns everything over to the Father, 1 Cor. 15:27,28, will the people living on earth know good and bad? If not, will the 144,000 and the angels and cherubs still know good and bad?

    Of coarse Jehovah God and His Son both will.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Sherry,

      Nice to hear from you again. Let’s take a look at the passage you have a question on:
      1 Corinthians 15 (NASV)
      23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
      24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
      25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
      26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
      27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
      28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

      Verse 24 talks about Jesus handing over the kingdom to the father (after the 1,000 years and “little season” Rev 20). Notice how it says, “When He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.” Verses 25 says, “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” Verse 27 shows all things will be in subjection under his feet.

      So at this point, all EVIL and all opposition to Christ’s kingdom has been removed. So only the obedient creation remain (which would be the large majority of mankind that ever lived).

      Phil 2:9-11 – EVERY knee should bow…and EVERY tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

      Rev 15:4 – all nations shall come and worship before You..” NKJV

      Dan 7:14, 27 – “ALL peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him” His kingdom is everlasting

      Isa 66:23 – all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah. ASV

      Ps 22:27 – “ all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.” NKJV

      Ps 138:4 – “All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD “ NKJV

      Ps 72:8,11,17 – “all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him” NKJV

      Rev 11:15 – “kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord… He shall reign forever”

      Rev 21:23-24 – “the nations shall walk amidst the light thereof: and the kings … bring their glory into it.” Mal 1:11 “My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to” God
      (see also Ps 86:9; Ps 65:1-2; Zech 2:11; Zech 9:10)

      Rev 5:13 – “And every creature … heard I saying, Blessing, and honor…to… the Lamb for ever” AKJV

  • alfredots

    While you nit pick every insignificant detail the vast majority of jw are doing what Jesus commanded at Mathew 28:19. They don’t go to break you down or to judge you they are sharing basic bible truths to many things denied by Christendom like earthly paradise. Nothing has changed gods kingdom is coming and Jesus is its king.who else is actually out there searching for people many of have never read the bible.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      alfredots – There is lot’s to like about JWS – Zeal, witnessing, believe in earthly and heavenly phases of kingdom, reject hell, Trinity and Immortal Soul.

      Here are my basic issues:

      1) Jehovah has no earthly organization. We don’t need to go through a Catholic Priest or any human organization to gain access to Jesus and Jehovah.

      John 6:44 (NASV) “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”

      Check out how the early Watchtower taught the opposite.

      2) Charles Russell was correct, Jesus died a Ransom for ALL, not just all sorts of people. Even the wicked who die in Armageddon will have a future opportunity for repentance and judgment.

      Check out this link.

      3) Christians should not be shunned, disfellowshipped or torn away from family by any Church Organization for honest disagreements of doctrine and practice based on conscience and scripture.

      Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the house servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand. – NWT

      2 Tim 1:7 (Amplified Bible) – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm {and} well–balanced mind {and} discipline {and} self–control.

      Gal 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. NKJV

      Gal 5:13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. NKJV

      2Co 3:17 – …where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. NWT

      John 8:31, 32 – And so Jesus went on to say to the Jews that had believed him: “If YOU remain in my word, YOU are really my disciples, and YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free. NWT

      If 1 John 4:8 says “God is love,” then shouldn’t love, not fear, be our motivation to serve Jehovah? Are you serving Jehovah in a certain way because you are afraid/fearful of being destroyed in Armageddon?

      Hebrews 13:6 (Amplified Bible) – So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

    • Brother

      I have to agree. Russell stressed the preaching work. I have had many bible students tell me that the preaching work is over because it has been preached. However, I disagree. The says “Woe unto those who don’t preach”. How can we get the good news out if we don’t preach? I don’t mind organization. Russell was organizing the Bible Students. The error came in when having to belong to the organization for salvation. That’s where we went wrong.

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