The Watchtower, September 1, 1997, page 23
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons –1 Timothy 4:1 (RSV).

Doctrines of Demons

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has been hard-pressed to find support for the numerous obscure renderings found in their "translation" of the Bible, the New World Translation.1 That these obscure renderings happen to agree with unique Watchtower doctrine should not be overlooked, nor does this fact make it any easier for the Society to find scholarly support for such a translation.

Truth be known, a lack of scholarly support has not negatively affected the manner in which the New World Translation is received by the Jehovah's Witness community. "Worldly" knowledge is not held of much account by Jehovah's Witnesses, particularly when such conflicts with the views of the Watchtower Society. Witnesses are quick to label a "worldly" scholar as "prejudiced" should he offer any criticism of the work or tactics of the Society.2

For a Jehovah's Witness, it is enough that the New World Translation is published by the Watchtower Society, and that the Society claims it is a "faithful translation of God's Word"3 possessing "clear and accurate Bible text".4 The Watchtower Society professes that as God's "spirit-directed organization",5 it is they alone who are able to understand scripture.6 In fact, according to the Watchtower Society, the New World Translation has been provided by God:

Thanks be to God that he has provided the New World Translation, with its clear and accurate Bible text!All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, 1990, page 327.view

This claim by the Watchtower Society is not limited to the NWT; Watchtower leaders profess to be the "faithful and wise servant" of Matthew 24:45, and Watchtower publications are said to be spiritual food from God:

We acknowledge as the visible organization of Jehovah on earth the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, and recognize the Society as the Channel or instrument through which Jehovah and Christ Jesus give instruction and meat in due season to the household of faith.The Watchtower, April 15, 1939, page 125.
Even as Jesus foretold, today we see a "faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time." The facts show that this slave that God is using is not a single person but a composite individual, a group, an instrument, an organization, which uses as its legal instrument the Watch Tower Society.The Watchtower, July 15, 1957, page 436.

According to the Society, "worldly scholarship is not the thing to be required"; but rather the "possession of the holy spirit":

The literature published by the Watch Tower Society is published in the name of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Regardless of who may write certain articles, they are checked carefully by members of the governing body before they are published; so they are properly viewed as coming from the society...Worldly scholarship is not the thing to be required...With these things in mind, we encourage all who seek the Bible truth to see the prime necessity of the possession of the holy spirit on the part of those who are responsible for the material that goes into the publications of our Society.The Watchtower, October 1, 1959, page 607-608.

While I will not argue the Society's claim of possession, I do question the source of that possession.7 It seems Watchtower leaders have themselves at times questioned the source of their "spirit-direction". Whereas originally the source of their direction was said to be the "holy spirit", this was later recanted by then-President of the Watchtower Society, J. F. Rutherford:

When Jesus was on earth he had no advocate, because God dealt directly with him... It would seem that there would be no necessity for the "servant" [i.e. the Watchtower Society] to have an advocate such as the holy spirit, because the "servant" is in direct communication with Jehovah...The Watchtower, September 1, 1930, page 263.

By 1930, Rutherford had come to the opinion that the spirit-direction of the Watchtower Society was not the Holy Spirit and had not been the Holy Spirit since at least 1922:

From 1922 forward there has been a work done by the church the like of which was never done before. It could hardly be said that such witness work was brought about in the same manner that the disciples were directed to send messengers to their brethren at Antioch; but rather that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of "the servant", acting by and through his holy angels, has directed and is directing that work. It was the holy spirit that operated upon the minds of men in the early church to take certain action; but now the Lord Jesus himself has returned, is in his temple, and, acting by and through his holy angels, puts it into the mind and heart of the remnant class [i.e. the Watchtower Society] to take positive action and to do a certain work; and this work has been going on, especially since 1922.The Watchtower, September 1, 1930, page 263.

Accoring to Rutherford, just as the Holy Spirit had "operated upon the minds of men in the early church", so a similar work was now being performed by the "Lord Jesus himself...acting by and through his holy angels".

The Watchtower Society would go on to expand upon and clarify the details of this angelic communication:

Certain duties and kingdom interests have been committed by the Lord to his angels, which include the transmission of information to God's anointed people on the earth for their aid and comfort.Preparation, 1933, page 36.view
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 instructions on the remnant [i.e. the Watchtower Society].Vindication III, 1932, page 250.view
Again Zechariah talked with the angel of the Lord, which shows that the remnant are instructed by the angels of the Lord. The remnant do not hear audible sounds, because such is not necessary.Preparation, 1933, page 64.view
...angels are delegated by the Lord to convey his instructions to the members of his organization on earth. Just how this is done is not necessary for us to understand.The Watchtower, December 1, 1933, page 364.view

Leading up to this belief, we also find some rather interesting claims by Rutherford regarding the recently deceased first president of the Watchtower Society, C. T. Russell:

Hence our dear Pastor, now in glory, is without doubt, manifesting a keen interest in the Harvest work, and is permitted by the Lord to exercise some strong influence thereupon.The Watch Tower, November 1, 1917, page 325.view
This verse (Revelation 8:3) shows that, though Pastor Russell has passed beyond the veil, he is still managing every feature of the harvest work.The Finished Mystery, 1918, page 144.view

At this time, some degree of direction was said to come from the deceased Russell, who according to Watchtower doctrine had been raised from the dead as a "spirit creature";8 Russell was said to be "managing every feature of the harvest work." Rutherford, however, would later recant this view:

No one of the temple company would be so foolish as to conclude that some brother (or brethren) at one time amongst them, and who has died and gone to heaven, is now instructing the saints on earth and directing them as to their work.9Jehovah, 1934, page 191.view

After Rutherford's death, however, this view was partially resurrected by the Watchtower Society, this time under the presidency of Frederick W. Franz:

It is fitting, then, that one of the 24 elders, representing anointed ones already in heaven, should stir John's thinking... Yes, that elder could locate the answer and give it to John. This suggests that resurrected ones of the 24-elders group may be involved in the communicating of divine truths today.Revelation-Its Grand Climax at Hand!, 1988, page 125.view

To my knowledge, Rutherford never recanted his belief that he received angelic communication. But the doctrine itself would eventually be contradicted by the Watchtower Society:

Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations...Jehovah's Witnesses-Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, page 708.

Replacing angels as the bearers of God's messages in current Watchtower ideology is, once again, the "holy spirit":

They are passed to the Holy Spirit who invisibly communicates with Jehovah's Witnesses and the publicity department.10

So it is that the Society has come full circle, back to the claim originally made by Russell that it was the holy spirit that communicated God's messages to him:

In all his [Russell's] warnings he claimed no originality. He said that he could never have written his books himself. It all came from God, through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.Studies in the Scriptures VII, 1918, page 387.view

Clearly there has been confusion, even dissension, amongst the elite of the Watchtower Society as to the source of their "spirit-direction". Is it indeed a "possession of the holy spirit", as claimed by the Society in 1959? Is it "direct communication with Jehovah", as stated in 1930? Is it Pastor Russell, exerting "some strong influence" from beyond the grave, "still managing every feature of the harvest work" as taught by the Society through the 1920s, and suggested again in 1988? Or are Watchtower leaders "instructed by the angels of the Lord", as Rutherford claimed so tenaciously?

Or perhaps a different source? Could it be the "possession" of a different sort of spirit?

I believe a key to identifying the spirit (or spirits) directing the Watchtower Society may be found by considering some of the supposed "scholarly" support cited by the Society in defense of their unorthodox renderings of certain New Testament passages. Perhaps we should not be surprised to learn that one of the few bible translations used by the Society in a show of support for some of the more obscure New World Translation renderings - The New Testament, by Johannes Greber - also claims direction from the "spirit world".11

Are we to believe, then, that former Catholic priest Johannes Greber was also "spirit-directed", receiving God's truths from the spirit realm in the manner of the Watchtower Society? That indeed seems a plausible conclusion, for both the Watchtower Society and Greber make the same claim - that a spirit (or spirits) communicated God's truths to them; and in fact many of the Society's and Greber's spirit-revealed "truths" are seen to be identical. (Hence, the Society's dependence on Greber's translation for support of renderings found in the NWT.)

The problem with this hypothesis is that there is no allowance for it in Watchtower doctrine.12 Such an acceptance by the Society would destroy their exclusive claim to being "God's spirit-directed organization" as opposed to simply being a spirit-directed organization or one of God's spirit-directed organizations, for the Johannes Greber Foundation would also necessarily be considered one of God's spirit-directed organizations. Also jeopardized is the Society's claim to alone (as God's spirit-directed organization) have the ability to understand scripture.13 Knowing this, the Society in 1983 explicitly condemned Greber's translation, equating it with "spiritism" (as opposed to their own "spirit-direction", it would seem) and citing Deuteronomy 18:10-12, condemning such practices:

Why, in recent years, has The Watchtower not made use of the translation by the former Catholic priest, Johannes Greber? This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings of Matthew 27:52, 53 and John 1:1, as given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on "God's Spirit World" to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages. It is stated: "His wife, a medium of God's Spiritworld was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God's Messengers to Pastor Greber." The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)The Watchtower, April 1, 1983, page 31.view

Forgetting for a moment that the Watchtower Society knew full well that Johannes Greber was a spiritist from the forward to the 1937 edition of his New Testament translation14 and that they had knowingly relied on his spiritism for 20+ years, in 1983 Greber's spirit-direction was labelled "spiritism", and deemed improper for use by the Watchtower Society.

To understand what "spiritism" means to the Watchtower Society and Jehovah's Witnesses, consider the following:

Since spiritism is condemned by God, it becomes obvious that a person appealing to spiritism for knowledge or help is not appealing to God. He is looking to a source opposed to God...The Watchtower, October 15, 1977, page 624.
[Spiritism] must be from an evil source, a source that stands in opposition to Jehovah God. The Bible clearly indicates that wicked spirits, demons, are this source.Insight on the Scriptures II, 1988, page 1027.
What is spiritism? It is the getting in touch with wicked spirits... Spiritism brings a person under the influence of the demons. The Bible warns us to keep free from every practice connected with spiritism.You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, page 95.view
The purpose of all such demonic activity is to turn people against Jehovah and the pure worship of God. Jehovah's law, therefore, strictly forbade demonism in any form. (De 18:10-12)Insight on the Scriptures I, 1988, page 612.

According to Watchtower doctrine, spiritism is "demonic activity"; the source of spiritism is "wicked spirits, demons". "Spiritism" equals "demonism". When the Watchtower Society condemns Johannes Greber and his translation as "spiritism", they are identifying the source of his "translation" - the source of his doctrines - as demons. As the Watchtower Society acknowledged in 1956:

Very plainly the spirits [i.e. demons] in which ex-priest Greber believes helped him in his translation.The Watchtower, February 15, 1956, page 111.view

Now that the source of Greber's doctrines has been identified, we have a powerful tool for testing the Watchtower Society's own "spirits" (1 John 4:1). How do Greber's "doctrines of demons" compare with the Watchtower Society's own "spirit-directed" doctrine (i.e. those doctrines that separate the Watchtower Society from traditional Christianity). In short, are Watchtower doctrines "doctrines of demons"?

Consider the following list of Watchtower "spirit-directed" doctrine compared with Greber's. (These are contrasted with traditional Christian doctrine.)

Watchtower SocietyJohannes GreberTraditional Christianity
God has a body:

God is a spirit Person, which means that he does not have a material body, but a spiritual one.15
God has a body:

The material world is a copy of the spiritual world, and since all material things have form and shape, so, too, do all spiritual things, including God. ...God therefore has a figure and a countenance, and can be seen by spirits, though not by human eyes.16

God does not have a body:

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
God Is Not Omnipresent:

God being an individual, a Person with a spirit body, has a place where he resides, and so he could not be at any other place at the same time.17

God Is Not Omnipresent:

Inasmuch as God possesses personality and form, He is not omnipresent ... as a personified spirit He is not everywhere.18
God Is Omnipresent:

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. (Psalms 139:8)
God is not completely omniscient:

Jehovah...knows those who will likely respond to his love even though they may not yet know him.19
God is not completely omniscient:

...unerring foreknowledge is possessed by no spirit, not even by God Himself.20
God is omniscient:

who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God... (1 Peter 1:2)

For those God foreknew he also predestined... (Romans 8:29)

Jesus is not God:

Well, did Jesus ever say that he was God? No, he never did. Rather, in the Bible he is called "God's Son."21
Jesus is not God:

Christ was therefore the Son of God, and claimed to be nothing more. He was not God. Not once did he say: "I am God."22

Jesus is God:

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9)
The Father alone is God:

Thus the Father alone is THE God, the Supreme One...23

The Father alone is God:

Only the Father is God.24
Jesus is God:

Thomas said to him [Jesus], "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
Jesus is God's first creation:

[Jesus] was created before all the other spirit sons of God, and that he is the only one who was directly created by God.25
Jesus is God's first creation:

[Jesus] was not only the highest of the spirits created by God, but the only one whose heavenly body had also been created by God.26
Jesus is the Creator:

For by him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

Jesus is the agent of creation:

After creating his only-begotten Son, Jehovah used him in bringing the heavenly angels into existence.27
Jesus is the agent of creation:

Except for the first created Son of God, the whole created spirit world was brought into existence not by direct Divine Creation, as was God's first-born Son, but came into being through that Son...28
God Himself is the Creator:

This is what the LORD says–your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself (Isaiah 44:24)

Jesus' physical body was not raised:

At his resurrection from the dead, Jesus was brought forth with a spirit body.29
Jesus' physical body was not raised:

The 'Resurrection of the dead' therefore has not the slightest thing to do with the resurrection of the physical bodies... Not even Christ's earthly body was raised.30

Jesus' physical body was raised:

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." But the temple he had spoken of was his body. (John 2:19,21)
Jesus' physical body was miraculously disposed of:

...God disposed of [the body of Jesus] miraculously, thereby not letting it see ruinous decay.31
Jesus' physical body was miraculously disposed of:

[The body of Jesus did not return to the dust] by way of decay, but by dematerialization effected by the spirit world.32
Jesus' physical body was raised:

He [Jesus] said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." (Luke 24:38,39)

Jesus "materialized" bodies:

However, for 40 days after his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples on different occasions in various fleshly bodies, just as angels had appeared to men of ancient times.33
Jesus "materialized" bodies:

Christ appeared, materialized in human form, to those who had been closest to him in life...34 In reality he made himself visible in the same manner in which all spirits do, namely by the materialization of their spiritual body.35
Jesus' physical body was raised:

So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:25,27)

"Higher powers"
(Romans 13) are not earthly governments:

From 1928 onward God's spirit revealed...that 'the higher powers', to whom every Christian soul must be subject, are not the ruling authorities of this world but are forever Jehovah God and Christ Jesus...36
"Higher powers"
(Romans 13) are not earthly governments:

Paul is not speaking here of temporal authorities but of the spiritual ones...37
"Higher powers" are earthly governments:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. (Romans 13:1,6)

There is no eternal Hell:

The clergy twist the meaning of things said in the Bible in order to teach [an eternal Hell]...38 A close examination of how the Bible words for hell are used makes it evident that they do not refer to a fiery place of eternal torment for "damned souls."39
There is no eternal Hell:

[Doctrines of eternal Hell and eternal punishment] are wholly mistaken, manmade concepts... there is no basis in the Bible to support your inhuman and untrue doctrine of an 'everlasting hell'.40
There is an eternal Hell:

The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:49,50)

It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. (Matthew 18:8)

Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. (Luke 12:5)

And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.(Revelation 14:11)

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of unorthodox, "spirit-directed" doctrine shared by Greber and the Watchtower Society; however it should suffice to draw a conclusion. There is compelling evidence that Greber's spirit(s) and the Watchtower Society's spirit(s) are one and the same.

Both Johannes Greber and the Watchtower Society claim to have received "communication" of God's truth from the spirit realm. The Watchtower Society has demonstrated confusion as to the specific identity of their spirit(s), but in each case, the spirit is portrayed as a 'good' spirit. Johannes Greber's spirit is also said to be a 'good' spirit.41 And it is seen that numerous doctrines revealed by each spirit-source are identical.

The reader may draw their own conclusion on the matter. But what can be said for a certainty is that specific Watchtower doctrines are in fact "doctrines of demons". This statement is not based on my own opinion of the source of these doctrines, but rather on the Society's own identification of Johannes Greber's spirit-source. The Watchtower Society has identified the source of Greber's doctrines as demonic, and these doctrines agree with their own. By their own words, the Watchtower Society has condemned their own doctrines as being "doctrines of demons".


1. Of course this in itself says much about the supposed scholarly basis of the New World Translation.

2. Once in conversation with a Jehovah's Witness, the Witness quoted a scholarly source that seemed to corroborate one of the Watchtower Society's views (the Witness took this quote from a Watchtower publication, where it had been reproduced as a show of "scholarly support" for the Society). When I produced a letter from the very same source, wherein the individual claimed the Watchtower Society had in effect misquoted him, the Witness immediately responded, "He's prejudiced".

3. All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, page 331.

4. Ibid, page 327.

5. Consider the following claim:

Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization? –The Watchtower, April 15, 1987, page 12.

6. Consider the following:

We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the 'faithful and discreet slave' [i.e. the Watchtower Society] organization.The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 19.
...a Christian needs Jehovah's theocratic organization in order to understand the Bible.The Watchtower, June 15, 1951, page 375.
Only this organization functions for Jehovah's purpose and to his praise. To it alone God's Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book.The Watchtower, July 1, 1973, page 402.
All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the "greatly diversified wisdom of God" can become known only through Jehovah's channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.The Watchtower, October 1, 1994, page 8.
...the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind.The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, page 587.

7. I believe this is a fair and logical question. After all, the Bible says at 1 John 4:1, "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

8. According to Watchtower doctrine, those who make up the "144,000" elite Christians (including, so says the Watchtower Society, first president of the Society, C. T. Russell) are resurrected as "spirit creatures":

So the 144,000 are persons who die on earth as humans and are resurrected to heavenly life as spirit creatures...The Watchtower, December 15, 1968, page 765.

9. This quote is particularly amusing, given the fact that it was Rutherford himself who promulgated this view.

10. Frederick W. Franz, Scottish Daily Express, Nov. 24, 1954.

11. The New Testament by Johannes Greber was cited or quoted by the Watchtower Society in a show of supposed "scholarly" support for obscure renderings in the Watchtower's own New World Translation in the following Watchtower publications: The Word-Who Is He According to John, 1962, page 5; The Watchtower, September 15, 1962, page 554; Make Sure of all Things, 1965, page 489; Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, page 1669; The Watchtower, January 1, 1961, page 30; Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, page 1134; The Watchtower, October 15, 1975, page 640; The Watchtower, April 15, 1976, page 231.

12. Consider:

The facts show that during this time and up to the present hour the "slave" class [i.e. the Watchtower Society] has served as God's sole collective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth.The Watchtower, July 15, 1960, page 439.

13. Cf. note 6.

14. Cf. The Watchtower, February 15, 1956, page 110. For an analysis of the deceit of the Watchtower Society in the case of Johannes Greber, look here.

15. The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 5.

16. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 239-240.

17. The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, page 5.

18. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 240.

19. The Watchtower, August 15, 1994, page 17.

20. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 243.

21. You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, page 39.

22. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 304.

23. The Watchtower, March 15, 1975, page 174.

24. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 244.

25. You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, page 58.

26. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 305.

27. Insight on the Scriptures I, page 527.

28. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 246.

29. Reasoning from the Scriptures, page 334.

30. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 354.

31. Insight on the Scriptures I, page 1197.

32. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 355.

33. Insight on the Scriptures II, page 786.

34. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 323.

35. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 356.

36. The Watchtower, January 15, 1946, page 27.

37. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 382.

38. The Watchtower, November 1, 1971, page 646.

39. The Watchtower, March 15, 1964, page 190.

40. Communication with the Spirit World Its Laws and Purpose, 2007, page 347,349.

41. Ibid, page 34.