ASTROLOGY AND THE WTS

( Investigator 41, 1995 March)

B J Kotwall


Three articles in Awake! magazine (1994 July 8) derided astrology and star worship. What is missing in these articles is an admission of what the Watchtower Society (WTS) used to teach.

For 62 years, 1891 to 1953, the WTS taught that God resided on the star Alcyone in the Pleiades constellation and that from this star he governed the universe!
This belief was taught in 1891 in Volume 3 of Studies in the Scriptures p. 327 and was based on passages in the Bible.

The WTS also taught that the Great Pyramid of Egypt provided additional proof of God's throne in the Pleiades! (The Golden Age 1924 September 10 pp. 793-794)
 

From: Studies in the Scriptures (1891) Vol. 3 p. 327 (Retyped)

                               The Great Pyramid                               327

this distance to be from ninety to ninety six millions of miles, their latest calculation and conclusion being ninety-two millions. The Great Pyramid has also its own way of indicating that most correct standard of all weights and measures, based upon the size and weight of the earth, which it is also claimed to indicate.

Commenting upon the scientific testimony and the location of this majestic "Witness," Rev. Joseph Seiss, D. D. suggests:

"There is a yet grander thought embodied in this wonderful structure. Of its five points there is one of special pre-eminence, in which all its sides and exterior lines terminate. It is the summit corner, which lifts its solemn index finger to the sun at midday, and by its distance from the base tells the mean distance to that sun from the earth. And if we go back to the date which the Pyramid gives itself, and look for what that finger pointed to at midnight, we find a far sublimer indication. Science has at last discovered that the sun is not a dead center, with planets wheeling about it, and itself stationary. It is now ascertained that the sun also is in motion, carrying with it its splendid retinue of comets, planets, its satellites and theirs, around some other and vastly mightier center. Astronomers are not yet fully agreed as to what or where that center is. Some, however, believe that they have found the direction of it to be the Pleiades, and particularly Alcyone, the central one of the renowned Pleiadic stars. To the distinguished German astronomer, Prof. J. H. Maedler, belongs the honor of having made this discovery. Alcyone, then, as far as science has been able to perceive, would seem to be the ‘midnight throne' in which the whole system of gravitation has its central seat, and from which the Almighty governs his universe. And here is the wonderful corresponding fact, that at the date of the Great Pyramid's building, at midnight of the autumnal equinox, and hence the true beginning of the year* as still preserved in the traditions of many nations, the Pleiades were distributed
over the meridian of the pyramid...




The International Bible Students Souvenir Convention Report of 1914 says:

The Pleiades, the center of the universe, are located in Taurus, and as though to emphasize the foundation, the original meaning of Alcyone, one of the chief stars of the Pleiades, is "foundation". How significant that the whole universe should throughout the ages swing about that constellation and that star which alone picture so clearly the Ransom! The bullock offered on the brazen altar in the court was indeed the foundation: it represented the sacrifice of the Lord. The bullock in the sky represented the very same thing. (pp. 252-253)


The book Reconciliation says:

But the greatness in size of other stars or planets is small when compared to the Pleiades in importance, because the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of God. (p. 14)


                        From: Reconciliation (1928) p. 14 (Retyped)  

14                                     Reconciliation

man sees that the earth occupies a place of great importance in God's plan and purposes and that in his due time every creature in heaven and in earth will be brought into one grand harmonious whole or unity. To this effect the inspired witness of Jehovah wrote:
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him." – Eph. 1: 9, 10.

The constellation of the seven stars forming the Pleiades, appears to be the crowning center around which the known systems of the planets revolve even as our sun's planets obey the sun and travel in their respective orbits. It has been suggested, and with much weight, that one of the stars of that group is the dwelling-place of Jehovah and the place of the highest heavens; that it is the place to which the inspired writer referred when he said: "Hear thou from thy dwellingplace, even from heaven" (2 Chron. 6:21); and that it is the place to which Job referred when under inspiration he wrote: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?"—Job 38: 31.

The constellation of the Pleiades is a small one compared with others which scientific instruments disclose to the wondering eyes of man. But the greatness in size of other stars or planets is small when compared with the Pleiades in importance, because the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of God. For a like reason the various groups of stars, greater in size than the planet earth, must in the eyes of...


In 1953 the doctrine about Alcyone and the Pleiades was discarded:

Some attribute striking qualities to these constellations or star groups and on the basis of such they then offer private interpretations of Job 38:31, 32 that amaze their hearers… when viewed scripturally they are completely without foundation. (The Watchtower 1953 November 15 p. 703)

The Bible verses quoted in this 1953 article which were used by "Some" to "amaze their hearers" were in fact the verses used by the WTS to prove that God resided on the Star Alcyone! (The Watchtower 1915 June 15 p. 185; The Golden Age 1928 May 16 p. 540)

A different link of WTS doctrine with astrology appeared in The Watch Tower of 1903. There astrology and planetary positions were said to support the WTS's predictions of "the long promised era" to start by 1914. (Watchtower Reprints 1903 May 1 p. 3184)


From: Zion's Watch Tower 1903 May 1 p. 3184 (Retyped)

AN ASTROLOGER'S OUTLOOK

We seriously question all the claims of astrology; yet the following – from whatever source the suggestions come, even though of the adversary himself – seem remarkably true to our expectations based upon the Word of the Lord. For this reason alone we present them here, – as follows:–

"Saturn is the representative of the great motive power that has dominated the mind of man up to the present time. The great organizations of Capital, attracting now so much attention, are in reality the last great struggle of this Saturn-god to save his throne. But his efforts will be futile, yet far from useless, for he is blindly doing service for a still greater God in the same way as the other planets have contributed blindly to Saturn's glory.

"Jupiter, representing law, religion and morality, has been perforce subservient to Saturn's greater and more potent force. It explains why the church, the law, the charitable and educational institutions have contributed to increasing the power and prestige of the worldly and material Saturn, whose selfish monopolizing material nature must be disposed of and made tributary to a higher, nobler force that will carry out the work of human evolution.

"Jupiter must also transfer his allegiance from the grasping Saturn to the newly discovered factor that stands for universal brotherhood; namely, Uranus. When Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius in 1914, the long-promised era will have made a fair start in the work of setting man free to work out his own salvation, and will insure the ultimate realization of dreams and ideals of all poets and sages in history.

"Uranus is preparing the way for Neptune, who symbolizes love in its very highest form – the fulfilling of the law. By this, we see that Socialism, or whatever the new order may be called, will not and can not be the rule of the common or ignorant masses but the leadership of the very highest developed members of the human family.

"In 1903 Jupiter will be in the Sign of Pisces – sign of the feet, or understanding, and the synthesis of the new religion is Love; – Love that words cannot define. We are nearing a condition where "masters" will be unknown  – where humanity will instinctively conform to the injunction, 'Call no man master, neither be ye called master.'

"Note – Uranus: Great commotions are expected when it shall take its ascendancy over Saturn."


 

The constellations of the Zodiac are presently considered by the WTS as being of Pagan origin. (Insight on the Scriptures Volume 2 1988 p. 1240) The same were regarded in 1914 as of Divine origin with each of the 12 Zodiacal signs having numerous correspondencies with the Bible.

To my knowledge the WTS has not directly admitted their error about God's throne on the Star Alcyone. Their latest history book JWs Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993) which they claim is "objective" and "candid" is silent on the subject.

 
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