Introduction to Jehovah's Witnesses
Who is Jesus Christ?
Who Goes to Heaven?
Was Jesus Ressurected?
Use the Force in Luke
How to Gain Salvation
Final Thoughts and Additional Reading
In our "Corruptions of Christianity" series, we cover pagan religions that call themselves "Christianity," when they openly contradict the Lord Jesus Christ and His doctrine in their teachings and actions. Jehovah's Witnesses provide another example of those who claim to believe in the Christian God of the Bible, but they reject Him, and instead follow the Watch Tower Society, a works-based organization that will lead them straight to the pits of hell. Although some may find my introductory remarks harsh, what is harsh is how many people the Watch Tower Society has deceived, and how many souls they have diverted away from the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the very slim chance a Jehovah's Witness may be willing to read this, I would like to remind them of what their founder, Charles Russell, said because if any JW refuses to read this teaching, they are rejecting the doctrine of Russell, who is one of their greatest prophets. Russell stated very clearly in his book:
-Charles T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, "The Time Is At Hand," 1913, p. 242
JWs claim to be Christians, and so do I, so if they are going to be "lovers of the truth," then they should have nothing to fear from what I'm about say. In fact, they should examine the claims I'm making and compare them with Biblical doctrine to see if what I'm saying is true.
For example, the Bible tells us the Lord Jesus Christ is alive forever in heaven because Christ rose from the dead:
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all... But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Nor could our Lord have been raised from the dead a man... it was necesary, not only that the man Christ Jesus should die, but just as necessary that the man Christ Jesus should never live again, should remain dead,"
-Charles T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, Internation Bible Students Association, Vol. 3, 1916, p. 454, [University of California]
Paul specifically told the Christians in Corinth that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then all of the Gospel is pointless:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
-1 Corinthians 15:14
The Jehovah's Witness's publication, The Watchtower (now part of jw.org), states the following:
"If Jesus of the 'New Testament' is Jehovah of the 'Old Testament,' as many claim, should there not at least be one Biblical reference saying that Jesus is Jehovah? Yet
-The Watchtower, Dec 15, 1984, p. 29
What JWs are essentially asking readers to do is go do a keyword search for the words "jesus" and "jehovah," and they know that their readers will not find any results, and so the conclusion they come to is that Jesus and God are not one. There's a reason the name "Jesus" does not appear in the Old Testament, and that's because God didn't reveal the name to anyone until He told it to Joseph and Mary.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
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Not only new Christians, but most unbelievers around the world understand the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ and God the Father are one and the same, and that is part of the reason so many people reject Christ. In Matthew 1:23, the Bible tells us our Savior would be called 'Emmanuel', which literally means "God with us," and there are many correlating verses to back this up:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Giving thanks unto the Father... Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son... For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth... all things were created by him, and for him:
And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly... And, behold, I come quickly... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches... He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
JWs believe that Jesus Christ was Michael the angel, transformed into a human to suffer for the sins of man, and as a Christian, I would like to see a verse of the Bible that even hints at the mere possibility that something ilke that could be true.
"There is Scriptural evidence for concluding that
Michael was the name of Jesus Christbefore he left heaven and after his return."
-The Watchtower, May 15, 1969, p. 307
Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ himself."
-The Watchtower, Dec 15, 1984, p. 29
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus... Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
The JWs and WTS say there is Scriptural evidence for their claims of Michael and Jesus being one, but where is it? Where is the slightest hint that it could possibly be true in Scripture? This author has been unable to find any JW documentation that even begins to suggest reference to a book, chapter, or verse from the Bible on this issue, but I can quote you many verses that indicate Jesus is God, including
"The three essentials for establishing the credentials of a true prophet, as given through Moses, were: The true prophet would speak in Jehovah's name;
the things foretold would come to pass(Deut. 18:20-22); and his prophesying must promote true worship."
-Insight On The Scriptures, Vol. 2, 1988, p. 696
According to JW documentation, a false prophet is identified when their prophecies do not occur. That's reasonable. So let's put the JW prophecies under that test of scrutiny.
"In this chapter we present the Bible evidence which indicates that six thousand years from the creation of Adam were complete with
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
"The second coming of the Lord therefore began in
1874; and that date and the years 1914 to 1918 are specially marked dates with reference to his coming."
-J.F. Rutherford, "Creation," Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1927, p. 310
"In view of this
strong Bible evidenceconcerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A.D. 1914."
-C.T. Russell, "The Time Is At Hand," Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, 1889 and 1909 edition, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p. 99
Notice that Charles Russell says "1874," when his prediction was made for 1872. Then, continuing to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was already here on earth somewhere and we just never saw Him, Russell goes on to RE-predict between the years 1914 and 1918, of which we still did not see what the Scriptures have told us we would see. Despite 1872 failing, 1874 failing, and 1914-1918 failing, JWs wanted to try it again:
"According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man's creation will end in 1975, and the
seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975C.E."
-Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1966, p. 29 & 35; See also, The Watchtower, Oct 15, 1969, p. 623; The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years, p. 26-27; Kingdom Ministry, March, 1968 p. 4
Here we are almost 40 years later, and there are still millions of JWs out there passing out tracts, even though the religious beliefs of the WTS were proven to be based on false prophets multiple times. If you don't believe that someone would believe something so silly, read Russell's statement for yourself:
"Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that
the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874."
-Watchtower, Jan 1, 1924, p. 5; See also Edmond C. Gruss, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses), Xulon Press, 2003, p. 197, ISBN: 9781594671319
Charles Russell was prideful, and obviously ashamed, so he denied who he really was (i.e. a false prophet) and tried to convince himself and everyone around him that something imaginary took place. In fact, Charles Russell later told everyone that's exactly what false prophets do:
God of the true prophets, will put all false prophets to shame either by not fulfilling the false predictionof such self-assuming prophets or by having His own prophecies fulfilled in a way opposite to that predicted by the false prophets. False prophets will try to hide their reason for feeling shame by denying who they really are."
-Charles T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, "The Time Is At Hand," 1913, p. 353-354
I predict that most JWs will take on the same mindset as the man who started it all--denying reality to false hope and pride. All throughout the Bible, God always made sure that His prophecies were verified with actual events and signs, but nothing like that has taken place for the WTS/JW prophecies, and yet millions of men and women still cling to that idea without Biblical foundation.
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Before I address the issue of Christians going to heaven, let's look at a Scripture concerning JW believes about Christians remaining on earth and not allowed to go to heaven. In Mark 12, Jesus was asked about a woman who had seven husbands in her lifetime, and wanted to know which be married to her in the life after, but Christ corrected them in speaking of the day of ressurection:
For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
-1 Peter 1:3-5
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven:
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom:
-2 Timothy 4:18
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
-1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
JWs are taught that only 144,000 would be born-again and go to heaven, and those only consist of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ and some of the Jehovah's Witnesses who were born before 1914. The rest of the saved stay in God's earthly kingdom. However, the Bible clearly states that the 144,000 talked about in Revelation are Israelites.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Worse still, the 144,000 were supposed to be born before 1914, and here's what the WTS said about that in their Awake! publication:
"Even if we presume that youngsters
15 years of age would be perceptive enoughto realize the import of what happened in 1914, it would still make the youngest of 'this generation' nearly 70 years old today... Jesus said that the end of this wicked world would come before that generation passed away in death."
-Awake!, Oct 8, 1968, p. 13-14
As I'm writing this, it's 2013, so that would make the youngest that would have witnessed this at least 115 years old or more. The record-holding oldest living persons in the world recorded in the last 20 years don't reach ages much more than 115-116 years old. In all likelihood, that youngest JW generation prior to 1914 is dead today, but dedicated JW will still keep believing despite the facts and Scriptures that contradict what they teach.
Though the majority of the world throughout history has rejected God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, there will still be a great multitude in heaven.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
When Mary and Mary Magdalene came to visit the sepulchre where Jesus was buried, they saw the angel sitting on the stone door rolled back from the entrance. Let's see what the angel said:
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe... Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
-1 Corinthians 15:12-18
And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and [unto] magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Satan is the originator of the trinity doctrine."
-Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Let God Be True, 1952, p. 101; See also 2012 edition, Literary Licensing LLC, ISBN: 9781258314736
the holy spirit is the invisible active forceof Almighty God which moves His servants to do His will..."
-Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Let God Be True, 1952, p. 108; See also 2012 edition, Literary Licensing LLC, ISBN: 9781258314736
"It is the
impersonal, invisible active forcethat finds its source and reservoir in Jehovah God and that he uses to accomplish His will even at great distances, over light-years of space..."
-Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Let Your Name be Sanctified, 1961, p. 269
Though we saw in Luke that "Holy Spirit" is in capital letters, which puts a proper noun of diety into the label, JWs always use lower-case letters when writing out 'holy spirit' or 'holy ghost' because of their removal of God-hood from the Spirit. "Forces," like gravity or wind, do not maintain knowledge and teach that knowledge, but JWs believe that on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with an 'active force' that they could use at will.
Paper, ink, and a book binding do not teach us, but the Words of God teach us, and likewise, forces do not teach us, but God Himself teaches us though His person, the Holy Spirit:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
-1 Corinthians 2:11-13
Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers to God for me;
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people... lest they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?
God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
Wewant to give deserving onesthe opportunity to learn of Jehovah's undeserved kindness and the Kingdom hope."
-Our Kingdom Ministry, December, 1993, p. 7; See also David A. Reed, Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject, Baker Books, 1996, p. 126, ISBN: 9780801053177
Please take a moment to consider this quote. Who decides if someone is deserving? According to JWs, the WTS decides if someone is deserving.
According to JW teaching, all those who will gain God's favor or friendship must be a "preacher," and that means they must do door-to-door evangelizing with JW tracts and other materials. In short, unless you are a Jehovah's Witness, approved by the Watch Tower Society, and you go door-to-door evangelizing, you will not be saved. In fact, in the end, the WTS claims that Jehovah will declare men to be righteous based on their integrity.
"The great crowd is
tested as to the people's integrity, their continued faithfulness. The final test will result in Jehovah declaring them righteous."
-Watch Tower Magazine, Oct 15, 1985, p. 31; See also David A. Reed, Index of Watchtower Errors 1879 to 1989, Baker Books, 1990, ISBN: 9781585585878
If one asks a JW if they believe salvation is of grace, they will say, "Yes," but in reality, their church teaches that your salvation is based on what church you attend (i.e. you must attend a JW church), how much work you do for the WTS, and your level of integrity based on their standards.
"God has arranged for the 'good news of the kingdom' to be proclaimed so that
each individual will have opportunity to work out his own salvation."
-Watch Tower Magazine, Feb 1, 1985, p. 5; See also David A. Reed, Index of Watchtower Errors 1879 to 1989, Baker Books, 1990, ISBN: 9781585585878
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9No amount of ringing door bells or handing out tracts can earn our way into heaven. We are instructed to do good works (Eph 2:10), and good works and sufferings can earn us reward in heaven (Luke 6:21-23), but we do not earn righteousness by our works.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
-1 Corinthians 3:11-15
"Some suggest that belief in Jesus is the end of the matter... Yes, there are various things involved in getting saved. We must take in accurate knowledge of God's purposes and his way of salvation. Then we must exercise faith in the Chief Agent of salvation, Jesus Christ,[i.e. the WTS's will]
and do God's will the rest of our lives."
-The Watchtower, Sept 15, 1993, p. 5-7; See also Robert M. Bowman, Jehovah's Witnesses: Issue 11 of Zondervan Guide to Cults & Religious Movements, Zondervan, 1995, p. 85, ISBN: 9780310704119
There are some new-age false doctrines that teach it is only belief in Jesus Christ alone that necessary, when the Bible teaches that we must repent and believe, but WTS does not acknowledge repentance here as one of the necessary steps in salvation of Jesus Christ, and then says that you must "do God's will" the rest of your life, meaning that you must do work in order to be saved.
"To get one's name written in that Book of Life
will depend upon one's works."
-The Watchtower, Apr 1, 1947, p. 204; See also David A. Reed, Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject, Baker Books, 1996, p. 208, ISBN: 9780801053177
Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
-2 Timothy 1:9
"And while now the witness yet includes the invitation to
come to Jehovah's organization for salvation, the time no doubt will come when the messages takes on a harder note, like a 'great war cry.'"
-Watchtower, Nov 15, 1981, p. 21; See also Edmond C. Gruss, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society, Xulon Press, 2003, p. 60, ISBN: 9781594671319
Does the Bible tell us "come unto Jehovah's Witnesses and they will give you rest?" Should the heavy laden and all that labor come to the Watch Tower Society to take upon their yoke?
At that time Jesus answered and said... Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.
Most Christians would tell JWs they need to convert and repent and get saved, etc, but I would rather urge JWs to just muse on (i.e. think about) the Scriptures I have quoted in this article. Just take them into your quiet time, read them over carefully, and think about them. Jesus Christ says that His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27), and if you are a part of His flock, He'll show you the truth Himself.
If you would like to get more information on this topic, here are some suggested materials to help you get started:
Chick Publications, 2011, ISBN: 9780758908452
Baker Books, 1990, ISBN: 9781585585878 (This author tends towards RSV, so be cautious.)