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Jehovah's Witnesses organisation

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Cults By Rev. Paul Seiler

Jehovah's Witnesses organisation

6.1 INTRODUCTION.

No doubt, at one time or another you have had Jehovah's Witnesses knock at your door and attempt to convince you to join their organisation. The Jehovah's Witnesses are certainly one of the largest and most active cults in the world today. They are very active in Australia and there is hardly a town in Australia in which they are not propagating their false doctrines. Let us then consider this very active and dangerous cult.

6.2 THE HISTORY OF THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES.

Charles Taze Russell was the official founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation. He was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, U.S.A, in 1852.32He was raised in a religious home, his parents were Presbyterians. At the age of fifteen Charles entered business with his father operating a chain of clothing stores. At this time he joined a Congregational Church, but was not happy with their doctrines, particularly the doctrines of predestination and eternal punishment in hell. At the age of 17 he lost all trust in religious denominations. He said this later:

"Brought up a Presbyterian, indoctrinated from the Catechism, and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell ready prey to the logic of infidelity, as soon as I began to think for myself. But that which at first threatened to be the utter shipwreck of faith in God and the Bible was, under God's providence over-ruled for good, and merely wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of Bible misinterpretation."33

In 1870, when he was 18, he became deeply interested in the subject of the second coming of Christ, due to his involvement with a group of Adventists. However, he developed his own peculiar ideas about Christ’s second coming. He put forward the theory that Christ would come invisibly. He organised a Bible study group of some six members, which he continued to lead from 1870 to 1875. He initially predicted that Jesus Christ would return in 1874, but later he changed the date to 1914. In the year 1874, at the young age of 22, he was elected pastor of a Bible class which he had been teaching for about four years. This marked the real beginning of the Jehovah's Witnesses cult. In 1879 he began publishing two magazine, Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence. These magazines did much to expand his cult in the United States. By the year 1880 his organisation had expanded to thirty congregations, in seven States of the U.S.A. The cult became officially known as, "Zion's Watchtower and Tract Society" in the year 1881, and it was headed by Charles Russell.34 In 1886, Russell published his first book entitled: The Divine Plan of the Ages. This was followed up by several more books, and later became part of a series of books called "Studies in the Scriptures." The first edition of these books sold over six million.35

Charles Russell was married to Maria Frances Ackley in the year 1879. For many years Mrs Russell was actively involved in the Watchtower organisation, serving as secretary-treasurer. She became associate editor; and produced a lot of articles herself for publication. However, in 1897 she separated from her husband. It seems that she became very upset with her husband's behaviour. In 1913 she sued her husband for divorce on the grounds of his conceit, egotism, domination, and improper conduct to other women.36

The character of Charles Russell is readily evidenced in a law suit that he took out against a Baptist Minister in June 1912. He took this suit out against the Baptist Minister for publishing a pamphlet which denounced him as a heretic. In this court case, Russell proved himself to be a liar on more than one occasion. When asked whether he could read Greek, he affirmed that he could, but under cross examination, in which he was pressed to identify certain Greek letters, he had to admit that he could not identify them. He was forced to admit that he had not told the truth earlier in the court case. Russell claimed to be an ordained minister, but under oath he had to admit that he had never been ordained by anyone. This conduct hardly befits someone who made the exalted claims that he did. They prove him to be what he was - a fraud and a deceiver. Russell died in 1916 and Joseph Franklin Rutherford assumed the headship of the Watchtower organisation. He was a very able leader and under his leadership the organisation went ahead very rapidly. He set up headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, where they remain to this day.

In May 1918, Rutherford and several other leaders in the Watchtower Society were jailed for 20 years for insubordination and refusal of duty in the United States military and naval forces.37 However, due to pressure brought to bear on the government, they were freed in May of 1919. Today, Jehovah's Witnesses still are fanatically pacifistic. They absolutely refuse to serve in the military services, and many have gone to prison rather than enter military service. They also refuse to swear allegiance to any country or government. Rutherford died on the eighth of January 1942, and he was succeeded by Nathan Homer Knorr, who was elected the Societies third president. He was instrumental in developing a scheme of training programs for the Witnesses.

6.3 J. W. VIEW OF THEIR OWN ORGANISATION.

The Jehovah's Witnesses organisation is hierarchical in structure. The leaders of this organisation operate from their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Jehovah's Witnesses regard the leaders of the Watchtower organisation as divinely ordained by God to speak His word. These leaders are regarded as belonging to a special group of people numbering 144,000 people. These are referred to by Jehovah's Witnesses as the "faithful and the discreet class." According to the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses, only the members of this special class of people will go to heaven. This special class includes the apostles, certain faithful Jehovah's Witnesses, and, in particular, the leaders of the Watchtower organisation. The great task of these leaders is to provide books and pamphlets. The leaders of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society are thought to receive their guidance from God Himself. They are regarded as providing genuine spiritual food which the members of the Jehovah's Witnesses feed upon. In their view, all religious books or pamphlets, produced by Christians are works of the devil. They regard only such material as produced by the Watchtower organisation in Brooklyn as of being of any benefit to them. The real authority for Jehovah's Witnesses is not the Bible, but the Watchtower leaders. The rank and file members of the Jehovah's Witnesses regard this elite class as being divinely appointed by God to interpret His word. They regard the truth proclaimed by this organisation as doing a dividing work. Those who accept this truth and live by it will be rewarded by living on the earth in perfect happiness for all eternity. Those who reject this truth, thereby prove themselves to be enemies of God, and they will be destroyed at the great battle of Armageddon. Note the two following quotes taken from the Jehovah's Witness publications:

"On his return in Kingdom power in the year 1914, did Christ find a "faithful and discreet slave" class providing spiritual "food," or information? Yes, he found such a "slave" made up of the remaining ones on earth of his 144,000 "brothers." (Rev. 12:10 ; 14:1,3). And since 1914, millions of persons have accepted the "food" they provide, and have begun practicing true religion along with them. This organisation of God's servants is known as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses look to God and His word for direction."38

"God's visible organisation today also receives theocratic guidance and direction. At the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York, there is a governing body of older Christian men from various parts of the earth who give the needed oversight to the worldwide activities of God's people. This governing body is made up of members of "the faithful and discreet slave." It serves as a spokesman for that faithful "slave." The men of that governing body, like the apostles and older men of Jerusalem, have many years experience in God's service. But they do not rely on human wisdom in making decisions. No, being governed theocratically, they follow the example of the early governing body in Jerusalem, whose decisions were based on God's Word and were made under the direction of the holy spirit. (Acts 15:13-17 , 28,29)" 39

It is evident from the above quotes that Jehovah's Witnesses regard their leaders in Brooklyn as being divinely appointed to their position. They regard them as producing the spiritual food that is necessary for restoring the practice of true religion. In effect Jehovah's Witnesses regard the literature produced by the Watch Tower organisation as being on par with Scripture itself, and bearing the same authority.

6.4 THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ATTITUDE TOWARD THE BIBLE.

Jehovah's Witnesses claim to base their beliefs on the Bible. However, an examination of their doctrines demonstrates that they are not based on the Bible at all. For they have changed the Bible to suit their own doctrinal position. The New World Translation is by no means an objective translation of the Greek and Hebrew. It is a biased translation that smuggles into the Bible the peculiar teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. A good example of this is their translation of John 1:1 ,

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a god". (N.W.T)

First, you will notice their peculiar capitalisation, they do not refer to Jesus Christ as "God" but "a god". They deny that Jesus Christ is equal with the Father and this is clearly reflected in their so called translation. By rendering this "a god" they violate the Greek grammar. Their argument for translating "a god" rather than "God" is based on the fact that in the Greek the term "the" does not occur before the term "god." I will not attempt to go into an argument about the Greek, other than to say that no competent Greek scholar would translate John 1:1 the way it is translated in the New World Translation. In fact it is impossible for the term "the" to exist before the term "God" in this instance.

Another example of the way in which they have altered the Bible to fit with their own ideas is found in John 8:58 . This is how the New International Version of the Bible translates this verse:

"I tell you the truth", Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

(John 8:58 )

Compare this with the Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation:

"Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been." (John 8:58 )

From the comparison you will notice a major difference in these translations. In the N.I.V Jesus said, "I am", whereas in the New World Translation, Jesus says, "I have been". Why does the Jehovah's Witnesses' version translate a present tense with the past tense? The N.I.V. correctly translates the Greek word (ego eimi) as I am. The Jehovah's Witnesses had good reason to alter the Bible at this point. They were not happy with Jesus saying I am, because that is what Jehovah said to Moses, when Moses asked His name. In the third chapter of Exodus an account is given of how Moses asked God His name. God told Moses that His name was I am. When Jesus said that He was I am, He was declaring Himself to be God - to be Jehovah. This does not fit in with Jehovah's Witnesses' doctrine and so they deliberately changed the Bible to suit their own doctrine.

The Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Bible at all, they believe in the doctrines of their founders and have twisted the Bible to fit with their own false teachings. If you want to find out more about their translation then I would refer you to the book by Robert H Countess, "The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament." Published by, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1982.

6.5 J. W. HAVE AN UNBIBLICAL VIEW OF GOD.

Denial of the Trinity.

The Jehovah's Witnesses deny the doctrine of the Trinity and claim that this doctrine originated with the ancient Babylonians at about 2200 BC. They maintain that the Babylonians had a kind of divine triad: Cush, the father; Semiramis, the mother; and Nimrod, the first ruler of Babylon, who was the son of Semiramis. According to them the doctrine of the Trinity had its origin in paganism.

"We conclude that the doctrine of the Trinity had its origin in the demon-religions of ancient Babylon, India, and Egypt."40

In their understanding God is one person. They believe that only Jehovah has existed from all eternity. They pour scorn on all who believe the trinitarian nature of God. They regard the doctrine of the Trinity as being unbiblical, since the term "trinity" is not found anywhere in Scripture. Note the following from a Jehovah's Witnesses publication:

"Who is this wonderful God? Some persons say his name is Jesus. Others say he is a Trinity, although the word "trinity" does not appear in the Bible. According to the teaching of the Trinity, there are three persons in one God, that is, there is "one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Many religious organisations teach this, even though they admit it is "a mystery." Are such views of God correct? Well, did Jesus ever say the he was God? No, he never did."41

While it is true to say that the term "trinity" is never found in the Bible, it is not true to say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not there. Jesus commanded His disciples to baptise in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19 ) The Bible clearly represents the Father as God, it also reveals the Son and the Holy Spirit as God. So that the obvious conclusion is that there are three persons in God.

Christians do not claim that the Trinity is an easy doctrine to understand, they simply claim that it is what the Bible teaches. The church has uniformly held the doctrine of the Trinity from the first century. And in A.D. 325, the council of Nicea met and decided in favour of the trinitarian doctrine of God. Jesus made it very clear that anyone who denies that He is "I Am", or in other words, anyone who denies that He is God, will die in their sins. (John 8:24 ) The Jehovah's Witnesses, by denying the doctrine of the Trinity, demonstrate that they are not Christians. No one who denies the Trinity is Christian.

Defective Christology.

Jehovah's Witnesses deny the deity of Jesus Christ, and do not believe that He is eternal. In their understanding the Son of God was actually created by the Father at a point of time. Since He, in their view was created, He is not equal with the Father. Unlike the Christadelphians, Jehovah's Witnesses do believe that the Son existed prior to His birth in Bethlehem. They regard Him as the very first creature that God created. They take the term 'firstborn' as indicating that Jesus was the first created being. They believe that in His prehuman existence Jesus Christ assisted Jehovah in creating the rest of creation. In their thinking the Son is superior to all other of God's creation, but inferior to Jehovah. Note the following statement from one of their publications:

"Before coming to the earth Jesus was called the Word of God. This title shows that he served in heaven as one who spoke for God. He is also called God's "Firstborn," as well as his "only begotten" Son. (John 1:14 ; 3:16; Heb. 1:6 ). This means that he was created before all the other spirit sons of God, and that he is the only one who was directly created by God. The Bible explains that this firstborn Son shared with Jehovah in creating all other things." (Colossians 1:15,16 )42

In the above quote the Jehovah's Witnesses are guilty of misrepresenting the meaning of the term "firstborn." They understand this term to indicate that Jesus was literally born of the Father. This is to greatly misrepresent the meaning of this term, for it is clear that the term did not only refer to the literal firstborn son in a family, but has a much wider meaning. The word can also mean unique, or one of a kind. Dr Spiros Zodhiates explains the meaning of the Greek word "firstborn" (monogenes) when applied to Jesus.

"John alone use (monogenes) to describe the relation of Jesus to God the Father, presenting Him as the unique one, the only one of a class or kind, in the discussion of the relationship of the Son to the Father. (John 1:14 , 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9 )"43

The use of this term in connection with Jesus cannot in anyway be used as evidence indicating that Jesus was actually created. Indeed, to propose that it meant that God's Son was created, would be to accuse John of contradicting himself. Since he clearly teaches the eternity of God's Son in this Gospel. (John 1:1 ; 5:58)

Jehovah's Witnesses go so far as to argue that Jesus never claimed to be God:

"Well, did Jesus ever say that he was God? No, he never did. Rather, in the Bible he is called "God's Son." And He said: "The Father is greater than I am." (John 10:34-36 ) Also Jesus explained that there were some things that neither he nor the angels knew but that only God knew. (Mark 13:32 )"44

As the above quote indicates, Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that Jesus never claimed to be God. This is so blatantly contrary to Scripture as to be considered a most amazing statement. Jesus made numerous claims to deity. In fact the very phrase "Son of God," which Jesus frequently applied to Himself, clearly indicates His deity. The Jewish leaders understood what Jesus meant when he applied this phrase to Himself. They knew that He was claiming equality with God, as the following quote makes clear.

"Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:31-33 ).

If Jesus was not claiming to be God, then why did He not make Himself clear to the Jews? Their greatest difficulty with Him was that they considered Him guilty of blasphemy, because He was claiming to be God. If Jesus was not claiming to be God, then would He not have made this clear to the Jewish leaders? Yet Jesus said to the Jewish leaders:

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58 ).

Jesus could not have asserted His deity in more plain language. The Jewish leaders, to whom He addressed these words, were very familiar with the words He used. For He was clearly alluding to Exodus chapter 3, in which Jehovah told Moses that His name was "I am." It is no wonder that they took up stones in order to stone Him to death for blasphemy. If Jesus had not been God, then He would have been guilty of blasphemy. The deity of Jesus Christ is one of the foundation doctrines of Christianity.

Denial of the Personality of the Holy Spirit.

In a consistent Unitarian manner, Jehovah's Witnesses deny the personality of the Holy Spirit. Note the following from one of their publications:

"As for the Holy Spirit, the so called third Person of the Trinity, we have already seen that it is not a person but God's active force. John the Baptiser said th at Jesus would baptise with holy spirit, even as John had been baptising with water. Hence, in the same way that water is not a person, the holy spirit is not a person."45

This denial of the personality of the Holy Spirit is completely without Biblical foundation, for the Scriptures clearly depict Him as a person. The Holy Spirit can be grieved and He has a will and a mind. These are all qualities of a person. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit with the pronoun 'He' rather than 'it' (John 16:5-16 ). If the Holy Spirit was merely an impersonal force then this is a very strange way of referring to Him.

6.6 J.W. DENY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

Jehovah's Witnesses also deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and maintain that His resurrection was a “spiritual resurrection.” According to them, the resurrection of Jesus does not mean that His physical body was actually raised. They deny that Jesus Christ was raised up in the flesh; they teach that He was raised a "divine spirit being." They do not believe the numerous appearances of Jesus during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension were actual appearances of Jesus in His risen body. They say that during this period, Jesus merely assumed a human form. Note the following quote from one of their publications:

"However, many persons believe that Christ took his fleshly body to heaven. They point to the fact that when Christ was raised from the dead, his fleshly body was no longer in the tomb. (Mark 16:5-7 ) Also, after his death Jesus appeared to his disciples in a fleshly body to show them that he was alive. Once He even had the apostle Thomas put his hand into the hole in His side so that Thomas would believe that He had actually been resurrected. (John 20:24-27 ) Does this not prove that Christ was raised alive in the same body in which he was put to death? No, it does not. The Bible is very clear when it says: "Christ died once for all time concerning sins...., he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit."....Well, then what happened to Jesus fleshly body? Did not the disciples find the tomb empty? They did, because God removed Jesus' body. Why did God do this? It fulfilled what was written in the Bible (Psalm 16:10 ; Acts 2:31 ) Thus Jehovah saw fit to remove Jesus body, even as he had done before with Moses body (Deuteronomy 34:5,6 ). Also, if the body had been left in the tomb, Jesus' disciples could not have understood that he had been raised from the dead, since at that time they did not fully appreciate spiritual things."46

This quote demonstrates that Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. In their understanding, the only reason that Jesus body was not in the grave on the Sunday morning was not because He rose from the dead, but because God removed the physical body of Jesus from the tomb, in order to prevent the disciples from being confused. Even if Jesus' physical body remained in the grave, this would present no great difficulty for the Jehovah's Witnesses, since what happened to Jesus physical body was immaterial. His material body was not raised at all, He was raised up as a spirit. Such a view is most certainly contrary to the Biblical doctrine of the resurrection. The Bible makes it quite clear that Jesus left this world in His physical body, and that He will also return with His physical body (Matt. 26:63,64 ; Rev. 1:7 ). The apostle Paul made it clear that if Jesus had not been raised up physically from the grave then our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14 ).

6.7 J' W's HAVE AN UNBIBLICAL VIEW OF SALVATION.

A common feature of the cults is an unbiblical view of salvation. This is most certainly true of the Jehovah's Witnesses. To understand their teaching on salvation it is necessary to understand that they divide Christians into two groups - “the Anointed Class” and “the Other Sheep.” The way that these two groups are saved is different.

Denial of salvation by grace alone.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept the biblical doctrine that a person is saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8,9 ). This is evident with respect to their teaching concerning the salvation of both the “Anointed Class” and the “Other Sheep.” They teach that there are certain requirements that a person must fulfil before He can enter the special “Anointed Class.” Note the following quote from one of their publications:

"Before such members of Christ's body can receive their heavenly inheritance they must be set apart more and more from this world and to the holy service of Jehovah God, demonstrating their dependability by carrying out their dedication faithfully until death. This work of setting them apart the Scriptures speak of as 'sanctification'."47

Before one can become a member of this special group of anointed ones they must demonstrate their dependability toward Jehovah, by faithfully serving him until death. Thus, they receive their “heavenly inheritance” not on the basis of grace, but on the basis of their own “dependability.” Acceptance into this class is most certainly not by grace but by faithful service. How then are the “Other Sheep” saved? Like the members of the “Anointed Class” they also must gain eternal life on the earth by faithful service to Jehovah. Note the following quotes from one of their publications:

"It is obvious that human governments do not want criminals as new citizens. And Jehovah has even higher standards. He requires that we “conduct ourselves honestly in all things” (Hebrews 13:18 ) If persons do not keep God's laws, they will not be permitted to live under his kingdom. Today people often pretend to be honest, but they break many laws. However, God can see all things. Nobody can fool him. (Hebrews 4:13 ; Proverbs 15:3 ; Galatians 6:7,8 ) So Jehovah will make sure that persons who break his laws, such as those laws against lying and stealing, will not become subjects of his government."48

"Immortality is a reward for faithfulness. It does not come automatically to a human at birth."49

It is evident from the quotes above, that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that eternal life is not a gift, but it is something which one must earn by faithfully serving Jehovah by keeping His commandments. But who does keep His commandments? We all fall miserably short. The Bible teaches that eternal life is a gift which cannot be earned (Rom. 6:23 ). It also teaches that Christians already have the gift of eternal life. Eternal life is not something which one receives in the future (1 John 5:13 ).

Doctrine of predestination.

Jehovah's Witnesses have a distorted view of the Biblical doctrine of predestination. They do not believe the Reformed doctrine that God predestined to save certain people before the foundation of the world. They believe that God simply predestined the number of people that would constitute the “Anointed Class,” which figure is 144,000, derived from the book of Revelation. (Rev. 7:4-8 ; 14:1-3) According to this teaching God did not predestine certain individuals unto salvation, but merely predestined the number and requirements of the “Anointed Class.” Note the following quote from one of their publications:

"God has foreknowledge of the elect [another name for the 144,000]; not meaning that he chose to foreknow those individuals, but that he purposed or predestined that there should be such an elect company.... He did not have to concern himself with the individuals and their names and personal identities. He simply determined beforehand or predestined what should be the requirements for membership in this class and what standards they had to meet and what qualities they had to display."50

Such a doctrine of predestination is far removed from that which is taught in Scripture. Their warped doctrine of predestination clearly overthrows salvation by grace, since predestination in their understanding is conditioned by merit in the individual. For them a person can only become a member of the elect by meeting certain conditions and by having certain qualities. Their doctrine of predestination is the exact opposite of the teaching of the Scriptures, which teach that God does not predestine on the basis of any foreseen merit, but according to His own sovereign choice. (Rom. 9:10-13 )

Unbiblical view of the new birth.

In their understanding the “Other Sheep,” who represent the greater majority of people, have no need for the new birth. These will inhabit earth for all eternity, only if they are faithful to God. Their salvation is not dependent on Christ's finished work on the cross but dependent on their fidelity to Jehovah. Only the “Anointed Class”, numbering 144,000, are born again.

"God therefore does not need to regenerate the other sheep; in fact, they cannot be born again."51

According to the Jehovah's Witnesses only the “Anointed Class” can be born again, the “Other Sheep” class do not need to be regenerate and indeed cannot be. This doctrine of the new birth is contrary to that which is taught in the Scriptures. The Bible teaches us that every human being must be born again, if they are to enter into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (John 3:3 ). It is evident from this that Jehovah's Witnesses think that man is able to please God and serve Him without being born again. They do not regard man as fallen in sin and incapable of responding to God outside of a divine work of God. Jesus taught that salvation was something utterly impossible for men to achieve in their own strength. (Mark 10:27 ) According to the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is the author of the new birth, who breathes into those who are spiritually dead and gives them new hearts that enable them to believe the gospel. To be regenerated is to receive new life from God. Once this life has been given to a person, it will become evident in faith and repentance and in a life of godliness.

Uniblical doctrine of justification.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not stand in the Protestant tradition of asserting justification by faith alone. They hold a peculiar doctrine of justification, which is justification on the basis of human merit. According to them only the “Anointed Class" are presently justified. The “Other Sheep” class will not be justified until after the millennium. Note the following quote from a Watchtower publication:

God will be vindicated as true by their unbreakable steadfastness and he will judge them worthy of the right to everlasting life in the earthly paradise. He will accordingly justify them (the Other Sheep) and the names of these unchangeable righteous ones will be “written in the book of life”.52

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the “Other Sheep” class will not be justified until the end of the millennium. For the greater majority of Jehovah's Witnesses justification is not a present reality. In teih heir scheme of salvation justification will not be gained until they have proven their faithfulness to Christ through the thousand year period of His reign. Their doctrine of justification is clearly contrary to the teaching of Scripture. The apostle Paul says that Christians are already justified:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1 )

As is readily apparent, Jehovah's Witnesses have a doctrine of salvation that is entirely based upon human merit. Their doctrine of salvation at every point denies the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.

6.8 JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND PROPHECY.

Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus Christ returned in 1914.

Jehovah's Witnesses have a very peculiar doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ. For they teach that His coming has already taken place and that it was invisible. Note the following quote from one of their publications:

"Yet many persons believe that Christ will return in the same human body in which he was put to death, and that all those living on earth will see him. The Bible, however, says that Christ returns in glory with all the angels, and then he sits “down on his glorious throne”. (Matthew 25:31 ) If Jesus were to come and sit as a man on an earthly throne, he would be lower in station than the angels. But he comes as the mightiest and most glorious of all these spirit sons of God and is therefore invisible, just as they are. (Philippians 2:8-11 )"53

This is in complete conflict to the teaching of the Bible, which says that Jesus will come visibly, just as He ascended into heaven. The disciples, who saw Jesus visibly ascend into heaven, were told by the angels that He would return in like manner. (Acts 1:11 ). The apostle John says that when Jesus returns every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7 ).

Jehovah's Witnesses do not actually believe in a literal second coming of Jesus Christ, what they really believe is that Jesus began His heavenly reign in 1914. Note the following:

"We have already learned that the “appointed times of the nations” began in the year 607 B.C. So by counting 2,520 years from that date, we come down to 1914 A.D. That is the year these “appointed times” ended. Millions of people still living remember the things that happened in 1914. In that last year, World War 1 began a period of terrible trouble that has continued to our day. This means that Jesus Christ began to rule as king of God's heavenly government in 1914."54

As is evident in this statement Jehovah's Witnesses do not really believe in the literal second coming of Christ, rather they believe that God established His Son as king in heaven in 1914. In effect that actually denies the second coming of Christ altogether.

It is perfectly evident that there is no relationship between the Jehovah's Witnesses teaching on the second coming of Christ and that of orthodox Christianity. All orthodox Christians believe that Jesus’ second coming will be visible, and that it has not taken place yet. There are differences of opinion among Christians concerning the doctrine of Christ's second coming, but Jehovah's Witnesses actually deny the second coming and thus prove themselves to be false prophets.

Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the first resurrection took place in 1918.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that from 1914 to 1918 Christ ruled in heaven alone. Yet according to them, it was not His intention to continue to reign alone. So in 1918, He was joined by others, who are now ruling with Him. Who are these others you ask? They are the apostles and certain Jehovah's Witnesses who belong to the “Anointed Class.” In 1918 the apostles, and those Jehovah's Witnesses who had died prior to that point in time, were raised from the dead and went to reign with Christ in heaven. These apostles and Jehovah's Witnesses were not raised with physical bodies, but with spiritual bodies. However, not all of the 144,000 were raised in 1918, since some of the “Anointed Class” are still living now. So according to the teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses, any member of the “Anointed Class," who died after 1918, would immediately be resurrected at the time of their death. Not a physical resurrection, of course, but a spiritual resurrection, like Jesus. So according to the Jehovah's Witnesses Charles Taze Russell and Judge Rutherford are now in heaven ruling with Christ.

The Future of the "Other Sheep."

The greater majority of Jehovah's Witnesses do not belong to the privileged class of 144,000, and they will not spend the future reigning with Christ in heaven. Rather they will spend eternity living on this earth. Since the year 1918 Jesus Christ has been judging the nations, separating the sheep from the goats. He will continue to do this until the battle of Armageddon takes place. The basis for this judgement is the attitude that people take to toward the kingdom message and its bearers. Or to put it more directly, the sheep are those who become Jehovah's Witnesses, while the goats are those who reject their message.

The battle of Armageddon.

Jehovah's Witnesses are looking for the great battle of Armageddon, which they expect to come very soon. In fact, according to their teaching some of those who were living in 1914 will witness the battle of Armaggedon. Note the following quote from one of their publications:

"After drawing attention to the many things that have marked the period of 1914 onward, Jesus said: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things [including the end of this system] occur.” (Matthew 24:34,14 ) Which generation did Jesus mean? He meant the generation of people who were living in 1914. Those persons yet remaining of that generation are now very old. However, some of them will still be alive to see the end of the wicked system. So of this we can be certain. Shortly now there will be a sudden end to all wickedness and wicked people at Armageddon."55

Jehovah's Witnesses expect the battle of Armageddon to occur very soon. When it does, they believe that all those who have rejected their teachings will be destroyed and wiped out of existence. This battle must occur before the new world can be ushered in. It will be the worst thing ever to hit this world. It is God's judgement upon all who are not Jehovah's Witnesses. They believe that in this battle all the nations of the earth will fight against God's kingdom. The nations of the world will be gathered together to destroy the Jehovah's Witnesses. However, they will not have to fight, for Jehovah will fight for them. He will send great earthquakes and similar things against their enemies. This battle will be fought in all quarters of the globe. All of Christendom will be wiped out and all the nations will be destroyed. Satan's entire world system of things will be destroyed. Dead bodies will be everywhere, from one end of the earth to the other. Not a single person who is against Jehovah's organisation will survive. Those who survive will have the task of burying the bleached bones of the dead. They will also spend their time converting weapons of war into implements of peace. At the end of this war, Satan and his evil companions will be cast into the “abyss.” Then the world will be ready to enter the millennium. For a long time there was much speculation that the battle of Armageddon would take place in 1975. However, after that date passed they had to change their theories. They have become a bit more cautious about giving another such date, although they are convinced that the battle of Armaggedon is very close.

6.9 CONCLUSION

It can be seen from our study into the doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses that they are not based upon the Bible. Their doctrines are based on the false teachings of Charles Taze Russell and Judge Rutherford. The great tragedy is that millions of people are deceived by these teachings. You and I should be concerned for the millions of people who have been deceived by the Watch Tower organisation. I appeal to you to pray for these people. Ask that God may mercifully deliver those who are bound up in the teachings of this cult. Pray that God may use you to witness to a Jehovah's Witness.

32Walter Martin op cit p.34

33A.A Hoekema The Four Major Cults The Paternoster Press, Exeter, 1969, p.224

34ibid p.224

35ibid p.225.

36Fritz Ridenour So What's The Difference 1967, Regal Books p.107

37Fritz Ridenour So What's The Difference Regal Books Ventura California 1979, p.108.

38 (No Author is given) You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc, 1982, p.193

39ibid p.195

40What has religion done for Mankind, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc, 1951, p.109.

41You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth op cit p.39

42ibid p. 58

43Spiros Zodhiates New Testament Complete Word Study Dictionary, World Bible Publishers, Inc. Iowa Falls, Iowa, 1992, p.995

44You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth op cit p.39.

45ibid p.40

46ibid p.143,144.

47Let God be True p.301 Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (As quoted by A.A Hoekema The Four Major Cults op cit p.282.)

48You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth op cit p.130

49Let God be True p.74, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (As quoted in Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults, op cit p.48.

50Thy Kingdom is at Hand Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 1944, pp. 291-92 (As quoted from A.A Hoekema The Four Major Cults op cit p.262

51Make Sure of All things, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, p.48

52You May Survive Armageddon Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, p.360

53You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth op cit p.143

54ibid p.141.

55ibid p.154

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:22  

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