What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Actually Believe? (Part 1)
January 1, 2019
To read Part Two in this series on Jehovah's Witnesses, click below:
This is part one of a three-part article on the beliefs of the religious group that refers to itself as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
My wife and I have Jehovah’s Witness (JW) neighbors, and like all good JWs, our neighbors tirelessly reach out to us with what they think is the Gospel. But there's a problem – we are already Christians. After many conversations, during which I am never quite sure exactly what they are trying to tell me, I decided it was time to find out exactly what the JWs believe and why they think it is necessary to "reach" us. It seems like every time I ask our neighbors what they believe about specific biblical topics, they'd give me an invasive or deceptive answer and then promptly invite me to a Bible study or church service. It's as if what they really want is to get us into the JW system, and once there, we'd be entangled in a web of deceit. It turns out there is truth to that. The JW religious organization, called the Watchtower Society, teaches that you have to be joined to their organization in order to be saved, and that they are the one true religion.
You've very likely had some of these well-dressed visitors knock on your own front door, and upon answering, found gentle smiles and soft demeanors (they generally do their ministry in pairs and are trained to be friendly). But whether or not they are friendly is not what really matters – I’ve also met atheists who were kind and friendly. Instead, we must know whether or not the JWs believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Bible. The truth is what I’m after, as everyone must be. Galatians 1:8 says: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
A pastor named Andrew, from Owen, Wisconsin, helped with my research to find out just what JWs believe. He went with some of his church members to a few local JW meetings and to a statewide regional conference hosted by the JWs to learn more about their beliefs. Andrew gave me some rare insights that I couldn't get from talking to my neighbors; this is because JWs are trained to say anything, even if it means lying, in order to get you into their organization. I also gleaned a lot from a book titled Approaching Jehovah's Witnesses in Love. Wilbur Lingle, the author of this book, researched hundreds of Watchtower Society publications and other pieces of literature and spoke with many JWs personally in order to gather the facts necessary for a thorough understanding of what they teach.
Are you ready? We’ll be looking at a number of very important beliefs that differentiate JW teachings from true, biblical Christianity. Following each question is a short summary of what the Watchtower Society teaches, selected Scripture to see what is true, and a sentence or two of my own commentary. For the sake of space, I had to limit the answers to the questions, but if you wish to know more, I highly recommend Wilbur Lingle's book.
How Did the JW Organization Begin?
A man named Charles Taze Russell left a Congregational denomination to start a Bible study (1872), and then he started a "church" of his own (1879), mainly because he didn't like the doctrine of hell being an eternal place of torture for the wicked.
He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night (Revelation 14:10-11). False religions and cults have one thing in common when they start – they always begin with one or more false teachings. What they begin in error only grows in error, with false teaching added to false teaching, until everyone is sadly misled from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Is God's Name Really Jehovah, and Should it Matter to Us?
The name "Jehovah's Witness" is taken from Isaiah 43:10, which says, Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord [Jehovah]. So, is God's name really Jehovah? Yes, but there are at least twenty more names of God in the Bible. These names are descriptive of who God is and show us various attributes of His nature, all of which are good.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (Matthew 6:9). It is clear from reading Scripture that we may call God our Father, as He truly is our Father if we are born again into His family. There is no biblical commandment to call God Jehovah.
Why Do They Talk about the Kingdom So Much?
The Watchtower Society teaches that following Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), the earth will be cleaned up and restored to an Eden-like paradise; then the second resurrection will occur. According to them, only JWs will be cleaning up the earth, and after the second resurrection, the people who are still dead will be given a "second chance" to repent and conform to the "truth" and “be saved.” They teach that the new kingdom will be made up of JWs in charge of the earth and doing the work on earth for “Jehovah,” hence the great anticipation for the kingdom.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible clearly shows us that there is no second chance after death.
Furthermore, 2 Peter 3:13 says that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, not that a select group of people (JWs) will clean up the earth we live on today. This old earth will pass away with a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10).
All this is simply more evidence that the Watchtower Society is a false organization and is responsible for misleading their people.
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