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We have all had encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) on our doorstep.  Most of the time, we politely say, ‘Thanks, but no.’  Yet, we’ve all seen the literature with the beautiful illustrations, generally of smiling people surrounded by birds or flowers.  All very enticing.

Publications like Awake!, Watchtower and the pocketsized books appear to explain the truth of the Bible.  Indeed, this is the premise of the JW’s visit in tandem.  ‘May we ask you if you read the Bible?’  ‘We have a Bible verse we’d like to share with you today.’  Etc., etc.

Yet, none of the JW publications tell you what is truly discussed at their Kingdom Halls or what they truly believe.  Today, we look at what those nice people have signed up to.

In ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower’ David Wesley for EWTN explains, excerpts in quotation marks below following my main points:

They do not believe in an omniscient God. ‘They say “that there are situations in which God chooses not to foreknow,” yet they do not describe the method which God uses to make this choice.’

They do not believe in an omnipresent God.  ‘Further to the Watchtower’s argument that God has an “established place of dwelling,” they note that Christ appeared “before the person of God for us” (Heb 9:24 NWT). The New Jerusalem rendering of that passage reads, “he now appears in the presence of God on our behalf.” From their translation they infer that since God is a person, he must inhabit a particular physical space … Based on this false supposition, the Watchtower asks, “If God is a real person who lives at a certain place in heaven, how can he see everything that happens everywhere?” Here they delve into the realm of Science Fiction, with “his invisible active force” guiding the universe much like the Force from the Star Wars Trilogy. Because He can send out “his active force,” he can “do whatever he wants even though he is far away.”‘

They believe that Jesus is really the Archangel Michael.  ‘Where in Revelation 12:7, or anywhere in the Bible for that matter, does it say that Jesus is Michael the archangel? … for my present purpose, let’s see what scripture says about notions that Jesus is an angel. This belief seems to have been a problem for early Jewish converts to Christianity, since Paul devotes the entire first chapter of his letter to the Hebrews to refuting such heresy … Yet, if Jesus is to be King over the new paradise on earth, as the Watchtower claims, how could he be an angel? They will reply that Jesus is not an ordinary angel, he is an archangel … Yet, are we to consider that the angels “worship” Jesus because it is “in harmony with the custom?” What the custom of angels is, the Watchtower fails to declare. Yet we need only return to the book of Revelation to learn the inadequacy of the Watchtower’s innuendo. John writes, “when I had heard and seen them all, I knelt at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me, to worship him; but he said, ‘Do no such thing: I am your fellow servant and the fellow servant of your brothers the prophets and those who keep the message of this book. God alone you must worship'” (Rev 22:8,9). Evidently, the “custom” of angels is to worship “God alone.”‘

They believe that the Catholic Church invented the Holy Trinity. ‘The Watchtower would like you to believe that the Trinity was an invention of the Catholic Church in the fourth century. To substantiate this view, they misquote and mistranslate the early Church Fathers. As noted, the common practice of the Watchtower is to insert words and phrases that never existed in the original, the purpose of which is clearly deception … The Watchtower makes the error of assuming that God, according to the formula of the Trinity, must be either three gods, or one person. This is clear in their statement that “since Jesus prayed to God, asking that God’s will, not his, be done, the two could not be the same person.” Even as the Watchtower asserts that Jesus cannot be God since they are not “the same person,” the author of this same document refers to the Holy Spirit as “the so-called third Person of the Trinity.” What seems to be happening here is another intentional deception. The author clearly recognizes distinct Persons of the Trinity, but in attempting to advance his previous argument suggests to his readers that Christianity believes in one person. One may conclude that the author has distorted a truth, of which he is well aware, as an end to his goal. If this is so, one must also question the author’s motives.’

They believe that Earth will last forever. ‘Over and over, scripture tells us to set our eyes on God who has prepared the city of heaven, the new Jerusalem, for a multitude as numerous as the stars in heaven (cf. Hb 11:12). Those who set their eyes on the riches of this world will only find death. Of course Witnesses will deny that they are coveting the things of this world. The transformed earth will be vastly different from the one of today, since there will be no hoarding or greed. In fact, what they are describing is a perfect socialist utopia.’

Only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be spared God’s wrath. ‘What was lost by Adam’s sin was the garden of Eden. The Watchtower promises that this state will be restored under Jesus Christ and the faithful of Jehovah will be permitted to reside in this paradise on earth.’ 

They do not believe in God’s grace and Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. ‘The Watchtower condemns this theology since “they could not fail, regardless of what they did.” There they make the big mistake of assuming that we are saved by our works, rather than the grace of God. If it were only for our actions that we are chosen, then none of us could ever hope to share in His glory. Rather, those who accept Christ are ransomed from death by His sacrifice from the cross. Instead, the Watchtower suggests that there will be a class of people who will prove faithful and receive a just reward. This notion does nothing but belittle Christ’s sacrifice.’

Armageddon is just around the corner.  ‘They say that earthquakes are increasing, as are wars, famine, lawlessness, etc. For biblical proof they point to the apocalypse in Matthew 24, failing however to mention verse 44 of that chapter. In that passage, Jesus promises that He will return at a time least expected. Therefore, all their calculations and statistics are pointless. To prove my point, all we need to do is refer to previous attempts by the Watchtower to predict the second coming. The years 1874, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, and 1975 have all been referred to for the ushering in of the new era where Christ will return and assume His kingly throne. Every time these predictions have failed, the Watchtower has moved the date forward, not by a large amount, just far enough that they can continue to instill fear. Do they not realize that Christ has always been Immanuel, God-with-us. Whenever we gather together to hear His word or pray together, He is with us (cf. Mt 18:20). For true believers, the date of His reign, the day of judgement, does not matter, since He has promised us salvation if we only believe in Him.’

Revelation 12 happened during the First World War (1914-1918).  ‘They point to increasing lawlessness, food shortages, etc., as proof that Satan has been “hurled down to earth,” but as I explained in chapter one, such conditions are not unique to this time. In fact, the conditions they describe are only regional in their impact … According to the Watchtower, after Christ was enthroned as king in 1914, Satan was given a short time to rule the world. Following this, will come Armageddon when God “will use angelic forces under Christ to carry out the execution” of mankind, save Jehovah’s Witnesses of course.’

They believe that Satan rules the Earth. ‘The Watchtower claims that the world is governed by Satan, basing their whole argument on two verses in the Bible … The Watchtower even contradicts themselves in their discussion of this matter when they refer to Satan as “a hateful liar” who “would like to mislead us.” Now, all of a sudden, because it suits their purpose, they claim that Satan is telling the truth. So what about the kingdoms which Satan claimed to offer Jesus? Is he the “unseen ruler of all the nations of the world” as the Watchtower claims?’

Therefore, Satan controls our governments.  ‘The result was that “governments of men,…the scriptures show, have been controlled from behind the scenes by the Devil.” What I have shown earlier in this chapter is that scripture, in fact, shows that all authority is given by God and that governments rule by Him. So what is the Watchtower saying? Are they saying that Satan is a god? Ask this question to any Jehovah’s Witness, and the answer will be an unequivocal “yes.”‘

Furthermore, Satan controls our churches.  ‘The purpose of this negative view of the world seems to be rooted in an attempt by the Watchtower to isolate their followers. The result is their members complete reliance on the Watchtower and their publishing empire. Even “Christendom” is considered part of “Satan’s visible organization.” ‘Satan is everywhere and in everything except the Watchtower hierarchy’ seems to be what they are saying. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Billy Graham, and Pope John Paul II are all members of “Satan’s visible organization.” That is why a faithful Jehovah’s Witness can never be allowed to read anything not written by the Watchtower.’

That means that you, too, Christian reader, are satanic.  ‘All the Watchtower’s theology on the subject of Satan, let us remember, is based on one verse in the Bible which quotes the father of all lies, Satan himself. On this they base their condemnation of all world religions from Catholicism to Buddhism, and all institutions from the Red Cross to the United Nations. It is important to be aware of this xenophobia when speaking with a Jehovah’s Witness. You will not be trusted regardless of who you are since they believe that you are controlled by Satan. Even Christmas Carols are Satanic … You may think to yourself, “they seem harmless enough,” but how harmless is a religion that hates anything different than itself, that quotes Satan as a source of truth, and that believes that Satan can be more powerful than God.’

They believe that God will destroy all ‘modern-day’ false religion.  Never mind that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded in 1870.  ‘As such, they should consider themselves more of a modern day religion than those which go back many hundreds or thousands of years. Regardless of one’s interpretation, John’s apocalyptic vision was certainly referring to events happening during his lifetime. I could elaborate further on Revelation, but I feel that it is sufficiently dealt with elsewhere. Pick up almost any study Bible or commentary and you will find many more plausible interpretations of this book.’

What the Jehovah’s Witnesses say are distortions of Scripture.  You won’t readily pick these up merely by reading their literature, unless you have a keen eye and knowledge of the Bible.  They are yet another reason why it’s so important to be able to understand Christianity through the Bible to know why these people are misguided.

Tomorrow: When Jehovah’s Witnesses come to call

For more information read:

‘Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower’

‘Historical Dishonesty and the Watchtower Society’

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