Jehovah’s Witnesses (also known as the Watchtower Society or JW’s)

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A lot of this stuff you guys have probably heard. They don’t celebrate holidays. They don’t participate in saluting the flag, voting, politics or war activities. They don’t believe in blood transfusions, which is a very dangerous doctrine. They get that from the Bible. The Old Testament and the New Testament talk about not consuming blood. Don’t eat meat with the blood in it. But they take that to mean no blood transfusions. If you are in a nasty car wreck or just some kind of nasty accident happens and you’re losing blood, and you need blood, if they are following their doctrine, will have to refuse that blood. Now they have backed off as an organization on the doctrine a little bit, but it still is kind of there, and there is a lot of peer pressure amongst the ranks to not take that blood.

They discourage going on to higher education, which is kind of strange to me. They limit contact with non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, friends and family. They keep their members, these Kingdom Hall Jehovah’s Witness members, within their little group, and they try to make sure people are not talking with people outside of that group and making friends with people outside of that group unless, of course, they’re witnessing and trying to bring them in to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

They forbid critical thinking and disagreeing with the governing body. The governing body is the group of men who write the doctrines of the Watchtower Society. If you disagree with the leadership, that doesn’t go well for you. They forbid reading literature that’s critical of the group.

They forbid non-Jehovah’s Witnesss religious broadcasting at church attendance, and they have mandatory door-to-door proselytizing. They’re pressured into a certain amount of door-to-door witnessing, and they have to actually write down all of their hours and turn it in. They go to their Kingdom Hall, which is their version of church, almost every single day, and they have these Bible studies.

Just to give you a view of what this is like, my wife has sat in on a few of them. They’ll bring you in and they pretty much avoid reading the Bible. They do actually have their own version of the Bible. It’s called the New World Translation. As you may suspect, they’ve modified a lot of stuff in the Bible. Cutting and snipping and pasting and changing things as they go. It still looks like the Bible. It still feels like the Bible, but very important things are missing. But, kind of strange, there are still a lot of good Scriptures that are still in there that they somehow missed.

They get together, and they study, for the most part, those little Watchtower magazines that they try and hand you at the door. Watchtower magazine, and also Awake, and they study those magazines and those articles. You’re probably thinking, “Wait, where do those come from?” In Brooklyn, New York, that’s where their organization is headed up. They have a group of men called the governing body. It’s about 10-15 men, and they run this organization. They design all of the doctrines, and then they have all of these writers who write these magazines, and they deal out these magazines that answer questions that Jehovah’s Witnesses want to know, and teach them doctrine slowly. Every week they’ve got they’ve got a few articles, they’ve got questions, they’ve got answers, and just covering a wide range of different little subjects, and they will read these magazines, and I kid you not, they will recite the answers that it gives. I hate to put it this way, but it’s like an indoctrination process, through repetition, and repetition is good, but they repeat over and over again these answers in these magazines, and it actually gets this stuff stuck in their heads.

They are discouraged to look into the older Watchtower magazines. And you’re probably asking why. They’re old magazines are filled with contradictions. They’re old doctrines contradict their new doctrines. Their old magazines have all kinds of false prophecies that never came true. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have predicted the end of the world in 1914. (Check this) 1917, 1918, 1925, 1975.

What do they believe? Let’s start with stuff concerning Jesus. They believe that Jesus is God’s Son, as do we, but that he is inferior to the Father. We don’t believe that as Christians. I would like to look at it like this. Christ’s office is lower than the Father’s, but as far as their god-ness, they are both God. They’re part of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and they are one in their god-ness.

Also, they believe that Christ was one of the Father’s first creations. They believe that Jesus was actually created. He is a created being. He’s not from everlasting, as the Bible says, but he’s actually a created being. Again, as Christians, we don’t believe that. That’s a big difference.

Another thing they like to bring up, and honestly, I don’t even care. This has been brought up to me many times by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I tell them very politely that I don’t care, but they teach that Christ died on a stake, not on a cross. That’s not what Christianity teaches.

They believe that Christ’s human life was paid as a ransom for obedient humans. We believe Christ’s life was paid as a ransom for sinners. Here’s the deal. When you’re talking to them about salvation by grace alone, a lot of times they’ll give you lip service, and they’ll agree with you, but what it really comes down to is they don’t believe that. They believe that Christ died on a stake, and it was to give all of humanity a chance. This just covered up Adam’s sin. It just gives humanity a chance to win salvation through his works and obedience, and works and works and works, and by the way, did I mention the works. It just gives us the chance to work our way into salvation.

Concerning Christ as well, they believe he was raised from the dead as an immortal spirit person. That’s much different. We believe that Christ rose bodily. They believe he was raised as a spirit being. This is much different. I want to mention that it is part of the gospel that Jesus rose bodily.

They believe that Jesus is the archangel Michael. They don’t really have any scriptural basis for it. The Scriptures that they do use are so far out there that you can’t prove anything. They use some obscure Old Testament passages. We, on the other hand, believe that Jesus and the archangel Michael, are completely different entities.

They believe the Kingdom under Christ will rule earth with righteousness and peace. We believe that Christ will rule the Millennial Kingdom for 1,000 years. In other words, Jesus rules the Kingdom, not the Kingdom ruling.

They also believe that the Kingdom brings ideal living conditions to earth. That’s not what we believe. We believe that the new heavens and earth will bring ideal living conditions to God’s people. This is what God does, not the Kingdom.

They believe that the earth will never be destroyed, or de-populated. We believe that God will create a new heavens and a new earth, possibly the new physical laws. The Bible says the earth will melt in a fervent heat, and we are promised a new heavens and a new earth.

They believe that God will destroy the present system, the present world, in a great battle called Har-Mageddon. We believe that Christ will destroy the present system of things in Armageddon.

Here’s something very important. They don’t believe in hell. They do not believe that there is an eternal punishment for those who are non-believers. In fact, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Charles Taze Russell, this was his main reason for starting this new group. This was the main thing. They believe that rather than some eternal punishment, they believe the wicked will be destroyed, or annihilated. Concerning the same lack of hell, those who God approves of, those who have worked out their salvation through many good works and works and works, will receive their eternal life. We as Christians confess Christ as our Lord and Savior. We trust in Christ alone. We repent of our sins and we receive eternal life.

Also, concerning the end times, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been teaching, since well before 1914, that we were in the time of the end. They’ve been talking about the end of the world for a long time. They believe that the death of humans is due to Adam’s sin, and we do to, but we also say that spiritual death, as well as physical death, is due to Adam’s sins.

Another thing that they believe is that the human soul ceases to exist at death. Their resurrection is a little different than ours. Their resurrection is a bodily resurrection, which is a contradiction since they don’t believe that Jesus rose physically in bodily form.

Concerning hell, the believe that word hell is referring to mankind’s grave, just the common grave. So when you are dead and buried, you’re in hell. So everybody get their grave time, or hell time. We as Christians believe that hell is that holding tank before the Lake of Fire, which is most likely far worse.

And what about heaven? This is an interesting doctrine, and its depressing. They believe that only 144,000 get to go to heaven and rule with Christ. We believe that all of those who are saved, all those who trust in Christ as their Lord, will get to go to heaven. It’s so different. That whole 144,000 who get to go to heaven, those doors have closed. There is already 144,000 according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been sealed to go to heaven, and the rest can only hope to be resurrected and live an eternal life in these bodies on this planet. And God’s going to charge them to fix the planet after Har-Mageddon. So they live their whole life in these bodies while getting tired, cutting their fingers while their doing work, catching a cold, etc…

One thing that they believe is that your prayers must only be directed to Jehovah, through Christ. Isn’t that interesting. I’ve been told by Jehovah’s Witnesses that if you’re not praying to Jehovah, and I mean the exact name. Not Jesus, not Yahweh, not God, but Jehovah. They have told me that if I’m not praying to Jehovah, then I’m praying to Satan. I have yet to see that in an official writing.

They also observe the Sabbath on Saturday. As far as Christianity goes, we observe our day of worship on Sunday. They kind of make a big deal about clergy class and titles. For example, calling somebody a deacon, a pastor, a bishop, they kind of get weird about that. They think that’s improper. But we see that in the New Testament.

You have to follow this a little closely because there is a distinction. They believe that Christians must give public testimony to scriptural truth. But we believe that we should give public testimony to the gospel.

Another interesting thing is that there are two classes of believers. The John class is the only class that will inherit heaven. We believe that all believers who are trusting in Christ will get to go to heaven.

They believe that Christ came invisibly in 1914, and that’s when his Kingdom was established in heaven. It was predicted, and this is one of the false prophecies, that Jesus would return in 1914. Well, it obviously didn’t happen, so right after 1914, they were scrambling to discover how they could cover up this blatant false prophecy. People were leaving their church in droves, and the way they found that they could cover up this false prophecy was to say that Jesus came invisibly and is now setting up his Kingdom. So that’s what happened. They made this big deal out of it, and they had people waiting on their roofs for Jesus to come back, selling their stuff, and basically expecting that Har-Mageddon was right around the corner, and they lead their people to believe that, and then, when it didn’t happen, and when it didn’t, they basically said, “Well, we never said that. It must have been local leaders of Kingdom Halls that said that. We never said that Jesus was going to come back and bring Har-Mageddon. We were only saying that Jesus was going to come back invisibly and set up his Kingdom.” But the prophecies say otherwise.

Just to touch on a few more items from a historical basis. Charles Taze Russell was the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was a Bible student, and was a student of William Miller, and he did go through the Great Disappointment of 1844. It wasn’t until 1879 that he founded the Watchtower organization and started publishing materials that later would become the Watchtower magazine, the Awake magazine that you might be familiar with. He died in 1916, and it was then that Judge Rutherford took over the organization. It was in 1931 that he transitioned the name of this group from Bible students to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

And I wanted to highlight again the teaching of Jesus, which sets Jehovah’s Witnesses apart from mainline Christianity by great lengths. They follow the teachings of a man named Arius. At the council of Nicea, Arius was the main contender to Athanasius. He denied the doctrine of the Trinity, instead claiming that Jesus was a created being and inferior to the Father. His main catch phrase was “there was a time when he was not” in reference to Jesus, believing that he is not equal with God. They emphasized that there was one God and that Jesus was a higher creation of God. In fact, he was the first creation of God, and it was through Jesus that God created all “other” things besides Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witnesses do believe that Jesus is Michael the archangel, and that title archangel signifies his special role of being over the angels, and that he is separate from the angels. He has a special place, but he is not in fact God.