WHAT DOES THE BIBLE Really TEACH?
Is This What God Purposed?
You are going to need a lot of patience whenever you witness to a Jehovah’s Witness. Whenever you ask one of them a question, he will give a lot of explanations--as if you do not know anything about the Bible--and this will take a long time. It can be tiring to have to listen so much, but it is important to listen well, because Jehovah’s Witnesses will very often contradict themselves and you can point this out later to your advantage. Also, when you ask a question for which they don’t know the answer, they will often begin a long explanation about another subject. When this happens, remember your question. When they get finished with this long explanation about something you are not talking about, go back to the original question and ask it again. Do not pick up on something you are not discussing and go "chasing rabbits."
Remember that you are not only dealing with a Jehovah’s Witness but the Lord will be dealing with you, and He is able to teach you many things. You are going to need patience—to be longsuffering, kind, gentle, loving--and should spend a lot of time in prayer. At first your two main goals are (1) to build a friendly working relationship; there are no shortcuts, and this will take time. (2) To cause them to think, by asking thought-provoking questions which they are not used to being asked. (This booklet is filled with such questions.)
It is very important that you do not fall into the trap that is presented at the top of page 7 in the Introduction of their book. The usual procedure used when you are studying with a Jehovah’s Witness is for them to read a paragraph or two (sometimes they will request you to read) and then ask you the questions at the bottom of the page. They expect you to repeat a portion of what they or you have just read. A simple example of what they are doing is: You have just read, "Jack is a big black dog." Question: "What is Jack?" Of course, the answer is "A dog." Next question: "What is the dog’s name?" Answer, "Jack." Question: "What color is the dog?" Answer, "Black." Question: "What is his size?" Answer, "He is big." The questions in the Watchtower book are designed to get you to repeat what has been stated there--as if it is true. You are not to discuss anything to see if the material that is presented is accurate or not. You are just to accept it. You do not want to study with them in this way. Often they are very insistent, but don’t give in to them. You can explain to them that you like to think about things before you answer so you will read the material before the study and come up with your own questions.
They will often say, "But this is the way we always do it." You can give them a surprised look and say, "God has made all of the billions of people on this earth different and your organization wants to treat everyone the same way? Some people learn better by using one process and others learn better using another process! Is this the common practice of the Watchtower Society, to treat everyone alike and not as individuals?" Be polite, but stick to your guns. Since the Witnesses are anxious to conduct "book studies" they will usually go along with you.
What Is the Truth About God?
Pages 8 & 9 of this Watchtower book explain how children ask questions and declare that it is good for them to keep asking until they get an understandable answer. At this point, you can explain that you have many questions and want to get a promise out of them that they will answer your questions in a way that you can understand. This is very important, because later on you will be asking many questions that they do not have an answer to or ones that they don’t want to answer early in your studies. Usually the questions that Christians and others ask are standardized, and the Witness will have an answer for them. Jehovah’s Witnesses spend one hour every week learning how to answer these standard questions through mock conversations. But they are not prepared to answer thought-provoking questions that are not on the list. They will either get you some printed material from a Watchtower publication (which might discuss the issue you brought up but does not really give a good answer) or else they want to "shelve" the question, which they never come back to on their own. Thus, before they know where you are coming from, it is good to get from them a commitment to answer questions in the manor that this publication says is a good thing to do, as stated above.
At this point, it is best to just skip over what is written from the bottom of page 9 to the bottom of page 12.
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From page 12 to the middle of page 15 the book discusses the importance of using the word "Jehovah" as the name for God. Jehovah’s Witnesses put a very strong emphasis on the use of the name Jehovah. In fact, they repeat it so many times and so lightly that it is almost sickening. There is a lot of information that you can show the Witness at this time.
Question: I am rather confused as to why the Watchtower Society puts such strong emphasis on the name "Jehovah" for the name of Israel’s God when in reality it is a false rendering! If you check in just about any dictionary or encyclopedia, you will find that it is a false rendering and the correct pronunciation is "Yahweh." A few examples:
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. "Jehovah is a false reading of the Hebrew YAHWEH."
New Catholic Encyclopedia. "Jehovah is a false form of the divine name YAHWEH."
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. "‘Jehovah.’ Intended as a transliteration of Hebrew YAHWEH, the vowel points of Hebrew ADHONAY (my Lord) being erroneously substituted for those of YAHWEH; from the fact that in some Hebrew manuscripts the vowel points of ADHONAY (used as a euphemism [less direct style of writing] for YAHWEH) were written under the consonants YHWH or YAHWEH to indicate that ADHONAY was to be substituted in oral reading for YAHWEH. Jehovah is a Christian transliteration of the Tetragrammaton long assumed by many Christians to be the authentic reproduction of the Hebrew sacred name for God but now recognized to be a late hybrid form never used by the Jews."
The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia. "Jehovah is an erroneous pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, or four-lettered name of God made up of the Hebrew letters YHWH. The word ‘Jehovah’ therefore is a misreading for which there is no warrant and which makes no sense in Hebrew."
In the 1984 Watchtower brochure The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, on page 17, it states that the word "Jehovah" first appeared in A.D. 1278 and was put forth by Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk.
Furthermore, with the restoration of pure Hebrew in the 1930’s it is clearly known that the accurate pronunciation for God’s name is "Yahweh" and could not be "Jehovah."
When discussing the name "Jehovah" with a Jehovah’s Witness he or she will use two contradictory types of reasoning. The Witness may tell you that the Christians have taken God’s name out of the Bible and it is the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have put it back. But then if you show them that the word "Jehovah" is a false rendering for God’s name he or she will say, "Well the name ‘Jehovah’ is the name that most people are familiar with, so it is best to use the name that people are familiar with. Most people are not familiar with the name ‘Yahweh.’" So in one breath the Witness will say that God’s name has been deliberately taken out of the Bible and thus is an unknown name. But in the next breath they will defensively say, "The word ‘Jehovah’ is very common--which most people know--so we use the word people are familiar with." If God’s name has really been taken out of the Bible and is not in common use, then how come so many people are familiar with the name "Jehovah"?
There is another contradiction when it comes to using God’s name. When the many changes in doctrines, teachings, and practices down through the history of the Watchtower Society are pointed out to Witnesses, they will be quick to say, "At least when the Society realizes its mistakes it is willing to admit them and change." (The Watchtower Society never admits to any mistakes. It will just come out with a new teaching or say "it is up to your conscience," but it never confesses that the old teaching was wrong and apologizes for the mistake. The Society claims to be "theocratic=run by God." If this is true, then how can it make mistakes? Also, if the Society admitted to making mistakes and was truly sorry for them, it would need to make restitution. However, it has never done this.)
There is something else that is very strange along this line. In the August 8, 1998 Awake magazine, in the Spanish edition on page 15, there is a question, "What is the most accurate pronunciation for God’s name?" The answer is given on page 27, and that is "Yahweh." (This never came out in the English edition, even though the Society states that all their publications worldwide teach the same thing.) Since it is well known that the most accurate pronunciation for God’s name is "Yahweh," then why does the Watchtower Society not correct this mistake and teach people what God’s real name is if that is so important to use it all the time? How can it say it is glorifying God by using an "erroneous, made-up, false name" for God? (The Witness might try to tell you that "Yahweh" is the Hebrew pronunciation for God’s name and that "Jehovah" is the English rendering. This is not true. If they do say something like this, ask them to show you some scholar who will confirm such a statement.)
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You might want to show them that God has more than just one name. (All these quotes are taken from the NWT Bible.) Psalm 68:4 states, "As Jah, which is his name." (Jah is the first part of Yahweh.) Isaiah 57:15, "And whose name is holy." Isaiah 63:16, "Our Repurchaser [Redeemer] of long ago is your name."
Question #1: Wouldn’t it be better to teach people the proper name for God, "Yahweh," than to continue to use the erroneous pronunciation "Jehovah" even though it is more familiar? What good is it to pass on a false name simply because it has come down through years of tradition? Shouldn’t we be more interested in accuracy than in tradition?
Note: Jesus referred to the Father about 350 times. In doing so, He used the name "Yahweh" very sparingly. In the NWT (the Watchtower New World Translation) there are only twenty places recorded where Jesus used the name "Jehovah." Most of these were quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures (This is how the Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to the Old Testament.). By contrast, Jesus used the word "God" over 180 times and "Father" roughly 175 times. Never did Jesus address the Father as "Yahweh," nor did He ever tell His followers to address the Father as "Yahweh." By His example in Matthew 6:9 He taught that we should address God as "Father."
Question #2: If it is so important to continually use God’s name in Hebrew, then why did Jesus only address Him as "Father"?¾ and why did He teach His disciples to address Him as "Father"?
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At the top of page 16, paragraph 19, it asks the question: "How can you draw close to God?" One of the biggest problems a Jehovah’s Witness (or anyone else) has in coming to know Christ as his or her own personal Savior is the fact that he or she does not have a Biblical concept of sin. Jehovah’s Witnesses will pray and say, "Forgive us of our faults and mistakes." This is quite different from saying, "Lord, I am proud, self-centered, self-righteous, tell lies, have anger, jealousy, wrath in my heart. I think impure thoughts and do those things that are unpleasing to you. Please forgive me and wash my heart in the blood of Christ." Here is a good opportunity to help them realize what sin does in our relationship to God.
Question #1: What is it in man that separates him from God? (Ephesians 2:12 states that by nature we are separated from God. Try to get the Witness to name specific sins that separate us from God. Then you might add other sins, particularly inward sins, and ask what effect they have on our relationship to God.)
Question #2: I have a very serious problem here and would like to know, from the teachings of the Watchtower Society, how this problem is solved? Jesus taught that by birth and choice we are children of the Devil and he is our father. John 8:44 states, "You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father." (I have never known any parents who had to teach their children how to sin!) Since Satan is our father by nature, then he has authority over us. Acts 26:18 declares: "Turn them…from the authority of Satan." We know that Satan is very powerful and he is not going to let us get out from under his control without a struggle. But we read in Matthew 6:9 that some are able to call God "Father." Since by nature we are children of the Devil, then it seems quite obvious that there is some transaction necessary to get us out from under the dominion of Satan to the place where we can call God "Father." The Bible speaks in places of people being "born from above," "born of God," and "born again." Would you please explain to me the complete process¾ as a Jehovah’s Witness, how you got out from under the dominion of Satan and can now call God "Father"? (Jehovah’s Witnesses are never sure that they are in the family of God and will not fall back under Satan’s dominion once again. They will say they are trying their best and hope they are on the path that might lead to everlasting life, but they can never be sure. They constantly quote Matthew 10:22, "But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.")
This question is at the very crux of the gospel. You are not being argumentative, since you are asking for an answer. I have personally used this question very effectively a number of times. Once I met a Jehovah’s Witness mother with a 16-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son who were on a street corner passing out Watchtower literature. I stopped and talked to them and then asked them the above question. This is what the mother said to me: "We go from door to door and meet those ‘born-againers.’ I do not know what it means to be born again. Would you please tell me?" So for twenty minutes, very quietly and slowly, I told these three Witnesses what it means to be born again. It was then time for them to leave. I was just visiting in that city, but I am sure if I was residing there I could have made arrangements to meet again with them.
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On page 16, paragraph 19, John 17:3 is quoted. It is rendered rather differently in the NWT than in most Bibles. From it there are a number of thought-provoking questions you can ask. (You might not get a good answer, but you have been able to point out a difference in translation which might stick with them.)
Question #1: I note that John 17:3 is translated rather differently in this book. Most translations read, "This is everlasting life." This has a very clear ring of certainty to it. It indicates that eternal life is something that can be possessed with absolute assurance in this life. The rendering as written here in this book, "This means everlasting life," seems to indicate that it is a process rather than a definite act! Does the Watchtower Society teach that it is possible be 100% certain that you have everlasting life right now through faith in Jesus Christ, or is it a process that takes time and can only be obtained in the next life? (Listen carefully to what they say. It is not possible for a Jehovah’s Witness to obtain everlasting life in the present world. It is something they might "merit" on the new earth. If they are honest with you, they will have to tell you it is a "process.")
If they tell you it is not possible to be certain now, ask them to explain a few verses to you. Take them to John 10:28: "And I [Jesus] give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." This verse states that "everlasting life" is something that is given by Jesus Christ. A person can never work for a gift, for then it is no longer a gift. Ask them to explain this verse to you. (You can point out things, but ask questions to make them think it through. Also, don’t let them go to some other verse but urge them to explain this verse.)
Next take them to John 5:24: "Most truly I say to you, He that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life." Here Jesus is saying that a person can have everlasting life in this present world! What does it mean when it says, "He does not come into judgment"? What is this death that this person has passed out of, and what life has this person entered into? (This verse gives the answer to the question above as to how we can get out from under Satan’s dominion and into the family of God. Don’t let them go to another verse to get you off the track. Keep them to this verse. Remember, you are not out to win an argument at this stage but to plant thought-provoking seeds of doubt that take time to mature.)
Question #2: I note that there is another difference in the way this verse (John 17:3) is rendered. In the NWT Bible it reads, "Their taking in knowledge…" Most translations say, "That they may know." To me there is a big difference between "Taking in knowledge" and "Knowing." You can read about a person and obtain a lot of facts, but you really can’t "know" a person until you actually meet them and come into a close association with them. The only possible way you can "Draw close to God" is to know Him in a personal and intimate way. Do you as a Jehovah’s Witness just know a lot of facts about God, or have you been born by His Spirit and have a personal, intimate relation with Yahweh? (Listen carefully to what they have to say at this point. They won’t want to tell you they don’t have a direct relationship with God, but they can’t say they really do. If they do say they have a direct relationship, ask them to explain in complete detail how this happened. Sometimes a Witness might tell you he or she has a relationship with God¾ but it is not a direct relationship. The Society teaches that only the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society has a direct relationship with God, because they are supposed to be of the "anointed" class and "have God spirit." But since the Witnesses have a relationship with the Governing Body as a Witness, then they feel they have an indirect relationship with Yahweh.)
Question #3: Since the Watchtower Society teaches that this "taking in knowledge" is a "process," how long does this process ordinarily take? (They will usually give you a very indefinite answer and say that it is up to the individual. You can ask them how long it took them to acquire this "accurate knowledge.")
Question #4: Does this "taking in knowledge" end when you are baptized into the Watchtower Society, so that now you are certain that you have everlasting life? Or is baptism more or less the start of the journey and you have to continue to take in knowledge, so that maybe sometime in the future you might obtain everlasting life? ((I am almost certain that the Witness will tell you it is a "process." It will be difficult for them to give you a straightforward answer at this juncture, but listen well to what they have to say.)
Question #5: The Bible does not seem to indicate that coming into a personal relationship with God is a long process. For example, in Luke 23:39-43 it took the thief on the tree next to Jesus just a very short time to take in enough knowledge to get into paradise. (By the way, do not argue about the fact that the comma in verse 43 is placed after "today" instead of before "today" like in most Bibles, but use this passage of Scripture as a way of witnessing and giving the gospel.) This thief had admitted his own personal sins and that he was dying as a just punishment for them. He believed that Jesus Christ was perfect and was dying for his sins. He believed that this dying man, Jesus, was going to rise from the dead and set up a kingdom. He prayed to Jesus. He confessed his sins and asked for forgiveness. Then he received a promise that he would be in paradise. Don’t you agree that the process of "taking in knowledge" was very short? (Jehovah’s Witnesses are not certain that they will make it onto the new earth. They might fall way.) (Note: We know that "paradise" means heaven, but you can get in a good point from the Society’s belief that the "paradise" mentioned in Luke is earthly, while in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 it is heavenly. The new earth of the Watchtower Society is 1000 years long. But the first six or seven hundred years on this earth are not "paradise" because the Witnesses have to clean up all the debris of Armageddon and build paradise by sheer manual labor. So this thief had the amazing promise that he would not have to do any of the "dirty work" but would be resurrected when all the work had been done! That is really a good deal!)
Question #6: On the day of Pentecost 3,000 people were saved after hearing just one sermon from Peter. In Acts 8:26-40 the Ethiopian eunuch was saved and baptized after a very short discussion with Philip. In Acts 10 Cornelius and many of his family and friends took in enough accurate knowledge after the one sermon by Peter to be baptized. In Acts 16:25-34 the Philippian jailor took in enough accurate knowledge to be baptized in not less than 6 hours, from midnight until dawn. Paul’s explanation didn’t take very long; to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul’s answer was rather short, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." What is it that this jailor believed about Jesus? Not just that He was a good man whose example we should try to follow, but that He shed His blood upon the tree for the sins of all mankind.
Since the Bible gives a number of incidents where people were baptized in just a very short time after hearing the message about Jesus, then why does the Watchtower Society teach that this "taking in knowledge" is a long process?
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What is written on page 17, paragraph 22, is a very subtle way in which the Society tries to get prospective Witnesses to expect opposition and to make them think that this opposition is from the Devil, who doesn’t want them to get into "the truth." It is true that when a person expresses to family members or friends that he or she is studying with a Jehovah’s Witness, in many cases it will end up in an attack on the Watchtower Society. But trying to point out that it is a false cult and should be shunned will not work. These "well-meaning" people are not against the person reading the Bible but against them studying with a Jehovah’s Witness. The Watchtower Society is here preparing the inquirer, and this kind of attack will only drive the person further into the Society rather than stopping the studies. For this reason it is best not to attack a person studying with a Witnesses but use a positive approach. If someone says he is studying with a Witness you can say, "Would you please do me a favor? I have lots of questions that I am seeking answers for. If I ask you the questions, will you try and get an answer from the Witnesses for me?" In this way you can plant seeds of doubt in the inquirer; and in most cases the questions you ask, the Witness can’t answer. After a while, the Witness will be the one who stops the so-called "Bible studies."
Page 17, paragraph 23, lines 5-6, state: "And children, as we know, ask lot of questions. God wants you to find the answers." Use what is written here to reinforce the fact that you will have lots of questions and are looking forward to their "clear-cut" answers. (At first Witnesses will make all kind of promises to get you into a "Bible study"¾ but they are not prepared to answer thought-provoking questions that are off the beaten path. You can often use what is written in the Watchtower literature to your advantage!)
The Bible—A Book From God
Generally, what is presented in this chapter about the Bible is rather accurate. However, even if it might sound good on the surface, you need to understand what it comes out to in reality. While the Watchtower Society claims to believe all the Bible and that it is the inspired Word of God, yet it still teaches that the whole Bible was written only for the 144,000, referred to as the "anointed," so it does not believe the Bible can be read and understood by the average person. The Society continually quotes the conversation between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch to try to prove that the Bible must be interpreted. Acts 8:30-31 reads, "Philip ran alongside and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: ‘Do you actually know what you are reading?’ He said: ‘Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?’ And he entreated Philip to get on and sit down with him" (NWT). Of course, the Society ignores the promise that the Holy Spirit will guide us into truth as found in John 14:26.
To prove that the Watchtower Society clearly teaches that a person cannot come into the truth by just reading the Bible on his or her own, I would like to quote from an article in the February 15, 1981, Watchtower, page 17. "From such experience it can be seen that Jehovah God caused the Bible to be written in such a way that one needs to come in touch with his human channel before one can fully and accurately understand it. True, we need the help of God’s holy spirit, but its help also comes to us primarily by association with the channel Jehovah God sees fit to us." (Many more such quotes can be found in Watchtower literature.)
Since the Society teaches that almost all of the Jehovah’s Witnesses today are not of the "anointed class," but of the "great crowd," then the greater majority of Witnesses cannot read and understand the Bible themselves. They must have it explained to them. The Society says that the Bible must be "illuminated," and this can only be done by the men on the Governing Body. It presents this illumination in the Watchtower publications, so the Jehovah’s Witnesses read these instead of the Bible. When a Jehovah’s Witness speaks about a "Bible study," he actually means reading and studying what the Watchtower publications teach, rather than letting the Bible speak for itself.
In addition, though the Society claims to believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, from what is written in paragraph 5 on pages 5-6 it is clear that the Watchtower Society believes in "thought inspiration," instead of "verbal inspiration" as most Bible-believing Christians do. "Thought inspiration" means that God merely gave the main ideas to the authors and then they worked out the details in their own words. "Verbal inspiration" means that God not only guided in the main ideas but also in the choice of words the human authors used.
As a matter of information, there is an important comment in the previous book used by the Watchtower Society for its propaganda purposes, KNOWLEDGE That Leads to Everlasting Life, but left out of this book, which I want to mention. (This is found on page 12, paragraph 3.) "But if you were given a legal document outlining what you had to do in order to receive a valuable inheritance, would you not take the time to study it carefully? If you find certain parts of the document hard to understand, likely you would get the help of someone experienced in such matters."
The above statement is a very subtle way of getting people to buy into the Watchtower Society’s propaganda that the Bible is really a very difficult book to understand and you need some "specialist" to tell you what it actually means. (I started reading the King James Bible daily when I was saved at the age of 14. I didn’t find it forbiddingly difficult to understand, but was surprised to find out just how personal it was! Often I felt like someone had followed me around with a camera and was now portraying my life. I wondered how the Bible, which had been written thousands of years earlier, knew me so well! Yes, there are some difficult parts, but most of it is understandable by the average person.) Of course, like some other religious groups, it teaches that it is the only organization that has the authority to interpret the Bible. If the Society can convince a person on this point, then it can control the person’s mind and teach almost anything it wants to without ever being questioned. (Of course, the book doesn’t mention the fact that the Society has been trying to find out what the Bible really teaches for over 100 years, but it hasn’t gotten it right yet, because it constantly keep changing its teaching--often completely reversing its teachings.)
For years the Watchtower Society used the Bibles that were on the market. In 1929 it printed the Holy Bible, American Standard Version of 1901. It printed the King James Version in 1942, the Diaglott New Testament also in 1942, and then The Bible in Living English, by Steven T. Byington in 1972. In 1961 it completed its own Bible, known as the New World Translation (NWT), and revised it slightly in 1984. I realize that this Bible has been intentionally corrupted; yet even so—though I avoid the controversial, corrupted passages¾ I still use the NWT instead of any other Bible when conversing with a Jehovah’s Witness. There is a good, sensible reason for doing this. Too often when another Bible is used in witnessing you get into an argument as to which Bible is correct instead of discussing what the Bible teaches.
Probably the most glaringly corrupted passage in the NWT is found in Colossians 1:16-17 where Paul speaks about Jesus Christ being the Creator. (Note carefully the use of the added word "other" in brackets "".) "Because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities, all [other] things have been created through him, and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist." You cannot find the words "other" added in any other version of the Bible. Since the Watchtower Society teaches that only the Father is eternal, that He created the Son and then the Son created everything else, if these verses were left standing as they are actually found in the original Greek text they would prove the Watchtower Society’s teaching in error when it states that Jesus was created. Thus the Society changed the Bible to conform to its teachings instead of changing its teaching to be in accordance with the Bible. When reading the NWT, you will soon note that the word "Jehovah" is found about 6000 times in the Old Testament and 231 times in the New Testament. If the Watchtower Society had of been consistent with it own rules for inserting the word "Jehovah" in the New Testament, there are at least 72 places where this would prove that Jesus is Jehovah God¾ but of course it could not do that, since it would disprove its own teachings about Christ.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the NWT is a very "scholarly" translation and the most accurate. Below I will give a number of indirect questions that might cause the Jehovah’s Witness you are dealing with to question its scholarship. But first I need to give some important information that will help you understand the questions.
The committee for working on this new translation of the Bible for the Watchtower Society was set up in 1950. The committee was headed by Frederick Franz, who was then vice-president of the Society, Nathan H. Knorr, president, and three other men serving in the Brooklyn, NY, headquarters, Albert D. Schroeder, George D. Gangas, and Milton Henschel¾ who later became the president of the Society. The Society has never come out with a list of the men on the committee; in fact, its publications say that the men on the committee were very humble and did not want their names to be mentioned so that God would receive the glory. (If you were to ask a Witness why the men were not named, he might point out that neither are the men’s names mentioned who did the American Standard Bible of 1901. Yes, their names are not written within the Bible, but you can go on a computer and very easily find the names.) The NWT names, however, are omitted for a very obvious reason, and that is because none of the men were Greek or Hebrew scholars¾ the languages the Bible was originally written in. Of the five, only Frederick Franz had any formal college education and that was for only three years. He had, at best, only three years of formal Greek and one year of Hebrew. This in no way makes him a scholar. George Gangas was a Greek by birth, but not a language scholar. The other three had never studied Greek or Hebrew. So the very important question comes, "How can you have a scholarly translation if no scholars were involved on the committee?" As far as I have been able to determine, the committee took about 25 different Bibles in English and then began picking and choosing from the translations whatever they wanted.
Some Jehovah’s Witnesses might claim that Frederick Franz was so brilliant that he was offered a "Rhodes Scholarship" with the privilege of going to Oxford or Cambridge in England. This claim has been investigated and found to be false.
Since Frederick Franz was the only one that had studied even a little Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, let me quote from the Douglas Walsh Trial Transcript, Tuesday, November 24-25, 1954, when Frederick Franz (four years after he started working on the NWT) was examined under oath in a court of law in Edinburgh, Scotland, and failed a simple Hebrew test.
"Have you also made yourself familiar with Hebrew?"
"So that you have a substantial linguistic apparatus at your command?"
"Yes, for use in my biblical work."
"I think you are able to read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and French?"
The following day, Franz was put on the stand again, and the following interview took place.
"You, yourself, read and speak Hebrew, do you?"
"I do not speak Hebrew."
"You do not?"
"Can you translate that into Hebrew?" (He was asked to translate a simple Bible text: Genesis 2:4-6.)
"That fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis."
"You mean here?"
"No. I won’t attempt to do that."
When dealing with a Jehovah’s Witness, there is one thing about the NWT that you can use to your advantage. If you have access to this Bible, you will notice that there are a lot of cross-references. After a word or phrase you will find a letter of the alphabet, and when you look in the center of the page for the same letter you will find one or more Scripture references where that word or phrase is used. This often helps you understand the usage of the word or phrase better. It so happens that the Watchtower Society did not produce these references itself but bought this information from someone else, who was evangelical. Apparently the Society never checked out these references because they often prove what Bible-believing Christians believe instead of what the Watchtower Society teaches. Thus many times you can use the references in the NWT Bible to disprove the Society’s teachings and help re-enforce what you believe. Let me give you just one example. Remember, the Watchtower Society teaches that birthdays are "pagan" and should not be observed. But by using the references in the NWT you can show that Abraham had a birthday party for Isaac on the very day he was three years old. Surely Abraham was not a pagan! Genesis 21:8 reads, "Now the child kept growing and came to be weaned;e and Abraham then prepared a big feast on the day of Isaac’s being weaned." When you look at the reference to "e" in the center column it refers you to 1 Samuel 1:22. This verse speaks about when Samuel was weaned. Then after the word "weaned" in this verse there is a reference that refers you to 2 Chronicles 31:16. This verse reads, "Apart from their genealogical enrollment of the males from three years of age upward, of all those coming to the house of Jehovah as a daily matter of course, for their service by their obligations according to their divisions." By referring to these verses we learn that a child was weaned at the age of three. Thus Abraham had a large birthday party for Isaac on the very day he was three years old, which proves that birthday parties are not "pagan" or forbidden by Yahweh like the Society teaches. This is only one of hundreds of illustrations where these references prove the teachings of Bible-believing Christians.
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Page 19, paragraph 4 states, "In whole or in part, the Bible has been published in more than 2,300 languages and thus is available to more than 90 percent of the world’s population."
Question #1: I think it is really wonderful that the Bible is in so many languages and that most of the people in the world can read it. Could you please tell me how the Bible was translated into so many languages? (The Witness you are talking to is probably not aware of the Christian groups who have been and are active in translating the Bible into other languages. The purpose of this question is to get the person to think.)
Question #2: This seems to show that there are many groups beside the Watchtower Society who are interested in getting the Bible into the hands of people in their own languages so they can read it. Don’t you think so?
Question #3: I see or understand that the Watchtower Society has produced its own Bible. Will you tell me by whom and when it was translated? (He or she might be able to tell you that the whole Bible was first published in 1961 but will give you no details about who translated it. He or she might give you the argument mentioned above that the men who did the Bible were humble men and didn’t want to receive any glory.)
Question #4: Would the Watchtower-produced Bible be considered a "scholarly" Bible? (To this question you will probably receive an emphatic "Yes.")
Question #5: Since you consider the NWT a scholarly Bible, was it translated by scholars inside the Watchtower organization or did it request the help of recognized scholars? (They will probably tell you that it was done by members of the Watchtower Society.)
Question #6: Will you help me understand something? I understand that most of the people who go to the headquarters, some spending their life there, go immediately out of high school. Would that be a true assessment of the people at the headquarters? (You should receive a "Yes" answer.)
Question #7: I have heard that for many years the Watchtower Society has been against its followers going to college, let along going to graduate school¾ which would be absolutely necessary for anyone to even claim to be a scholar. Is what I have heard correct? (He or she should say, "Yes.")
Question #8: (This is the question you have been working up to.) Since the men who worked on the translation committee were all from within the organization and had never gone to college, let alone graduate school, then where would these scholars come from who translated the Bible? (At this point, you are not necessarily interested in the answer they give but you have planted the seed that it is impossible for the NWT to be a scholarly translation. If they should happen to say, "They were self-educated men," you can ask them how they know such a thing if they do not know even the names of the men who did the translation in order to check out the claim? Spend some time on this question and cause the Witness to wrestle with this problem.)
Question #9: How many different languages has the New World Translation been translated into? (They might be a little vague, but as of 2006 the Society claims to have translated the whole Bible or the New Testament into 42 languages. I just checked with the Society and received these figures.)
Question #10: As we have seen, it would have been difficult to have any scholars who knew Hebrew and Greek work on the English translation of the NWT. Do you know for certainty that all of these other 42 (or the figure they give) translations of the whole Bible or the New Testament were translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek languages? (You probably won’t receive a clear answer. In this case, ask them to investigate and bring you back an answer. You will probably have to ask many times to get an answer.)
(Note: I am able to read Japanese and I noted that a number of the different renderings in the English NWT turned up in the Japanese. Furthermore, I have a friend whose native tongue is Spanish, and he also knows Portuguese, Italian, and some French. He likewise noted the same changes in these languages. So I have long suspected that all the translations of the NWT into other language were taken from the English NWT. Then I found the answer in The Watchtower magazine of October 15, 1997. In an article starting on page 8 titled HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO US, on page 12 I found my hunch was correct, that all the translations into other languages were taken from the English. Here is what is stated in this article. "Translating from English, rather than working directly from the Hebrew and Greek, offers important advantages. Besides shortening translation time, it makes possible greater unity of expression in all languages. Why? Because it is much easier to translate precisely from one modern language into another than to translate from an ancient language into various modern ones. After all, translators can consult with native speakers of modern languages but not of languages spoken thousand of years ago." Therefore, all the errors in the English NWT are automatically continued in the other languages in which the NWT has been translated.)
Question #11: Was the New World Translation ever the first translation of the Bible in any of the languages the NWT is translated into? (The answer should be "No.")
Question #12: Since the Watchtower Society is active in many countries where it does not have it own translation, then what Bible do the Jehovah’s Witnesses use? (They will have to say they use the translation that is available in that language.)
Question #13: Since the Watchtower Society sanctions the translations of the Bible in many different languages then it apparently admits that there are other groups that are able to produce an accurate and reliable Bible. Would this be true?
Question #14: How many languages is The Watchtower magazine translated into? (If they have the correct information they will say, "About 100 languages.")
Question #15: This seem strange to me. This Watchtower book we are studying is explaining how important the Bible is, but in actuality it seems like it is more important to translate The Watchtower publications into foreign languages than it is the Bible! Can’t you see this possibility? (You are planting seeds of doubt.)
Question #16: Since it is so important to have an accurate translation of the Bible in the hands of all people, and still 10 percent of the world’s population does not have the Bible in its native language, does the Watchtower Society have any people, financed by the Society, who are working full time translating the Bible into these other languages? (I once asked a J.W. I was dealing with this question and he said he was not sure and would get back to me. I kept pressing him but he never answered me because I think he knew the Society does not have any such work. Jehovah’s Witnesses are never the first people to go into a country or tribe to evangelize. They only come after seed has been planted and they are able to mislead people.)
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Page 26, paragraph 20, states: "The Bible truly is a book from God. It is a book that is to be read, studied, and loved. Show your gratitude for this divine gift by continuing to peer into its contents."
Question #1: I believe what is written here is wonderful advice. Since you are going to be my teacher, I was wondering if you make it a practice to read the whole Bible, every word from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, once every year? (It is important to say "Every word," otherwise they will give a false answer. I am almost sure that the person will not give you a firm positive "Yes.")
Question #2: How many times would you say you have read the complete Bible from cover to cover since you became a Jehovah’s Witness? (You will probably get a very vague answer. They might say, "I really don’t keep track." Ask them if they can’t give you some idea. Is it once, twice, or how many times?) (Note: I have never met a J.W. who makes it a practice of reading the Bible through every year on his or her own. I once met a Jehovah’s Witness who was a circuit overseer [that is, over 30 congregations] for twenty years. He admitted to reading the Bible completely through only two times since he became a Witness. I talked to another man who had been a J.W. for forty years, and he said he had read the Bible through only four times.)
Question #3: Would you say that most of the J.W.’s make it a practice to read the Bible through every year? (I don’t think you will receive a positive answer.)
Question #4: Does the average J.W. spend more time reading the Bible than they do Watchtower publications? (The Bible-reading schedule set out by the Watchtower Society calls for the J.W. to read two hundred pages of the Bible in a year¾ which very few do. Following this plan, it would take a J.W. over five years to read the whole Bible, while if they read just the Watchtower and Awake magazines¾ which most do¾ they will read about 1,500 pages of Watchtower material in a year. This shows that Watchtower publications are more important than the Bible.)
What Is God’s Purpose for the Earth?
Your main purpose in going through Chapter 3 is to ask thought-provoking questions about the building of the new earth, so it is best to skip over most of what is written there.
Usually most Jehovah’s Witnesses have not wrestled with any of the details of the process of getting from where we are in this present world to where the new earth becomes a paradise—as has been promised by the Watchtower Society in writing accompanied by many Disney Land-like pictures. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Revelation 2:7 and 22:2 teach that "paradise" and "heaven" are the same. The Society admits these verses teach "a heavenly paradise" but says the reference to "paradise" in Luke 23:43 refers to the later conditions on earth during the Millennium. It is obvious that at the beginning of the new earth conditions will not be paradise-like since the world system will have been completely destroyed at Armageddon. So paradise, according to the Watchtower Society, will not occur until after maybe six or seven hundred years of hard manual labor building it. This is what a Witness admitted to me once after I went through the questions I have presented below.
I am not endorsing the Watchtower Society’s teaching about the new earth. Rather, I am suggesting that you ask these questions to make the Witness think about the long process if what the Society teaches is true.
You might start by saying, "I am quite impressed by what is written about the beautiful new earth in Chapter 3. I’m interested in the mechanics of how this new world will come about, so I ask your patience in answering the many questions I have about this chapter. I imagine you had the same questions when you started studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, so these questions should be very easy for you to answer!"
But first I have a question about the verse found on the top of page 28 at the end of paragraph 2. Here we read, "The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it."—Psalm 37:29. (I used the following questions quite effectively once when my wife and I were witnessing to a J.W. couple. These questions are a very excellent means of presenting the true gospel as found in the blood of Jesus Christ.)
Question #1: This verse limits those who go on this new earth to "the righteous." Who are the righteous and how does one become righteous? (To be "righteous" means to be cleansed from all sin.) (You are not going to receive a very clear answer. The Witness has only thought of the words "reside upon it" and not what the Bible says about getting on it.)
Question #2: Since you do not seem to be exactly sure how one becomes righteous, would it be okay if we looked at a few Bible verses to see if you agree with them? (While you are going through this presentation, the Witness might try to get you off the subject by wanting you to looking at other verses that do not pertain to the subject, but ask him or her to let you present your material first.) Romans 3:10. "Just as it is written: ‘There is not a righteous [man], not even one.’"
Question #3: Would you agree with this verse? (The real problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they do not have a proper understanding of sin. They do not feel they are "bad" sinners, so they do not need a big Savior. I have had two Witnesses say to me, "If Jesus Christ is God, then the sacrifice was too great." Just about everyone will say, "No one is perfect and we all make mistakes." But this is different from admitting, "I am proud, self-centered, self-righteous, have anger, jealousy, wrath in my heart, and have told lies and cheated.")
Isaiah 64:6. "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags" (NKJV). We see from this verse that we are not able to produce a righteousness that would be pleasing to God by our own efforts.
Question #4: Would you agree with this?
Question #5: (Romans 3:21-30. Read the passage in their NWT and then ask the following questions.) Verse 22 says that this righteousness comes "through the faith in Jesus Christ." What kind of faith do we need in Jesus Christ that makes us righteous? (We know that this faith is that Jesus Christ died and shed His blood for our personal sins and rose bodily from the grave.) Depending on how the conversation goes, you might ask:
Question #6: "What is the difference between the faith that Jehovah’s Witnesses have in Jesus Christ and the faith millions of Bible-believing Christians have? These all believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that He lived a sinless life, that He died and shed His blood for the personal sins of mankind on the tree! (The Witness might leave you under the impression that he believes the same, but he does not. The Watchtower Society teaches that Christ died only for the sins we inherited in Adam. Our personal sins are something we must take care of. If he or she gives you a misleading answer you might need to ask him or her to explain their answer more in detail.)
Question #7: In verse 24 it announces that this righteousness is "a free gift." Wouldn’t this mean that righteousness is something that we cannot earn or merit, but something that is given to us by God?
Question #8: In verses 24, 26 and 28 it speaks about our "being declared righteous," which would refer to something that was done for us in the past. What does it mean to be "declared righteous" through faith in Jesus Christ?
Question #9: Again in verse 30 we note that this righteousness comes through "faith." Would you say that the Watchtower Society teaches exactly what we have just read?
Question #10: (Other verses you can use on righteousness are: Rom 1:17, 4:6,9,11.22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; Titus 3:5; Heb. 11:7 and 2 Peter 1:1.)
Question #11: 1 John 2:29. "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him" (NKJV). We note from this verse that a person has to be "born of Him" or "born again" in order to be considered righteous by God. Would you consider yourself one who has been born again? (The Watchtower Society teaches that only those who are members of the 144,000, known as the "anointed," are born again. There are very few of these who are living today. Therefore it is almost certain that the one you are talking to will not claim to be born again. Also, those who are "born again" are going to heaven and not going to live on the new earth like the Watchtower Society says Psalm 37:29 refers to. You can point out that there seems to be a very obvious contradiction in the teachings of the Watchtower Society. You will probably not see the Witness saved by going through these verses on righteousness, but you have planted a lot of good thought-provoking seeds of doubt.)
Question #12: Psalm 37:29 indicates that a person must be declared righteous in this life before they move into the next. Would you agree with this? (Don’t get into an argument. Move on to the next questions.)
· · ·
A description of the new earth promised by the Watchtower Society is presented under the heading "A NEW WORLD IS AT HAND! on pages 33-36. Here are the many questions you can ask. As the responses will vary from person to person, the ones I give are only a possibility so you need to be prepared for different ones.
BACKGROUND. The Watchtower Society teaches that everyone on the earth will be destroyed during the battle of Armageddon except the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This means that over six billion people will die or be killed and the six million surviving Witnesses will have the job of getting the earth back in shape following the almost compete destruction at Armageddon.
This will obviously be a monumental task for those survivors. They will first need to dispose of the billions of bodies. Their books state that worms and birds will help with this task, but then the masses of worms and birds of carrion will need to be reduced to reasonable levels.
Once the cleansing has begun, the Witnesses must build houses, plant gardens, and do the hundreds of other things that need to be accomplished before the surviving Witnesses have any kind of decent living conditions; and then they must make adequate preparation for those who will be resurrected in the future. All this will have to be done by manual labor, since all machinery will have been destroyed in the battle of Armageddon. Their books declare that it might take one hundred years to get the earth ready for God to begin resurrecting a few of the dead.
(Until backed into a corner, the average Jehovah’s Witness will equivocate and attempt to hide what the Society actually teaches in this regard. To get him or her to admit these facts is like pulling eyeteeth. But be persistent. Often the answer you receive will be, "Jehovah is going to help us." This is a "cop-out." Witnesses claim everything they believe can be proven from the Bible. Have them give you chapter and verses, which they probably can’t do. Tell them if they can’t prove it from the Bible then you cannot accept what they say.)
Question #1: The book’s description of the new earth sounds very inviting, but I have a problem understanding how the earth and its inhabitants are transformed from the present evil condition into the beautiful, paradise-like conditions described and the picture on page 35 shows. Does something just go "poof" and this "new world order" suddenly appears?
Response: Well, it’s not exactly like that. You see, before the new world order comes forth, Armageddon must occur.
Question #2: When will Armageddon occur?
Response: It will occur very soon.
Question #3: What happens at Armageddon?
Response: (At this point they will be vague on purpose, but the Society does teach that just about all the buildings on the earth will be destroyed. Keep after them until you get some kind of a reasonable reply.)
Question #4: How is all this destruction going to occur?
Response: (Again you will probably receive a vague answer, but the Society’s books and magazines contain vivid pictures of massive earthquakes, the earth swallowing up people, large buildings crumbling, fires destroying cities, and floods causing people to drown and float down the rivers. They also declare that people will kill each other, and those who do not die in these ways will be killed by God’s angels. If you have my documentary packet, refer to the copies from the 1958 Watchtower publication From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained on pages 208-211.)
Question #5: Will every one living upon this earth be killed at this time?
Response: (Their answer might be vague on purpose, but the Society does teach that only Witnesses in good standing with the Society will survive Armageddon. They might say that there are others who are not Witnesses who will survive, but what they mean is there might be just a few people of the earth who have not yet heard the message of the Watchtower Society and so will survive. But since the Witnesses believe they have presented the Society’s message to almost everyone in the world, there would be very few in this category.)
Question #6: How will it be possible that only Jehovah’s Witnesses survive when everyone else will be killed?
Response: Jehovah in some miraculous way will protect us. (Some have said that they would just stay in their house while all this destruction is going on, but eventually they have to go out to start the clean-up work.)
Question #7: You mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses will live through this horrible disaster, witnessing these people being killed, and will have to listen to the blood-curdling screams as people die in agonizing pain?
Response: I imagine that will be the case.
Question #8: After all this awful destruction, how is the "new world order" going to come about?
Response: (If they are honest with you, they will explain that the six million Jehovah’s Witnesses must completely rebuild this earth, so that it becomes a paradise resembling the pictures contained in its publications.)
Question #9: It seems to me that the first thing the surviving Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to do is to get rid of the six billion dead bodies lying all around! How is this going to be done, since dead bodies begin to decay and stink in just a day or so?
Response: Worms and birds are going to eat them up.
Question #10: Ugh. You mean the first thing the surviving J.W.’s must do is stand around and watch the worms and birds eat those dead bodies?
Response: I guess so.
Question #11: This doesn’t sound like it would be very enjoyable!
Response: We will endure for Jehovah’s sake.
Question #12: After the worms and birds have devoured all that flesh, you will still have to dispose of the skeletons, won’t you?
Response: Apparently so. (Watchtower publications state that for "seven prophetic months" the Witnesses will be burying the bones of the six billion who died at Armageddon.)
Question #13: The Watchtower publications picture everyone as living in beautiful homes on the new earth, with enough land for family gardens. But first the destroyed buildings must be gotten rid of. How is this going to be done, since all powered machinery will have been destroyed? (When it comes to the describing of the destruction at Armageddon, the Witness will be very vague. But to help the Witness realize how vast the destruction will be, as depicted in the description and pictures in the various Watchtower publications, you can say, "In the pictures I have seen of the speculated new earth of the Watchtower Society, I have never seen any paved roads, apartment houses, row houses, business complexes, skyscrapers, factories, etc., so I would imagine that all of these will be destroyed at Armageddon! This would mean that most of the buildings on this earth will be destroyed and all the paved roads will have to be torn up and disposed of!" Can you just imagine the vast amount of work it would be to tear up all the paved roads and then dispose of the concrete and asphalt!)
Response: I don’t really know.
Question #14: Apparently the survivors will have to dig deep holes manually and bury all the rubble. It this right?
Response: I don’t really know. (Note: They should know, if they have been a Jehovah’s Witness for any length of time, because on the back cover of the October 8, 1991, Awake magazine there is a picture of the destroyed earth and people with wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes cleaning up the debris.)
Question #15: How are they going to get a foot of topsoil back on the land where the buildings were torn down, since they will have no trucks and few passable roads?
Response: I don’t know.
Question #16: When Armageddon occurs, will all the people who go on to the new earth immediately have perfect health and be perfect in all their actions?
Response: (If they are truthful they will have to tell you that this is going to be a long process that takes hundreds of years.)
Question #17: To me, this creates a very great problem. There are many people living today that have to have medicine to stay alive. With the complete destruction at Armageddon, I don’t see how there could be any pharmaceutical companies in operation and there would be no drug stores to dispense the medicine! Since a person cannot store up prescription drugs for more than a few months, there would be no possible way to get medicine, thus many people will die on this new earth for the lack of medications. In writing, how has the Watchtower Society solved this very serious problem?
Response: (You are not going to get one. I have never read a single word in any Watchtower publication about this, so that is why I put in my question "in writing." Ask them to show you some concrete plan by the Watchtower Society to solve this major problem. Once again I state, you are not going to receive a good answer but you have given them something to think about.)
Question #18: Since people will not be perfect immediately in their moral lives, then it is only reasonable to believe that there will be sin upon this new earth, at least at the beginning!
Response: (Probably none.)
Question #19: I want to understand exactly what the Watchtower Society teaches concerning the building of this new earth. To me, it sounds like a lot of hard work for hundreds and hundreds of years! Am I correct in surmising that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are building this new earth just for the surviving Jehovah’s Witnesses at Armageddon?
Response: No. Just about everyone who has ever lived will gradually be resurrected and given a fresh start on this new earth.
Question #20: Wow! How many people have the Watchtower Society estimated will be resurrected and get a fresh start on this new earth?
Response: Nearly all the people who have ever lived. (In the 1988 Watchtower publication INSIGHT on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 792 it states, "A very liberal estimate of the number of persons that have ever lived on earth is 20 billion." I have heard other Witnesses estimate that it is 22 billion. Either figure, that is a lot of people.)
Question #21: You mean that God is going to resurrect most all the wicked people who have lived on this earth and then have the Jehovah’s Witnesses work hard for hundreds of years to provide beautiful new homes and surroundings for them to enjoy?
Response: That seems to be the case.
Question #22: How many Jehovah’s Witnesses are in the world today?
Response: A little over 6 million.
Question #23: How can the Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy the new living conditions they worked hard for so many hundreds of years if they have to continue working to build homes and make all the other necessary preparations for the billions of people who will be resurrected?
Response: You need to understand that it will be a great joy to work for Jehovah!
Question #24: How can you say you are working for Jehovah when you are building houses and making preparations for billions of wicked people to be resurrected and enjoy the hard work of the "righteous" Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Response: (I am not sure of the answer you will receive.)
Question #25: How are people going to make a living on this new earth?
Response: (If they are familiar with the Watchtower teaching, they will say that people are going to be farmers and grow their own fruits and vegetables.)
Question #26: Would I be correct in presuming that before any of the billions of people could be resurrected that adequate housing with furniture, farm lands that are producing vegetables and fruit-bearing trees, etc., would have to be prepared?
Response: (It should be "Yes." If they answer "No," then ask them how they are going to live when they are first resurrected, as it could take years to build a house by themselves, and all are not carpenters, and there is the problem of where the building material will come from after the world is destroyed¾ and it also would take a long time to prepare fields and fruit trees so they would be productive!)
Question #27: It would seem to me utterly impossible for six million Jehovah’s Witnesses to survive the awful destruction of Armageddon, clear away the dead bodies and bones, then the debris, and after that to build sufficient housing for themselves, let alone six million people build houses, prepare fields and fruit trees for 20 to 22 billion other people! Would you explain to me how so few people could build sufficient houses for the billions of people who are to be resurrected? Could you show me from some Watchtower publication an actual step-by-step blueprint of how this will be done?
Response: (I am not sure what they will say but I am positive the Society has no blueprint.)
Question #28: Since this old system will be destroyed at Armageddon, there will be no lumberyards where you can buy lumber, cement, and other necessary building materials. This is something you will have to accomplish from scratch. In many places, trees are not available and will need to be transported long distances. How will this material be obtained?
Response: (Probably: I don’t know.)
Question #29: These houses will need furniture and the people will need clothing. Where will you get these, since there will be no factories?
Response: I guess we must make all this.
Question #30: Who are going to teach these billions of resurrected people Yahweh’s rules and regulations for living on this new earth?
Response: This will be the privilege of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Question #31: You mean that in addition to building these billions of houses, preparing farm land and planting fruit trees, that you will have to spend a huge amount of time teaching these resurrected people?
Response: I guess so.
Question #32: In other words, Witnesses will not only be busy rebuilding the earth, but will be very busy teaching! I don’t think they will have much free time!
Response: It looks that way.
Question #33: What happens to the people who do not respond to this educational process?
Response: I guess they will be annihilated.
Question #34: Then you will have death during this period of time?
Response: I guess so.
Question #35: I understand that you teach that there will be no funeral parlors or graveyards in the Millennium, so who is going to bury these people and where?
Response: I don’t know.
Question #36: Would I be right in saying that this new earth will be far from a perfect place because many people will have to keep digging up their yards to bury these dead bodies?
Response: (I don’t think you will get one.)
Question #37: Am I to believe that it will be a wonderful thing to survive Armageddon, get rid of all the dead bodies and bones, clean up all this awful destruction, and then work extremely hard to build a beautiful earth so that all the wicked people who have ever lived can be resurrected and enabled to enjoy what the Witnesses have worked so hard for?
Response: (If you get any kind of an answer, I think it will be a weak reply.)
Question #38: Am I correct in understanding that the Watchtower Society teaches that during the Millennium these 20 to 22 billion people who once lived on this earth will be gradually be resurrected and given a fresh start on the new earth?
Response: That is correct.
Question #39: Will you please help me out me out? I read in Revelation 20:4 that there is one resurrection before the Millennium. Then in verse 5 it states, "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." In verses 11-15 it tells what will happen to those who are resurrected after the Millennium. I never read anywhere in the Bible where it states clearly that people will be resurrected during the thousand year reign of Christ. Will you please show me from the Bible where this teaching comes from?
Response: (The only response I have heard to this question was taken from Ezekiel 47:1-5. Here we have water that is just a "trickle" in verse 2. In verse 3 it is up to the "ankles." In verse 4 it is up to the "knees" and then the "hips." In verse 5 it becomes "a torrent that could not be passed through." By no stretch of the imagination could this mean that there will be a gradual resurrection during the Millennium. If the Witness does use this, you can point them to what the Bible clearly states in Revelation 20:5, "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended." Ask them if the Bible contradicts itself? The passage in Ezekiel is very vague and has nothing to do with a future resurrection but the one in Revelation 20:5 is very clear.)
Question #40: As I look at the picture on page 35 of this book I see vast rolling acres with not one single house in the foreground or in the background. We have six billion people in the world today and things are getting rather crowded. I do not see how it could be possible for 20 to 22 billion people to live on this world and still have so much open space? How does the Watchtower Society solve this humongous problem?
Response: (Probably none, but hopefully you have made them think.)
(Lay aside for a moment the fact that the Bible does not speak of any resurrection during the Millennium, the following questions can be very thought-provoking. The first questions are to get the Witness to tell you what the Watchtower Society believes.)
Question #41: On what grounds will the billions of people be resurrected and given the possibility of obtaining eternal life on the new earth?
Response: Christ died for the sins that we inherited in Adam so it is on this ground that these people will be resurrected. (Witnesses do not believe that the death of Christ has anything to do with our personal sins.)
Question #42: Then what happens to all the personal sins of these people who will be resurrected and go onto the new earth?
Response: You see, when people die physically they pay for their own sins. Romans 6:7 states, "For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin." Thus all these people have died and paid for their personal sins and will be given a fresh start on the new earth.
Question #43: (Remember, I stated before that the major problem with Jehovah’s Witness, along with other cults and religions, is that they do not have a Biblical view of sin. Thus this question is probably one of the most thought-provoking questions you will ask. I have spent six weeks asking the previous questions in this chapter for this one question.) When I previously asked when Armageddon would occur, you said that it was very close. Then when I asked who would survive you said "all the Jehovah’s Witnesses living at that time." If it is actually true that one’s own personal sins are forgiven by the death of that person and the people who survive Armageddon never die physically, then when do these people pay the wages for their sins?
Response: (I have never had a Jehovah’s Witness ever attempt to answer me. Only dead silence.)
Who Is Jesus Christ?
As can be expected, the teaching about Christ in this chapter is greatly perverted because the Watchtower Society refuses to give Jesus Christ the same place the Bible gives Him. (Philippians 2:9-11. He is worthy of worship.) While saying it believes in Jesus Christ, the Society goes to great length to dethrone Him from His appropriate position in the Godhead. It makes vague statements but never explains them. It does not come out clearly and present its beliefs, but covers them up in a lot of "double-talk." For instance, it believes that Jesus Christ was only a man and that when He died and went into the grave He was annihilated¾ meaning the physical body disintegrated and went back into the elements or gasses, never to appear again as a human. When it speaks of Jesus’ resurrection, it teaches that Michael the archangel was re-created three days after the death of Jesus. To cover this up, it says that Jesus was raised as "a spirit." But in this chapter it does not even hint at its true belief about Michael, so a person who is unaware would think it believes that Jesus actually rose from the grave. For this reason, you will have to ask many questions to get the Jehovah’s Witness you are talking with to explain what the Watchtower Society actually teaches. This will be hard, but be patient and persistent.
In this chapter it says that Jesus Christ is the "Messiah" and that He fulfilled prophecy. Born-again, Bible-believing Christians do not have any problem with this. However, we do not agree with the Watchtower Society as to what the Messiah actually did. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the primary purpose for Jesus coming to earth was to "glorify the Father by remaining faithful unto death." It states that Adam proved "unfaithful" while Jesus proved "faithful." On the other hand, true Christians believe that Jesus came for the purpose of dying on the tree in order to shed His blood for our personal sins, and all who confess their sins and accept Christ are born into the family of God. The Society teaches that one must come to the Watchtower Society in order to gain salvation in the future. The Watchtower, November 15, 1981, page 21 states, "Come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation."
Be careful that you don’t get into a discussion of the Trinity. This is what the Witness you are talking to would just love to do. One of the last barriers for a Jehovah’s Witness to cross is a belief in the deity of Christ and the Trinity. You need to take very small steps in this direction and place some doubts in their minds before you deal with the issue. In this chapter there are a number of question you can ask to make them think and question the Society’s teachings. What I present in this chapter is entirely new to the Witness you are talking to and he or she has never really wrestled with the issue of who Jesus Christ really is. I have talked to a number of ex-Witnesses and asked them if they understood, and they all said "No."
Do not discuss every paragraph in this chapter. I will point out the main things to discuss and ask questions on. You want to get the Witness to identify the pre-existent Jesus as Michael and to admit that after the death of Christ he was, according to the Society, the re-created Michael.
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On page 41, paragraph 10, we read, "The Bible teaches that Jesus lived in heaven before he came to earth."
Question #1 In what form did Jesus Christ exist before He came to this earth?
Response: (It will probably be that He existed as "a spirit person.")
Question #2: Could you please be a little more specific than just saying, "He was a spirit person," since all the angels are "spirit persons"? Did He have a name that He was identified by? (You want to get them to admit that the Society believes that the man Jesus did not have a pre-human existence but it is Michael the Society is referring to.)
Question #3: (If they say it was Michael then you do not need this question, but if they have not identified him use this question.) It seems to me that I heard somewhere that the Watchtower Society identifies Jesus Christ as Michael the archangel before He came to earth! Is what I have heard correct? (At this point they ought to identify Him as Michael.)
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On page 42, paragraph 14, we read, "Jehovah’s only-begotten Son willingly left heaven and came down to earth to live as a human… He transferred the life of his first-born Son from heaven to the womb of a Jewish virgin named Mary."
Question #1: By taking this statement literally, I come to the conclusion that Michael, who is a spirit person, came down and dwelt in the human body that Mary gave him in the form of Jesus. Thus the one who was born would be both human and an archangel. He would have a dual personality, the one of Michael and the one of a human. Is this correct? (Since the Society teaches that Michael did not actually dwell in Jesus, and he was only a man, they will not be able to agree with this statement. The Society really teaches that at the conception or birth of Jesus, Michael willed himself out of existence. You will probably need to ask some more question to get a little clearer answer but you will probably not get a "clear-cut" answer.)
Question #2: If Jesus was not both divine and human, then what does this book mean when it states, "He transferred the life of his first-born Son from heaven to the womb of a Jewish virgin named Mary"? (They will probably say that it was just the "life force" that came down.)
Question #3: This "life force" is a new expression to me. Would you please explain to me what a "life force" is in an angel and just exactly what part of Michael entered into Jesus if He is not both human and divine? (You will still probably not receive a clear answer. You might even get some very stupid statement.)
Question #4: Maybe it would help me to understand what this "life force" is if you explain to me how humans have a "life force" and just what it is. (With this question you should receive the reply that the "life force" in humans is the breath that keeps the human body alive. If this is the answer you receive, proceed with this next question.)
Question #5: Since Michael was a "spirit being" without a human body and lungs, it would only be logical that he could not breathe and thus did not have a "life force"! So how could something that doesn’t exist be transferred into the womb of Mary?
Question #6: Since the Society teaches that Jesus was not both human and divine, and nothing from Michael was in Jesus, then did Michael still exist in heaven? (At this point they might tell you that he willed himself out of existence. If you receive this reply, then ask this next question.)
Question #7: If it is true that Michael willed himself out of existence, then how did he do it? I know of only two possible ways. (1) The Father would have had to kill him. But this would not be a possibility because the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)" and since Michael was perfect and never sinned, the Father could not be just and kill Michael! (2) Michael would have had to kill himself by committing suicide! I don’t think this would be a possibility either because the Bible teaches that suicide is a sin. Would you please help me solve this difficult problem? (I have used these types of questions with Jehovah’s Witnesses and found them very effective because they are not the standard questions presented to Witnesses, so they do not have answers.)
Question #8: This is all very confusing and sounds like a "great mystery." If Michael did will himself out of existence in some unexplainable way, then he would have been dead and there would be no "life force" to transfer into the womb of Mary! Please help me out.
Question #9: (To make Jesus God at this stage in your witnessing it is too much for a Witness to accept, but here is a step towards this goal which you might use. What I state in this question is what the Watchtower Society believes and teaches, but you don’t want to let the Witness know that you know too much about his or her religion.) I understand that there are some religious groups who believe that in the days of Noah (according to Genesis 6:2) "the sons of God" were actually wicked angels who saw "the daughters of men" and went down and took these women for their wives and lived upon this earth. But when the flood came and the physical body drowned, the angel part separated from the body and went back to heaven. Wouldn’t this be an answer as to what happened in the case of Jesus and Michael? Michael came down and dwelt in the man Jesus, but they were separate and did not amalgamate into one? (It will be hard for them to agree with you and also to disagree, but you have planted a seed.)
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There is a contradiction recorded on page 41 that I would like to mention and then present a question. In paragraph 10, line 2-4 we read, "Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and also said that his origin was ‘from early time.’ (Micah 5:2)" This verse reads in the NWT, "And you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, the one too little to get to be among the thousands of Judah, from you there will come out to me the one who is to become ruler in Israel, whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite." In the NKJV the words "time indefinite" are rendered "from everlasting." Go down to paragraph 11, line 5, where we read, "This means that Jesus is the only one directly created by God." Next go to paragraph 12, line 3, and it says, "Obviously, then, he had a beginning." So the Watchtower Society teaches that the Son was created and had a beginning, in spite of the fact that the Bible says that Jesus is "from everlasting." Let me go back and quote the entire previous sentence. "Obviously, then, he had a beginning, whereas Jehovah God has no beginning or end. (Psalm 90:2)" This verse reads in the NWT, "Before the mountains themselves were born, or you proceeded to bring forth as with labor pains the earth and the productive land, even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God." In the NKJV the last part of this verse reads, "Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
Question: (After going through what I just wrote above, you can continue with this question.) We see that exactly the same words¾ "from everlasting" or "from time indefinite"—that are used of the Son, Jesus Christ, are also used of the Father. If you go and check in a Hebrew lexicon you will see that the Hebrew word is the same in both cases. This being true, then why does the Watchtower Society teach one thing from Micah 5:2¾ that "from everlasting=from time indefinite" means that the Son was created and had a beginning¾ and then in Psalm 90:2, where exactly the same word is used, the Society teaches that the Father had no beginning or end? (You need to press the Witness you are dealing with hard on this point. Ask him or her to go and check if he or she does not believe you. Micah 5:2 is a very strong verse, proving Jesus is eternally God.)
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In the very last sentence on page 41 it states, "The only-begotten Son never even considered trying to be equal to his Father." You still do not want to go into detail about the deity of Christ and the Trinity, but there is a point you can make here and then just move on. Do not let them take you to other verses like John 14:28 where the Witnesses like to use part of the verse, "The Father is greater than I am." (What is written just before these words, "I am going my way to the Father," the Society denies. It teaches that Jesus went into the grave never to be seen again.) Stick to the point.
Question: I notice what is written here on page 41, "The only-begotten Son never even considered trying to be equal to his Father." I am rather puzzled at this statement. In John 5:23 Jesus said, "In order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." This verse seems rather plain to me and doesn’t need any interpreting. If I am to honor the Son exactly as I honor the Father, then doesn’t this make the Son equal with the Father?
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On page 45, paragraph 20 it states, "Jesus set the finest example of loyal obedience to God. He remained faithful to his heavenly Father under all kinds of circumstances."
Question: To me, this is a rather strange statement. 1 Timothy 1:15 states, "Faithful and deserving of full acceptance is the saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am foremost." Since the Bible teaches the purpose for Jesus Christ coming to this earth was to die on the tree and shed His blood for the remission of our sins in order to save us from our sins, then why does the Watchtower Society teach that His purpose in coming was to just be faithful to the end? (You are not so much desiring an answer as you are in presenting the gospel in your question.)
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On page 46, paragraph 21, starting from line 8, we read, "However, on the third day after Jesus died, his heavenly Father resurrected him back to spirit life (1 Peter 3:18.) A few weeks later, he returned to heaven." This is probably one of the most deceitful statements made by the Watchtower Society. The Watchtower Society clearly teaches that man does not have a soul that is separate from the physical body and leaves the body at death. Rather, the "soul" is the entire person, identical with one’s physical body. It also believes that the "spirit" is the breath or "the life force that enables that person to be alive. The spirit has no personality, nor can it do the things a person can do. It cannot think, speak, hear, see or feel." (Quoted from the 1968 Watchtower book THE TRUTH that leads to ETERNAL LIFE, page 39.) With this Watchtower definition in mind, then what does it mean when the book states, "His heavenly Father resurrected him back to spirit life"? It means that the archangel Michael¾ who the Society claims willed himself out of existence when Jesus was conceived or born¾ was re-created three days after the death of Jesus. Then he impersonated Jesus in a number of different bodies, including even the body with the nail and spear scars (John 20:27) that the Society teaches had already gone back to the elements—fooling everyone. Furthermore, Michael in his pre-human existence was only "a god," but at his re-creation he became "Mighty God." (In the future, after the Millennium is over, he will be demoted once again to "a god." Please don’t ask me to explain this.) I asked various Jehovah’s Witnesses about this for eight years before I finally had one explain that this "resurrection back to spirit life" means that Michael was re-created. (There are only two places where I have found this written in Watchtower literature. One is on page 2600 of the reprints of the April 1, 1900 Zion’s Watch Tower. It reads, "By a resurrection—a raising up to life; being created again, the same identical being, yet more glorious, and exalted even to ‘the express image of the Father’s person.’ (Heb. 1:3)." The other one is on page 155, paragraph 23, in the 1974 book God’s "Eternal Purpose" Now Triumphing for Man’s Good: "He resumed his pre-human name, Michael, so that again there was a ‘Michael the archangel’ in heaven." If people realized this teaching, most would not become Witnesses.
In other places, instead of saying "spirit life," Watchtower literature says Jesus was resurrected as "a spirit." The Society takes the word "spirit" from 1 Peter 3:18 "in the spirit," and "a" from 1 Corinthians 15:44 "a spiritual body," and comes up with the words "a spirit." One of the few places in the Bible where the expression "a spirit" is used is in connection with the resurrection of Jesus. It is found in Luke 24:39 when the disciples saw the resurrected Jesus and thought He was "a spirit," but Jesus clearly denied this. He said, "For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." The Bible speaks over one hundred times about the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, but in spite of this, the Watchtower Society still teaches that Jesus Himself was not resurrected but it was Michael who was re-created.
Some Witnesses do not understand what I have just written. Others do, but do not want to tell you this early in your studies. You might need quite a few of the following questions. If you have received the desired answer that it was Michael who was re-created then you can proceed with other questions. But if you just can’t get them to tell you that it was the re-created Michael then you might say, "Just a minute. It seems like I have heard or read somewhere that the Society teaches that this "spirit life" or "a spirit" was actually the re-creation of Michael. Am I correct?" If they deny this, then ask them to do some research and come up with a clear answer.
Question #1: I am rather confused here. What does it mean "His heavenly father resurrected him back to spirit life"? (They will probably tell you that he was raised as "a spirit.")
Question #2: What happened to the physical body of Jesus?
Question #3: Where does the Bible teach that His body went back to the elements?
Question #4: The Bible speaks in over one hundred places about the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Not once do we have the very words "a spirit" in connection with His resurrection, except when Jesus Himself denied that He was raised just as "a spirit" in Luke 24:37-40, so why does the Watchtower Society make it "a spiritual resurrection"?
Question #5: This book quotes only one verse, 1 Peter 3:18, to try to prove this concept of "a spiritual resurrection." But this verse does not teach that! It says, "Being made alive in the spirit." Other Bibles read, "Made alive by the Spirit"(NKJV, NIV, etc.). In other words, Jesus Christ was raised up by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:1, "At the mouth of two witnesses or of three every matter must be established." Could you please give me three verses where it clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was raised just as "a spirit"? (It is interesting to note that the Watchtower Society uses this Corinthian verse when it comes to convicting an accused Witness of child molesting. There are many of these molesters. If there were anyone else watching, then there would be no molesting! But you can use back on them this verse that the Society uses.)
Question #6: How could something that never died be resurrected? The Bible in Matthew 27:50 states, "Again Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and yielded up [his] spirit." (In a footnote in the NWT it says, "He let go of the spirit.") Where did this "spirit" of Jesus go that "He let go of"? The answer is found in Ecclesasties12:7: "Then the dust returns to the earth just as it happened to be and the spirit itself returns to the [true] God who gave it." (The Watchtower Society teaches that the body goes back to dust at the time of death, thus taking the first part of this verse to be literal; then why doesn’t it take the second part literally? The spirit does not die.) Since the spirit of Jesus never died, it couldn’t have been resurrected, could it? Please give me something in Jesus that actually died and was resurrected.
Question #7: I am still very much confused. By just reading the Bible a person would never come to the conclusion that that it was a spiritual resurrection of some kind and not a physical resurrection. Look at John 2:18-22. The sign that Jesus gave to the Jews was that when His body was destroyed¾ died on the tree¾ in three days it would be raised up. It clearly says that Jesus was not talking about "a temple of stone" but His physical body. The people who heard Jesus speak these words understood "the temple" to be Jesus’ physical body. Matthew 27:62-63 reads, "The next day, which was after the Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together before Pilate, saying: ‘Sir, we have called to mind that that imposter said while yet alive, "After three days I am to be raised up."’" Upon hearing this, Pilate ordered a guard for the tomb for three days. Doesn’t this clearly indicate that Jesus taught His physical body would be raised? (To try and get around this section in John 2:18-22, the Society teaches that the "temple" was the spiritual church and that after three days the church began to be established. However, even this is a contradiction, because the Society teaches that God did not begin to call out people for His "spiritual temple" until 40 days latter, at Pentecost, and not three days after his death!)
Question #8: Does the Watchtower Society teach that "the spirit" in man is the seat of his or her personality and can think, speak, hear, see and feel? (They will have to say "No.")
Question #9: Since "a spirit" has no personality and can’t think, speak, hear, see or feel, then what was actually resurrected? The word "resurrect," means that "something that fell down stood up." Please give me something that lived on this earth that was resurrected.
Question #10: (By this time, if they have said nothing about Michael being re-created then you can come out and ask:) This is very complicated! It seems to me that somewhere I heard or read that the Society teaches that it was actually Michael who was re-created. Is this true or not?
Question #11: (If they do say it was Michael, you can continue by asking this question:) Excuse me, but this is still very confusing. Why doesn’t the Watchtower Society come out and clearly present what it believes¾ that when the man Jesus died and was buried, within three days His body was dissolved back into the elements, since it didn’t see corruption, and at this time Michael was re-created?
Question #12: If it is really true that it was Michael who was re-created, then it was Michael and not the man Jesus who appeared to the disciples and others on quite a number of occasions! On occasions Michael appeared in a physical body just like the one that was on the tree, because it had nail prints in the hands and feet and a spear wound in the side (John 20:27). To me this amounts to "fraud," since the archangel Michael would be impersonating the man Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t you agree?
Question #13: In the Bible, angels appeared a number of times in the form of man, but in all of these cases they were identified as angels. If it was really Michael the archangel who appeared for 40 days after the death of Christ, then wouldn’t it seem logical that at least in a couple of places where Michael impersonated Jesus he would be identified as an angel?
The Ransom—God’s Great Gift
People need to be aware that the Watchtower Society uses the same Biblical words and expressions in its publications as evangelical Christians do, but with entirely different meanings. Otherwise, people might come to the conclusion after reading this chapter that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are just another branch of Christianity. But this is not the case. The Society couches its true teachings in a very obscure manner on purpose¾ in order to deceive. You cannot truly understand what is written in this chapter of their book if you take it at face value. You need to understand what this deceitful book is really saying.
Let me state what the Watchtower Society teaches about the "ransom." It believes that Jesus Christ died for only the sins that we inherited in Adam. Because of the sinful act of Adam, mankind lost physical life in a paradise here on earth. It believes that Jesus Christ, just as a perfect man, died to pay for the sin of Adam. As an unconditional result just about everyone—except Adam and Eve, the people in the days of Noah and maybe the people in Sodom and Gomorrah and a few others—all individuals who lived and died before 1914 (I will explain later) will be resurrected onto the new earth during the Millennium and then given a fresh start with the possibility of meriting everlasting life at the end of the 1000 years. This will happen by their passing the final test—by remaining faithful to Jehovah when Satan is re-created at the end of the Millennium and goes forth to try to get people to follow him. No Jehovah’s Witness has the assurance that he or she will pass this final test. The Society believes that many will fail, so instead of obtaining everlasting life the Witness will be eternally annihilated. It does not take a particular kind of faith in Jesus Christ to be resurrected onto the new earth.
But this "ransom" only applies to those who died before October 1, 1914 and is no longer valid today. The Society claims that in 1914 Christ began to reign in heaven and since that time the Jehovah’s Witnesses have proclaimed their message all over the world, so now only those who respond and are faithful Witnesses—meaning, are in good standing with the Watchtower Society at the time of their death¾ will be resurrected and go onto the new earth along with the other Witnesses who survive Armageddon. In other words, the Watchtower now claims to be doing what Christ was supposed to have accomplished for mankind from the time of Adam until October 1, 1914.
The Society teaches that at the end of the Millennium some people will merit and receive eternal life; however, this has nothing to do with the death of Jesus Christ, but is the result of their response to Jehovah’s new teachings during the Millennium. The Society derives this idea from Revelation 20:12, where we read, "And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds." These scrolls will be opened during (not after, like the Bible teaches) Christ’s 1000-year reign, and they contain new rules and regulations which one must live by in order to merit everlasting life. Apparently the people who do not respond to these new teachings and regulations after a long education process will be annihilated sometime before the end of the Millennium and will not be around when the final test is given!
This is a teaching of the Society that causes a real problem for many Witnesses when you present them with the fact that Jesus Christ was more than just a perfect man. (Notice how many times the words "perfect man" occur in this chapter.) In the NWT 1 Timothy 2:5-6 reads, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—[this is] what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times." (In the NKJV these verses read, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.) The NWT has added the word "corresponding" before the word "ransom." The adding of this word "corresponding" is the stumbling block. The Society teaches that before Adam sinned he was "a perfect man," and so the one to pay the debt for Adam’s sin had to be exactly of the same rank. Thus, since Adam was at first a perfect man, then Jesus could only be a perfect man¾ since the sacrifice had to be equal. When a Jehovah’s Witness is confronted with the Biblical teaching that Jesus Christ was more than just a perfect man, he or she will often respond, "Then the sacrifice was too great." The Society does not recognize the fact that we do not only need to be saved from the sins that we inherited in Adam, but that we need to be "ransomed" from our own personal sins which we are responsible for!
Many Christians who do not understand the teachings of the Watchtower Society accuse Witnesses of trying to work for their salvation. But according to the Society it is impossible for anyone to earn or merit salvation now on this present earth. The working for and meriting of salvation can only come during the Millennium! The Society teaches that since 1914 only those who die in the good graces of the Watchtower Society or who are in good standing at the time of Armageddon will enter onto the new earth. Thus the Jehovah’s Witnesses are working hard to satisfy the Watchtower Society so that in the future they will be able to work and merit salvation!
According to the Society, the death of Christ has nothing to do with our personal sins. When people die, they pay the wages for their own personal sins. The Society tries to prove this belief by misinterpreting Romans 6:7, which reads, "For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin." (This section is speaking about a person who has been born again. There has been a change in the heart. Before we were saved we loved to sin, but after we are saved this love for sin is crucified. Yes, we will sin, but it is not the desire of our heart, and we are greatly grieved when we do sin.)
I doubt if the Witness you are speaking with fully understands what the Society teaches on the subject of "the ransom." Also, at this point, the Witness does not want you to fully understand the Society’s teaching¾ so that he or she can deceive you into thinking the Society’s teachings are similar to those taught by traditional Christianity.
Jehovah’s Witnesses might strongly object if you would accuse them of not believing in "salvation by grace." But what the Witness means is that if it were not for the grace of God no one would have the privilege of working for his or her own salvation on the new earth. The Watchtower Society clearly teaches (1) that salvation can only come through the Watchtower Organization, (2) that it is a process that can’t be completed in this present life, and (3) if obtained, it is something that a person merits. Thus we need to look at this chapter in the light of what it actually is teaching and not in the light of the terms we use in Biblical Christianity. Thus you will need to ask the one you are conversing with a number of questions to get him or her to explain what the Society teaches¾ or help to clarify in his or her own mind what the Society teaches. You might not need all of the following questions or you might have to use more. Since understanding "the ransom" is the heart of Christianity, it is important that you do all you can to get the Witness to think seriously about this important truth. In this section, you can present much of the true gospel in your questions. (When you try to impress upon a Witness that it is possible to know that your own personal sins are forgiven because of the ransom of Christ, he or she will quote Matthew 24:13 to you. It reads, "But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved." To a Witness, this is an absolute truth and one can never know the outcome of all his or her efforts until the very end of the Millennium.)
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On page 48, paragraph 3, we read, "Put simply, the ransom is Jehovah’s means to deliver, or save, humankind from sin and death. (Ephesians 1:7)" (This verse in the NWT reads, "By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of [our] trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness.")
Question #1: I want to be sure I understand what is written here, so please help me. This seems to be a rather accurate definition of the word "ransom" and agrees with what we as Bible-believing Christians believe. Let me explain. Bible-believing, born-again Christians believe that by nature we are slaves of Satan. (John 8:44, "You are from your father the Devil.") We believe that Satan has power over those whom he controls. (Acts 26:18, "To turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God." 2 Thessalonians 2:9, "Is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents.") We believe that we are not only born with a sin nature but also we sin knowingly, of our own free will and choice, and thus are responsible for our own personal sins. When we speak of sin we mean, pride, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, anger, wrath, jealousy, lying, cheating, gossiping, having an unforgiving spirit, fighting with brothers and sisters, disobedience to parents, etc. We believe that when a person recognizes his or her own personal sins¾ and what an awful offense they are in the sight of God—and repents, confesses his or her own personal sins and believes that Jesus Christ died on the tree for these sins, then at that moment he or she is taken out of the dominion of Satan and is transferred into the kingdom of the Son and becomes part of the family of God.
I noted on page 53, paragraph 15, that Colossians 1:13-14 is referred to. Let us read these verses. "He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins." Is this not what these verses teach? I note that it says "forgiveness of our sins," which I take to mean our "personal sins" and not just the sins we inherited from Adam! Wouldn’t the verses 1 John 1:8-9, mentioned at the end of this same paragraph, mean what we as Bible-believing Christians believe? 1 John 1:8-9 reads, "If we make the statement: ‘We have no sin,’ we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." If we have been cleansed from "all unrighteousness," doesn’t that make us stand right now perfect in the sight of God? Since we have been taken out of the dominion of Satan and become a child of God (John 1:12, "However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.") then does that not put us under the protection of Almighty God as one of His children! (Yes, as children of God we might sin, but we do not lose our "sonship" but only our "fellowship.") When we become children of God, by the new birth, we come under the protection that Jesus promised in John 10:28: "And I [Jesus] give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
Is this exactly what you believe as a Jehovah’s Witness¾ that your past, present and future sins have all been forgiven because of the ransom provided by Jesus when He shed His blood for sinners upon the tree?
Response: (They will probably be very vague but will answer something like this.) We believe that Christ died for our past sins.
Question #2: What do you mean when you say "Our past sins"?
Response: These are the sins we inherited in Adam.
Question #3: What does it means for us in the future that Christ "ransomed" us from the sins we inherited in Adam?
Response: It means that most people will be resurrected and given a new start on the new earth.
Question #4: Since Jesus Christ paid the ransom only 2000 years ago, then what about the people who lived before the time of Christ?
Response: Most of them will be included in the ransom.
Question #5: In other words, it doesn’t take any particular faith in Jesus Christ to benefit from the ransom but it is something that is unconditional?
Response: Yes. That is right.
Question #6: I thought that the new earth was going to be a perfect place, but you are now telling me that billions of sinners are going to be resurrected onto this new earth. How can you have so many sinners and have a paradise?
Response: The Bible teaches in Romans 6:7 ("For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin.") that when these people die they pay the wages for their sin¾ so that when these people are resurrected they are given a fresh start.
Question #7: What happens to those who become Jehovah’s Witnesses but later on do not prove faithful¾ by sinning and refusing to repent¾ or those who have a falling out with the Society and remain in that condition? Will these people also profit by the ransom and be resurrected to go on the new earth when Armageddon occurs?
Response: No. These people have declared themselves unworthy and will be eternally annihilated.
Question #8: So in the cases of those who become Jehovah’s Witnesses, "the ransom" is conditional upon their relationship with the Watchtower Society, and they will not be included like the people who knew nothing about Christ before He was born?
Response: Apparently, that seems to be the case.
Question #9: Since I have never been a Witness and "the ransom" is unconditional for "most other people," then it would seem best that I do not become a Jehovah’s Witness¾ because I can be 100% sure of going to the new earth. But if I became a Jehovah’s Witness there is the possibility that I could prove unfaithful or decide to walk away, and in that case I could not go to the new earth. So it seems I have a much better chance on going onto the new earth than you do as a Witness!
Response: It is not exactly like that. You see, now if a person has a chance to hear the message of the Watchtower Society and learns how to please Jehovah and does not respond, he will not be given a chance to go onto the new earth but will be eternally annihilated at death, or if he is living when Armageddon occurs then he will be destroyed and so have no chance of going onto the new earth.
Question #10: This is very confusing to me. If I understand you correctly, from the time of Adam until the Watchtower Society came on the scene people entered onto the new earth because of "the ransom" that Jesus Christ provided when He shed His blood upon the tree and died, but since the Watchtower Society was organized, the unconditional ransom through Christ was negated and now the Watchtower Society is doing what Christ used to do! Would I not be correct in saying this?
Response: (I am not sure of the answer you will receive, because it would be difficult for them to respond "Yes" and it would be hard for them to say "No.")
Question #11: (I know I am repeating here, but since facts don’t sink in too fast when talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses you will have to repeat many times.) I am a Bible-believing Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ paid "the ransom" by dying on the tree for both the sins I inherited in Adam and the sins I have willfully committed. I read my Bible daily so that I can learn what pleases Yahweh and what displeases Him, so that I can live a life that brings glory to God. I want to obey His commandments. I believe in practicing holiness and living a righteous life. I believe in being good to my neighbor. But are you telling me that this not enough to escape annihilation at death or when Armageddon occurs just because I am not a Jehovah’s Witness?
Response: (At this juncture the Witness will probably begin to back off and become rather vague.) It is really hard for me to say, because God is the final judge and we do not know what the outcome will be.
Question #12: In other words, what you are telling is that maybe the Watchtower Society is not the only organization that is doing God’s will, but there is the possibility of other religious groups out there who are pleasing in the sight of Yahweh?
Response: (At this point they will probably be very quick to respond) We know that we have "the truth."
Question #13: Could I ask you a personal question? How many other religious groups have you investigated in depth on your own before or after you became a Witness so that you are able to compare them with the teachings of the Watchtower Society¾ so that you can say with confidence you have "the truth"?
Response: I know that the Watchtower Society has "the truth" so I don’t need to investigate.
Question #14: But the people in the other religions would tell me exactly the same thing. I can’t understand how you can be so confident if you have never investigated.
Response: I know that I have the truth and don’t need to investigate.
Question #15: The conclusion I have come to after this conversation concerning "the ransom" is that for almost 6000 years the ransom was unconditional, so that with a few exception just about all the people who have lived will be resurrected and given a second chance on the new earth to walk pleasing to Yahweh. But since the Watchtower Society was organized this unconditional ransom is no longer in effect, and now the only possibility of entering the new earth and maybe meriting eternal life is through the good graces of the Watchtower Society. Would this be correct?
Response: (You will probably receive a vague answer, but you have planted seeds of doubt.)
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On page 50, paragraph 9, we read, "Since a perfect human life was lost, no imperfect human life could ever buy it back. (Psalm 49:7,8) What was needed was a ransom equal in value to what was lost." Then in the same paragraph, line 8, it is stated, "another perfect human life was the ‘corresponding ransom’ that was required—1 Timothy 2:6." This verse reads, "Who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—[this is] what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times."
Question #1: I am greatly confused at what is written here because I have never heard or read of a "corresponding ransom." "Ransom" yes, but not "a corresponding ransom." I checked this verse in other Bibles and none of them have the word "corresponding." If a person is demanding a $100,000 ransom I do not think the person would object to receiving $200.000 in ransom money instead of the demanded $100.000. Almost always the person who is paying the ransom is richer than the one who is demanding it! The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:1, "At the mouth of two witnesses or of three every matter must be established." On the basis of this verse, could you give me three verses in the Bible where this concept is clearly presented and able to be comprehended by the average reader? Also, not just in the NWT but in other Bibles.
Response: (You will not receive any verses. The purpose of this question is to plant seeds of doubt.)
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Page 50. All of paragraph 10. (I doubt if you received a clear answer when you asked before, "What came down from heaven when this life-force was transferred into the womb of Mary?" You can ask the following question to re-enforce your previous question.)
Question: I am greatly perplexed by what is written here. It says that the Father "sent one of his perfect spirit sons to earth." Then continuing it reads, "He transferred the life of this Son to the womb of Mary" and the outcome was that "Jesus was born as a perfect human." This doesn’t make any sense to me. The Society says that "the only-begotten Son" was "transferred from heaven to earth." But this one that came down was an angelic being. Usually if a person is transferred because of his job from New York to Chicago it is exactly the same person. Yet you have an angel transferred from heaven to earth but the end result is that there is nothing of the angel that is left and you end up with something entirely different¾ and that is "a perfect human"! I could see a body being prepared for an angel to live in on this physical world, but when you start out with "A," an angel, and end up with "B," a human man, it doesn’t make sense. It seems to me that the angel completely disappeared and something entirely new took its place! In John 16:28 Jesus declared, "I came out from the Father and have come into the world." Jesus says that once He, the person talking, existed in heaven and now He is living on earth. I would like to know exactly what was transferred from heaven at the birth of Jesus and what was this life from heaven that actually dwelt in Jesus?
Response: (You probably still won’t receive a clear-cut answer, but keep pressing.)
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On page 51, paragraph 13, lines 5-6, we read, "On the third day after Jesus died, Jehovah raised him back to spirit life."
Question #1: What happened to the physical body of Jesus Christ after these three days?
Response: It apparently was dissolved, because the Bible says that His body did not see corruption.
Question #2: Will Jesus’ physical body be resurrected like most other people and given a chance to live on the new earth in the future?
` Response: No. If Jesus did, then He would be taking back the ransom. (I don’t understand what the Society means by this and have never received a good answer.)
Question #3: So Jesus Christ is eternally annihilated?
Question #4: This is one of the most astounding and unjust beliefs that I have ever heard of! Adam and Eve started out perfect, but they sinned and will be eternally annihilated. After Satan is re-created and becomes alive for a short time he will be eternally annihilated. Jehovah’s Witnesses who do not prove loyal to the Watchtower Society will be eternally annihilated when they die or Armageddon occurs. In all these cases, the people are eternally annihilated because of their own sins. But according to the Watchtower Society, Jesus Christ is "the greatest man who ever lived." He was the only one who remained perfectly faithful to Yahweh to the very end. He never sinned. He died upon that awful torture stake for most of the wicked sinners upon the earth so that they will have the possibility of obtaining everlasting life in a beautiful paradise. But Jesus Christ, the greatest person who ever lived, will never be resurrected¾ and has received the same end as an unrepentant Jehovah’s Witness! This does not sound like justice to me! Could you please explain to me why the reward from Yahweh for Jesus Christ being the most faithful and loyal person who ever lived receives the same end as the worst of sinners?
Where Are the Dead?
Since the Watchtower Society does not believe in the Biblical teaching that humans have an eternal soul which separates from the body at the time of physical death and then exists in heaven or hell, it has to use a lot of double-talk to try to justify its belief¾ that man does not possess an eternal soul, and that when a person dies there is nothing conscious that continues to exist. The Watchtower Society’s false teaching that "hell" is "the common grave of mankind" is the very foundation for all the rest of its false teachings. This belief has a domino effect. If man is not basically sinful (which is what the Society believes) so that the unrepentant do not deserve any punishment in the hereafter, then man can make himself acceptable through his own merits by following the instructions of the Watchtower Society. Thus man does not need a Divine Savior who is very God. There goes the Deity of Christ! All man needs is a "little help"--so Jesus as a "perfect man" set an example for us to follow, and His death gives just about everyone a second chance on the new earth to possibly merit eternal life. If man is not basically sinful, then he does not need the Holy Spirit to work sanctification, thus the Holy Spirit is reduced to "an influence." The Society has a group of men in Brooklyn, NY, at its headquarters who think they know what the Bible teaches. No need of the Holy Spirit to lead us into the truth of the Bible.
Many unresolved problems arise out of its teaching that man does not have a soul that is separate from the human body at death, and one of these is in what form are the 144,000 when they go to heaven--since the Society teaches that physical bodies cannot go to heaven. The Society states that the 144,000 in heaven are "spirit beings." But since the Society teaches that man is only body and spirit, which is the breath that keeps the body alive, and nothing continues to exist when the body goes into the grave, then there is absolutely nothing available for the 144,000 to exist in heaven. The Society is very evasive and unclear as to what it actually believes, so you can use questions from this chapter to point up this problem and hopefully get the Witness to admit this problem and see the contradictory teachings of the Society.
In this chapter it is best to stick to some main questions and not spend a lot of time on issues that are not important.
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Page 58, paragraph 4, lines 7-10, "Our memories, feelings and senses do not continue to function independently in some mysterious way. They do not survive the destruction of our brain." Then on the same page, paragraph 5, beginning with line 4, "When a person dies, he ceases to exist. Death is the opposite of life. The dead do not see or hear or think. Not even one part of us survives the death of the body. We do not possess an immortal soul or spirit." And at the end of paragraph 6, beginning at the top of page 59, we read, "We are mortal and do not survive the death of our body. The life we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is put out, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone."
Question #1: I have heard that the Society teaches that only 144,000 people are going to heaven. Is this correct?
Question #2: I have also heard that physical bodies will not be in heaven. Is this correct?
Question #3: I have further heard that the Society teaches that all the members of the 144,000 who died prior to 1914 were resurrected and went to heaven at that time. Is this correct?
Question #4: I have heard that, since 1914, those who claim to be of the 144,000 go directly to heaven at the time of their physical death. Is this correct?
Question #5: This is all very perplexing and confusing to me! We have just read that "When a person dies, he ceases to exist." "The dead do not see or hear or think. Not even one part of us survives the death of the body." But I understand that the 144,000 are supposed to live and reign with Christ for 1000 years! They would need to think! However, since there is nothing that can "think" outside of the body, and bodies do not go to heaven, then in what form do these 144,000 exist in heaven if these people have died and "cease to exist"? To me this is an utter impossibility. So please explain to me what went to heaven?
Response: They go as spirit beings.
Question #6: Since nothing in man exists after death, and there is nothing spiritual in man, then exactly what is this "spirit being" and where did it come from?
Response: (They might take you to 1 Corinthians 15:44 which reads, "It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one." If this is the response, then you can ask these questions.)
Question #7: Are you telling me that in the resurrection everyone will be changed from a physical body to a spiritual body?
Response: (It will be hard for them to say "Yes," since those who are to be resurrected on the new earth are to have physical bodies. Which of the following questions you use should depend upon their answer.)
Question #8: I don’t have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. According to what we just read from this book, man would need a physical body to have a brain in order to think! You have not given me anything from the Bible that would lead me to this conclusion! Please give me a more understandable answer.
Response: (You are not going to receive much of a one, but your purpose is to try and get them to think and show them the Society does not have a Biblical answer.)
Question #9: What you are telling me does not seem to harmonize with the Bible! Let’s turn and read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. These verses explain quite clearly what happens when Christ comes back in the clouds for the believers and then returns to heaven to begin to reign. In verse 14 it states that when Christ comes back He will be bring personages back with Him to be united with their resurrected bodies. So something previously had to have gone to heaven! Who are these who are coming back with Christ? Then it states that the dead will be resurrected along with the living who are in Christ, and they will "be caught away in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with [the] Lord." These verses are quite clear. At the return of Christ the dead physical bodies will be raised and the living who are in Christ, in physical bodies, will return to heaven with Jesus Christ and will always be with Him in heaven. (Nothing about living on a new earth!) So the Bible does teach that something continues to exist after death and that physical bodies will be in heaven. Would you please explain to me how the Watchtower Society harmonizes this and many other scriptures with its teachings that physical bodies can’t go to heaven and nothing can exist outside of a physical body, yet 144,000 go to heaven in an indescribable "spiritual body"?
Response: (Probably none.)
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Page 58, paragraph 6, line two. "As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all." Then Scripture references are given. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 which reads, "For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. Also their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun." (Note: This passage merely declares that the dead lose their ability to know what is taking place here on earth. ("under the sun"), from which they have departed.) And verse 10: "All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going." Then it refers to Psalm 146:4: "His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish" (Emphasis added).
If one is to take these NWT-rendered verses literally--that when people die they are conscious of nothing--then the whole section must be taken literally, and in this case it would mean that when people die they are not only annihilated and conscious of nothing, but that is the complete end of them. No resurrection. No going onto a new earth or the 144,000 going to heaven. The Witness needs to be pressed to see this contradiction.
(You need to keep in mind what the Watchtower Society’s teachings are at this point. As we have just seen above, the Society teaches that nothing continues to exist when a person dies. Then, as I pointed out before, the 144,000 are said to go to heaven as "spirit beings." It teaches that just about everyone who has lived will be resurrected during the Millennium and given a second chance to respond to new laws that will be given at that time. It further teaches that when these people are resurrected they will be given a "new" body, not a resurrected body similar to the one they had on earth. In spite of the fact that it teaches that nothing exists after death, it teaches that the thoughts and the personality of the person goes into the "memory bank" in God’s mind. Thus it still exists! Then what is stored in the "memory bank" is placed in this newly created body. But not the memory of all people is stored. The Society teaches that those who will be resurrected go to "hell=the common grave"—temporary oblivion--but those who will not be resurrected, like disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses and those who do not respond to the Watchtower teaching since 1914, go to "Gehenna" which is complete annihilation and never will be resurrected in the future. However, the Bible nowhere says that we go "into the memory of God" to await resurrection.)
Question #1: So the Watchtower Society takes the expression, "As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all" literally and says that mankind is completely annihilated at death?
Question #2: Does the Watchtower Society hold that all that is written in Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10, and in Psalm 146:4 is to be taken literally?
Response: (I am not sure how they will respond, but they should say "Yes." If they do not, then ask them what parts are to be taken as "literal" and what as "figurative." Whatever they answer, then ask them how does one determine what is to be take "literally" and what is to be take "figuratively"? The following questions presume that they gave you a "Yes" answer for question #2.)
Question #3: For me this creates a real problem. In Ecclesiastes 9:5 it states that the remembrance of these people has been "forgotten." Then in Psalm 146:4 it states, "his thoughts have perished." Since there is nothing in the Bible that states that what was contained in the brain of a person at death goes into God’s memory and these verses state that the "remembrance" has been "forgotten" and "perished," then how can the Society teach that what was in the brain before death remains in the mind of Yahweh?
Question #4: Please note the words in verses 6, "They have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun." If you will turn to Psalm 90:2 we read, "Even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God." Other Bibles read, "Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." So the words "to time indefinite" mean "everlasting." Therefore, if the Society is to take the expression "as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all" and have "perished," then it must mean that at death all life ceases to exist and there will never be any kind of resurrection in the future. Could you please tell me how the Society can take a part of these verses to be literal--to try to prove one teaching--and then completely ignore the rest of the verses in context and teach something that is just the opposite of what is written?
Response: (It is going to be very hard for them to give you a good explanation, but you have presented a very important point. Depending how the conversation goes, you can continue to pursue the matter.)
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At the bottom of page 58 there is a note that reads, "For a discussion of the words ‘soul’ and ‘spirit,’ please see the Appendix, pages 208-211." Since you have already discussed some of the issue, I do not see any reason for wasting you time and going over this material with the Jehovah’s Witness you are dealing with.
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Page 64, paragraph 15 reads, "What the Bible teaches about the condition of the dead is comforting."
Question: (You can uses this as an opportunity to explain the gospel and the "blessed hope" of heaven that we have in Jesus Christ.) For those of us who have come into a personal relationship with Yahweh through faith in the shed blood of Jesus, which was provided for the forgiveness of our sins so that we can fellowship with God now and spend all eternity in heaven with Him, the fact of being non-existing is not much of a comfort! I have never read anything in the Bible that we, as born-again Christians, are to look forward to death and hope to go into an unconscious state! I read just the opposite. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. The Apostle Paul had a great longing to leave this life, not to go into the grave, but to immediately go to heaven (v. 2). He knew that the very moment he breathed his last he would immediately go to heaven and be in the presence of the Father and the Son. Also we find the same thing in Philippians 1:21-23. Paul had a desire to be released from his physical body because he had the assurance of going immediately to heaven! He stated that going to heaven was far better than anything this earth could offer. So the Bible teaches, "Absent from the body, immediately present with the Lord." To me this is far more comforting than looking forward to being unconscious in the grave! (I know that what is taught in the Bible about the future of the unsaved is not very comforting, but for the Christian it is very comforting to know that we go to heaven the very moment we die.) Could you please explain why it would be more comforting knowing you were going into a cold, damp grave than going to a perfect heaven where you can eternally worship and adore the Father and the Son?
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Page 64, paragraph 16. "Does your religion agree with what the Bible teaches about the dead? Most do not. Why? Because their teachings have been influenced by Satan. He uses false religion to get people to believe that after their body dies, they will continue to live in the spirit realm. This is a lie that Satan combines with other lies to turn people away from Jehovah God. How so?" Then in the next paragraph it goes on to state that the doctrine of hell is not scriptural.
Question: This is a very confusing statement to me. Why would Satan, who wants people to do evil and have them believe that they will never be punished for their evil deeds (even as he told Eve, that she would not die if she ate the fruit) be the one responsible for the teaching that when man dies he will eternally be punished for his evil deeds? To me, this would tend to work against Satan. If people really believed that they are going to have to suffer in the next life for the evil deeds they do in this life, and for ignoring Yahweh, it seems that this should cause man to repent and live a righteous life so that he does not have to suffer in the next life! I think it would be more in character for Satan to tell people that "since God is really a God of love, they can go on sinning and get away with it--because this loving God would not think of punishing evil for all eternity"! Could you tell me what advantage it would be for Satan to "scare" people into thinking that they will be punished for eternity, which might cause them to break off being a slave of Satan and instead follow Yahweh, because they didn’t want to suffer in the future?
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Page 64, paragraph 17. "As noted earlier, some religions teach that if a person lives a bad life, after death he will go to a place of fiery torment to suffer forever. This teaching dishonors God. Jehovah is a God of love and would never make people suffer in this way."
Question #1: This statement is quite disturbing. I don’t think America would be basically described as a nation of "hate." Yet I am so thankful that our government doesn’t have the same attitude as the Watchtower Society. I do not think it is dishonoring to the American Government to put a murderer into prison and make him suffer for the rest of his life! I think this is only "justice," and "fair" to the rest of the law-abiding citizens. In fact, I am very glad that those who commit murder and other crimes are kept off the street so that I can safely move about. Then why is God unloving if He punishes evil?
Response: (I am not sure of what reply you will receive.)
Question #2: If I was driving down the highway and there was a big sign in the road warning that a bridge was out and I should take another road, but I ignored the sign and then wrecked my car because there was no bridge, whose fault would it be?
Response: Yours, of course.
Question #3: Since God has warned people about what will happen if they ignore the salvation that Jesus Christ has provided at such a great price, if they ignore it and are punished, then why should this be "dishonoring to God"?
Response: (You will probably get a very weak one.)
Question #4: This statement is quite disturbing when we think of Job. Here was a righteous man who tried to honor God in all that he did. In Job 1:10 it says, "Have not you yourself put up a hedge about him and about his house and about everything that he has all around?" Satan could not touch Job without Yahweh’s permission. Yet God let Job be severely tried. He lost his family, health, and possessions. He lost everything he had in this world except his wife, but she turned against him. If it is so unloving to punish evil men for their own evil acts, then how do you explain God’s allowing such a righteous man to be so severely tried by Satan just to prove that Job truly honored God?
Response: (I don’t think you will receive much of a one.)
Question #5: When Paul was converted in Acts 9, God gave a message to Ananias to give to Paul, and that is found in Acts 9:16, "For I shall show him plainly how many things he must suffer for my name." In 2 Corinthians 11:21-33 it describes some of the severe suffering the loving God let Paul endure and there was no one more faithful than Paul. In Acts 14:22 Paul gave a promise to the believers that they were going to suffer when he said, "We must enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations." The same thing is repeated in Philippians 1:29 where we read, "Because to you the privilege was given in behalf of Christ, not only to put your faith in him, but also to suffer in his behalf." Since the loving Yahweh permits those who love Him to go through suffering and trials, then why is it dishonoring to God to let the wicked and ungodly suffer?
Question #6: I think that the Watchtower teaching is rather dishonoring to God since it teaches that most people will be given an equal chance on the new earth to merit salvation! Let me explain. Here is a person like Hitler, Stalin, Nero, and many others who lived very wicked lives. They murdered many innocent people. Then there are other people who tried to live lives honoring to God and suffered much persecution for their faith. We read about some of these people in Hebrews 11. Yet, according to the Watchtower Society, when they die they all have paid the wages for their own sins and will be resurrected on the new earth, and all of them have the same opportunity to maybe merit eternal life. This just does not seem fair to me! Could you explain to me how a loving and just God could give the wicked and the righteous the same opportunities without the wicked ever being punished?
Question #7: (It depends upon the Witness you are talking to and how the conversation has been going to determine if you should use this question.) I have heard a little about the disfellowshipping policy of the Watchtower Society. I understand that for one sin, like smoking a cigarette, or even walking into a church to attend the wedding or funeral of a respected neighbor or coworker, the Society can disfellowship this person--which means that he or she will be completely cut off from his or her family, friends, and other Witnesses--which is one of the most severe punishments that can be placed upon a person. Not only that, but the Society feels it can deny a person the chance of resurrection onto the new earth. Why does the Society speak of God as a "loving God" when the Society practices one of the most unloving actions that is possible to be inflicted on a living person?
Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died
Much of the material in this chapter has already been discussed in the previous chapters. If you did not receive satisfactory answers before, you should now repeat some of the questions as they come up in this chapter. You will find that you often have to ask the same questions over and over. There don’t seem to be any short cuts.
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Page 71, paragraph 13, lines 8-10. "So Jehovah God can remember our dead loved ones in every detail, and he is ready to restore them to life."
Question: This statement is in direct conflict with the verses that this book used in the previous chapter, Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 and Psalm 146:4, to try to prove that when you are dead you are conscious of nothing. These verses read, "The remembrance of them has been forgotten…and already perished." I find no hint in the Bible of the Watchtower teaching that since the real self is just unconscious, the memory of the person is kept in the memory bank of God! Since the Society uses the above verses to try to prove part of what it believes, then why does it ignore what is clearly stated in the rest of the verses that declare the opposite? (I believe in an eternal soul that is conscious and exists in heaven or hell after death, but I am using the Watchtower argument to show that its views are not in harmony with the Bible.)
Response: (You probably won’t receive a very clear answer if you receive one at all, but do not move on quickly until you have gotten the point across in this question.)
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On page 72, paragraph 19 we read, "What about all the people who did not serve or obey Jehovah because they never knew about him? These billions of ‘unrighteous’ ones will not be forgotten. They too will be resurrected and given time to learn about the true God and to serve him."
Question: This paragraph states that those who "never knew about him" will be resurrected and given a second chance. Could you tell me what will happen to the millions of people who, since the beginning of the church age, have heard the true gospel and refused it? We know from the Bible that many have heard and refused the message. All down through the ages there have been faithful witnesses for Christ. What is going to happen to the individuals who have heard the truth and refused to believe it?
Response: (The Society teaches that all who lived after 1914 have had an opportunity to hear the Watchtower message, so none of those people will be resurrected. But I have never heard an explanation to this question! I use it more as a thought-provoking question than expecting to receive a good answer.)
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Page 73-74, paragraphs 21 & 22. "The Bible also refers to another kind of resurrection, one to life as a spirit creature in heaven. Only one example of this type of resurrection is recorded in the Bible, that of Jesus Christ. After Jesus was put to death as human, Jehovah did not allow His faithful Son to remain in the grave. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 13:34, 35) God resurrected Jesus, but not as a human….This truly was a great miracle. Jesus was alive again as a mighty spirit person!"
Question #1: I am apparently missing something here. Will you help me? I thought that the Society believes that Jesus was "only a perfect man," and a man is "human." Is this not correct? (I have a letter from the Watchtower Society concerning Jesus and this was the reply and "only a man" was underlined.)
Response: (You should receive a "Yes" answer.)
Question #2: The word "resurrection" means "that which fell down stood up again." Thus if Jesus was "only a human man" and the man Jesus who died was "resurrected," it would have to be as a human, wouldn’t it?
Response: (At this point the Witness might begin to see the contradiction and begin to squirm. But keep on pressing for a "reasonable" answer.
Question #3: Did the human body of Jesus rise up from the grave?
Question #4: Then what happened to the body of Jesus?
Response: It went back into the elements.
Question #5: Didn’t we just read in this book that there is nothing spiritual in man that separates from the body and continues to exist after death?
Question #6: Since Jesus was "only human," then would I be not be correct in coming to the conclusion that there would not be anything existing when His body went back into the elements?
Response: (It should be "Yes," but I am not sure.)
Question #7: Since the physical body of Jesus Christ died and went back into the gasses and there is nothing in man that can exist outside of the body, then how could Jesus be "alive again"?
Response: (As I stated before, the Society actually believes that Michael, who in some unexplained way willed himself out of existence when Jesus was born, was re-created three days after the death of Jesus--so it was Michael in heaven and not Jesus. The Witness you are talking to will probably not tell you this about Michael so you will have to press him or her until he or she gives you some kind of a reasonable answer.)
Question #8: Since it was really Michael who appeared after the death of Jesus and went to heaven, then why does this book say that Jesus "was alive again" when it really was Michael? This seems very deceptive to me!
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On page 74, paragraph 24, beginning with line 6. "So those few remaining ones of the 144,000 who die in our day are instantly resurrected to life in heaven."
Question: This statement that members of the 144,000 who are living today go instantly to heaven is in direct contradiction to what was written in the previous chapter on page 65, paragraph 19, lines 3-5: "For example, when you realize that people do not pass on to the spirit realm at death…." As we have talked about before, the Watchtower Society believes that those who go to heaven do not do so in physical bodies but as "spirit beings," which would obviously be "the spirit realm." So in one place it states that people do not go immediately to the "spirit realm" but go into a state of unconscious non-existence, and here it states that in this present day the members of the 144,000 instantly go to heaven--the "spirit realm." How does the Society solve this very obvious contradiction?
Response: (Since this is probably the first time the Witness has been asked this question you probably won’t received a very good answer. If he says that he will look into it be sure and question him later.)
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Page 74, paragraph 24, speaks about the 144,000 going to heaven. The Society believes that only 144,000 individuals go to heaven. It now teaches that this number began to be chosen from the day of Pentecost and was filled by 1935, and from that time on all others will have to go onto the new earth that must be built by manual labor. We know this teaching is not Biblical. The following questions and scriptures prove that it would be impossible for any of the 144,000 to be living today. This is very important because it completely undermines the very foundation of the Watchtower Society. The Society teaches that only the 144,000 are "anointed" and have "God’s spirit," and claims that all the men on the Governing Body are "anointed" and thus able to be guided by God’s spirit. Since none of the 144,000 could be living today, there are no "anointed" here; thus the Society has no authority.
Question #1: Is the Watchtower Society based on the pattern of the New Testament?
Question #2: Am I correct in coming to the conclusion that the Society believes only 144,000 go to heaven?
Question #3: When and how were these selected?
Response: The first ones were chosen on the day of Pentecost and the number was complete in 1935.
Question #4: Has the Society always believed and taught that only the 144,000 go to heaven?
Response: No. The Society used to teach that the 144,000 were the "bride of Christ," but all the other believers went to heaven as "guests" of the bride.
Question #5: When did this dramatic change take place?
Response: In 1935.
Question #6: At this time, how long had the Watchtower Society been in existence?
Response: About 55 years.
Question #7: So for fifty-five years the Society taught that all were going to heaven?
Question #8: Doesn’t the Society claim to be based on the Bible?
Question #9: So for fifty-five years the Society taught that the Bible reveals that all were going to heaven?
Question #10: After studying the Bible for fifty-five years, what happened that the leaders changed their minds?
Response: They got "new light" on the subject.
Question #11: You mean that Yahweh spoke to your leaders directly from heaven and told them they had misinterpreted the Bible for fifty-five years?
Response: (It will be hard for them to say that God spoke directly, and they will probably give you a very obscure answer.)
Question #12: So you are telling me that God allowed the Society to teach something false for fifty-five years before He corrected it?
Response: (I am not sure what the reply will be. But these are thought-provoking questions.)
Question #13: If the Society is based on the Bible, and the leaders had all studied the Bible in depth, they should have realized that if only 144,000 go to heaven the total would have been filled very early in the history of the church. Will you let me show you what the Bible has to say about the number who became true believers? (I am giving you the references, but go through them one by one with the person you are witnessing to.) Acts 2:41 "3,000 saved." 2:46-47 "Saved daily." 4:4 "5,000." 9:42; 17:12; & 19:18 "Many." 21:20 "Many myriads." (Myriads is "ten of thousands," thus "many tens of thousands." From this verse alone the 144,000 would be filled! In the text of the NWT it reads "many thousands," but in the footnote it has "Myriads; tens of thousands.")
In addition, the Bible refers to the churches in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Philippi, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Crete, Pontus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. There would be many hundreds of thousands of believers among the Gentiles. It is well known that Christianity spread rapidly all around the Mediterranean Sea. Thus the Bible proves that if only 144,000 go to heaven, the spaces would have been filled in the early history of the church. So it is utterly impossible for any of them to be living today. So why does the Watchtower Society not take into consideration these Biblical facts?
Response: You need to realize there was a falling away.
Question #14: This is rather strange. It is stated by very reliable sources (Charles Russell being one of them—you should mention this), that from the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. until 100 A.D. (when the Watchtower Society claims the falling away began) there were at least 40,000 martyrs. We know from Revelation 20:4 (have the Witness read this verse) that all the martyrs will go to heaven and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Only a portion of the Christians would be of the number who were killed, so this fact proves that there were far more than 144,000 believers in the early church. So if there really was a falling away, then there had to be hundreds of thousands of Christians before the falling away began! (The Society teaches that the "anointed"--members of the 144,000--have a special sealing which makes it very difficult for them to fall away, and thus only a very few would do so. This should further prove there had to be hundreds of thousands of believers in the early church.) Haven’t the leaders of the Society studied the proven facts of church history?
Response: (You probably won’t get one. I have often used this line of reasoning: "if only 144,000 go to heaven, the number would have been filled long ago." It has been very effective.)
Question #15: There is another piece of reliable evidence (including Charles Russell) that there had to be millions in the early church. If what the Society claims is true that around 100 A.D. there began to be a falling away, then how do you explain that between the years 303 and 313 A.D. alone there were at least 860,000 martyrs, and all of these would have gone to heaven? It is obvious that not all of the Christians would have been martyrs, so even after a couple of hundred years of "falling away" there had to be well over a million true Christians! Why does the Society not recognize these proven facts when it is calculating the numbers for the 144,000?
Response: (Probably none.)
Question #16: When I asked you before if the Watchtower Society teaches what the early church taught, your reply was "Yes." But this could not be possible, because though the Society teaches about the 144,000 the early church itself knew nothing about this teaching! The number 144,000 does not appear until the Book of Revelation, which was written around 95 A.D., so the number would already have been filled and most of the early Christians would have been dead by this time. Thus the early church never knew that those going to heaven were limited to 144,000! Contrariwise, the Bible promises in John 3:16 that "everyone exercising faith" in Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior will go to heaven. Why tell people that "whosoever" believes will go to heaven if this is not true and is limited to 144,000? In John 14:2 Jesus stated, "In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you." If heaven were limited to only 144,000, then this would have been the ideal place for Jesus to express such limitations. Why leave people under the false impression that "all" who believe would go to heaven, when this was not true?
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If you want to enlarge on the issue that the Watchtower Society limits heaven to only 144,000 individuals, here are some helpful things you can present. The 144,000 are mentioned in Revelation 7:4-8. Of the whole passage, the only thing that the Society takes literally is the number 144,000. The fact that they are Jews is disregarded. The Witness will take you to Romans 2:28-29 which reads, "For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh, but he is a Jew who is one on the inside." The only trouble is the early believers were both Jews nationally outside and believers inside. Acts 21:20 proves that there were many true Jewish believers. Furthermore, James was writing to believers and among them were members of the twelve Jewish tribes, mentioned in James 1:1. If only 144,000 go to heaven and they began to be chosen on the day of Pentecost, then there were enough believing Jews to fill up most of the places--so the 144,000 Jews in Revelation 7:4-8 can be taken literally. But while the Society takes the number 144,000 literally it never gives any explanation why God took the time to divide them up in groups of 12,000 per tribe. This is a question you should ask.
Witnesses will often point out that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned and the listing is different than in other passages. The answer to the fact that the tribe of Dan is missing is obvious. If you go to Amos 8:14 you will see that the tribe of Dan was cursed because of its apostasy. So the tribe of Levi is mentioned in its place.
The other mention of the 144,000 is found in Revelation 14:1-5. Once again only the number 144,000 in heaven is taken literally. Everything else is ignored or made figurative. The verses state, "Having his name and the name of his father written on their foreheads," but this is not said to be literal. Verse 4 states that they are "virgin men." This is not taken literally. Verse 4 says the 144,000 are "following the Lamb," but Witnesses do not call themselves "Christian Witnesses" but "Jehovah’s Witnesses." Verse 5 states that they never told a lie. This is not taken literally. Why does the Society consider only the number 144,000 to be literal and make everything else figurative?
Then in Revelation 14:3 it mentions that the 144,000 are "before the throne." This throne is taken literally to mean heaven, but in Revelation 7:9 where it speaks about the "great crowd" "standing before the throne" this is not taken literally. Why is the Society so inconsistent? (In the Greek, the word "before" means "standing close enough to something so that it can be seen clearly." But in spite of this, in the Watchtower book Reasoning from the Scriptures we are given an explanation for this verse being different and are told that the "great crowd" are really on earth. We read, "The description of them as ‘standing before the throne and before the Lamb’ indicates, not necessarily a location, but an approved condition….‘In sight of the throne’ does not require that they be in heaven. Their position is simply ‘in sight’ of God, who tells us that from heaven he beholds the sons of men."
All the others places in the Book of Revelation where "before" is found it is taken to be literal, but in this one place, to try to prove the Watchtower’s teaching, the Society makes it mean something else.
You should point out the fact that the Society repeatedly takes just one part of a verse or sentence literally and all the rest figuratively. Ask them how the average person reading the Bible is supposed to decide what is literal and what is figurative.
There is yet another contradiction that I have never heard the Watchtower answer. (I looked it up in a number of their books and it is not mentioned.) Revelation 19:1 in the NWT reads, "After these things I heard what was a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven." Why does the Watchtower Society go to so much trouble to try to twist the Greek meaning for the word "before" in Revelation 7:9 when 19:1 clearly has the "great crowd" in heaven? (According to the Watchtower Society the "great crowd" are on earth.) Ask the Witness you are dealing with who constitute this "great crowd" who are definitely in heaven.
For more information on the 144,000 see my book Approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses in Love, pages 147-158.
What Is God’s Kingdom?
Much of what is written in this chapter you will not have to discuss in detail because most Christians believe in a Kingdom in which Christ will rule over the earth for 1000 years and at the end Satan will be defeated. However, the major difference between Bible-believing Christians and the Jehovah’s Witnesses is "who" reigns over this Kingdom. Christians believe that it is the resurrected Christ, who is both man and God, who reigns over the Millennial Kingdom. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that it is Michael the archangel (though they never clearly state this), who was re-created three days after the death of Jesus, and that along with 144,000 assistants he will rule over this Kingdom. But the Society is very deceptive in the way it presents this material, so you will need to be on your guard and probe deeply to understand what the Society really believes. A number of the following questions are designed to uncover this deception and make the Witness think. Maybe the one you are speaking with is not aware of this deception.
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Page 77, paragraph 5. "From where will God’s Kingdom rule? Well, where is Jesus? You will remember learning that he was put to death on a torture stake, and then he was resurrected."
Question #1: I am utterly confused by this statement! I have come to the conclusion from reading this book that the Watchtower Society believes that Jesus Christ was "only a human man." It further believes that when Jesus died His body went back into the elements or became gas. It believes that there is nothing spiritual in man that lives on after death. It believes that the human body of Jesus was not resurrected. So from what I understand of the teachings of the Watchtower Society, the answer to the question, "Where is Jesus?" would have to be "He is dead, the body has disintegrated; he will never been seen again." Will you please tell me how Jesus Christ can be both dead and at the same time alive?
Response: (At this point they might tell you that it was Michael who was resurrected, but maybe they will not. If they do not, then ask the following question.)
Question #2: It seems to me that I heard or read somewhere that the Watchtower Society believes that at the birth (or conception) of Jesus, that Michael the Son willed himself out of existence (how he did this is never explained) and then three days after the death of Jesus Michael was re-created--so it is really the archangel Michael who will reign over the Kingdom and not the human Jesus, since he is no longer in existence according to the Watchtower Society. Is this true?
Response: (If they answer "Yes," you can ask the following question.)
Question #3: Why doesn’t the Watchtower Society come out and state this very plainly instead of beating around the bush and giving non-Witnesses the false impression that it really was Jesus?
Response: I don’t know.
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Page 77, paragraph 6. "What makes Jesus an outstanding King? For one thing, he will never die. Comparing Jesus with human kings, the Bible calls him ‘the one alone having immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light.’ (1 Timothy 6:16) This means that all the good that Jesus does will last. And he will do great and good things."
Question #1: Why does the Watchtower Society say that Jesus will be "an outstanding King" (using a capital "K") when Jesus is dead and will never been seen again?
Response: I don’t know.
Question #2: I feel this paragraph is very deceptive. If you do not read it carefully you will miss what is inferred. This paragraph uses the word "immortality" and would leave one under the impression that the Society believes that Jesus Himself was "immortal" when it really has nothing to do with Jesus but is actually speaking about the works that Jesus accomplished. The Jesus of the Watchtower Society is not immortal¾ because He died and ceased to exist. Michael of the Watchtower Society is not immortal¾ because he tasted death by committing suicide. Would you not agree that this is deceptive?
Response: (You probably won’t receive one, but hopefully you have made him or her think.)
Note: I want to point out that according to the Society, not even the work that Jesus did is "immortal" and "will last." It claims that Jesus provided a ransom so that most people would be resurrected and given a second chance on the new earth, but in 1914 the ransom was canceled and so is no longer in force. Since that date, Jesus plays no part in man’s eternal destiny.
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Page 79, paragraph 10, lines 2-3. "For one thing, Jesus knows what it is like to be human and to suffer."
Question: I am utterly bewildered at such a statement. The Watchtower Society does not believe that the human Jesus, who lived upon this earth, rose from the dead and went to heaven! The Society teaches that it is the archangel Michael who will reign over the Kingdom. Michael never had an earthly life! He never even saw the suffering that Jesus went through because he was not conscious of anything during the 33½ years Jesus lived upon this earth! Anything the Michael of the Watchtower Society knows of the earthly suffering of Jesus would have to be "secondhand," something that was told him. How could this book make such a statement that is so obviously false?
Response: (Probably none.)
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Page 82, paragraph 20. "Another problem is that many people do wicked things. They lie, cheat, and commit immorality. They do not want to do God’s will. People who do wicked things will be destroyed during God’s war of Armageddon."
Question: All down through the history of mankind humans have told lies, cheated, and committed immorality, yet the Watchtower Society claims that since God is "loving" that most of these wicked people who have ever lived will be given a second chance on the new earth. What happens to the "ransom" at the time when Armageddon occurs? (Witnesses will not clearly admit that the ransom has already been canceled--in 1914.) Doesn’t this make God partial in that He will destroy the people at the time of Armageddon while giving most other people a second chance?
Response: (You will probably not receive a very good answer.)
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Comment: Page 84, paragraph 21, line 8. "The earth will be made into a paradise." I note from this statement that the Watchtower Society recognizes that the new earth will not become a paradise overnight by some miracle of Yahweh, nor will it be something like Jesus said about heaven being built by Him. The new earth is something that must be built by hard manual labor taking many hundreds of years.
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Page 84, paragraph 23. "For how long? During the 19th century, sincere Bible students calculated that the waiting period would end in 1914. World events that began in 1914 confirm that the calculation of these sincere Bible students was correct."
Question: This is a very confusing statement! It seems to me that I heard or read that originally the Watchtower Society taught that Christ began to reign in 1874 and that in 1914 Christ was actually to come back to earth and take everyone to heaven. It was not until 1943 that the Watchtower Society recognized that the "sincere Bible students" had been greatly mistaken and Christ should not have been expected to come back in 1914, but began to reign in heaven in 1914. Why doesn’t this book mention this mistake? (Proof that the Society taught the 1874 date is documented in: Studies in the Scriptures—The Time Is at Hand, series 2, 1889, p. 239; Thy Kingdom Come, series 3, 1911, page 234; The Finished Mystery, series 7, 1917, p. 386; Creation, 1927, p. 312; and Prophecy, 1929, pages 65-66.)
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Page 85, paragraph 23, lines 10-11. "We can also say with certainty that soon God’s Kingdom will act to cause God’s will to be done on earth."
Question: Will you please help me to understand this statement? The little I know about the Watchtower Society, it first taught that Christ would be returning in 1874 to set up this Kingdom. We know that it did not happen. Then it was to occur in 1914, but this did not happen. So now for over 130 years the Watchtower Society has been teaching that the Kingdom will "with certainty soon" be set up! Since the Society had been saying the same thing for so long and it has not happened, how can it continue to make such a positive promise?
Are We Living in "the Last Days"?
For over one hundred years the Watchtower Society has been telling people that we are living in "the last days" and that Armageddon is "just round the corner." But for some reason we never come to that corner. To most of the following questions you will not receive a very satisfactory answer. However, the purpose of the questions is to make the Witness think.
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Page 87, title. "Are We Living in ‘the Last Days’?"
Question: If I remember correctly, for a long time the Watchtower Society has been telling us that we are living in "the last days." But nothing has happened yet. Would you please define what Jehovah’s Witnesses mean when they speak about the "last days"?
Response: (I am not sure.)
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Page 88, paragraph 5, lines 10-12. "Let us consider some of the things foretold in the Bible that are happening right now."
Question: It seems that the Watchtower Society has been using the same list of signs for "the last days" for the past 100 years or more. However, these signs were all visible even before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Since the Watchtower Society has been using the same list for such a long time, wouldn’t this seem to indicate that these signs are general in nature? Thus they could not specifically indicate the closeness of the end of the world. Would this not be an accurate conclusion?
Response: (Probably none.)
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Page 88, paragraph 6, line 5. "One British historian wrote: ‘The 20th century was the most murderous in recorded history…. It was a century of almost unbroken war, with few and brief periods without organized armed conflict somewhere."
Question: I have a problem with the way Watchtower publications use quotes from worldly people in an attempt to prove their points. I did some research and found a quote in the 1968 Watchtower book The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life on page 9, which reads, "Also, as reported back in 1960, a former United States Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, declared that our time is ‘a period of unequaled instability, unequaled violence.’ And he warned: ‘I know enough of what is going on to assure you that, in fifteen years from today, this world is going to be too dangerous to live in.’"
At the time this book was written, the Watchtower Society had already committed itself in writing stating that 6000 years of the history of man would end in October 1975 and within months Armageddon would occur. Fifteen years from 1960 would be 1975. The Watchtower Society found a quote from a non-Christian writer that seemed to prove its point that the world would end in 1975—and used it. We all know this did not happen and that Dean Acheson was wrong. In the 1981 revised edition of The Truth book, since Armageddon did not happen soon after October 1975, the Society very conveniently dropped the words "in fifteen years from today" that were so important in the original edition. It seems that the Watchtower Society will use any quote from any source if it seems to prove its teachings. Why should I put confidence in this book when the previous book gave a quote that obviously proved to be false?
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Page 92, paragraph 13, lines 11-13. "They [the Watchtower Society] have also gained a clearer understanding of the role of God’s Kingdom and how it will set matters straight on the earth."
Question #1: I have a problem with the words, "clearer understanding." It seems to me that I have heard that the Watchtower Society speculated that the Kingdom would appear in 1914, then 1917, 1918, 1925, early 1940’s, 1975, "before the 1914 generation would pass away" (which points to 1994) and then before the end of the 20th century. Now it is teaching that Armageddon will occur before all of the "anointed," who are very old, die—so this will have to happen very soon. How can the Society say it is getting a "clearer understanding" when it has missed the mark so many times?
Response: (The Witness might deny this, but ask him to do a little research.)
Question #2: Because of these past predictions for the end of the world and the coming of the Kingdom, I understand some Witnesses sold their homes so that they could use the money and have time to go from door to door full time. Others put off needed operations, and when the "wicked system" was not destroyed, their condition had deteriorated so much that an operation could not help them. Many put off getting any higher education because the Society had "pinpointed" the end of the world. The Society said that additional studies would be an obvious waste of time. Many of the Witnesses suffered financially the rest of their lives because of this. But it doesn’t seem to bother the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society that its "speculations," which proved false, caused unnecessary hardship for a large number of faithful Witnesses. Why should I put confidence in what the Society is saying now when it has been wrong so many times?
Response: We are willing to suffer loss for Jehovah’s sake. (You can point out that they were not suffering for Jehovah’s sake, but for the mistakes of the fallible men on the Governing Body.)
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Page 94, paragraph 16. You should read it with the J.W.
Question: This paragraph urges us to "Be a serious student of the Bible." I am not a Jehovah’s Witness, but I read and study my Bible daily. I am one of the anointed (Romans 8:16) and thus have the promise found in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit will "guide me into the truth." I associate regularly with others who seek to do Yahweh’s will. There have been many godly, anointed men and women who have written books about the Bible and I have the freedom to choose from this large range of books to read and thereby am able to take advantage of the many good helps that God has provided. I have made the necessary changes in my life, like working on inward and outward sins, so that I can enjoy fellowship with the true and living God on a daily basis. I know many born-again, Bible-believing Christians who do the same. Is the Watchtower Society saying that the men who write their magazine and books are more godly and Christlike than any other group in the world?
Response: (It will be quite hard for them to say "Yes," and at the same time you have let them know there are Christians who take their faith very seriously. To a Jehovah’s Witness there are only two classes of people: the righteous Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then everyone else. who is ungodly and part of false Babylon. You have informed them in your question that this teaching of the Watchtower Society is not accurate.)
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Page 95, paragraph 18, lines 10-15. "Keep awake…. Because those having the approval of Jehovah God and ‘the son of man,’ Jesus Christ, have the prospect of surviving the end of Satan’s system of things and of living forever in the marvelous new world that is so close at hand!—John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:13."
Question #1: I read the reference given here, John 3:16, and there seems to be a contradiction between what is written in the Bible and what is written in this sentence! John 3:16 is very positive and certain because it states that everyone who is exercising faith in Jesus Christ as his or her own personal Savior will "have everlasting life." If you "have" something then you possess it! Since everlasting life is something that cannot end, then these believers know their future is absolutely secure right now. But this article uses the word "prospect." Why does this book say one has only the "prospect" of having everlasting life and then gives a Bible reference that says just the opposite--that you "have" everlasting life right now?
Response: You see, you have to "endure to the end."
Question #2: Do you know for certain that you have everlasting life right at this very moment?
Response: I am working towards that end.
Question #3: That is not what I asked you. I asked if you are positive that you have everlasting life at this very moment. Do you?
Response: (You will probably receive a vague answer. If they do say "Yes" it is only to deceive you, because they can’t be sure.)
Question #4: I am quite confused! I believe that Jesus Christ died and shed His blood for my sins when He died upon that torture stake. I know that I have received eternal life at this very moment (1 John 5:13; John 5:24, 10:28, etc.). Since this everlasting life is a very precious gift, the one who gave it to me (Yahweh) is also protecting it (Jude 24-25; Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8). But if I became a Jehovah’s Witnesses then I would have to give up all this assurance for just the "prospect"! I don’t see how that would be a very smart move. Would you tell me why I should give up my assurance for just "a possibility"?
Response: (You are not so much interested in his or her answer, but you have been able to present the true gospel as found in Jesus Christ.)
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Page 95, paragraph 18, lines 13-14. It speaks here about "living forever in the marvelous new world." The Watchtower Society teaches that between 20 to 22 billion people who have lived in the past will gradually be resurrected and given a second chance on the new earth; and after the awful destruction at Armageddon, by means of hundreds of years of hard manual labor earth will eventually become a paradise. The Bible speaks of a resurrection "before" the Millennium and one "after," but never even hints of people being gradually resurrected "during" this 1000-year period of time. The following questions are to point out this contradiction in the Watchtower’s teachings.
Question #1: How are those who have died in the past going to get onto this new earth?
Response: They will be resurrected.
Question #2: Will this be done all at once or gradually?
Question #3: At this point I am quite confused. Could we read Revelation 20? (Note particularly verses 4-7, & 12.) This chapter speaks of a resurrection before the thousand-year reign of Christ and explains that those taking part in this resurrection "will rule as kings with Christ for a thousand years." Later this chapter speaks about the "second resurrection," but this does not take place until after the "thousand years were ended." The Bible speaks only of a "first" and "second" resurrection, and they are separated by 1000 years. The Bible never speaks about or hints at a resurrection during the Millennium. On what clear Biblical basis can the Watchtower give people the assurance that people will gradually be resurrected during the thousand-year reign of Christ (Michael)?
Response: (The only explanation of a gradual resurrection I have ever heard was taken from Ezekiel 47:1-5. In verse 2 the water is only "a trickling." In verse 3 it gets up to the "ankles." Verse 4a, it is up to the "knees." Then at the end of verse 4b it is up to the "hips." In verse 5 it becomes "a torrent" that can’t be crossed. The Witness you are talking with might take you to this passage.)
Question #4: I beg your pardon. This is an Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures to a Jehovah’s Witness) picture and has absolutely nothing to do with a resurrection, let alone a gradual one! I would like to know where it is clearly stated in the Bible so that the Watchtower Society can confidently promise people that those who died before Armageddon will be resurrected and given a second chance on the new earth?
Response: (I don’t think you will get one.)
Spirit Creatures—How They Affect Us
There is not much in this chapter that needs to be discussed because Christians also believe in wicked spirits and condemn fortune telling and spiritism. But there is a difference. Because the Jehovah’s Witnesses have never been born into the family of God they do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them to give them the power to resist Satan and the evil spirits. Witnesses have a tremendous fear of Satan and demons. They are taught to believe that demons are just around every corner waiting to possess them, and if they dare to enter a Christian church Satan is waiting over the entrance and will pounce on them and they will become "demon possessed."
Witnesses will not buy any clothing, a bust of a musician, books, etc., at a yard sale because they might have demons connected with them, and if they took them home these demons could have an evil influence in the home.
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
In the beliefs of the Watchtower Society, Satan has a much more important part than God or Jesus Christ. The Society teaches that the Father has been resting for the past 6000 years and will continue to do so for at least another thousand years. Even though Christ (actually Michael, according to the Watchtower Society) was supposed to have begun to reign in 1914, his present rule is only in heaven¾ but Satan still has a compete run of this earth. On page 108, paragraph 6, lines 6-7, we read, "The real ruler of this world is Satan the Devil." The Society teaches that Satan is in control of everything, even the weather and anything connected with it, and that he has a free hand to work out his schemes in any way he wishes. The Watchtower Society teaches that the history of mankind will only last for 7000 years until the eternal state occurs. During this time, the Father is resting and has nothing to do with the earth. Jesus Christ will rule for only 1000 years, but Satan gets to rule unhindered for 6000 years. Strange teaching indeed!
There is little that needs to be discussed in this chapter. I know I have mentioned the disfellowshipping policy of the Watchtower Society before, but I think it is a good place to bring it up again.
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Question #1: I have only a few questions concerning this chapter, but before I ask them, since this chapter speaks of unnecessary suffering, I would like to know why the Watchtower Society adds to this suffering through its disfellowshipping policy? I don’t completely understand this policy, but from what I have heard, it would fall under the category of suffering that is written about in this chapter. If I have heard correctly, all disfellowshipped or disassociated Witnesses, no matter what the offense, receive exactly the same type of treatment, which I understand is to be completely shunned by all the Witnesses, even their own family members. To be without a home, money, and other possessions would be a severe trial, but to be cut off from all your family and those you considered to be your friends for years and have no one speak to you or help you in the times of need would be the most severe punishment that a person could receive in this life! I have heard that there have been Witnesses who felt that some teaching of the Watchtower Society was not according to the Bible and spoke out about this. These people were disfellowshipped for not going along with the Society. Then later on the Society itself changed to the view of the people who had been disfellowshipped, but the Watchtower Society never went and apologized to these people--and even if it did so, it could never make up for the years of severe, unnecessary suffering that it laid upon these people. Could you please explain to me why all disfellowshipped Witnesses, no matter what the reason, receive the same cruel, severe punishment of being completely shunned?
Response: (You will probably receive some answer that justifies the Society, but hopefully you have made the person you are talking to think. I know of one former J.W. who left principally because of this unjust disfellowshipping policy.)
Question #2: It seems to me that human governments are more loving than the Watchtower Society because civil governments permit different degrees of punishment according to the offense. Why do you think that human governments recognize degrees of punishment when the Watchtower Society does not?
Response: (I am not sure.)
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Page 108, paragraph 6, lines 6-7. "The real ruler of this world is Satan the Devil."
Question: I have a question about this statement. Satan might be in control of those who have no desire to follow Yahweh’s instructions but he certainly isn’t in control of the weather. Let me explain. (I will only give the reference to the verse or verses but read them with the J.W. you are witnessing to.)
Acts 14:17. God is the one who gives rain to grow food, which gives "good cheer."
Matthew 5:45 says, "…that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous."
Exodus 13:21-22. It was Yahweh who placed the "pillar of cloud" and "pillar of fire" for the comfort of the Children of Israel.
1 Kings 8:35-36. It is Yahweh who shuts up the heavens and then gives rain at the proper time.
1 Kings 17:1-7, & 14; 18:44-45. These verses clearly show that it is God who withholds and gives rain.
Would you not agree that the Bible teaches that not everything is under the control of Satan, but Yahweh Himself is in charge of running some things in connection with this earth? (Those of us who believe the Bible know He is in complete control.)
Response: (Not sure, but you want them to begin to question the Watchtower Society.)
Living in a Way That Pleases God
The advice given in this chapter about living a godly life is good; however, Witnesses do not live this kind of life. It takes more than "morality" to be in a right relationship with God. Sometimes a person is able to make him- or herself moral and look good on the outside in public, but only God can change the heart through the new birth. Jehovah’s Witnesses have never had this personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Many of them labor under severe guilt because they know they are not able to live up to the standards set forth by the Society. But while "mouthing" high moral standards, Witnesses violate many of the principles set forth by the Society.
For instance, on page 122 it speaks about "sexual immorality." There is a large problem of child molesting among the Witnesses. A group of ex-Witnesses has revealed this information.
"Drunkenness." It is a well-known fact that the second president of the Watchtower Society, Joseph Rutherford, had a very severe drinking problem and often had to be propped up when he spoke at conventions because he was so drunk. I once met a 17-year-old boy who had been brought up in a Jehovah’s Witness home. By that age he was a slave to alcohol and it was his Jehovah’s Witness grandfather who introduced him to it. Drinking is a very severe problem among Witnesses. I know one man who used to serve in the Brooklyn, NY, headquarters and he said that if a person was not a drunk when he went there he would be one when he left. Once I went to the home of the presiding elder of the local Kingdom Hall and he was drunk.
"Stealing." I knew a Witness once who had a little bit of money. He told me that a number of Witnesses borrowed money from him and never paid it back. This seems to be quite a common problem among them.
"Lying." There are very few Witnesses that I have met who will not deliberately lie. In fact, they are taught to lie on certain occasions. They justify it by calling it "theocratic war strategy." (Proof of this teaching is found in The Watchtower, May 1, 1957, p. 285, and June 1, 1960, p. 352. Also, in the Watchtower-produced book Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2, p. 245.) Also as we have seen in this book, the Watchtower Society is very deceptive in the presentation of its teachings. This book never comes out and says that it was Michael who lived in the pre-existent world; that when Jesus was born Michael somehow willed himself out of existence; that when Jesus died that was the end of him; and that three days after the death of Jesus Michael was re-created. Thus it was Michael who appeared in different bodies, telling the disciples that he really was Jesus. And in the future it is not Jesus Christ--who according to them was annihilated forever--who will reign for 1000 years, but it is really Michael. You will have to ask a vast amount of questions concerning this, and even then maybe the Witness will never tell you the truth. The New World Translation of the Bible put out by the Society has been greatly corrupted and distorted in order to try to prove its own teachings that are really "lies."
"Greed." Here is another sin they are not lacking in. Many Witnesses, when they are going through areas where there are very lavish homes, will pick one out and then express the desire that when Armageddon comes Jehovah might spare that house so they can live in it.
A Godly View of Life
The main purpose of this chapter is to present the Watchtower Society’s belief that blood transfusions are forbidden by the Bible. I have done a lot of research and believe that a very conservative estimate is that at least 200,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses have died because they refused a blood transfusion since it became a disfellowshipping policy in 1961. A large number of these casualties were children, who had no say in the decision made by their parents.
When the Society first came out against blood transfusions, in 1945, it declared that God forbade not only whole blood but also any parts of blood. Here is a quote proving the above statement. It is found in the February 15, 1963 Watchtower, on page 24: "If the answer is ‘Blood,’ he knows what course to take, for it is not just whole blood but anything that is derived from blood and used to sustain life or strengthen one that comes under this principle." But in spite of what is clearly stated here, gradually this policy has been changed so that about half of the components of blood are now acceptable and half must be refused. The following parts of blood can be accepted: (1) albumin, (2) immune globulins, (3) Factor VIII, (4) Factor IX, and (5) circulating blood. The following must be refused: (1) plasma, (2) red cells, (3) white cells, (4) platelets, and (5) stored blood. There is one major problem here. In order to recover the "acceptable" parts of blood the blood must be stored outside the body, and storing blood outside the body is forbidden!
Here are some contradictions in the Society’s policy on blood:
When a baby is born with the "RH negative factor" it is recommended by doctors that the mother receive a shot known as "RHIG" so that she can have another child safely. Jehovah’s Witnesses are able to receive this. Albumin is harvested from blood for this shot. It takes between 38 and 40 pints of blood to harvest enough albumin for one shot. Blood must be stored outside the body to extract this albumin. So how can albumin be acceptable?
In the October 1, 1994 Watchtower the Society authorized the use of "EPO." However, it also contains albumin. So why is this allowed?
A hemophiliac is person who bleeds very easily. There is a shot that can be taken to help this situation, but it contains components of blood. At first, the Society forbade the receiving of this shot. Then it reversed its policy to say that those affected with this illness could receive one shot. But later on it changed its policy once again and said that hemophiliacs could receive more than one shot. However, from the time it made this decision until it announced it to the Witnesses took four years, so in the meantime some of these hemophiliacs surely died.
The Watchtower Society is cognizant that blood transfusions are not forbidden in the Bible, but it is in a bind. If it came straight out and said that it was changing its policy and is now allowing the taking of a blood transfusion—leaving it up to one’s conscience (this is how the Society changes its teachings without ever admitting it was mistaken)¾ there would be a large uproar from the many members who have lost loved ones. Therefore, it is gradually breaking down its policy. Most Witnesses are very confused and don’t understand the changes that have been made.
Most people are not aware of the reason that the Watchtower Society came out against blood transfusions in the first place. Back a number of years ago there was a common but mistaken idea that the human personality was located in the physical heart, and therefore it was only reasonable to believe that one’s personality was also in the blood. The Watchtower Society accepted this then-popular idea. Hence it was believed that if an individual gave his blood he would also be transmitting part of his personality, so the one receiving the blood transfusion would have a "dual" personality because he received some of another person’s personality. I can remember this being taught by the Witnesses when I was a young child. Of course, there is hardly a Jehovah’s Witness today who realizes that this was the original ground for forbidding blood transfusions.
When the AIDS epidemic came along the Watchtower Society had a heyday but now because of improved screening there is a very slim chance of getting AIDS from a transfusion.
A discussion with them on the blood issue is usually not very productive, even if you point out Bible verses on the subject. So here are some questions I feel are much more thought-provoking.
Before you bring up the blood issue, call the Witness’ attention to what is written on page 125, paragraph 1, lines 2-5: "Furthermore, Jehovah God is the creator of all living things. Heavenly creatures said to him: ‘You created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.’ (Revelation 4:11)" But the Watchtower Society teaches that the Father=Jehovah created only the Son, who is also known as "the Word" and "Michael," and that the Son created everything else. But since the NWT states that "Jehovah" created everything, this obviously indicates that the Son also is "Jehovah"! (Actually the name "Yahweh" is used of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but the Watchtower Society will not admit this.)
Question #1: Would you please help me understand the teaching of the Watchtower Society when it comes to creation? We just read, "Jehovah God is the Creator of all living things." But in John 1:1-3, where it is speaking about "the Word" who is "the Son," it states in verse 3 that the Son is the Creator. "All things came into existence through him [the Son], and apart from him not even one thing came into existence." Then in John 1:10, where again it refers to the Son as the Creator, we read: "He [the Son] was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not know him." Then there is the well-known verse in Hebrews 1:2 that clearly proclaims the Son as Creator: "[He] has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things." Since the Bible says that "Jehovah" created all things and then states that the "Son" created all things, then the "Son" must obviously be "Jehovah"!
Response: The Society teaches that the Father created the Son and then the Son created everything else.
Question #2: But the Bible does not support this teaching. In fact, it contradicts this idea. Look at Isaiah 44:24: "This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: ‘I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me?’" Isaiah 37:16: "O Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, sitting upon the cherubs, you alone are the [true] God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You yourself have made the heavens and the earth." Isaiah 45:8b: "I myself, Jehovah, have created it." Isaiah 45:12: "I myself have made the earth and have created even man upon it, I—my own hands have stretched out the heavens, and all the army of them I have commanded." Isaiah 48:13: "Moreover, my own hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my own right hand extended out the heavens. I am calling to them, that they may keep standing together." (Here is a list of more places in the NWT Bible where it states that Jehovah created, making the Son "Jehovah": Zech. 12:1; Psalm 24:1-2; 100:3; 104:1-4; 124:8; 134:3; Jonah 1:4; Isaiah 37:16; 42:5; 43:15 & 21; 44:24; 45:6-9 & 11-12, & 18; 48:13; 51:13 & 16; Jer. 10:10 & 12; 27:5; 32:17-18; 33:2 & 25; Job 38:4; Rev. 4:11; 14:7; Neh. 9:6; Acts 14:15.) I believe that the Witnesses consider the Father to be Jehovah. If that is the case, then the Father Himself is the one who alone stretched out the heavens without any help from the Son. How do you as a Jehovah’s Witness solve this conflict in the teachings of the Watchtower Society?
Response: (Since this will probably the first time the Witness has had this question presented to him or her, I am not sure of the answer you will receive.)
Question #3: As shown in the Bible verses above, the Son is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. Genesis 1:1 reads, "In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Then Ephesians 3:8-9 says, "To me, a man less than the least of all holy ones, this undeserved kindness was given, that I should declare to the nations the good news about the unfathomable riches of the Christ and should make men see how the sacred secret is administered which has from the indefinite past been hidden in God, who created all things." Since the Bible says that it is "God who created all things," and it was the Son who did the creating, then wouldn’t this clearly teach that the "Son" is "God"?
Response: (It is almost certain that the Witness will not agree with you, but you have been able to plant seeds of doubt.)
Question #4: Anyone reading just the NWT Bible on his or her own without reading any Watchtower literature would easily come to the conclusion from the scriptures quoted that since the "Son" is the Creator and "God" created everything, then the "Son" must be "God"! Likewise, the Bible teaches that "Jehovah" is the one who created everything "Himself," and since the "Son" created everything this surely makes the "Son" and "Jehovah" one and the same! Since the Bible is so clear on this issue, then why does the Watchtower Society teach something that is so obviously opposite of what the Bible repeatedly declares?
Response: (The Witness will try to justify the Society in some way, but hopefully this question will start him or her thinking.)
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Here, now, are some questions on the blood issue.
Question #1: Since this issue of a blood transfusion comes under the heading of medicine and requires a person to be highly specialized in this field to make such decisions, I would like to know if there have ever been any medical doctors on the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society when such decisions were made?
Response: (If the person is honest he or she will have to say "No.")
Question #2: Don’t you find it hard to put your confidence in a group of fallible men who have absolutely no medical training, on such an important issue that is often a matter of life and death, especially where you have only three words in the Bible, "Abstain from blood"?
Response: (You are not as much interested in the response as you are in planting seeds of doubt.)
Question #2: The decision of the apostles and elders on the issue of blood is found in Acts 15:28-29. In verse 29 we read, "If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper." The four things that these early Christians were to abstain from would have to have some meaning to them! Since there was no such thing as a blood transfusion, then there had to be some specific meaning to the people of that time so that they could obey it--like the Bible says they did. Therefore, since the other three prohibitions were pertinent to that time, then what was the meaning of this directive by the deciding council that the Christians should "abstain from blood"?
Response: (I have never received a reasonable answer to this question. One Witness did say that God was "looking a long way down the history of man" and put this in for those of us living today. That is a "cop out.")
Question #3: Could I suggest a probably reason for this directive to abstain from blood and see what you think? (They will need to listen to you in order to answer.) As you should be aware, in the early church most of the first believers were Jewish people with all their customs. Then gradually Gentiles came to trust Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior and were added to the church. Some of the Jewish believers felt the Gentile converts should keep the Jewish law (Acts 15:1) with all its ramifications. This was causing a lot of dissension in the church. The Jewish people were very particular as to how they killed animals--all the blood was drained out of them for they were forbidden to "eat blood," and the only way you can eat blood is to partake of it with meat. Today this process is called "keeping kosher." But the Gentiles did not observe this practice and were eating meat with blood in it, and that was an offense to the Jewish believers. Therefore, the injunction to "abstain from blood" was very clear. Since there were Jewish people in the area who sold meat that had the blood drained out of it, the Gentile Christians were to eat this meat and not buy meat that was not properly drained. Thus the Christians were willing to do this so that they did not cause any offense to the Jewish people. It had nothing to do with a blood transfusion since they were not known at that time. (This is exactly the same explanation that Charles Russell published in The Watch Tower, April 15, 1909, and is found on page 4374 of the reprints.) With your knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures (O.T.) don’t you think this would be the reasonable answer?
Response: (It will be difficult for the Witness to answer, but you have explained the true facts to him or her.)
Question #4: Since we are on the subject of the Jewish people and blood, are you aware of the process that these people go through so that they can be sure they don’t eat any blood that might be left in the meat?
Question #5: Jewish people know what "abstaining from blood" means. They not only buy "kosher" meat that has been properly killed and the blood drained out, but when they get home after buying kosher meat they soak it in one solution for ½ hour and then another solution for 1 hour to make sure all the blood is drained out of the meat. Since there is so much emphasis on "not eating blood" by the Watchtower Society, are you, as a Jehovah’s Witnesses, in the habit of soaking your meat in order to get all the blood out of it like the Jewish people do? Also, do Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to order meat in restaurants like rare steaks, etc., that might have blood in it?
Response: (If the one you are talking to is honest he or she will have to say "No.")
Question #6: Why not?
Response: (Not sure of the answer.)
Question #7: In preparation for our study in this chapter, I did a little research. I understand that originally Witnesses could not receive not only "whole" blood but also any "parts of blood." Is this correct?
Response: It should be "Yes."
Question #8: But now I understand there are certain parts of blood that can be taken, like (1) albumin, (2) immune globulins, (3) Factor VIII, (4) Factor IX, and (5) circulating blood. The parts of blood that must be refused are (1) plasma, (2) red cells, (3) white cells, (4) platelets, and (5) stored blood. Is what I found out in my research accurate?
Response: (Probably the one you are talking to is not aware of these details and will just reply that he is not sure.)
Question #8: In my research, I also learned that when a Jehovah’s Witness mother gives birth to a child with the "RH negative factor" she is permitted to receive a shot know as "RHIG." Doctors recommend this shot so that the mother can have another child safely. However, this shot contains blood and it takes between 38 and 40 pints of blood to harvest enough albumin for one shot. But in order to recover this albumin, blood most be stored outside of the body--which is forbidden! Can you please explain to me this contradiction?
Response: I don’t know.
Question #9: Even though Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden to receive a blood transfusion, do they ever donate blood to help other people?
Question #10: Then where does this blood come from, like in the case of the "RHIG," that is promoting the health of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Response: I don’t know.
Question #11: Let me understand you! While Jehovah’s Witnesses speak out so strongly against blood transfusions and teach they are an awful violation of God’s law, yet Witnesses, to save their own lives, are willing to accept certain parts of blood from those whom the Society considers ungodly, wicked people who make up false Babylon. Why?
Response: (This will be a difficult question to answer.)
Question #12: I have heard that Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that everything the Society teaches can be proven from the Bible. Would you please explain to me why the Society first said that no blood could be received but then certain parts of blood can be received and certain parts must be refused (while still using the same Bible)? I have never read anything like this in the Bible, so please show me.
Response: (There is nothing in the Bible about this, so of course they cannot show you anything, but you should hope these questions will cause them to look at blood transfusions in a different light.)
How to Make Your Family Life Happy
The advice given in this chapter on how to have a happy family life is good. The only trouble is that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not live like what is presented here. A person is sometimes able to make him- or herself look good on the outside in public by a lot of his or her own effort, but the inner heart has never been changed by the new birth that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Because Witnesses have never had a true conversion, they do not have the Holy Spirit to help them to overcome sin and give them true victory in their lives. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses labor under severe guilt because they know they are not able to live up to the standards promulgated by the Society.
But while "mouthing" high moral standards, the Watchtower Society itself violates the very principles it sets forth. While saying that husbands and wives should be loving and understanding, the Society itself is very controlling¾ with no leeway or love at all. You either submit to the rules and regulations or you are out and completely cut off from all your previous contacts! While telling husbands and wives that they should be faithful to each other, the Society has been very unfaithful to the Word of God. The more I investigate the New World Translation of the Bible put out by the Watchtower Society the more I see how it has deliberately changed the Bible in many, many places to conform to its teachings and practices. Its many publications are also very deceiving, including this book.
The Society speaks about "honesty," yet its publications are filled with deception. It will use a portion of an article in an attempt to prove its teachings when it reality, if the whole quote was given, it would say just the opposite of what the Society has tried to make it say. Its publications are full of all kind of lies! I have met very few Jehovah’s Witnesses who will not lie to you. In fact, Witnesses are taught to lie on certain occasions. This is called "theocratic war strategy." (Proof of this teaching is found in The Watchtower, May 1, 1957, p. 285, June 1, 1960, p. 352, and Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 345.)
You can explain to the Witness you are dealing with that you believe every husband and wife should be loving to each other and caring to their children, so there are no particular questions on this chapter. However, there is one query you could put forth concerning the relationship of Son=Michael and Jesus. (I know this has been brought up before, but this is a subject the Witnesses really don’t understand. If they did, they would no longer be Witnesses.)
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On page 135, paragraph 4, starting with line 4 we read, "We can learn how Jehovah acts because he sent his firstborn Son from heaven to the earth. (John 1:14, 18) When on earth, this Son, Jesus Christ, imitated his heavenly Father so well that seeing and listening to Jesus was just like being with Jehovah and hearing Him."
Question #1: If words mean anything, and if I have any degree of understanding, what is written here is exactly what the millions of born-again, Bible-believing Christians believe. I take it from what is written here that the Society teaches that the Son of God, who lived in heaven for thousands of years in the presence of the Father, came down Himself at the time of the incarnation and actually dwelt within the man Jesus Christ--so that Jesus was not merely a human being, but also the very Son of God was dwelling in Him! Thus Jesus was both divine and human. Would this be a correct conclusion?
Question #2: Then what does this statement mean, along with the Bible references that are given?
Response: Only the life force of the Son was put into the womb of Mary.
Question #3: What do you mean when you say "the life force" was transferred into the womb of Mary? If the life force, the actual person, was transferred from heaven into the womb of Mary, then wouldn’t the actual divine Son be part of Jesus Christ?
Response: No, it is not like that. Jesus was only a man.
Question #4: Then are you saying that the Son was still in heaven when the man Jesus was on earth?
Response: (I am not sure what the response will be, but I am proceeding with what I imagine he or she might say.) You see, the Son actually willed himself out of existence.
Question #5: How could He do that?
Response: I don’t know.
Question #6: In other words, you confidently believe that this mighty force, the Son, who created and sustains the earth, willed himself out of existence--and you don’t know how it happened?
Response: I guess so.
Question #7: Let me restate my original question. Apparently the Society will write something that gives a false impression! While leaving people under the impression that the Son came down and dwelt in Jesus--the only way He could manifest the Father--He actually willed Himself out of existence, and therefore Jesus was not really divine but only a human and so would not be able to manifest the Father. Wouldn’t this conclusion be correct?
Response: (It will be rather hard to answer this question.)
Question #8: I am supposed to be taking in "accurate knowledge" about Yahweh and Jesus Christ, but the Watchtower Society is not able to write so that one can really understand what it truly professes. Why doesn’t the Society write clearly and state what it really believes in its publications?
Response: (Probably none.)
Worship That God Approves
This chapter talks about "true worship" and of course implies that only the Jehovah’s Witnesses are serving Yahweh in the proper way. However, even though they may speak about "worship," the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not set aside even one of their five meetings a week as a worship service. Hence this chapter has nothing to do with worship but is an attempt to prove that the Watchtower Society is the only religious group that is actually doing God’s will and pleasing Him.
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Question #1: I agree that worshiping the Almighty is important and that we should worship Him in the proper way. I also realize that it is proper to worship God every day, but since God has set aside one day of each week specifically for rest and worship, I think it is important to have a special worship service each week. Most groups that are based on the Bible observe this by designating their Sunday morning service to worship. They sing a number of songs of adoration to Yahweh, and then the message points worshipers to Christ and the Father and explains how we can glorify them. Do the Jehovah’s Witnesses have one special service set aside each week on Sunday just for worship?
Response: We believe that we should worship Jehovah at all our meetings.
Question #2: I believe in being in a attitude of worship at all times, but is there some valid reason why the Watchtower Society has not set aside a special time for worship of God once a week, since worship is so important?
Response: As I said, we worship God at all times.
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Question #1: Before we begin a discussion of this chapter, I would like to ask you a very important question. Has the Watchtower Society always taught the same doctrines and had the same practices since its very beginning? (This question will make them mention some of the many changes that you can use later in your questions concerning this chapter.)
Response: No. You see, we continue to get "new light," so changes have been made.
Question #2: Could you please tell me as many changes as you can think of that have been made down through the years?
Response: (Witnesses usually will mention a number of them. I am not sure what the answer will be, but they will only admit to a few.) We used to believe that Jesus died on a "cross" but now we know it was a "torture stake." While not believing Jesus was God, the Society formerly held that he could be worshiped. Witnesses used to celebrate birthdays and holidays. We used to believe that not only the 144,000 went to heaven but also the "great crowd." Etc.
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On page 144, paragraph 2, beginning with line 2 we read, "You do not have to study and compare the teachings of all the many religions. You need only learn what the Bible really teaches about true worship."
Question #1: Since Jesus promised in John 16:13 ("However, when that one arrives, the spirit of truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things coming.") that the Holy Spirit would lead us into "the truth," then why couldn’t a person come into "the truth" through the guidance of the Holy Spirit by just reading the Bible?
Response: No. You need someone to teach you. (The Witness you are talking to will most likely take you to Acts 8:30-31, which reads, "Philip ran alongside [the Ethiopian eunuch] and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: ‘Do you actually know what you are reading?’ He said: ‘Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?’")
Question #2: So you are telling me that one just can’t read the Bible and come into the truth! Is that correct?
Response: That is correct.
Question #3: Then what are the requirements for one to become "the teacher"?
Response: (The answer should be) One needs to be of the "anointed."
Question #4: Do you need to be baptized in order to become one of the "anointed"?
Question #5: Do all people, regardless of whether they are a Jehovah’s Witness or not, if they have been baptized, become one of the "anointed" and are thus enabled to understand the Bible and become a teacher?
Response: No. Someone who is a Jehovah’s Witness must baptize you.
Question #6: Who was the originator of the Watchtower Society?
Response: Charles Russell.
Question #7: So there was not a Jehovah’s Witness organization on the earth when Charles Russell came on the scene?
Response: That is right.
Question #8: Since a person must be taught the Bible by someone with the proper authority, then who taught Charles Russell if there were no Witnesses to teach him?
Response: (I am not sure what it will be.)
Question #9: Since there were no Jehovah’s Witnesses when Charles Russell came on the scene to teach him and there were no Witnesses to baptize Russell, he obviously was never truly baptized. So how did he come into a proper understanding of the Bible?
Response: (I am not sure--but one Witness I dealt was really rocked when I mentioned the fact that Charles Russell was never baptized as an adult and thus could have no authority. Nowhere in Watchtower publications does it state that Russell was ever baptized.)
Question #10: How do you explain Galatians 1:11-12, 16b-17 which read, "For I [Paul] put you on notice, brothers, that the good news which was declared by me as good news is not something human; for neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught [it], except through revelation by Jesus Christ…. I did not go at once into conference with flesh and blood. Neither did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles previous to me, but I went off into Arabia, and I came back again to Damascus"?
Response: (Since this will be the first time these verses have been pointed out to the Witness you are addressing, you probably won’t receive a clear answer. He or she will try to justify the Society somehow, but hopefully you have planted some seeds of doubt.)
Question #11: Paul says clearly that he was not taught by some man but by the ascended Jesus Christ. These verses seem to be saying something which is directly opposite of what you are telling me that one must be taught by some other human man. Why can’t these verses be taken at face value?
Response: We believe that someone must teach you.
Question #12: What is the meaning of 1 John 2:27, which states, "And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him [the Holy Spirit] is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him"?
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On page 144, paragraph 2, beginning with line 2 we read, "You do not have to study and compare the teachings of all the many religions. You need only learn what the Bible really teaches about true worship." (The following set of questions approach the already discussed statement from a completely different angle.)
Question #1: To me, this advice sounds rather dangerous. There are many false religions in the world today and the Bible states that in the "last days" they will increase, so in our times we need to be particularly careful! I have never heard of false religionists going around and stating they are false and urging people not to join them! I know many groups that claim to be based on "just the Bible," and they will give you verses to prove it. So with this attitude, a person would likely believe the promoters of the first religious group that comes around! The Mormons are gaining many converts, along with the Seventh-day Adventists, just to mention a few.
I once read a rather important statement. It was, "If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination." (Actually this was taken from the 1968 Watchtower book The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, page 13. But of course, the Watchtower Society can’t allow this because people would find out its false teachings if it were to be investigated.)
In fact, the advice of the Watchtower Society seems to be just opposite of what is stated in 1 John 4:1, where the Bible exhorts us: "Do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world."
Why does the Watchtower Society tell people they do not need to investigate their religion when the Bible strongly tells us to "test" all religious groups?
Response: (I am not sure.)
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Page 145, paragraph 4, lines 1-4 and 10-11. "Jehovah gives everyone on earth the opportunity to gain everlasting life. To have eternal life in Paradise, however, we must worship God properly and live now in a way that is acceptable to him…. True religion leads to everlasting life."
Question #1: As a Jehovah’s Witness, do you believe that you are "worshiping God properly and living in a way that is acceptable to Him"?
Response: (You should receive a "Yes" answer.)
Question #2: Eternal life, by its very nature, is something that will never end. Do you have eternal life right at this very moment?
Response: (It should be "No," as this is something that can only be obtained in the "next world.")
Question #3: I am quite confused. This book states that by worshiping God properly and living in a way acceptable to Him a person would "have eternal life." I asked if you were living in the way that pleases God, and you said "Yes." But when I asked you if you have everlasting life right now, you said "No." This is obviously a contradiction! How do you solve this problem?
Response: You need to understand that eternal life is something we might receive at the end of our life, after living one thousand years in Paradise.
Question #4: Are you 100% sure that you will gain eternal life because of the time you spend in Paradise?
Response: No. I do not know if I will be faithful to the end.
Question #5: The teaching of the Watchtower Society is very confusing. The Bible states in a number of places that a person can have eternal life right now. Look at John 5:24: "Most truly I [Jesus] say to you, He that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life." (See also John 3:16, 6:40, 10:28.) Here the Bible teaches that when people recognize their own personal sins, repent, and believe that Jesus Christ shed His blood for all these sins, turning in genuine faith to Jesus Christ, at that very moment they receive everlasting life as free gift. Since the Bible clearly teaches that eternal life, which can’t end, starts in this present life, why does the Watchtower Society make it a possibility in the future?
Response: You need to realize that you must endure to the end (Matt. 24:13).
Question #6: What do you do with the wonderful promise that God will keep His children to the very end, as found in Jude 24-25? "Now to the one who is able to guard you from stumbling and to set you unblemished in the sight of his glory with great joy, to [the] only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might and authority for all past eternity and now and into all eternity. Amen."
Response: I just can’t presume, but I have to endure to the end.
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On page 146, paragraph 6, we find the first of six things the Society claims it practices which "prove" that it is the only religious group whose members worship God in truth: "God’s servants base their teachings on the Bible."
Remark: Just about all of the evangelical Christian groups—and this encompasses millions of Christians who believe in the inspired Word of God--claim that they base their teachings on the Bible, so I don’t see this as a valid claim to truth, especially since in the past the Watchtower Society has used certain Bible verses to try to prove its doctrines and practices but has later on changed its teachings to just the opposite, and then finds different verses to prove this opposite teaching.
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Page 146, paragraph 7, lines 7-9. "Similarly, God’s people today do not teach their own ideas. They believe that the Bible is God’s Word, and they base their teachings firmly on what it says."
Question #1: Somewhere I read or heard that the Watchtower Society claims to be "Theocratic," which means it is led by God and that the Society claims to be "the faithful and discreet slave"--basing this on Matthew 24:45. Is what I have heard correct?
Question #2: Doesn’t the claim to be "Theocratic" mean that God in heaven is watching over the Watchtower Society and has control over what it practices and believes?
Response: (The Witness will almost surely have to say "Yes.")
Question #3: In order for a slave to carry out the orders of his master faithfully, it is only reasonable that the master must have some way to communicate with the slave so that he can give the slave the orders that need to be carried out. Would I be correct in presuming this?
Question #4: If the Society is truly "Theocratic" and is the "faithful and discreet slave," then could you tell me how God communicates to the men who are at the head of your organization?
Response: (The Society has claimed that angels bring down instructions that were decided in heaven, but it never says how these angels speak to the men on the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society. Since there is no "pat" answer, I am not sure how the Witness will reply.)
Question #5: A little while ago I asked you if the Society has ever changed its teachings and practices, and you said "Yes." Some things the Society teaches today are the exact opposite of what it used to teach, and some of the former teachings are now considered "pagan." If what we just read, that "God’s people today do not teach their own ideas," is true, then how do you explain the fact that the Watchtower Society used to teach things that you claim God hates today? It is very obvious that God would not teach things He hates, so these ideas had to come from fallible men! What is your explanation for these false teachings in the past?
Response: (Here you will receive another contradiction.) You must realize that even the disciples made mistakes and the men on our Governing Body are only fallible human men.
Question #6: You previously stated that the Society is continuing to get "new light," which surely means that there are still human ideas in the Society that need to be corrected by God. So at this stage, it obviously is impossible for anyone to determine what teachings and practices of the Watchtower Society are really from God and what teachings are from the fallible men on the Governing Body! Wouldn’t I be correct in this conclusion?
Response: (It will be hard for them to say "Yes" and hard to say "No.")
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Page 148, paragraph 8. "Those who practice the true religion worship only Jehovah and make his name known."
Question: Since the Watchtower Society did not use the false name "Jehovah" exclusively as God’s name until after 1931, wouldn’t this mean that before 1931 it did not teach "the true religion"? (Yahweh is the accurate name for God in Hebrew.)
Response: (It will be hard to say "Yes" and hard to say "No.")
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Page 148, paragraph 9. "God’s people show genuine, unselfish love for one another,"
Question #1: It is very hard for me to understand how the Watchtower Society can make such a statement. In order for the Society to claim that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the most loving people (as they do in some of their other publications) it would have to have something it is comparing its own people with! Do the men who make the decisions at the head of the Watchtower Society spend a lot of time going to other church and religious groups so that they can really get to know what goes on in these many places and can certify that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are more loving than any of these groups?
Question #2: Then on what basis do they make such statements, especially when some of the leaders have been Jehovah’s Witnesses all of their lives and have never been associated with any other groups?
Response: I don’t know.
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Page 149, paragraph 11. "True Christians accept Jesus Christ as God’s means of salvation."
Question: (The purpose of this question is to let you explain the true way of salvation, regardless of the kind of answer you might receive.) It is hard for me to know why the Watchtower Society claims this as one of the distinctives that proves that the Watchtower Society is the only true religion! All Christians who believe that the Bible is the very inspired Word of God, the only grounds for faith and practice, believe that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation. These Christians have come to the place where they realized that they were ungodly sinners before the holy and righteous God of the Bible, but believed that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood for their sins when He died upon that tree. When they accepted Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior they repented of their sins with a real desire to turn away from sin and live a life of purity and holiness. They are trusting 100% in the blood of Jesus Christ for their salvation. They faithfully read their Bibles to learn how they should walk pleasing to Yahweh. What is the difference in a Jehovah’s Witness’ belief in Jesus Christ and that of all the millions of born-again Christians?
Response: (You will probably receive a very unclear answer that could lead you to think the Witnesses believe just as other people.)
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Page 149, paragraph 12. "True worshipers are no part of the world. When on trial before the Roman ruler Pilate, Jesus said; ‘My kingdom is no part of this world.’ (John 18:36)"
Question #1: Would you please help me understand what in meant here? But first let’s look at Romans 14:17, which reads, "For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but [means] righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit." If Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, then it has to be heavenly! But just about every picture I have seen in the Watchtower publications regarding "the kingdom" depicts people here on earth eating and drinking. I have never seen one picture showing people gathering together at a worship service in which they would learn to do righteousness. Why is the teaching on "the kingdom" by the Watchtower Society directly opposite to what we read in the Bible? (You are not so much interested in the answer here as in pointing out something the Witness will remember and think about the next time he or she sees a picture of the new earth.)
Response: You see Jesus is really ruling from heaven over the earth so that is what this means.
Question #2: But what about the "eating and drinking" part which conflicts with the Bible?
Response: (Not sure.)
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Page 150, paragraph 13. "Jesus’ true followers preach that God’s Kingdom is mankind’s only hope."
Question #1: How can the Watchtower Society claim that this is one of their distinctives since just about every religious group that claims to be based on the Bible teaches and preaches a kingdom in the future?
Response: (I am not sure.)
Question #2: Have the teachings of the Watchtower Society been exactly the same about "God’s Kingdom" from the very first until this present time?
Response: (Probably "Yes." If so, continue with the next question. If they say "No" and explain that this was not preached until 1935, then go to question #4.)
Question #3: I have heard that until 1935 the Watchtower Society believed that not only the 144,000 were going to heaven but also the "great crowd." Therefore, for the first half of its existence it was not preaching accurately about "God’s Kingdom," and according to what is written in this book its adherents should not be classified as being "the true worshipers of God"! Wouldn’t this be true?
Question #4: Could you please tell me how it could be thrilling news in 1935 that Christians could no longer go to heaven¾ a perfect place where they worship and praise the Father and Son unceasingly¾ but now have to return to the earth and rebuild it by hard manual labor after the awful destruction of Armageddon, and without any assurance that they might pass the final test and be able to enjoy what they have worked so hard to build?
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Page 152, paragraph 16, lines 5-6. "True Christians therefore avoid anything that is connected with false worship."
Question #1: When I asked you if there had been any changes in the teachings and practices of the Watchtower Society from the beginning until now, you said "Yes." Then, when I asked you to name some of the things the Society used to teach and practice you named some things that would be considered "pagan" today, and therefore would be included under "false worship." Why didn’t those who were then in the organization have spiritual discernment and leave the organization, like this book is urging people to do? (While the Watchtower publications tell people to leave what it classifies as "false religion," if a Witness were to see a practice in the Watchtower Society that he or she feels is wrong, that one is told to "just go along with the teaching or practice and don’t say anything, and if there is truly a mistake then in the future it will be cleared up"--which is just the opposite of what the Society urges other people to do.)
Response: We believe that if there is a mistake Jehovah will eventually point it out and the Society will change.
Question 2: But this is not an answer to my question. Why does the Society urge those in other religions to do one thing and then let the Witnesses do just the opposite?
Response (You probably won’t get a very good answer.)
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Page 152, paragraph 17, lines 6-10. "For example, the Babylonians worshiped trinities, or triads, of gods. Today, the central doctrine of many religions is the Trinity. But the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one true God, Jehovah, and that Jesus Christ is his Son. (John 17:3)" (Warning: At this stage you do not want to get into a typical argument about the Trinity, but the following questions approach it from a different angle--showing the Witness that the Society does not have an answer as to the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
Question #1: The Watchtower Society seems to be quite dogmatic in what it states here. I see a real problem and would like you to solve it for me. Would it be okay if I asked you some questions along this line?
Response: Why, of course.
Question #2: Let’s read all of John 17:3. "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ." Since the Bible says there is only one "true God," then wouldn’t you agree that all other "gods" would have to be "false gods"?
Response: I can agree with that.
Question #2: Let’s next turn to John 1:1 in the NWT. "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." So now the Watchtower Society has Jehovah God, "the big God," and the Word=Son who is "a little god." According to my math, this means the Watchtower Society has two gods, "a big God" and "a little god." But the Bible teaches there is "only one true God." So my question is, "Is Jehovah, the big God, the true God, or is the Word=Son, the little god, the true God?
Response: (You probably won’t get much of a clear answer, but try to press the Witness for some type of a reply.)
Question #3: Am I correct in understanding that the Watchtower Society teaches that this "a god" in John 1:1 is a "created" god?
Question #4: How can this be true, since it is in direct contradiction to what the Bible clearly declares? Let’s turn to and read Isaiah 43:10: (The Watchtower Society loves to quote the first part of this verse because this is where it derives its name "Jehovah’s Witnesses," but completely ignores the last part.) "‘You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and have faith in me, and that you may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none.’" Go on to Isaiah 44:6: "This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, ‘I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.’" Isaiah 45:5-6: "I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. With the exception of me there is no God. I shall closely gird you, although you have not known me, in order that people may know from the rising of the sun and from its setting that there is none besides me. I am Jehovah, and there is no one else." Thus the Bible clearly teaches that outside of Yahweh there is no other God. There was none formed before Him and none created after Him. Yet the Watchtower Society has another god who was created? How can the Watchtower Society teach something that is in direct violation of what the Bible clearly states and yet people believe what the Society teaches?
Response: (This is probably the first time he or she has been presented with this truth, so I am not sure of the response. But continue questioning.)
Question #5: But this is not the end of the problem. When we go to Isaiah 9:6 we read, "For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." This verse clearly points to the Son. So now we find that the Watchtower Society not only has more than one God, but also has degrees in rank of this second god, that he is "a god" and "a Mighty God." How do you solve this complicated problem?
Response: (I think the Witness will be quick in giving the typical Witness answer.) But He is not the Almighty God.
Question #6: Now the problem has become even more complicated. Turn to Isaiah 10:21. Here Jehovah is referred to as "Mighty God," so the Watchtower Society has two Mighty Gods. How do you solve this problem?
Response: (I am not sure.)
Question #7: Would you please explain to me how the Watchtower Society can justify its belief in only one true God and still have two gods, a "big God" and a "little god," and also believe in a created god when the Bible states there never was a created true God and there is only one true God?
Response: (I am not sure.)
Question #8: How can you say that the "Mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6 is not "the Almighty" when the Bible calls Him Almighty? Turn to Revelation 1:5-8: "And from Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘The firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘The ruler of the kings of the earth.’ To him that loves us and that loosed us from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen. ‘I [Jesus Christ] am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord, ‘the one who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty." (The NWT uses the word "Jehovah" here instead of "Lord," to try to confuse the issue. I have quoted it as it ought to be.) The things written here can only point to Jesus Christ. If you are still not convinced that the "Alpha and Omega" means Jesus Christ, let’s turn to Revelation 22:12-13: "‘Look! I [Jesus Christ] am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I [Jesus Christ] am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’" These verses taken together clearly prove that Jesus Christ is the "Alpha and Omega" and He is called "the Almighty." Why does the Watchtower Society say that Jesus Christ is not "the Almighty" when the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is "the Almighty"?
Response: (I am not sure, but you have pointed out a very important truth to the Witness you are dealing with.)
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Page 153, paragraph 19, lines 8-10. "And you will have the wonderful hope of everlasting life ‘in the coming system of things.’"
Question #1: Will you please turn to 1 John 5:13 with me. This verse reads, "I write you these things that you may know that you have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the Son of God." Could you please explain to me why the followers of the Watchtower Society can only be promised the "hope" of everlasting life in the future when the Bible promises that a born-again Christian can "know" that he or she has everlasting life at this very moment?
Response: You have to realize that you need to endure to the end.
Question #2: Would I be correct in coming to the conclusion that you really do not have "faith in the name of the Son of God" since you do not know that you have everlasting life?
Response: (He or she will probably tell you that they do have faith in the Son of God.)
Question #3: Since you say that you have "faith in the name of the Son of God," then why don’t you have everlasting life like the Bible teaches?
Response: (I am not sure.)
Take Your Stand for True Worship
To a Jehovah’s Witness, what is written in this chapter touches on what is probably one of the most important aspects of their religion. The major problem with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with all the other cults and religions, is an improper view of sin. Since Witnesses do not believe that they are "big" sinners before God, they do not need a mighty Savior in the person of Jesus Christ who is both God and man. I have had several Jehovah’s Witnesses say to me, "If Jesus Christ is truly God, then the sacrifice was too great." In other words, they are not such bad sinners, who need this kind of help. It is very humbling for us to have to admit that we are such ungodly, wicked sinners that only God Almighty can solve our problem! But when people are off on their concept of sin, they will be off on all their teachings about God.
To a Jehovah’s Witness, sin is (1) observing birthdays, (2) celebrating holidays, (3) taking a blood transfusion, (4) participating in governments by voting or working in government or military offices, ( 5) saluting the flag, (6) not attending all of the five (boring) Kingdom Hall meetings a week (usually a one-hour meeting on Tuesdays, plus two one-hour meetings on Thursdays and on Sundays), and (7) not going door to door at least ten hours every month spreading the Watchtower propaganda. (Your "spirituality" is determined by how many meetings you attend, how many questions you answer at these meetings, and how many magazines you distribute when you’re out in "field service.")
Because of the above misunderstanding about sin, Witnesses are very determined in condemning birthdays and holidays in order to openly maintain their own self-righteousness. They will probably defend the practice of not observing these customs more strongly, and at a greater sacrifice of their emotions, than they do the aberrant doctrines of the Watchtower Society.
This is a very divisive chapter because of its "distinctives," so you can easily get into a heated debate. It is best not to try to argue them into disobserving or omitting these things. However, there are a number of questions you can ask that should cause them to question the Watchtower Society’s reason for shunning these civic practices. For over fifty years of its history, Witnesses actually observed the very things they condemn so strongly today.
For most born-again Christians the first part of this chapter about "images and ancestor worship" is not a problem, so you can skip over that part.
But in order to show forth the contradictions and inconsistencies in the teachings and practices of the Watchtower Society, I would like to first give a number of quotes from an article in the December 22, 1976 Awake magazine, found on pages 12-15, where it discusses how symbols and practices that had a pagan background have lost their meanings. Thus when they are observed today the person can have a proper concept about the practice because the "roots" have been forgotten.
Well, objectors might consider the heart [© ] to be an idolatrous decoration, having learned that it formerly was used in non-Christian worship…. What should be a Christian’s attitude toward shapes and designs that have at some time or place been connected with false religion?… For instance, the Winged Globe or Winged Disk was used in various forms in Phoenicia, Assyria and other nations. [The Society used this design on their early books for a number of years.]…Snakes, crosses [for years all the Watchtower magazines showed the symbol of the cross on the front page, circled by a crown], stars, birds, flowers…yes, there is an almost endless number of designs and symbols that have at some time or other been linked with idolatrous worship. So how can the sincere Christian know what to avoid and what to overlook as unimportant?…So it is appropriate to avoid decorations that would link a person with idolatrous worship. On the other hand, just because worshipers at some time or place might use a certain design, that does not automatically mean that true worshipers must always shun it. Forinstance, figures of palm trees, pomegranates and bulls were incorporated in the design of Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. The fact that other religions might take these natural things that God created and use them as symbols in idol worship did not make it wrong for true worshipers to use them decoratively. Anyone visiting the temple could tell that God’s people were not worshiping these decorations or venerating them as sacred symbols.
Many times a design will change in significance according to location and times. A certain shape may have a particular meaning to an observer at one time and place, but a different meaning to an observer elsewhere or in another age…. Those past religious meanings do not readily come to the mind of most observers today…. A pagan religious symbol might lose its religious connotation [italics in the article]…. In yet other places neither of these significances may generally come to mind…. So the Christian needs to be primarily concerned about what? Not what a certain symbol or design possibly meant thousands of years ago or how it might be thought of on the other side of the world, but what it means now to most people where he lives.
But, as another example, let us return to the heart-shape. Though this was a religious symbol in ancient Babylon, does it now have such a meaning where you live? Most likely not…. With so many different designs having been used in false worship, if a person went to the trouble and took the time he might find an undesirable connection with almost every design he sees around him. But why do that? [The Watchtower Society has gone to great lengths to do this very thing to try to prove some practices "pagan."] Would it not be needlessly upsetting? And is that the best use of one’s time and attention? [I would agree with this, but it is the very thing the Society has done.]
Paul, however, also showed the value of concentrating on the things that are of real importance instead of getting involved in controversy over petty meanings and possible connections that are not of obvious significance. (1 Cor. 10:25, 26; 2 Tim. 2:14, 23)
However, the Society is not willing to do this with practices of other Christians which it disagrees with.
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Page 156, paragraph 6. "A person’s worship could be contaminated by the false religion as it relates to popular holidays. Consider Christmas, for example. Christmas supposedly commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, and nearly every religion that claims to be Christian celebrates."
Question #1: I am rather perplexed at what is written here. This intimates that a person’s religion is "contaminated" if its followers observe Christmas and other holidays! Yet I understand (and maybe the Witness told you this previously when you asked about the changes in the Watchtower practices) that for the first fifty years of the Society’s history the Witnesses did observe holidays and were even urged to do so. Is this correct?
Response: Yes. But you see, we received "new light" on the subject.
Question #2: Wouldn’t this mean that for fifty years all of the Witnesses, even the president, were contaminated because of their celebrating holidays?
Response: (He or she will probably give some weak answer to try and get around the implication.)
Question #3: I did a little research into the observance of Christmas by the Witnesses and came across something interesting that Charles Russell wrote about observing Christmas day. (This is taken from Zion’s Watch Tower, Dec. 15, 1903, page 3290. See also Zion’s Watch Tower, Dec. 1, 1904, page 3468. If you have my documentary packet you will find copies enclosed.)
Although we cannot agree that this [December 25] is the proper day for celebrating the birth of our dear Redeemer, …nevertheless since he did not intimate his desire that we should celebrate his birthday it is quite immaterial upon what day that event, of so great importance to all, is celebrated. Upon this day, so generally celebrated, we may properly enough join with all whose hearts are in the attitude of love and appreciation toward God and toward the Savior.
Since Charles Russell said it was okay to celebrate Christmas on December 25, then shouldn’t he have to bear some of the responsibility for "contaminating" the Witnesses for fifty years?
Response: (They will probably give you another weak defense for this practice.)
Question #4: This is all very confusing to me. I understand that before 1935 all the Witnesses were of the anointed class, had God’s spirit, and could properly understand the Bible. If the forbidding of the remembering of the birth of our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is so plainly condemned, then why didn’t some of these thousands of Witnesses come up with it before?
Response: (This should be hard one for them to answer.)
Question #5: I have thought long and hard about the fact that the Witnesses observed Christmas, which is now considered "pagan," for so many years. There is only one feasible choice out of three explanations that I can think of. Let me present these three and then you tell me which one is the correct one. (1) The early Witnesses knowingly disobeyed the clear injunctions of the Bible and went ahead and observed Christmas anyway! (See The Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1996, page 19. It says the Witnesses didn’t take a firm stand concerning neutrality--so the same thing might be said about holidays and birthdays.) (2) The truth that observing Christmas is a "pagan" practice is hidden so deeply in the Bible that it took fifty years or more of "deep Bible study" before the Witnesses realized that holidays and birthdays were really "pagan." (If this is true, then why don’t the leaders of the Watchtower Society have patience now with those of us who are not quite so smart?) (3) The teaching that the forbidding of the observance of Christmas, other holidays, and birthdays is "strong meat," but the early Witnesses were only "babes"—thus God was not able to reveal this truth to them. (See Hebrews 5:11-14.) Which of these three possibilities do you think is the correct one?
Response: (I doubt if you will receive a clear response, but hopefully you have gotten them to doubt the wisdom of the Society.)
Question #6: As we discussed before, the Watchtower Society claims to be "Theocratic," which means it is run by God. Also you have mentioned about this "new light"--that apparently has to come from God--which enlightens the Society about its false teachings and makes corrections. But we read here that the observance of holidays "contaminates" one’s faith. Could you please explain to me how a holy and righteous God who is supposed to continually be giving directions to the leaders of the Watchtower Society would let them sit around for fifty years while their faith was being contaminated, during which they were highly displeasing to Him, without stepping in at the very beginning and correcting such a false teaching?
Response: (I don’t think you will receive a reply, but urge them to give you some kind of explanation.)
Question #7: If the leaders of the Watchtower Society changed their minds after fifty years and began teaching just the opposite of what they formerly did, they have that privilege. But why does the Society condemn Christians so strongly for remembering the birth of their wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on a special day when the Witnesses themselves observed it for so many years?
Response: (Probably not much of one. But they might say that we are not directly told to remember the birth of Christ like we are told to remember His death through the Lord’s Supper. If this has been stated, you can use this next question.)
Question #8: The Bible does not instruct me to eat three meals a day, but doing so isn’t wrong. I am not told to sleep 8 hours a day, but there is nothing evil in doing this. It seems to me that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do a lot of things that are not commanded in the Bible. Could you please show me in the Bible where we are commanded to attend five meetings every week and they are to be just about one hour long? Also, where in the Bible is the meeting place for Christians called a "Kingdom Hall"?
Response: (Of course, you won’t receive one.)
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Page 157, paragraph 7, lines 3-7. "The World Book Encyclopedia says, the early Christians ‘considered the celebration of anyone’s birthday to be a pagan custom.’ The only two birthday observances mentioned in the Bible are those of two rulers who did not worship Jehovah. (Genesis 40:20; Mark 6:21)"
Question #1: This book has made a grievous error when it states, "The only two birthday observances mentioned in the Bible are those of two rulers who did not worship Jehovah." There is another important birthday mentioned in the Bible, and that is when Abraham had a birthday party for Isaac when he was three years old--and Abraham was a man who did worship Yahweh. Turn to Genesis 21:8 which reads, "Now the child kept growing and came to be weaned; and Abraham then prepared a big feast on the day of Isaac’s being weaned." (Ask them to look in their NWT at this verse.) After the word "weaned" you will see a small letter, and when you look at the reference in the middle column it will refer you to 1 Samuel 1:22. Go to 1 Samuel 1:22, where it speaks about Hannah weaning Samuel, and there is a small letter which refers you to 2 Chronicles 31:16, which reads, "Apart from their genealogical enrollment of the males from three years of age upward, of all those coming to the house of Jehovah as a daily matter of course, for their service by their obligations according to their divisions." So using the references in the NWT we come to the conclusion that a child was weaned at the age of three. (The weaning of children in many countries, even to this day, is not until the age of three or four. It was true when I was in Japan.) Thus the Bible says that Abraham had a party for Isaac "on the day" he was weaned. This was very clearly a "birthday party." And it was not just "cake and ice cream" but a "big feast." Could you please tell me how the writers of this book could leave out such an important birthday party as the one the Patriarch Abraham gave for his son Isaac?
Response: (None. Again I say, the reason for some of these questions is not for the answer you will receive, but to inform the one you are dealing with that there are many important facts that the Watchtower Society writers have blatantly disregarded.)
Question #2: It seems to me that I have heard that the Society is against birthdays because, at both of the references given in this book, something evil happened and that was that two people were put to death. Is that correct?
Question #3: Let me understand you clearly. The reason children cannot have a birthday party with a few of their friends and enjoy cake and ice cream is because at two birthday parties mentioned in the Bible something evil happened—namely two men were killed. Is that correct?
Question #4: Wouldn’t you agree that there is a very strong possibility that there was drinking at both of these parties?
Response: I would imagine so.
Question #5: I understand that as long as Jehovah’s Witnesses drink in moderation they are allowed to drink wine, beer, whiskey, and other forms of alcohol. Is this correct?
Question #6: I would like to know why the Watchtower Society is not consistent with its own reasoning for not celebrating birthdays when it comes to drinking, especially wine! Please turn to Genesis 9:20-25. (Read this portion together.) This speaks about Noah drinking wine and becoming intoxicated. His son Ham saw him in this condition and it caused the Canaanites to be cursed. So the first evil effect of drinking wine is that a whole group of people were cursed, not just one person. Next let us look at Genesis 19:30-38. (Read this passage.) Here we find that the two daughters of Lot got him drunk by drinking wine and then he committed incest with his daughters. From these acts of incest, two nations were begotten and these two nations have continually been in conflict with the nation of Israel. So the second sin we see that was caused by drinking wine was the awful sin of incest resulting in a conflict that is continuing even today. For my third illustration, turn to 2 Samuel 13:26-29. (Read this story also.) We see that Absalom got his brother Amnon drunk by drinking wine and had him killed. So the drinking of wine was the cause of a murder. Many more evils could be pointed out from the effects of drinking alcohol: it causes 60% of all car accidents in which many innocent people are killed; makes about 50% of homes dysfunctional; over 10% of the population are completely enslaved to alcohol; alcohol is one of the leading causes for wife and child beating; and it often leads to divorce. Also, the revenue from purchasing beer enables the beer companies to pay for their very immoral ads.
Because two people got killed at birthday parties thousands of years ago, and despite the fact that there was another birthday party that honored Yahweh, the Watchtower Society forbids children to have a birthday party with cake and ice cream. But from drinking wine, one group of people were cursed, incest was committed which has caused strife for thousands of years, and then Amnon was killed--noting only three of the evils mentioned in the Bible from drinking--yet the Watchtower Society still justifies the drinking of wine and other alcoholic beverages! Very strange indeed! Could you please explain to me why the Watchtower Society is so inconsistent?
Response: (I am almost sure they will try to justify drinking in some way, but hopefully you have planted some seeds of doubt.)
Question #7: I understand that Jehovah’s Witnesses are able to observe wedding anniversaries. Is this correct?
Question #8: I do not understand the difference between celebrating a birthday and celebrating a wedding anniversary! They are both honoring a person or a couple. Just as with a birthday where the age is mentioned, at an anniversary a number of years are specified. The "pagans" also celebrate anniversaries with drinking and dancing. We are nowhere told in the Bible that we are to celebrate anniversaries and we have no examples of any wedding anniversaries being observed in the Bible! So could you explain to me, logically, the difference between celebrating a birthday and celebrating a wedding anniversary?
Response: (The Witness will try to justify the observances of wedding anniversaries, but keep pressing them on the point that the "pagans" also have wedding anniversaries as well as birthdays.)
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Page 157, paragraph 9. "It was not until several hundred years after Jesus lived on the earth that people began to commemorate his birth on December 25, but that was not the date of Jesus’ birth, for it evidently took place in October.* (See the Appendix, pages 221-2.)"
Question #1: Since the Bible does not give any exact date for the birth of Christ, how can this publication say so dogmatically that December 25 "was not the date of Jesus’ birth"?
Response: The Bible tells us that there were shepherds out in the fields when Jesus was born, but sheep and shepherds are not out in the fields in the winter. (This is the reason given in the Appendix.)
Question #2: Can you show me very clearly in the Bible where it states that at no time shepherds and sheep are outside in December, which is really just the beginning of winter?
Response: No, I can’t.
Question #3: Are you aware of the fact that just because sheep were out in the open when Jesus was born in no way proves the event was not in December—despite what this book so dogmatically states?
Response: No. Will you tell me why?
Question #4: Sheep for the temple sacrifices had to be out in the field all year round so they could be readily available for the sacrifice, so the fact that they were out in the field is not a valid argument at all that the birth of Jesus was not in December. (I am aware that the argument about the sheep not being out in the field is one that is often repeated by Christians, but I find no valid grounds for this argument.) Have you ever heard this explanation before?
Question #5: On what Biblical grounds can this publication say, "It evidently took place in October"?
Response: (They will most likely explain that Jesus died at the age of 33 ½ and we are given the time of his death, which was in the spring, so that would put the date of His birth in October.)
Question #6: Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus died exactly at the age of 33 ½?
Response: (It will be impossible for them to find any place. They might turn to Luke 3:23 where it says, "Jesus himself, when he commenced [his work], was about thirty years old." "About" could vary by months, and in this case October and December are only two months apart. Nor is it ever clearly stated in the Bible that Jesus ministered for exactly 3 ½ years. The only way scholars have come to the conclusion that Jesus ministered 3 ½ years is by examining the internal evidence, such as the mention of annual festivals and other events. The Watchtower Society cannot make a dogmatic statement that his ministry lasted a full 3 ½ years and that he began ministering exactly at the age of thirty.)
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Page 158, paragraph 9, lines 4-8. "So why was December 25 chosen? Some who later claimed to be Christian likely ‘wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun."’ (The New Encyclopedia Britannica.)"
Question #1: Have you ever personally read the account in The New Encyclopedia Britannica?
Question #2: This article starts out by saying, "The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but…" Why is the Watchtower Society so dogmatic about the reason for Christmas being on December 25 when the very quote it uses says, "Somewhat obscure"?
Response: (You might receive some weak answer, but you have pointed out an important fact that you trust the Witness will notice in the future.)
Question #3: Let us say that we have just the Bible. There are no other books or encyclopedias around. We have not heard anything from anyone about Christmas. Could you show me by using just the Bible that it is wrong to remember the birth of Christ on a special day? I am not talking about all the commercialism and things that have been attached to Christmas, but just the fact of rejoicing because God sent His Son into the world to provide a ransom! Also do not quote 2 Corinthians 6:17. It reads, "‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’; and I will take you in." You first have to prove from the Bible that remembering the birth of Christ is "pagan."
Response: (Of course it cannot be proven from the Bible that celebrating the birth of Christ is wrong, nor can they prove it is a "pagan" custom. Don’t let them get you sidetracked until they admit it cannot be proven.)
Question #4: (Ask the Witness to read the story of the birth of Christ with you as found in Luke 2:1-20.) We notice that the Father became so excited about the birth of His Son, the Savior of the world, that He sent angels to announce the event. I think this was rather spectacular. The angels said they were bringing them "good news of a great joy." Then the shepherds responded to this joyous announcement and went to see the young child. When they had seen the child, they became so excited that they told everyone they met about the birth of the Messiah. So we see from the Bible that there was a lot of rejoicing over the birth of Jesus Christ. Since the Father rejoiced at the coming of His Son into the world and wanted people to know about it, then what is wrong with following the example of the Father and setting aside one day a year (I know we are to be thankful every day--which we are) to rejoice in the fact that the Father was willing to send His Son into the world to die for my sins so that I could come into a personal relationship with Him?
Question #5: I have a question for you. John 3:16 reads: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son." Shouldn’t the expression "He gave his only-begotten Son" remind us of the birth of Christ?
Response: (I am not sure.)
Question #6: 2 Corinthians 9:15 reads: "Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift." I take it that the "indescribable free gift" which we are to thank the Father for is the gift of His Son whom He gave in order to provide redemption for mankind! Doesn’t this imply that when we think of the birth of Christ, who is God’s indescribable gift to us, that we should be thankful for this gift?
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Page 158, paragraph 10, lines 11-15. "Because of the connection that Christmas has with false religion, however, those who want to please God do not celebrate it or any other holiday that has its roots in pagan worship."
Question #1: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November?
Question #2: This is rather confusing to me. If I understand correctly, the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not observe Christmas for three reasons: (1) because we are not sure of the exact date of Christ’s birth, (2) we are not commanded to remember His birth, and (3) because the Society believes that December 25th was a pagan holiday set aside by the Romans as the birthday of their sun god. But what about Thanksgiving Day? In the O.T. God instituted two special annual festivals, the Feast of the First Fruits (Lev. 23:9-14) and the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering (Lev. 23:33-36) to cause the people to be thankful for the material blessing He had bestowed upon them. I know that we are to be thankful every day for God’s blessings, but it can’t be against God’s will to set aside a special day each year to thank Him for all His blessings--since this is following a pattern set down in the Bible! Then in the N.T. we are told in many places that we "should be thankful." Since Thanksgiving Day in America has absolutely no connection with any false religious beliefs, has no pagan connections, and the day on which it is observed has been altered a number of times, and is a time specifically set aside to give exclusive devotion to the God of the Bible, then I see absolutely no reason for not observing Thanksgiving Day! I see a "double standard" here. In order for the Watchtower Society to be consistent with the reasons it gives for not observing Christmas and in light of the clear instructions in the Bible to set aside special times to be thankful for the material blessings we receive from God, then why do the Jehovah’s Witnesses not observe Thanksgiving Day? (There is a sneaky way around this among the Jehovah’s Witnesses. A good many of them will have a feast with turkey and all the trimmings, just like most other people have for Thanksgiving Day, but will have it earlier in the month of November. I asked one J.W. for the reasoning behind this and he said, "Turkey is cheap at this time of the year.")
Response: (Since this is probably a new thought to them, it is unclear how they will answer.)
Question #3: Do Jehovah’s Witnesses observe Mother’s Day?
Question #4: This is very difficult for me to understand! Will you please help me out? The Bible clearly commands us to "honor our father and mother" (Ex. 20:12, Matt.15: 4, 19:19, Eph. 6:2; and Romans 13:7, which states that we are to give "honor to whom honor is due"). Thus to have a special day to honor mothers seems to be in line with the Bible! Mother’s Day was started by a godly Christian woman to help people obey the command of God, so it cannot be traced to any false religious beliefs. In pagan religions, women are looked down upon and never honored, so the idea of Mother’s Day could not be from a pagan source. The day on which Mother’s Day is held cannot be traced to any pagan roots. Since the Bible clearly commands us to honor our father and mother, then what is wrong with acting in conformity to the Bible and observing Mother’s Day?
Response: (They might reply:) We should honor our mothers every day, making a special day unnecessary.
Question #5: Could I ask you a personal question? When was the last time you sent your mother a card thanking her for all the work she put into you, and when is the last time you called her up or spoke to her personally and thanked her for being your mother?
Response: (If this person is honest, he or she will have to admit that they do not do it on a regular basis.)
Question #6: I understand that Jehovah’s Witnesses observe their wedding anniversary once a year. Shouldn’t the husband or wife be thankful for each other every day and not just once a year? Could you explain the difference between observing Mother’s Day once a year and observing a wedding anniversary once a year?
Response: (The Witness should see the point.)
Note: On page 159, paragraph 11, lines 4-5 we read, "These occasions [holidays] also give families opportunities to draw close together." I personally feel that the main reason the Watchtower Society is against observing holidays is in order to break up families. (It has done a very good job of it.) The Society doesn’t want the Witnesses to associate with their family members who are not Witnesses, and especially with those who are born-again Christians.
Draw Close to God in Prayer
What is written in this chapter is good advice, but do not get the idea that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs are close to those of evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. This book was written to deceive and not to present clearly what the Watchtower Society really teaches. It will use terms but does not explain how these terms are being used; this is done only later in the Society’s propaganda process. Just because a religious group speaks about God, Jesus Christ, prayer, and uses the Bible, does not mean it is truly Christian. The Watchtower Society uses the same words as Bible-believing Christians, but it has put entirely different meanings to these words. This is how this chapter must be read. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses have never been born again through faith in the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, they have no personal relationship with God, even though it is mentioned in this chapter. This is very clearly seen in the fact that Witnesses always address God as "Jehovah God" and not just as "Father."
In order to properly understand Watchtower articles, you frequently have to read to the very last paragraph--which is often the most important, and will actually negate all that was written before. (For instance, I read in The Watchtower magazine a five-page article on reading the Bible that was very good. But then the last paragraph stated, "But don’t let your Bible reading interfere with your reading of the wonderful material the Society has provided." In other words, the Watchtower publications are more important than the Bible. I read another article on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It sounded exactly like what evangelical Christians believe except for four words. The article spoke of the resurrection of Christ and then inserted the words "as a spirit person." This put a completely different meaning to the article since the Society does not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ but in the re-creation of the "spirit person" Michael the archangel.)
Jehovah’s Witnesses do very little praying on their own. In private or public they will never mention a needy person by name. Witnesses say that this is "exalting a person," even though in public they always pray for and thank Jehovah God for the Governing Body (men) of the Watchtower Society and the wonderful publications that it produces to give them "spiritual food at the proper time."
I once invited a former Jehovah’s Witness, who had recently come out, to come and show a video exposing the errors of the Watchtower Organization to a group of Christians on a Wednesday evening at a church’s regular prayer meeting. Even though he had been a Jehovah’s Witness for twenty-five years he did not have the faintest idea of what a prayer meeting was. Also, I was able to help a Jehovah’s Witness man who had been in the cult for twenty-five years come out of the Watchtower Society. One of the first things he asked me was how to pray. So even though Witnesses speak about prayer, they know very little about it.
There are only a couple of questions that need to be asked concerning this chapter.
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Question #1: When Jehovah’s Witnesses pray in public, how do they begin their prayer?
Response: "Jehovah God, our heavenly Father."
Question #2: This seems very strange to me. The model prayer given by Jesus teaches us that we should address God as our "Father." Jesus Christ never addressed His Father as "Jehovah God." Could you please explain to me why the Watchtower Society does not teach the Witnesses to follow the pattern of Jesus in addressing God as "Father" instead of "Jehovah God"?
Response: (This question is more to point out a Biblical truth than to receive an answer. Hopefully the Witness will remember what you have said every time a prayer is offered in the Kingdom Hall to "Jehovah God.")
Question #3: It seems to me that addressing God as "Jehovah God" is very cold and impersonal. I never addressed my earthly father by his given name. This, I was taught, was rude. I would always call him "father" or "dad." (This is actually the meaning of Jesus’ prayer in Mark 14:36 where He addressed Him as, "Abba, Father.") I had great respect for my father and never felt it disrespectful to address him as "father." Don’t you feel it is cold and distant to refer to God as "Jehovah God" instead of "Father"?
Response: (Not sure. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses have not been born again they do not have a personal relationship with God, so that is why they address Him as "Jehovah God.")
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Page 167, paragraph 9, lines 4-8. "However, Jehovah requires that we acknowledge the position of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. As we learned in Chapter 5, Jesus was sent to the earth to serve as a ransom to redeem us from sin and death. (John 3:16; Romans 5:12)" (Even though this issue was discussed before it is very important, and you probably didn’t receive a clear answer then, so it is good to bring it up once again.)
Question: I know we talked about this before, but I am greatly confused. If I take what we just read at face value it would mean that the Son, who lived in heaven, came down and dwelt in the human body that the Virgin gave to Jesus. Thus Jesus, while on earth, had a dual nature--that of "the Son" who came down from heaven, as stated here, and also as "a human." But as you said before, Jesus was only a man. If something actually came down from heaven to redeem men, then where is this "Son" since he was not in Jesus Christ? What the Watchtower Society is saying just doesn’t make any logical sense to me. It says something came down from heaven and was on earth but actually there was only the earthly man Jesus! Will you please clear up this contradiction for me?
Response: (Try to stick with this question and have them give you some kind of a reasonable answer.)
Baptism and Your Relationship With God
This chapter pertains to the final step required for a person to become affiliated with the Watchtower Organization, and that is baptism. Of course, before this occurs one must be willing to follow all the requirements that will be necessary after he or she becomes a Jehovah’s Witness. Up to the time of one’s baptism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will all be very sweet and will "love bomb" the prospective convert, but once the person has been baptized and is "hooked" into the Organization, he or she will no longer receive the personal attention that was previously shown. The person becomes just "a number" (each Jehovah’s Witness has an identity number that is used for ordering materials and when turning in reports) and now exists only for the good of the Organization.
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Page 174, paragraph 1. "‘LOOK! A body of water; what prevents me from getting baptized?’ That question was asked by an Ethiopian court official in the first century. A Christian named Philip has proved to him that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Touched to the heart by what he had learned from the scriptures, the Ethiopian man took action. He showed that he wanted to be baptized!—Acts 8:26-36."
Question: I have read these verses from Acts 8 in context so I might understand the whole incident. I notice that Philip did not have any printed material put out by the apostles in Jerusalem but used only the Bible. Philip could not have conversed with this Ethiopian eunuch for more than a fraction of a day, but upon hearing the good news that Jesus had shed His blood as atonement for his sins, the Ethiopian eunuch accepted this by faith and was immediately baptized. Is it the policy of the Watchtower Society to baptize people soon after they come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, similar to what we see Philip doing in this passage? (As this book presents, it is only after the long process of "taking in knowledge.")
Response: (They will probably tell you that Philip talked to this man for a long time, but you can say that you feel they are speculating and reading something into the Bible that is not there.)
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Page 175, paragraph 4. "Water baptism is a requirement for all who want to have a relationship with Jehovah God." (It has to be by immersion.)
Question #1: I believe that a person who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior ought to be baptized as a testimony to his faith in Christ. I did a little research but have never read anywhere that Charles Russell was baptized as an adult either before or after he began his ministry. (Since Russell was raised a Presbyterian, it is possible that he was baptized as an infant, but the Watchtower Society does not recognize infant baptism nor the baptism of any other group.) Since it is so important to be baptized in order to "have a relationship with Jehovah God," do you have any concrete evidence that Russell was baptized by immersion before or after he began his ministry?
Response: (Since Russell was never baptized before or after his ministry began, the Witness cannot give you any evidence. Once when I used this question with a J.W. whom I was witnessing to, he was quite shocked and did some research and found out I was correct. It made quite an impression on him.)
Question #2: I understand that only the "anointed" have God’s spirit, and this anointing happens at the time of baptism. But since there is no record of Charles Russell being baptized, then we can conclude that he did not have God’s spirit! This being true, then he was teaching his own ideas and was not led by God at all. Could this be the reason why so much of what Charles Russell taught was later changed? What do you think?
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Page 176, paragraph 5. "You have already begun to take the first step. How? By taking in knowledge of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, perhaps by means of a systematic study of the Bible. (John 17:3)"
Question: I looked up John 17:3, which is a very interesting verse. (In the NWT it reads; "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.") This verse states very clearly that there is only "one true God." But if I understand correctly, the Watchtower Society believes in two gods! It acknowledges Jehovah as God the Father and then calls the Son=Word "a god" (John 1:1 in the NWT). These two are distinct gods and are different in rank. Since the Bible teaches that there is only "one true God" and the Watchtower Society acknowledges two gods, could you explain to me which of these two is the "true God"? Since there is only one true God, then all other gods would have to be false gods. So is the Father the "true God" and the Son the false god, or is the Son the "true god" and the Father the "false god"?
Response: (They might say that angels are called "gods." If this is their reply, you can say, "You really have complicated the problem. You not only have two gods, but you have thousands of gods." They also might point out that Satan is called "a god." You can let them know that you agree that Satan is called "a god," but he is a false god¾ so that doesn’t help the Watchtower’s predicament.)
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Page 176, paragraph 5, lines 7-8. "It is important to attend such meetings."
Question: (If you have attended any of the meetings at the Kingdom Hall you can use this question.) I have attended some meetings and do not find them helpful. Someone reads from a book, then questions are asked about what was just read and people parrot what they just heard for their answers. (Let me give you a laughable example if you have never attended a Kingdom Hall meeting. A sentence is read, "Peggy lives in a large white house." Question #1. "Where does Peggy live?" Answer. "In a house." Question #2. "What is the color of the house?" Answer. "It is white." Question #3. "What is the size of the house?" Answer. "It is large." Question #4. "Who lives in the house?" Answer. "Peggy." This is no exaggeration.) I do not find this very helpful, because no one asks their own questions and there are no explanations given except what is written in the book. I am sorry, but I find them very boring and really not at all helpful. This one-on-one conversation with you is much more helpful, so why should I waste my time attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall? (Attending the Kingdom Hall is one of the Society’s baits for getting people into the Watchtower Society because the people there will "love bomb" you. So people are not joining because of the doctrine and practices but because of what they mistakenly feel is fraternal warmth.)
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Page 178, paragraph 12, lines 3-5. "To repent is to feel sincere regret over something you have done."
Question: (This statement provides another opportunity for you to explain the true gospel.) When I came to realize what an ungodly, wicked sinner I was before the holy and righteous God of the Bible, I did repent of my sins¾ that included "sincere regret"¾ and then accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior of sinners. When Christ came into my heart, I received the forgiveness of all my sins. (You might want to read 1 John 1:9.) Then, in order to be in compliance with God’s laws and to know His principles and standards, I began to read my Bible on a daily basis. I have had to make a lot of changes in order to follow Christ and it is my desire to continue reading my Bible and to walk pleasing before Him. I attend a church where I am constantly exhorted to be in submission and faithful to my heavenly Father. Could you please tell me if what I have done to get rid of my sin, along with its burden¾ by separating myself from my past sinful life through the power of the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ¾ is in accordance with the Bible or not?
Response: (Probably not much of one.)
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Page 177, paragraph 9, lines 6-9. "If it appears that you qualify for the public ministry, arrangements will be made for you and your teacher to meet with two of the congregation elders."
Question #1: When Witnesses go from door to door do they preach "the kingdom of God"?
Question #2: Is this an offer to go to heaven, or an invitation to go onto the new earth that might eventually become a paradise?
Response: It is an invitation to go onto the new earth.
Question #3: Are all of the elders of the congregation born again?
Response No. Only the anointed are born again.
Question #4: Does the Watchtower Society claim to be based solely upon the Bible?
Question #5: I have a very serious problem that I would like for you to solve for me. Would you please read John 3:3 in your NWT Bible. "In answer Jesus said to him [Nicodemus]: ‘Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’" Jesus often used the expression "kingdom of heaven," but here He used "the kingdom of God." Since you stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses are preaching "the good news of the kingdom" and can only offer people a place on the new earth and not heaven, then it seems to be obvious that according to the Watchtower Society the "kingdom of God" refers to the new earth. Would this be correct?
Question #6: Do Witnesses preach that a person must be born again in order to go onto the new earth?
Question #7: To me there seems to be a real contradiction here. You said that the Watchtower Society is offering people a chance to go onto the new earth. Yet the Bible clearly states that a person must be born again to enter this kingdom. Why does the Watchtower Society teach something that is very clearly contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches?
Response: (Since this is probably a new thought to them, I am not sure of the answer.)
Question #8: Let’s say that I have become a Jehovah’s Witness. Since we have seen that the Society has speculated a number of times as to when the world would end¾ but this never happened, and since it has taught a number of things that later needed to be changed—sometimes to just the opposite—then would I be required to accept all the teachings of the Watchtower Society whenever it changed it views on certain issues, without any reservation, and teach these doctrines to people I would meet in this visitation program?
Response: (They will probably tell you that you don’t have to, but will not explain that if you do have doubts you must keep them to yourself and never express them in public or to another active Jehovah’s Witness.)
Question #9: I have another question about being engaged in this preaching work from door to door. If it is true that you do not have to believe everything the Watchtower Society teaches, let’s say I started going from door to door. While doing this, someone asks me a question about the Watchtower Society’s beliefs that I disagree with. Would I be free to explain to the person asking the question that I did not agree with this particular teaching and thought the Watchtower Society was wrong?
Response: (The Witness will be hard pressed to give you a good answer, but hopefully you have given them something to reflect on when being asked questions as they go from door to door.)
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Page 183, paragraph 25. "Baptism does not guarantee salvation." (Note: I do not believe that baptism saves anyone. It is an outward testimony to the inward working of the Spirit of God when one accepts Jesus Christ as his or her own personal Savior. But the following question is to try to show the Witness that the Society only uses the verses it wants to use and ignores the others.)
Question #1: To me, this contradicts the Bible. Acts 2:36 says, "Peter [said] to them; ‘Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit.’" If a person has repented of all his sins and believes that Jesus Christ paid the ransom for these sins by shedding His precious blood on that torture stake, this verse says that his sins are forgiven! Isn’t a person whose sins have all been forgiven saved and doesn’t he then have everlasting life (which can never end), like is stated so many places in the Bible?
Response: No. One has to keep striving, doing good works, and must "endure to the end."
Question #2: So you are saying that faith in the blood of Jesus Christ that provided the ransom is not enough for salvation and a person must continue to keep working¾ and this must be done to the very end¾ but even then you are not sure of the outcome?
Response: (If they are honest they will tell you that you cannot be sure of your salvation, because there is always the possibility that you will not "endure to the end." This makes a Christian realize just how hopeless the Jehovah’s Witnesses are!)
Remain in God’s Love
This final chapter ends with an appeal to become associated with the Watchtower Organization so that you can go onto the new earth and possibly merit everlasting life at the very end.
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Page 185, paragraph 4, lines 8-10. "Moreover, his Word reveals that he sent his own beloved Son to the earth, allowing Jesus to suffer and die for us. (John 3:16)"
Question #1: I am greatly perplexed by what is written here! What we have just read is not in conformity with what I understand the Watchtower Society to believe! I understand that "the Son" refers to Michael the archangel, a spirit creature, who willed himself out of existence when Jesus was born and was non-existent for 33 ½ years. And that Jesus Christ was only a human man with flesh and blood. So it was merely a human being (according to the Society) who died on that torture stake. And when Jesus died, his body disintegrated into the elements, never to be seen again. But Michael the archangel, who was re-created three days after the death of Jesus, somehow found the pattern of the discarded body of Jesus, impersonated him a number of times, and forty days later went back to heaven as "a spirit being." So how can the Society declare that Yahweh sent Michael, "his own beloved Son," down to earth "to suffer and die for us" when there was absolutely nothing of Michael in Jesus! Again I repeat, Michael is an archangel, and Jesus was just a human man, according to the Watchtower Society. They are two completely different types of beings and there was nothing of Michael in Jesus when he was upon this earth and now there is nothing of Jesus in Michael who is back in heaven. In simple, plain English, could you clear up this mystifying scenario for me?
Response: (They might repeat to you what is written on page 218 of this book, "At times, individuals are known by more than one name. For example, the patriarch Jacob is also known as Israel, and the apostle Peter, as Simon." If so, ask the next question.)
Question #2: I don’t see the point of this illustration. Jacob and Israel were both men who lived on this earth, both were born the same day and died the same day¾ one individual, actually. Simon was just a human man and his name was changed to Peter because of a spiritual rebirth in his heart, but both names refer to exactly the same person. Michael is an archangel and Jesus was a human man. How can a mighty angel, who is a spirit being, and a man, which is only a physical being (according to the Watchtower Society), be the same? This makes no sense to me at all! Please clear up this contradiction for me.
Response: (Most Witnesses have never wrestled with this contradiction, so bringing up the subject once again should make them do some serious thinking.)
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Page 185, paragraph 3. "Our hope for the future also depends on something else that God has done. Jehovah has established a heavenly government, the Messianic Kingdom. It will soon bring an end to all suffering and will make the earth a paradise. Just think! We can live there in peace and happiness forever. (Psalm 37:29)" (Psalm 37:29 reads in the NWT, "The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it." The Society puts the emphasis on "earth" but you should put it on "the righteous." I did this with a J.W. once and he was unable to come up with a good answer.)
Question #1: Psalm 37:29 states that "the righteous themselves will possess the earth." This verse clearly indicates that a person must be "righteous" before he or she can "possess the earth." Would you please tell me what it means to be righteous and how one can become completely righteous while on this earth in order to meet the requirements for getting onto the next?
Response: (You will not receive much of a good answer because Witnesses cannot become completely righteous in this life¾ because they deny blood atonement. Use this as an opportunity to explain Biblical righteousness.)
Question #2: Since you are not able to give me a satisfactory answer would it be okay if we look at the Bible and find the answer? (There are many passages on righteousness but I like to use Romans, starting with Romans 3:21 and going through at least 6:20, noting all the places where "righteousness" is used and pointing out how one becomes righteous. If you have a concordance you can find many other verses. This will give you a beautiful opportunity to explain how we become righteous through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and not by our own effort or through a human organization.)
Response: (You won’t receive much of one.)
Question #3: Could I ask you a personal question? Would you say that you are completely righteous now according to the way we just read about from the Bible?
Response: (If the person is honest, he or she will have to say "No.")
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Page 188, paragraph 11, lines 3-5. "After his resurrection, Jesus taught two of his disciples about some of the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures that were fulfilled in him."
Question #1: Once again I am greatly confused by what is written here! It strikes me as "double-talk." I understand that the Watchtower Society teaches that the man Jesus Christ died and within three days his physical body went back to the elements. So the man Christ Jesus was never resurrected. Thus, according to the Society, it had to be the "re-created" Michael who was talking to these two disciples! Why does this book leave people under the impression that it was the man Jesus who conversed with these two when it really was the archangel Michael, according to Watchtower teaching?
Response: (I don’t think you will receive a good answer, but hopefully you have made them think.)
Question #2: I see another major problem. The one who fulfilled "the Hebrew Scriptures" and who provided the ransom was the man Christ Jesus. It was not Michael who died for the sins of mankind! So why does this book say "fulfilled in him"¾ referring to Jesus Christ the man¾ though it was actually the re-created spirit person Michael who was talking to these two, and he did not fulfill any prophecies that provided salvation?
Response (Probably none.)
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Page 191, paragraph 17, lines 6-8. "Yes, the time is coming quickly when Jehovah will bring this whole system of things to its end."
Question: I am perplexed about this expression "coming quickly"¾ referring to the end of the world! Please let me explain why. I did a little research and found out that the Watchtower Society initially said that the world would end in 1874. When this didn’t happen, the date was changed to October 1, 1914. Then it was revised to 1917 and then 1918. The next date set was 1925, and when this failed the Society stated that Armageddon would happen in the early 1940’s. The next climatic year was 1975. (All Jehovah’s Witnesses today deny this particular prediction, but I have pages of documentation from Watchtower material in my file to prove conclusively that it did teach that Armageddon would occur sometime that year or the next. Even though the material does not state that Armageddon would occur exactly on October 1, 1975¾ which the Society said was the conclusion of 6000 years of history for mankind, and of course the next 1000 years would be the Millennium¾ it did state that Armageddon would happen within weeks or months of that date, and not years after.) Later the Society declared the world would end before 1994. (For years the Society had taught that Armageddon would occur prior to the dying off of the generation that knew 1914. And it was teaching that a generation is no longer than 80 years¾ which would bring us to the year 1994. But in 1995¾ a year after it missed the mark and the world didn’t end¾ it decided that it really did not know how long a generation was. Now the Society is teaching that Armageddon will happen "before all of the anointed die off." In order for a person to become one of the "anointed" he had to be baptized before 1935, and the Society usually doesn’t baptized anyone until he reaches the age of fifteen. So it is obvious that all of these people are very old, which means Armageddon must happen very soon.) Could you please explain to me why I should be willing to give up everything I have been taught and become a Jehovah’s Witness, which would put me in subjection to the "faithful and discreet slave," when that Organization has been drastically wrong so many times?
Response: (This is more of a thought-provoking question than one seeking an answer.)
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Page 192, paragraph 21. "God’s Word urges us to ‘get a firm hold on the real life.’ (1 Timothy 6:19) Those words indicate that ‘the real life’ is something we hope to attain in the future. Yes, when we are perfect, we will be alive in the fullest sense of the word, for we will be living as God originally intended us to live. When we are living on a paradise earth in complete health, peace, and happiness, we will at last enjoy ‘the real life’—everlasting life. (1 Timothy 6:12) Is that not a wonderful hope?"
Question #1: I am trying hard to understand the logic of the Watchtower Society when it comes to its teachings on heaven and the new earth, but I am still in the fog and need your help. Is it true that the Watchtower Society teaches that Christ died for just about everyone in order to give them back the physical life they lost in Adam¾ so that people might be resurrected, given an opportunity to live on the new earth, spend hundreds of years rebuilding it after the almost complete destruction at Armageddon, and then possibly merit everlasting life at the end?
Response: (You should receive a positive answer.)
Question #2: This paragraph states, "When we are perfect." I take it from this that at the beginning of the Millennium the earth will not be a perfect place. I believe that the Society teaches¾ using Romans 6:23a, "For the wages sin pays is death"¾ that since the living survivors of Armageddon have not died physically and paid for their sins, that this perfection is something they will have to strive very hard to achieve over hundreds of years! Is this correct?
Response: (It should be "Yes.")
Question #3: Since perfection is a process that can only be obtained over many hundreds of years, then no one will be counted worthy to receive "everlasting life" until at the very end of the Millennium¾ if they have passed the final test by remaining true to God instead of following Satan. Is this correct?
Question #4: Since you have agreed that what I have stated about the Watchtower Society’s teachings is correct, then this "real life" that God wants people to enjoy will not be enjoyed on the new earth during the Millennium but is something in the far distant future that only some people will enjoy! Wouldn’t this be true? (You are trying to get the Witness to see that the wonderful conditions promised by the Watchtower Society are not something that is "just around the corner" but lie very far in the future, with a lot of uncertainties.)
Response: (It will probably be a weak "Yes.")
Question #5: Now I would like to know about those people who go to heaven. Isn’t it true that those who go to heaven possess "everlasting life" the very moment they arrive there?
Question #6: Isn’t heaven already a perfect place, so that those who go there will be able to enjoy "real life" from the time they arrive there?
Question #7: Doesn’t the Bible teach that heaven is a perfect dwelling-place that the Father and Son together have built and prepared for us? (You can read John 14:2, and Hebrews 11:10 & 16.)
Question #8: Doesn’t the Watchtower Society teach that those who go to heaven go there as "spirit beings"?
Question #9: You said, "Yes." But I thought that Jesus Christ died in order that everyone might receive a physical body in the future! Could you please explain to me why the elite (which the Society considers the "anointed" to be)¾ those who go to heaven, who have the privilege of living and reigning with Michael for 1000 years¾ why they also do not benefit from the death of Christ and receive a physical body?
Response: (You probably won’t receive a very good answer.)
Question #10: This is a real puzzle! In other words, the death of Christ has a different effect on different people! For the "anointed," Christ died to give them just "spirit life," and they receive "everlasting life" the moment they leave this life, with no more tests to fear, and will live in a perfect heaven just because they happened to be born early enough so that they could be baptized before 1935! (The Society teaches that the "anointed=144,000" began to be chosen from the day of Pentecost and the sum was finally filled in 1935.) For those born later, however¾ the "other sheep"¾ Christ died to give them only physical life, and they have to build their own future home on a completely destroyed earth after Armageddon, then live for 1000 years under imperfect conditions, and they still have no assurance of receiving "everlasting life"! Wouldn’t this be true?
Response: (Since this striking inequality is probably something the Witness has never reflected upon before, I am not sure of what the answer will be.)
Question #11: Could you please show me clearly in the Bible the fact that Christ graciously died for some people in order to give them "spirit life" in heaven and bestow on them "everlasting life" the moment they arrive, but for others He dispenses only "physical life" and they must go onto the new earth which they have to build over a long period of time and maybe receive "everlasting life" at the end of one thousand years?
Response: (Of course you won’t receive an answer, because the Bible does not teach this. But make sure you stick to the issue and don’t discuss the question of the 144,000 or the new earth, but where does the Bible make a distinction between the two groups.)
Question #12: After going over this material, it seems to me that if God really wanted people to enjoy "real life" that He would have allowed far more people to go to heaven¾ the perfect abiding-place that He has prepared¾ so they could be 100% sure of enjoying "everlasting life" and receiving it the very moment they arrive in heaven, and thus live for all eternity under perfect conditions. What do you think?
Response: (They will probably still say they have no personal desire to go to heaven but look forward longingly to the new earth. But you have planted some powerful thought-provoking seeds.)
Question #13: Could you please explain to me why you and other Jehovah’s Witnesses think it is so great to have the prospect of living under perfect conditions on the earth after one thousand years of hard manual labor under imperfect conditions, but have no genuine desire to go to heaven, which is a perfect place that Yahweh and Jesus have prepared, and where you can enjoy true fellowship with the Father and Son for all eternity?
Response: (I am not sure.)