An Aid to Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses
- A brief history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
- J F Rutherford
- The Governing Body
- Problems in the Governing Body
- The Importance of 1914
- The heavenly 144,000
- The Faithful and Discreet Slave
- Bible Translations
- The New World Translation
- The Trinity
- The Doctrine of Man
- The Doctrine of Salvation
- The Doctrine of the last things
- Comparing Translations
- The Worship of Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- Old Testament Messianic Prophecies
- The Lord and Jehovah
- Additional Rules and Practices
The main purpose in writing this booklet is to give a brief summary of the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation, information which I hope will be helpful for those who want to reach out to many who have been ensnared by this erroneous and false cult. The problems in trying to share the gospel with Jehovah’s Witnesses are complex and extremely difficult. Occasionally JW’s have received Christian literature from me, whether they have read it is another matter, for reading and studying Christian literature is not encouraged by the Organisation and could even put JW’s in danger of excommunication.
The most useful occasions of witness for me have been the times when they have called on my home which at one period was on a fairly regular basis; being retired helps as I am often in the home to have time to chat. If every Christian was ready and prepared for the visit of JW’s then much good would be achieved. Having contact through work, school etc. would also prove beneficial.
I am very much aware that not all of us are fluent in New Testament Greek of which I include myself. I have also tried not to go beyond my own understanding of the Scriptures. There are some issues on translation which I am not equipped to deal with, I suggest that for those who would like to delve deeper into the complexities of Bible translation to consult the relevant material. The aim of this manual then is to help the layman witness effectively to contemporary and likeminded men and women in bondage to the teachings of men. I suggest that we do not try and win arguments, but win them through love, gentle persuasion, sharing of what is true, and above all a total dependence on the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
Brief history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
In this next section is a brief history of the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation, all this information is obtained from two excellent books ‘Crisis of Conscience’ and ‘In search of Christian Freedom’ written by an ex-Governing body member Raymond Franz. Raymond Franz is the nephew of the late Fred Franz who was at one time Vice – president of the Organisation.
Charles Taze Russell became disillusioned with the deadness, lack of evangelism etc. that prevailed within Presbyterianism in the latter part of the 19th century.
This prompted Russell to start a series of Bible-studies in his own home. In 1881 Russell began to publish the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and these were incorporated in 1884.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society continued to grow. By 1894 the Society had 6,383 people eligible to vote on the committee. Russell and his wife had 3,705 voting shares, which meant that they elected the Officers, and also had full control of the Society. This was fully accepted by the other directors, who by this time were already calling Russell their Pastor.
Over the course of the years, right up to his death in 1916, Russell claimed to be God’s mouthpiece. In his last Will and Testament he donated the journal, Zion’s Watch Tower, The Old Theological Quarterly, and the copyrights of the Millennial Dawn Scripture Studies other various books and hymn books to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This bequest was on condition that Russell should have full control of all the interests of these publications during his life time, and after his decease should be conducted according to his wishes. Mrs. Russell resigned as associate editor of Watch Tower in October, 1886, due to disagreement with her husband and on November 9, 1897, she separated from her husband. She remained a Director of the Society, however, until February 12, 1900. In 1906 she obtained a divorce.
When Charles Taze Russell died in 1916 he left behind a legacy of time prophecies not one of which had brought results foretold. He also left behind thousands of confused followers. Russell had predicted that 1914 would bring the complete over throw of all kingdoms and human institutions, the complete takeover of all earth’s rule by Christ’s kingdom, the transition of the anointed (144,000) to heavenly life, the destruction of ‘Babylon the Great’ (Christendom) and the conversion of Israel to Christianity.
The Watch Tower book Light 1, published in 1930 described the situation in this way:
All of the Lord’s people looked forward to 1914 with joyful expectation. When that time came and passed there was much disappointment, chagrin and mourning, and the Lord’s people were greatly in reproach. They were ridiculed by the clergy and their allies in particular, and pointed to with scorn, because they had said so much about 1914, and what would come to pass, and their ‘prophesies’ had not been fulfilled.
Russell in writing a foreword to a new edition of The Time Is At Hand played down the inaccuracy seen in the following extract:
The author acknowledges that in his book he presents the thought that the Lord’s saints might expect to be with Him in glory at the ending of the Gentile times. This was a natural mistake to fall into, but the Lord over-ruled it for the blessing of His people. The thought that the Church would all be gathered to glory before October, 1914, certainly did have a stimulating effect upon thousands, all of whom accordingly can praise the Lord-even for the mistake. Many, indeed, can express themselves as being thankful to the Lord that the culmination of the Church’s hopes was not reached at the time we expected; and that we, as the Lord’s people, have further opportunities of perfecting holiness and of being participators with our Master in further presentation of His message to His people.
Notice how Russell involves God and Christ in the mistakes made, with God ‘over-ruling’ certain predictions, providing a very convenient escape from having to shoulder the true responsibility of having falsely presented as “God’s dates” things that were not God’s dates but simply the product of human speculation.
J. F. Rutherford
At the annual corporation meeting in January, 1917, J.F.Rutherford was elected to replace Russell as president of the Watch Tower Corporation. Four of the seven directors did not agree to this appointment (a majority). However, Rutherford found that, though they were personal appointees of C.T.Russell as Directors for life, the directorship of these four had never been confirmed at an annual corporation meeting. On consultation with his lawyer he was able to dismiss these four directors’ on legal grounds. Rutherford appointed Directors of his own choice to replace them. By 1925 J.F.Rutherford exercised unquestioned direction of the Society and the years that followed only strengthened his control over all organisation functions. This included full control of what would be published through the channel of the Watch Tower and other publications used to provide spiritual food for the congregations worldwide. During the sixty year period of the presidencies of Russell and Rutherford, each man acted according to his own prerogative in exercising his presidential authority. The Organisation began to call themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses during Rutherford’s presidency in 1931.
Judge Rutherford died in January 1942 and the office of President passed on to Nathan H. Knorr. Things continued much the same during Knorr’s presidency with two or three making all the major decisions and controlling policy. It is important to understand that the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation does not have a written constitution of belief; all members of the organisation are expected to follow and practice what are laid down in Watch Tower publications. Knorr relied heavily on Fred Franz (the vice-president) as more or less the final arbiter on Scriptural matters and the principal writer of the organisation. The same was the case with all published material. The president selected the main articles for the Watch Tower from material submitted by various writers and he then passed these on to the writing department for proofreading. All publications were finally read by the president and vice president and, if approved, were published.
In 1975 there was a marked change in the leadership of the organisation. The following quote is an extract from Jehovah’s Witnesses-Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom. Published in 1993:
By 1976 brother knorr had worked diligently as president of the Watch Tower Society for over 3 decades. He had travelled the globe many times over, visiting and encouraging missionaries, teaching and instructing branch-office personnel. He was privileged to see the number of active Witnesses increase from 117,209 in 1942 to 2,248,390 in 1976.
By the summer of 1976, 71 year old N.H.Knorr had noticed that he had a tendency to bump into things. Subsequent tests indicated that he was suffering from an inoperable brain tumour. He struggled to continue to carry the work load for some months, but his physical prognosis was poor. Would his failing health impede the forward movement of the work?
Enlargement of the Governing Body had already begun in 1971. During 1975, there were 17 members. Throughout much of the year, the Governing Body had given serious and prayerful consideration to how they could best care for all that is involved in the global preaching and teaching work outlined in God’s Word for our day. (Matt.28:19,20.) On December 4, 1975, the Governing Body had unanimously approved one of the most significant organisational adjustments in the modern-day history of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Starting January 1, 1976, all the activities of the Watch Tower Society and of the congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses round the earth had been brought under the supervision of six administrative committees of the Governing Body. In harmony with that arrangement, on February 1, 1976, changes had been put into effect in all branch offices of the Society around the earth.…After the committees had been operating for some months, the Governing Body observed: It has proved beneficial to have a number of brothers taking counsel together to consider the interests of the Kingdom work. -Prov.11:14; 15:22; 24:6.
Problems in the Governing Body
Raymond Franz writing in his book ‘Crisis of Conscience’ and who, incidentally served 9 years on the Governing Body outlines the problems serving on the Governing Body in the chapter headed Tradition and Legalism and I quote:
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses envision the Governing Body sessions as meetings of men who spend a great amount of their time in intense study of God’s Word. They think of them as meeting together to consider humbly how they can better help their brothers understand the Scriptures, to discuss constructive and positive ways to build them up in faith and love, the qualities that motivate genuine Christian works, doing all this in sessions where Scripture is always appealed to as the only valid and final and supreme authority. Since all Governing Body sessions are completely private, only its members are witness of what actually occurs in those sessions. I spent nine years on the Governing Body. Going over the records of meeting after meeting after meeting, the most prominent, constant and time-occupying feature found is the discussion of issues ultimately coming down to the question: Is it a disfellowshipping matter?
I would liken the Governing Body (and in my mind I often did) to a group of men backed up against a wall with numerous persons tossing balls at them to catch and throw back. The balls came so frequently and in such number that there was little time for anything else. Over the years I sat through many, many sessions where issues that could seriously affect the lives of people were discussed, yet where the Bible did not come into the hands or even the lips of practically any of those participating. Many Governing Body members admitted that they found themselves so occupied with various matters that there was little time for Bible study. End of quote.
We need to bear in mind that this Governing Body makes rules and regulations on all kinds of issues such as employment, marriage, divorce, politics, military matters, labour unions, medical and a scores of others. For example Jehovah’s Witnesses must not be involved in any military service, but can someone take up employment as a cleaner in an army base? Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot repair a Church building, but can they supply the materials? Misapplication of these two matters can lead to being excommunicated from the Organisation.
The importance of 1914
The failed prophecy predicted by Russell regarding the year 1914 made it necessary for the Society to change its view of what actually occurred on this significant date. The teaching of Watch Tower changed the cataclysmic and visible event which failed to materialise to something which occurred invisibly. According to Russell’s prophecy in 1914 Christ began His ‘invisible presence’ as the king and ruler of the world. On examination of Christendom and its rejection He made Watch Tower His choice to represent Him before all mankind. When Christ returned invisibly He found the group founded by Russell being faithful and consequently appointed them as the ‘faithful and wise servant’ of Matthew 24:45. According to Watch Tower teaching, except for a few individuals, true Christianity ceased to be after the death of the apostles and was only restored through Charles Taze Russell in the 1870’s.
In connection with the commencement of the rule of Christ in 1914 Watch Tower taught, and still teaches, that those who were alive in that year would not die until they had seen the battle of Armageddon and the ushering in of a New World Order. The verse they use to substantiate this teaching is found in Matthew 24:34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation shall no means pass away till all these things take place.
As the period from 1914 gets longer Watch Tower have changed the goal posts a few times on the age of those present in 1914, from the discretionary age of 15 to those who were born in that year. It is now gone on for a 100 years for ‘this generation’ and one wonders how the Watch Tower Society conjure up another modified prediction of a failed prediction.
I do not think I am unreasonable in saying that Jesus did not mean to say that ‘this generation’ would last a hundred years; a Biblical generation would be nearer thirty or forty years as in those who died in the wilderness. It is amazing how people are so easily misled on the interpretation of Scripture, if I were to use this generation in my conversation today people would automatically assume that I was referring to people living today. Surely this is exactly what Jesus was saying when stating that this generation shall no means pass away till all these things take place, and the event could only refer to the catastrophic destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.
The heavenly 144,000
The Watch Tower Society teaches that the Christian church is limited to a literal number of 144,000. This gathering of the 144,000 commenced at Pentecost Acts 2:1 and continued and was completed some time in 1935. Since 1935 all converts to the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation form a secondary class called the ‘great crowd’ (Revelation 7:9) of ‘other sheep’ (John 10:16). Anyone can see by having an open minded reading of the context of these verses in John’s gospel and particularly verse 16 that Jesus in referring to ‘other sheep’ is obviously referring to Gentiles and ‘this fold’ is referring to the Jews. A more recent addition to this important concept of two classes of Christians is found in the April, 1992 issue of Watch Tower here two main articles set forth the Watch Tower doctrine regarding Christians within the organisation today. In these articles the two main classes are “citizens” and “foreigners” or, put in other terms, “spiritual Jews” and “spiritual Gentiles.” Thus the few thousand remaining 144,000 that are still alive are “citizens,” the “spiritual Israelites,” forming the “chosen race” and “royal priesthood” 1 Peter 2:9, while the several million “other sheep” are the “foreigners,” the “spiritual Gentiles,” spiritual “alien residents,” likened to those “foreigners” who would build walls or be farmers and vinedressers for Israel.
Regarding the 144,000 in the book of Revelation it is exegetical suicide to base such an important doctrine on what is obviously a symbolical number. Interpreting this number literally only brings division and confusion. 144,000 is a whole number which symbolises the whole church of the redeemed. The whole purpose of the gospel is to bring together one people under the Lordship of Christ. In the Ephesian epistle Paul clearly states that the division that existed between Jew and Gentile has been done away with in Christ: But now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off (Gentiles) have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one (Jew and Gentile) and has broken down the middle wall of separation. Ephesians 2:13,14. We have also the clear statement in Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
For a unique few to live in heaven with heavenly qualities and a vast number to live on this patched up earth hardly fulfils the prayer requests of Jesus in John 17: I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through there word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent me. v20,21.
The Faithful and discreet slave
The Jehovah’s Witness organisation put great emphasis on Matthew 24:45-47. Russell always claimed that he was the ‘Faithful and wise servant’ in these verses and was chosen by Jehovah to give them food in due season. V45 He was chosen to reveal the true knowledge of God’s will and purposes to the world. As the Organisation developed, this concept was transferred to the Society as a whole.
It is difficult to see how any right thinking Bible student can interpret this ‘wise and faithful servant’ to mean one individual person living in the 19th century. The context of this verse is the second coming of the Lord Jesus and in the corresponding account of these verses in Mark chapter 13 it is patently obvious that the Lord is addressing all believers and is exhorting them to be ready on His return:
Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest suddenly he find you sleeping. V35,36.
The phrase in Matthew ‘to give them food in due season’ could refer to the individual sharing the gospel. It will be helpful if we look at the verses again in Matthew and see them in the right context: Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes will find so doing. Matthew 24:44-46.
The Son of Man is coming. This hardly describes the return of an invisible presence, surely it must mean more physical as described in Acts 1:11 Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up. into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.
In September 1980 Leon Weaver wrote an article in the Watchtower. This article was published with the approval of the Governing Body Service Committee. Here is an extract from the article:
…to be disfellowshipped, an apostate does not have to be a promoter of apostate views. As mentioned in paragraph two, page 17 of the August 1, 1980, Watchtower, “The word ‘apostasy’ comes from the Greek term that means ‘a standing away from,’ ‘a falling away, defection,’ ‘rebellion, abandonment. Therefore, if a baptised Christian abandons the teachings of Jehovah, as presented by the discreet slave, and persist in believing other doctrine despite Scriptural reproof, then he is a apostatising. Extended kindly efforts should be put forth to readjust his thinking. However, if, after such extended efforts have been put forth to readjust his thinking, he continues to believe the apostate ideas and rejects what he has been provided through the slave class, then appropriate judicial action should be taken.
As we can see in this extract, by believing anything other than that which is taught by the discreet slave, according to the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation, amounts to apostasy and consequently being abandoned by God. According to Raymond Franz an example of this policy happened in 1980 when a full time preaching sister in Spain began to have doubts on the literal interpretation of the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14. One of the members of the congregation had asked the powers that be whether this was an act of apostasy, the returning memo confirmed that this was indeed apostasy and that she should be disfellowshipped if she did not agree to teach what the Society instructed her to teach.
How easy it is for an ‘organisation’ to take the place of the Headship of Christ and the teaching of Scripture. The Governing body through the Watchtower publications, also known as the discreet slave, has completely usurped God’s revealed will revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
Jehovah’s witnesses and conservative Christianity (conservative as opposed to liberal) both agree that God has revealed His will and purposes to this world by Divine revelation. The book of Hebrews 1:1 reads, and I quote from the New World Translation: God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, 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. On this issue of God revealing His will to fallen humanity there seems to be no conflict between the two opposing systems of belief.
Extract from a Watch Tower publication:
Accurate and Practical
A careful examination of the Bible will provide you with considerable evidence that “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial.”# (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) For instance, the Bible is filled with detailed prophecies. History documents their fulfilment . (Isaiah 13:19, 20; Daniel 8:3-8, 20-22; Micah 5:2) Although not a science textbook, the Bible is scientifically accurate. It contains facts about nature and health that were written thousands of years before scientists were able to reach similar conclusions.—Leviticus 11:27, 28, 32, 33; Isaiah 40:22.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the Bible as the Word of God. They consider the 66 books to be inspired and historically accurate. What is commonly called the New Testament they refer to as the Christian Greek Scriptures and the Old Testament they call the Hebrew Scriptures. They rely on both of these, the Greek and the Hebrew Scriptures, and take them literally except where the expressions or settings obviously indicate that they are figurative or symbolic. They understand that many of the prophecies of the Bible have been fulfilled, others are in the course of fulfilment, and still others await fulfilment.
We agree with these statements and thank God for the theologians and translators who have laboured diligently to bring God’s revelation to us in our own language.
Most believers are familiar with the life and work of William Tyndale. The power and precision of Tyndales’ translations make him an important figure for the English language, as well as for English-speaking Christianity. He was the first person to translate and print the Bible in English from the original Greek and Hebrew sources. He left aside the Latin Vulgate version which had been the Bible for Western Europe for centuries, and thus achieved greater accuracy in his English edition. By the time of his early death, he had translated: the New Testament, the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). William Tyndale also translated the historical books as far as 2 Chronicles, and the Book of Jonah. For these books, Tyndales’ work was the basis for almost all English versions of the Bible up to the 20th century. It is estimated that 83% of the King James New Testament is Tyndales work. Today, scholars give Tyndale credit for great honesty and skill in rendering the Greek and Hebrew into English. He knew both languages well, and wrote the English versions with a freshness and expressiveness still alive today.
We can be assured that the Scriptures we have today are dependable, reliable and utterly trustworthy. In the preface of the New King James Version of the Bible regarding the New Testament text we read these word s and I quote: ‘There are more manuscript support for the New Testament than for any other body of ancient literature. Over five thousand Greek, eight thousand Latin, and many more manuscripts in other languages attest the integrity of the New Testament. There is only one basic New Testament used by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox, by conservatives and liberals. Minor variations in hand copying have appeared through the centuries, before mechanical printing began about A.D. 1450’.
The New World Translation
In the early years of the Society many Bible translations were used including the King James Version and the American Standard Version. During the period from 1950 to 1961 the Society published and printed there own version of the Bible, The New World Translation. The first volume published was the World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures followed by the World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The eminent British Old Testament scholar, H.H. Rowley, reviewed both volumes. Concerning the Committees’ translation of tenses, Rowley writes:
The translators have their own views on Hebrew tenses, but prefer to offer them to uninstructed readers before submitting their justification of them to the scrutiny of scholars. This is probably wise. They profess to offer a rendering into modern English which is as faithful as possible. In fact, the jargon which they use is often scarcely English at all…Neither is the claim for an understandable literalness carried out. Rowley comments:
The translation is marked by a wooden literalism which will only exasperate any intelligent reader – if such it finds – and instead of showing reverence for the Bible which the translators profess, it is an insult to the Word of God.
From the beginning to end this volume is a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated, and that the Bible is great literature, which deserves to be translated by those who have a feeling for style and who both understand the original and know how to express its meanings with elegance.
Edmund Charles Gruss, Associate Professor of History and Apologetics writes:
The examination of the Watchtower publications, the Emphatic Diaglott and the New World Translation, has revealed that these works are biased propaganda tools. These publications, which are highly praised by the Watchtower Society and all faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses, do not commend themselves to the informed Christian scholar. The Christian who is confronted with the renderings or evidence from these translations which is contradictory to orthodox Christianity should be aware of their utter lack of authority and dishonesty in the handling of many portions of the Word of God.
In our next section we shall be comparing selected Bible texts from the New King James and the New World Translation. We shall also compare certain statements of faith from the two systems. The New World Translation differs immensely from the King James Version particularly with regard to the references on the Deity of Jesus Christ. We have already seen a major difference in our quotation from Hebrews 1:1 where we have ‘a Son’ in the NWT and ‘His Son’ in the AV. In this example Christ is being portrayed in the NWT as a created being and in the AV as someone rather more than just ‘a Son’.
I will also compare Protestant statements of faith; The Westminster Confession of Faith and The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 with Watchtower statements of faith found on the official Watchtower website. The reason for this exercise is to show the major differences between the two systems of belief. It will be obvious to the open minded that the Christ of the Watch Tower organisation is not the same Christ as the Christ of Orthodox Christianity. Finding who the real Christ is will determine our eternal destiny.
For those who are not familiar with the English language used in 1611 we have chosen to use NKJV in preference to the Authorised Version. Here is an extract from the NKJV website:
Commissioned in 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 130 respected Bible scholars, church leaders, and lay Christians worked for seven years to create a completely new, modern translation of Scripture, yet one that would retain the purity and stylistic beauty of the original King James. With unyielding faithfulness to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts, the translators apply the most recent research in archaeology, linguistics, and textual studies.
It is very difficult to find clear doctrinal statements as to what Watch Tower really believes. There are pages and pages on their website on various subjects and topics with many quotations from various sources. Below are some quotations regarding the Trinity.
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society:
….Others, however, say that the Trinity doctrine is false, that Almighty God stands alone as a separate, eternal, and all-powerful being. They say that Jesus in his prehuman existence was, like the angels, a separate spirit person created by God, and for this reason he must have had a beginning. They teach that Jesus has never been Almighty God’s equal in any sense; he has always been subject to God and still is. They also believe that the holy ghost is not a person but God’s spirit, his active force.
Nearly all other churches in Christendom agree. For example, the Greek Orthodox Church also calls the Trinity “the fundamental doctrine of Christianity,” even saying: “Christians are those who accept Christ as God.” In the book ‘Our Orthodox Christian Faith’, the same church declares: “God is triune. . . . The Father is totally God. The Son is totally God. The holy spirit is totally God.”
Thus, the Trinity is considered to be “one God in three Persons.” Each is said to be without beginning, having existed for eternity. Each is said to be almighty, with each neither greater nor lesser than the others.
Is such reasoning hard to follow? Many sincere believers have found it to be confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. How, they ask, could the Father be God, Jesus be God, and the holy spirit be God, yet there be not three Gods but only one God?
It is worth mentioning that many Witnesses believe that Christianity teaches that the Trinity involves three Gods in one person as seen in the following extract:
How strange that any should attempt to misuse and these our Lord’s words, to make them support the unreasonable and unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity – three Gods in one person. Studies, vol. 5 page 76.
They also teach that the Son is also the Father:
….the common thought of the Trinitarians, that the Son is the Father. Studies, vol. 7, page11
The Westminster Confession of Faith
In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.
Three divine Persons constitute the Godhead – the Father, the Son (or the Word), and the Holy Spirit. They are one in substance, in power, and in eternity. Each is fully God, and yet the Godhead is one and indivisible. The Father owes His being to none. He is Father to the Son who is eternally begotten of Him. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. These Persons, one infinite and eternal God not to be divided in nature or in being, are distinguished in Scripture by their personal relations within the Godhead, and by the variety of works which they undertake. Their tri-unity (that is, the doctrine of the Trinity) is the essential basis of all our fellowship with God, and of the comfort we derive from our dependence upon Him.
In my experience of talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses the subject of the Trinity is brought up more frequently than any other subject. The classic open line is ‘the word trinity is nowhere found in the Bible’. My reply is to say ‘that is true, but the Bible is full of the Trinity’. One recent Witness quickly changed the subject when I pointed to the verse in Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Robert H. Countess in his ‘The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament’ writes and I quote:
The Greek of this verse is very interesting. The baptising has to be administered in one name, not three. This implies some measure of unity. Yet it is to be in the name of the “the Father” and “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit.” End of quote.
You could also refer the Jehovah’s Witness to the ‘Trinitarian benediction’ 2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. As in Matthew the article is present before each noun. There are dozens of verses in the New Testament which speak of grace coming from God, the One who is described as the God of all grace. Why did Paul not say the grace of God, the love of God, and the communion of God be with you all. Amen. The reason must surely be that each person of the Godhead has the ability to confer upon us all these things in equal measure.
The Doctrine of Man
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in a literal Adam and do not differ greatly from orthodox Christianity on the origin of man. However, they do not believe man possesses a human soul. In one of there publications Let God Be True we read:
Man is a combination of two things, namely, the “dust of the ground” and “the breath of life.” The combining of these two things produced a living soul or creature called man.
According to Watchtower teaching the soul referred to in Genesis is physical man only. Man does not posses an immortal soul. Writing in one of their publications Ibid, we read:
The doctrine of the immortality of the soul finds its origin with Satan: “Thus it is seen that the serpent (the Devil) is the one that originated the doctrine of the inherent immortality of the human souls.
According to Watchtower when man fell he lost a perfect human life, with its rights and earthly prospects. The penalty of death was physical death only. It is easy to see why they do not believe in hell and hold to the doctrine of annihilation.
The Doctrine of Salvation
Watchtower teaches that there are two classes of people who will be saved: (1) “The Congregation of God,” with a heavenly calling and whose hope is to live and reign with Christ. This group is made up of the 144,000 mentioned in the book of Revelation and (2) the “Great Crowd,” with an earthly hope. They will live on a restored paradise earth.
Salvation for “The Great Crowd” is not completed by faith, although faith in Jehovah God and Jesus Christ are required. An excerpt from the Watchtower publication This Means Everlasting Life reads: “God’s will is that, to make good his salvation to everlasting life, the believer must be a preacher in this world.” The following is a quote from Ibid: Accepting the message of salvation and devoting ourselves to God through Christ and being baptised in water is only the beginning of our exercise of faith…It sets us on the way to everlasting life, but it does not mean our final salvation.
The Witnesses believe that the ‘New Birth’ in John 3:3 was for the 144,000 only and say that it is a twisting of God’s word to say that this new birth was offered to all mankind. The only ones who are born again are the 144,000 because they have a ‘heavenly calling’ they alone make up the Kingdom. The ‘Great Crowd’ does not need the new birth. The following is a quotation from Ibid: This “great crowd” of people are not ‘born again,’ because they gain everlasting life on the earth. Most of the exceeding great and precious promises, if not all, do not belong to the millions outside the elite 144,000 making the gospel irrelevant.
The Doctrine of the last things
Witnesses believe in the return or second presence of Christ. The first official presence of Christ began with His baptism in Jordan and continued until His death three and half years later. Before the ascension He promised to “return.” The purpose of His promised “return” was “to establish His Kingdom, to rule amidst His enemies, to judge the nations and to bring salvation and deliverance to faithful mankind.” The nature and time of this event is explained in Ibid:
This second presence (par-ou-si’a) of Christ the Messiah was to be invisible and the unmistakable sign He gave shows conclusively that this return of Christ began in the year 1914. Since that time Christ has turned His attention towards earth’s affairs and is dividing the people and educating true Christians in preparation for their survival during the great storm of Armageddon.
Since His return was an invisible one, it can only be “recognised by the eyes of one’s understanding (Let God be true). “Today the evidence of Christ’s presence is all about us, and yet so-called ‘Christendom’ does not see it Ibid. The year 1914 also marked that time when Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth, and the end of Gentile times Ibid.
Regarding the resurrection of believers the ‘first resurrection’ was a spiritual resurrection this happened in 1918. The ‘second resurrection’ is an earthly one and is designated the ‘resurrection of life.’ These individuals will be raised with physical bodies and will include: (1) those faithful witnesses before the death and resurrection of Christ, and (2) the “other sheep” who have died before Armageddon. This resurrection will occur early during the millennium. The last early resurrection, which occurs later during the millennium, is the “resurrection of judgement.”
Since Christ’s coming to the temple in 1918 the judgement of the nations began. The people of the nations are separated into two classes which are called “sheep” and the “goats” (based on Matt. 25:31,33). The “goats” are destined for destruction. The status is determined by one’s attitude to Jehovah’s anointed witnesses.
During the millennial thousand year reign the 144,000 will reign and rule with Christ from heaven. The earth will be cleansed and become a paradise under the direction of Jehovah. Conditions for growth will be perfect, and the people on earth will be taught how to plant and tend the garden. Violence and wickedness will not exist and men will be at peace with themselves with their neighbours and with their God. Those who were married and survived Armageddon will bear children. When the earth reaches a point where it is filled, people will stop having children and no more children will be born.
The “judgement day” is a one thousand-year judgement which is directed toward the inhabitants of the millennial earth. The subjects of this judgement and result of disobedience are explained in From Paradise lost to Paradise Regained:
Those who come forth to a “resurrection of judgement” will be judged during the thousand year reign….some of the people who are resurrected for judgement, or some who are born as children to the people who live through Armageddon, still may refuse to serve God. Anyone who refuses to obey God’s kingdom after a long enough trial will be put to death.
The “final judgement” or test comes at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ. By this time paradise and man will have been fully restored to perfection. All dwellers upon earth will be subjected to the test.
The last test will occur as Satan and his demons, who were abyssed at the beginning of the millennium, are loosed for a little while. Those that follow after Satan’s rebellion will be destroyed by fire from heaven and Satan and his demons will suffer the same fate. In Ibid we read:
By the execution of judgement after this one last test the perfect earth will be cleansed. Everyone who would ever disobey Jehovah will be gone. Everyone who remains will have proved that he will really obey God forever….Never again will there be even a single case of rebellion or disobedience against Him anywhere on earth!
The 144,000 will spend eternity reigning with Christ in heaven “as joint heirs and co-rulers in Jehovah’s glorious theocracy.
Here we have the complete elimination of “grace” and it is all down to our obedience.
Below is a brief comparison and analysis of the two translations, the New King James Version and the New World Translation used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have chosen familiar texts often referred to by Jehovah’s Witnesses:
In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. 2 This one was in [the] beginning with God. 3 All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. John 1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him
And without Him nothing was made that was made.
Is it ‘a god’ or ‘was God’? The NWT bases the phrase ‘a god’ a great deal on the translated word ‘divine’ for God. They say that the Greek word for God here is ‘qualitative, and not ‘quantative’ similar to the phrase they use in Colossians 2:9 ‘divine quality’. By using the words ‘a god’, Jesus is described as a created being with divine qualities.
NWT put great emphasis on the arthrous or the anarthrous status of the word “God.” Arthrous means having “the” before the noun; anarthrous is without “the.” NWT says that because the Greek word in this verse is theos and not ho theos it must therefore be rendered “a god”. However, NWT is not consistent in the use of this principle in other renderings of theos. In the New Testament there are 282 occurrences of the anarthrous theos. In sixteen of these references NWT has either a god, god, gods or godly. Sixteen out of 282 means that the translators were faithful to their translation principle only six percent of the time. Here we have another example of excising the deity of Christ from the scriptures.
William Hendriksen in his commentary on John 1:1 states: In order to place all the emphasis on Christ’s full deity the predicate in the original precedes the subject. Over against every heretic it must be made plain that this Word is fully divine.
NWT’s rendering of “a god” conveniently fits in with the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus is a manifestation of Michael the archangel mentioned in Daniel 10 13, 21 and 12:1. Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7, none of these verses however, state that Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel. By translating John 1:1 as ‘the Word was a god’ one has to ask the question, what is meant by ‘a god’? This neither describes angels or God, but something in between. Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to point out the subjection of Jesus Christ to the Father, but reluctant to mention the obvious passages which speak of His equality in status and power such as John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made, in view of this astounding truth about the Logos the NWT translation ‘a god’ is bordering on polytheism.
John 1:14 So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth. John 1
‘a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father’. This phrase puts the emphasis of glory on the illustration of an earthly son and father. Can a human relationship really reflect Divine relationships? Did God want us to understand it this way?
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 20 27 Next he said to Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing.” 28 In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him: “Because you have seen me have you believed? Happy are those who do not see and yet believe.”
It is difficult to see how Watch Tower get around this one, they try to explain it away by saying ‘My Lord and my God’ is just an exclamation. According to the Watch Tower teaching Thomas is not referring to Jesus as his Lord and God, but is using the divine name as an exclamation in response to seeing the risen Christ. Even in the NWT translation we read ‘Thomas said to him. My Lord and my God!’ What do you think?
Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Romans 9:5 I am telling the truth in Christ; I am not lying, since my conscience bears witness with me in holy spirit, 2 that I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were separated as the cursed one from the Christ in behalf of my brothers, my relatives according to the flesh, 4 who, as such, are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the sacred service and the promises; 5 to whom the forefathers belong and from whom the Christ [sprang] according to the flesh: God, who is over all, [be] blessed forever. Amen
I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, That I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
The NWT by punctuation translates verse 5 as a doxology, blessing God for the covenants, adoption etc. It is to be admitted that some versions, which include An American Translation by Moffatt, and the Revised Standard Version, also agree with NWT on rendering the verse as a doxology. However, as you can see in the translation of the NKJV, Christ is the eternally blessed God: Christ who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Other translations which agree with NKJV are the English Revised and the American Standard versions. To describe Jesus as the ‘God over all things’ is not inconsistent with the verse in Matthew 28:18 All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. All authority on earth is some authority, but to have all authority in heaven as well is ALL authority indeed.
Colossians 2:9 because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. 10 And so YOU are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority
Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
The Greek word for Godhead in the NKJV is theotes which is a derivation of the Greek Theos. Theos means a deity, divinity, or even a magistrate. The verse reads ‘all the fullness of the divine quality’ according to the NWT ‘and all the fullness of the Godhead’ in the NKJV. Being filled with divine quality is not the same as being filled with divinity or deity.
Philippians 2:5 Keep this mental attitude in YOU that was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. 7 No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming the likeness of men.
NWT ‘Gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal with God’! NKJV ‘did not consider it robbery to be equal with God’! One version says Jesus Christ did not even consider claiming to be equal with God, the other says He did not consider being equal with God to be a false claim.
..while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus,
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
NWT makes a clear distinction between God and Saviour whilst the NKJV identifies God and Saviour as being one. Is this another example of dividing the verse to take away the real meaning? No disjunction exists in the Greek.
Hebrews 1:8 But with reference to the Son: “God is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. 9 You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with [the] oil of exultation more than your partners.”
But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is a sceptre of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than your companions.
Now see the Old Testament references regarding Hebrews 1:8.
Psalm 45:6 God is your throne to time indefinite, even forever, The sceptre of your kingship is a sceptre of uprightness.
Psalm 45:6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is a sceptre of Your kingdom.
Compare Heb 1:.8 in the NWT with the NKJV. Which do you believe? This extract is a quotation from Psalm 45:6,7 by translating ‘God is your throne’ in Psalm 45:6 the NWT have completely changed the meaning of the text in Hebrews 1:8
Compare the two versions again:
NWT But with reference to the Son: ” God is your throne
NKJV But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God…..
1 John 5:20 But we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one. And we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
When we read the alternate translations given by NWT and NKJV on this verse you might think that you were reading completely different Bibles. In the NKJV version we are in His Son Jesus Christ. In the NWT we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. In the NKJV the person referred to throughout the verse is Jesus Christ. In the NWT we have the true one and Jesus Christ making the meaning of the last sentence ambiguous. Is Jesus Christ the true God and eternal life or NWT’s the ‘true one’?
Worship of Jesus Christ
Luke 24:52 And they did obeisance to him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they were continually in the temple blessing God.
And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.
20 Our forefathers worshipped in this mountain; but YOU people say that in Jerusalem is the place where persons ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will YOU people worship the Father.
In John 4:21 the word for worship is the same Greek word (proskuneo) as the one in Luke 24:52. Why does the NWT use ‘obeisance’ in Luke and ‘worship’ here in John?
Revelation 5:14 And every creature that is in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, I heard saying: “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.” 14 And the four living creatures went saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.
And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that is in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said “Amen!” And the twenty four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever.
Even if we accept that the twenty four elders are worshipping God only and not the Lamb here, every creature is saying: “Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” If this is not worship I don’t know what is. What do you think?
The Holy Spirit
Here we have the official teaching on the Trinity by the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society.
Should You Believe in the Trinity?
The Holy Spirit—God’s Active Force.
ACCORDING to the Trinity doctrine, the holy spirit is the third person of a Godhead, equal to the Father and to the Son. As the book Our Orthodox Christian Faith says: “The Holy Spirit is totally God.”
In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word most frequently used for “spirit” is ru’ach, meaning “breath; wind; spirit.” In the Greek Scriptures, the word is pneu’ma, having a similar meaning. Do these words indicate that the holy spirit is part of a Trinity?
An Active Force.
THE Bible’s use of “holy spirit” indicates that it is a controlled force that Jehovah God uses to accomplish a variety of his purposes. To a certain extent, it can be likened to electricity, a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations.
At Genesis 1:2 the Bible states that “God’s active force [“spirit” (Hebrew, ru’ach)] was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” Here, God’s spirit was his active force working to shape the earth.
God uses his spirit to enlighten those who serve him. David prayed: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your spirit [ru’ach] is good; may it lead me in the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10) When 70 capable men were appointed to help Moses, God said to him: “I shall have to take away some of the spirit [ru’ach] that is upon you and place it upon them.”—Numbers 11:17.
Bible prophecy was recorded when men of God were “borne along by holy spirit [Greek, from pneu’ma].” (2 Peter 1:20, 21) In this way the Bible was “inspired of God,” the Greek word for which is The•o’pneu•stos, meaning “God-breathed.” (2 Timothy 3:16) And holy spirit guided certain people to see visions or to have prophetic dreams.—2 Samuel 23:2; Joel 2:28, 29; Luke 1:67; Acts 1:16; 2:32, 33.
The holy spirit impelled Jesus to go into the wilderness after his baptism. (Mark 1:12) The spirit was like a fire within God’s servants, causing them to be energized by that force. And it enabled them to speak out boldly and courageously.—Micah 3:8; Acts 7:55-60; 18:25; Romans 12:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
By his spirit, God carries out his judgments on men and nations. (Isaiah 30:27, 28; 59:18, 19) And God’s spirit can reach everywhere, acting for people or against them.—Psalm 139:7-12
No, the holy spirit is not a person and it is not part of a Trinity. The holy spirit is God’s active force that he uses to accomplish his will. It is not equal to God but is always at his disposition and subordinate to him.
According to these statements, the Holy Spirit, which to Watchtower is an active force likened to electricity, seems to have a mind of its own. According to Watchtower this active force can: ‘work and shape the earth,’ enlighten, teach and lead David,’ ‘inspire men to write the Scriptures,’ ‘impel Jesus to go into the wilderness,’ and enable the Apostles to speak boldly and courageously and in addition, help them to remember the words of Jesus years later. John 14:16.
The following comments are taken from ‘Systematic Theology’ by Louis Berkhof stating the Orthodox teaching on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit:
The personality of the Holy Spirit. The terms “Spirit of God” or “Holy Spirit” do not suggest personality as much as the term “Son” does. Moreover, the person of the Holy Spirit did 33not appear in a clearly discernable personal form among men, as the person of the Son did. As a result the personality of the Holy Spirit was often called into question, and therefore deserves special attention. The personality of the Spirit was denied in the early Church by the Monarchians and the Pneumatomachaians. In this denial they were followed by the Socinians in the days of the Reformation. Still later Schleiermacher, Ritschl, the Unitarians, present day Modernists, and all modern Sabellians reject the personality of the Holy Spirit. It is often said in the present day that those passages which seem to imply the personality of the Holy Spirit simply contain personifications. But personifications are certainly rare in the prose writings of the New Testament and can easily be recognised. Moreover, such an explanation clearly destroys the sense of some of these passages. e.g. John 14:26; 16:7-11; Rom.8:26. Scripture proof for the personality of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient:
(1) Designations that are proper to personality are given to Him. Though pneuma is neuter, yet the masculine pronoun ekeinos is used of the Spirit in John 16:14; and in Ephesians 1:14 some of the best authorities have the masculine relative pronoun hos. Moreover, the name Parakletos is applied to Him, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, which cannot be translated by “comfort,” or be regarded as the name of any abstract influence. That a person is meant is indicated by the fact that the Holy Spirit as Comforter is placed in Juxtaposition with Christ as the Comforter about to depart, to whom the same term is applied in 1John 2:1. It is true that this term is followed by the neuters ho and auto in John 14:16-18, but this is due to the fact that pneuma intervenes. (2) The characteristics of a person are ascribed to Him, such as intelligence, John 14:26; 15:26,;Rom. 8:16, will Acts 16:7; 1 Cor 12:11; and affections, Isaiah 63:10; Eph. 4:30. Moreover, He performs acts proper to personality. He searches, speaks, testifies, commands, reveals, strives, creates, makes intercession, raises the dead, etc., Gen 1:2; 6:3; Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:8; Acts 8:29; 13:2; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 2:10,11. What does all these things cannot be a mere power or influence, but must be a person. (3) He is represented as standing in such relations to other persons as imply His own personality. He is placed in juxtaposition with the apostles in Acts 15:28, with Christ in John 16:14, and with the Father and the Son in Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:13; 1 Pet. 1:1,2; Jude 20:21.. Sound exegesis requires that in these passages the Holy Spirit be regarded as a person.
(4) There are also passages in which the Holy Spirit is distinguished from His own power, Luke 1:35; 4:14; Acts 10:38; Rom 15:13; 1 Cor. 2:4. Such passages would become tautological, meaningless, and even absurd, if they were interpreted on the principle that the Holy Spirit is merely a power. This can be shown by substituting for the name “Holy Spirit” such a word as “power” or “influence.”
Let us compare some Scriptural references on the subject of the Holy Spirit in the NT with the NKJV:
John 14:16 and I will request the Father and he will give YOU another helper to be with YOU forever, 17 the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. YOU know it, because it remains with YOU and is in YOU.
Here the Holy Spirit is translated as ‘it’ in the NWT.
In the NWT compare these verses with the following verses in John 16:
7 Nevertheless, I am telling YOU the truth, it is for YOUR benefit I am going away. For if I do not go away, the helper will by no means come to YOU; but if I do go my way, I will send him to YOU. 8 And when that one arrives he will give the world convincing evidence concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment: 9 in the first place, concerning sin, because they are not exercising faith in me; 10 then concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and YOU will behold me no longer; 11 then concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
26 But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach YOU all things and bring back to YOUR minds all the things I told YOU.
In these verses taken from the NWT the Holy Spirit is described as ‘him ‘he’. I will send ‘him’ to you v.7
Is the Holy Spirit a ‘He or an ‘it’?
Acts 5:1 However, a certain man, An•a•ni´as by name, together with Sap•phi´ra his wife, sold a possession 2 and secretly held back some of the price, his wife also knowing about it, and he brought just a part and deposited it at the feet of the apostles. 3 But Peter said: “An•a•ni´as, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? 4 As long as it remained with you did it not remain yours, and after it was sold did it not continue in your control? Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart? You have played false, not to men, but to God.”
To play false to the Holy Spirit! Is this not the same as lying to the Holy Spirit NKJV? You cannot lie to an impersonal force. See v4 ‘lied to God’. Have you ever lied to electricity? Even if you say the Holy Spirit is God’s active force, to lie or play false with this active force is like arguing with the hand that slapped you in the face and not with the one who threw the punch.
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware if it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Ephesians 4 30 Also, do not be grieving God’s holy spirit, with which YOU have been sealed for a day of releasing by ransom.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
According to NWT we can grieve God’s active force. Even in this version it reads ‘grieving God’s holy spirit’ and not ‘grieving God through His holy spirit (active force). Surely you can only grieve a person, in this case the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 6:19 What! Do YOU not know that the body of YOU people is [the] temple of the holy spirit within YOU, which YOU have from God? Also, YOU do not belong to yourselves, 20 for YOU were bought with a price. By all means, glorify God in the body of YOU people.
Or do you not know that you body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In the previous verse Paul is exhorting us to flee sexual immorality; his main reason for this is because we are temples of the Holy Spirit. Even if you take these verses as referring to the Holy Spirit dwelling in the people collectively, as in the NWT, or individually, as in the NKJV, his argument for being holy is considerably weakened if the Holy Spirit is only an active force. Consider, also, the following verses were Paul says ‘we are the temple of the living God.’ How can we be the temple of the living God? Surely this can only be achieved by the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor 6:14 Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be´li•al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.”
Do not be unequally yoked to unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell among them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Old Testament Messianic Prophecies
Isaiah 9:6 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. 7 To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.
Here in the NWT we have a prophecy of the coming Messiah described as the Mighty God and Eternal Father. Eternal Father, by the way, is expressed in the Chaldee as, ‘The man abiding forever’ and in the Vulgate, ‘The Father of the future age’. Literally it is ‘The Father of eternity’, and cannot be referring to the Father of the New Testament it is obviously referring to the Messiah in this case. Is the Messiah the Mighty God, or isn’t He? Jehovah’s Witnesses will argue that there is a difference between ‘Mighty God’ and ‘Almighty God.’ It is true that in the Hebrew there is a difference between ‘Almighty'(Shadday) and ‘Mighty’ (Gibbor). Shadday describes God and Gibbor usually refers to the might of men. However, in Isaiah 10:21 we read: ‘The remnant will return, and the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty (Gibbon) God.’ The context of this verse is describing the care and protection of Jehovah and ‘Mighty God’ is an obvious reference to the Jehovah of the Old Testament. Another couple of references where mighty (Gibbor) is used in reference to God are found in Zephaniah 3:17 and Jeremiah 20:11.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne f David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgement and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Micah 5:2 “And you, O Beth´le•hem Eph´ra•thah, 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.
But you, Bethlehem Ephathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
The literal Hebrew for ‘time indefinite’ is ‘the days of eternity’ rendered ‘life everlasting’ in the NKJV; even if Christ was a created being ‘time indefinite’ hardly describes the length of His existence for He would have been created before earthly time. The word ‘eternity’, however, speaks of no beginning.
The Lord and Jehovah
Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”
For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.
The Greek word for Lord in the NKJV and Jehovah in the NWT, is ‘Kurios’. Wherever the New World translators come across ‘Kurios’ in the New Testament they invariably use the name ‘Jehovah.’ With this in mind consider the following verse from the NWT:
Romans 10:9 For if you publicly declare that ‘word in your own mouth,’ that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. 11 For the Scripture says: “None that rests his faith on him will be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord over all, who is rich to all those calling upon him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”
Why ‘Lord’ in verse 9 and ‘Jehovah’ in verse 13? What do you think?
Extract from Watch Tower website:
Doctrinal bias can also color a translator’s work. For example, Today’s English Version, commonly called the Good News Bible, has Jesus saying to his followers: “Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it.” (Matthew 7:13) The translators inserted the term “hell” even though Matthew’s account clearly says “destruction.” Why did they do so? Likely, it is because they want to promote the idea that the wicked will be eternally tormented, not destroyed.
The NKJV and AV both use the word ‘destruction.’ We would not spend much time defending the Good News Bible either. The Greek word ‘apolia’ however, according to Strong’s Concordance, means ruin or loss, (physical, spiritual or eternal). I cannot see how annihilation fits in here.
Additional rules and practices
In addition to being told what they are to believe by the Governing body and Watchtower publications there are certain practices which are unique to those who belong to the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation.
Here in brief are some of them:
Celebrating a birthday in any manner is strictly forbidden.
Accepting a blood transfusion is a sin more serious than theft or adultery.
Witnesses abhor the cross, and new converts are expected to destroy any crosses they have. Stake is the word used in NWT.
Witnesses believe that when you die the body is destroyed in Gehenna and has no conscious existence for the dead until the bodily resurrection.
The celebration of any “worldly holiday” is forbidden, Christmas, Easter, New Years Day etc..
In some time in the future God will destroy everyone on the planet. Jehovah’s Witnesses will live on a restored Garden of Eden earth.
Disfellowshipping is the punishment for any who break the Watchtower organisational regulations.
Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead physically, but spiritually. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses Christ does not have a physical human body, this fits in with the Christ’s return being spiritual and not physical in 1914
The weapons of the preacher of the gospel are not of human origin; does not originate in the minds of men, but comes from God. The sower of the seed does not rely on human eloquence, or human persuasion, or religious organisations, but on the power of the Holy Spirit and the aim of the Christian evangelist is not to bring them in subjugation to a cult or religion but to bring all under the Lordship of Christ. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, not the Governing body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
During the course of this study, I have spent a great deal of time on the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society website. I have been greatly impressed by the scope and information given, especially the easy access to the various books of the New World Translation. The information seems endless and I can fully appreciate how people can be drawn to this well run organisation. Watch Tower seems to have an answer for every topic. To type in your query and click on to ‘search’ will bring up pages and pages on the subject of your enquiry. On one occasion, however, I wasn’t totally surprised when I typed into the search engine ‘physical resurrection of Christ’ and nothing came up. This was due, probably, to the fact that Watch Tower do not believe in the physical resurrection of Christ. There were pages and pages on the resurrection, but no clear statement on what this entailed.
Consulting the Watch Tower website has also made me realise what a mammoth task is involved in trying to convince Jehovah’s witnesses to seek the true Christ. The only hope for anyone to know the true Christ is for Christ to be revealed to them by the Father, and for the benefit of any Jehovah’s witnesses who may be reading this article – I do not need to remind you that you will be disfellowshipped if you are found out, but please read it anyway – I would like to draw your attention to Matthew 16: 13-16 taken from the New World Translation:
Now when he had come into the parts of Caes a re’a Phi lip’p, Jesus went asking his disciples: “Who are men saying that the Son of man is?”
14 They said: “Some say John the Baptist, others E•li´jah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them: “YOU, though, who do YOU say I am?” 16 In answer Simon Peter said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 In response Jesus said to him: “Happy you are, Simon son of Jo´nah, because flesh and blood did not reveal [it] to you, but my Father who is in the heavens did.
Here we have it clearly stated in the New World Translation how to know the true Christ. Unfortunately, only the 144,000 have this privilege and the ‘gospel’ preached by the Jehovah’s Witnesses today neither saves nor redeems any of their converts from their sins. To me this is the most tragic aspect of the teachings of Watch Tower. The exceeding great and precious promises of scripture are denied the followers of this cult condemning millions to the hell which they are taught does not exist.
Men and women can be convinced to adopt a certain system of belief, even to the extent of fanaticism, but to know Christ requires much more than the persuasions of men and well organised belief systems. The lesson of Nicodemus in John 4:3 is a reminder to us all; no matter how religious we are without the new birth we cannot even see the kingdom of God. Paul also makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 2:14: But a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know [them], because they are examined spiritually.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that those who talk about being born again are filled with demons. Protestant Christianity, however, puts great emphasis on ‘being born again.’ Being born again of the Holy Spirit is the only way to enter the kingdom of God. The work of the Holy Spirit in the new birth produces a consciousness of personal sin, repentance, and faith in Christ alone for salvation. Through the new birth men and women are changed for ever. The righteousness of Christ is our righteousness, the obedience of Christ is our obedience, the atonement of Christ is our atonement, and the resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our resurrection. That is why Peter could say: to you who believe He is precious 1 Peter 2:7. Good works arise out of faith and love to Jesus Christ, they are not performed to obtain any merit or favour with God, but are done out of gratitude and love to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As we have seen, Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for ‘knocking on doors,’ but they are just as well known for the practice of refusing, in times of life threatening illnesses, the transfusion of blood, a requirement of their faith; hardly justified by Holy Scripture. One can only sympathise with those faced with such heart-rending decisions, especially when loved ones are involved. However, in difficult times like these, would it not be better to think on the blood that really matters – the shed blood of Jesus Christ? What Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with all poor suffering humanity, really need to hear are the words recorded in the Apostle John’s epistle: ‘…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin’ (1 John 1:7.) We all desperately need to hear this Gospel, of a wonderful, glorious, glorious and wonderful Saviour. This Saviour who invites all to ‘take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:29,30.) It is much, much easier to serve Jesus Christ than any organisation.
This is the message which Jehovah’s Witnesses need to hear. May God grant us opportunities and the grace to reach out to these victims of this great delusion.