Apologetics Lecture 15 Jehovahs Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses

There you are, on Saturday morning hoping to get some extra sleep, and the doorbell rings. Or you just get it done praying over your Sunday evening meal, and there he is. Or you just stepped out of the shower, and you hurry up to make yourself presentable to run to the door.

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And it’s a Jehovah’s Witness hoping to inform you, because you didn’t know, that blood transfusions are wrong, that Jesus is just an angel, that Jesus died on a stake, not on the cross, and that you will be one of the first to be annihilated in the battle of Armageddon unless you become one of them.

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How do you deal with this?

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Well, first let’s start with the history.

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History

In 1869, Charles Taze Russell attended a presentation by Advent Christian preacher Jonas Wendell and began attending an Adventist Bible study.

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Charles Taze Russell started the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1872. Upon being acquainted with the Scripture and the more he progressed in understanding what is said and what others were teaching, he had great problems with eternal damnation, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and teachings concerning the Holy Spirit.

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18 years of age, he formed a Bible study in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When he was 27 years old, in 1879, he began to popularize his teachings. He along with N. H. Barbour published The Herald of the Morning magazine. In 1884, Russell controlled the publication and named it The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. He also founded a tract society and named it Zion’s Watchtower Tract Society. It is now called the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

With humble beginnings, now the Jehovah’s Witnesses, published out of Brooklyn New York, produce 800,000 copies of its magazines every day. And this includes as well every day 100,000 books.

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You’ll know a cult leader when he assumes complete control over everything published in his magazine as well as claiming that the Bible can only be understood through his interpretations. In other words, Russell was not going around saying “it’s all about what the Bible says.” He went around saying, “it’s all about what I say about the Bible.”

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Actually, up to this point, the group was known as the International Bible Students Association. It was in 1931 that the new president, Joseph Franklin Rutherford took over as the president of the Watchtower Society.

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After Russell and Rutherford, past presidents include

Nathan Knorr

Frederick William Franz

Milton George Henschel

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Don Alden Adams is the current president.

File:JWStats1931-2010.png

From Wikipedia

 Memorial attendance is, for them, the day Christ was crucified. This year, the Tuesday, March 26.
 Publishers are those who go door to door.

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Beliefs

Here in this section, we will describe the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and learn how to respond to them as they teach us these false doctrines at our doorsteps. Overall, these folks are caught up in end times prophecy.

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Trinity

They teach that there is one God in one person. So they do not believe in the Trinity, which is one God in three persons. They deny the deity of the Son and the Holy Spirit. [We won’t detail a response here; not wise to start with a discussion on the Trinity]

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Holy Spirit

JW Doctrine: Today, according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. He is not alive and is not a person. This is Pneumatomachianism (Lit. “enemies of the Spirit”), which was condemned at the church council in Constantinople in 381.

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But in 1877, in Russell’s book Three Worlds, or Plan of Redemption (which was also co-authored by Barbour), they defend the personality of the Holy Spirit.

“I am beginning to think Age-to-come people, and many others among pre-millennialists, do not believe in anything of a spiritual nature … or in the existence [sic] of spiritual beings, or even of the Holy Spirit itself. I know one class of age-to-come believers, the Christadelphians, do not. The Holy Spirit, say they, is but a principle, or element of power, and not an intelligence. It is nothing more nor less than “electricity;” is taught in one of their books, now before me.

—Three Worlds, or Plan of Redemption,

pages 57–58

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An 1880 book by J. H. Paton in the Zion’s Watch Tower taught that the Holy Spirit was a person (J. H. Paton, Day Dawn, A.D. Jones, 1880, page 225, 229).

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Early Watch Towers referred to the Holy Spirit with masculine pronouns

(Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1880, page 8)[1] as well as holding to the “Divine Three”[2] (Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1881, page 5).

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But, in 1881, Russell changes, “We understand the Scriptures to teach that the holy Spirit is not a separate and distinct person, but that it is the divine mind or influence—the motive power of Divinity exercised everywhere and for any purpose, at His pleasure.”

===>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql_Ofhndlpk

A Biblical Response:

The Holy Spirit is used interchangeably with Yahweh (cf. Jer 31:33 with Heb 10:15; Isa 6:3, 5, 8-9 with Acts 28:25-26). He performs divine works such as creation (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psa 104:30), regeneration (John 3:5; Tit 3:5), and continuing Christ’s ministry as another Helper of the same kind (John 14:16). He is equally associated with the Father and Son (Matt 3:16; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Pet 1:2).

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In spite of JW doctrine, The New World Translation actually teaches the personality of the Holy Spirit. Its verses reveal that the Spirit speaks (Acts 13:2), bears witness (John 15:26), says whatever he hears (John 16:13), feels hurt (Isaiah 63:10). The NWT still has in it Acts 5:3–4, which reveals that lying “to the holy spirit” (NWT) is the same as lying “to God.” You can only lie to a person. And how can you make sense of a passage like Romans 8:26-27 (NASB) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

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Jesus

They believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and they say they receive him as their Savior. The problem is that they redefine all of those terms.

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First Creation by God?

They teach that Jesus is the first creation by God. This is a form of Arianism. Arianism was condemned at the church council of Nicaea in 325.

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From their website: Jesus is Jehovah’s most precious Son—and for good reason. He is called “the firstborn of all creation,” for he was God’s first creation. (Colossians 1:15)

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 Born first, right? See, the Son of God was born! No!

No, firstborn means first in rank: The word “firstborn” signifies priority in importance or rank, rather than actual birth order. For example, turn to Psalm 89:20 (NASB) “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him ….v.27…”I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.

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Could David switch out and now be the oldest of Jesse’s children? No, King David would be elevated in rank, above the others, to the preeminent position.

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Jesus was a god?

John 1:1 (NASB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

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NWT: In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

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There is no definite article (“the”) in the Greek before “God,” so the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation reads, “The Word was a god.”

VEn avrch/| h=n o` lo,goj( kai. o` lo,goj h=n pro.j to.n qeo,n( kai. qeo.j h=n o` lo,gojÅ

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 No, the Word is God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS-lLTfCI7c

But sentences of this form in Greek (two nouns joined by a form of the verb “to be”) with the article on the last word (‘the Word’) merely means that the word with the article is the subject of the sentence, regardless of word order. Not having an article in Greek does not make it one among many (“a god”). “A god” lends itself to polytheism.

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Even though that is the case, you can still look up John 20:28 as well as Isaiah 9:6.

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The NWT admits it!

John 20:28 (NASB) Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

NWT: “In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!”

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Isaiah 9:6 (NASB) For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

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NWT: 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.

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They might respond “‘mighty God’ is not the same as the ‘Almighty God.’ ”

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Because of his unique position in relation to Jehovah, Jesus is a “Mighty God.” John 1:1; Isaiah 9:6 But does not “Mighty God” with its capital letters indicate that Jesus is in some way equal to Jehovah God? Not at all. Isaiah merely prophesied this to be one of four names that Jesus would be called, and in the English language such names are capitalized. Still, even though Jesus was called “Mighty,” there can be only one who is “Almighty.” To call Jehovah God “Almighty” would have little significance unless there existed others who were also called gods but who occupied a lesser or inferior position.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?, page 28

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Notice, however, that even in the New World Translation Isaiah 9:6 does not really say Jesus will be called “a” Mighty God as the Society says here, but rather that he will be called “Mighty God.” Cannot God be both almighty and mighty?

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NWT: 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.

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Plus, Yahweh is called “mighty God”

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Isaiah 10:21 (NASB) A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.

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Jesus is Michael?

They teach that Jesus is Michael the Archangel come in flesh. This is why they can say that Jesus is the son of God, since he was the first angel God created. He is “Lord” because he is the second in command in heaven. He is the Savior in the sense that he opened up the way to eternal life but we have to work ourselves and make up for what he didn’t do.

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On their website: “Regarding the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice.” Thus the voice of Jesus is described as being that of an archangel. This scripture therefore suggests that Jesus himself is the archangel Michael.”

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Response: with is not being. I can hammer a nail with a hammer. I am not a hammer. Jesus comes with the voice of an archangel; he is not an archangel.

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So when they say that “we believe in Jesus Christ, that he is son of God, and that he is the Lord and our savior” what they mean is that “we believe Jesus is Michael the Archangel who was the first angel God created and we receive him as second to God and that he made the way for us to have eternal life if we do good works and hopefully we make it to Paradise.”

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And so as Michael, Jesus was the perfect man, but he was not God in flesh.

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Died on a stake?

The JW’s teach that he did not die on a cross, but on a stake, since the cross is a pagan symbol and should not be used.

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Jesus dying

From the JW website

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The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus died, not on the cross, but on a stake. As you can see above, they represent Jesus on a vertical stake his hands over his head and with a single nail in his hands. However, if Jesus died on the cross, then 2 nails would be necessary, having one in each hand. But how do the Jehovah’s Witnesses handle John 20:25 (NASB) So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

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NWT: unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe.

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Thomas’ clear desire is to see the wounds in each hand that was made by more than one nail. Therefore, Jesus must have died on a cross, not a stake.

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Resurrection

They deny that Jesus rose from the tomb, bodily. They teach that Jesus was raised as a spirit. (You Can Live Forever on Paradise Earth, p. 143-44)

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“God disposed of Jesus’ body, not allowing it to see corruption and thus preventing its becoming a stumbling block to faith.”

The Watchtower, November 15, 1991, page 31

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“We deny that He was raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural.”

Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, page 57

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They use: 1 Peter 3:18 (NASB) For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

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But that probably has reference to being resurrected by the Holy Spirit. You can translate the word “in” with the word “by.” “Spirit” is the same word, whether you are talking about the Holy Spirit or the human spirit. Here it is debated as to what this refers to. It’s difficult to get a whole doctrine on the resurrection from one debated verse. However, it is quite likely that this should be translated “made alive by the Holy Spirit.”

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Luke 24:39 (NASB) “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

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John 20:27-28 (NASB) 27 Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

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NWT: 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.” “In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!”

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Pretty obvious, right?

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Instead of reading it straightforward, in the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth the Watchtower explains that Jesus tricked the apostle Thomas into thinking his disposed-of body had actually been resurrected: “In order to convince Thomas of who He was, He used a body with wound holes.” (page 145)

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They are teaching that Jesus is a master deceiver.

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John 2:19-23 (NASB) 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.

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Jesus is Abad’don

“When Jesus was on earth as a man, he was a Hebrew, and now in his capacity as Jehovah’s royal Executioner he is called by the Hebrew name Abad’don, which means Destruction. (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; 12:23; 14:19) In the Greek in which the inspired Christian Scriptures were written his similar title is Apollyon, which means Destroyer,” (Watchtower, Dec. 1, 1961, p. 719).

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A Biblical Response:

Revelation 9:11 (NASB) They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.

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Positive Response:

 Christ is God. Greek grammar (Granville Sharp Rule) demands it Ro. 9:5; Tit. 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1.
 He is called God: Heb. 1:8.
 Jesus name is Yahweh saves b/c He, Jesus, is who saves. Therefore, Jesus is Yahweh. Mt. 1:21
 The New Testament quotes the Old Testament as applying to Jesus (Mt. 3:3 and Isa. 40:3; Jn. 12:41 and Isa. 6:1).
 Jesus is just as much the “Son of God” in the sense of being born from God as Barnabas was born from Encouragement as “Son of Encouragement” Acts 4:36
 Barnabas is Son of Encouragement
· Jesus is Son of God
 Encouragement did not give birth to Barnabas
· God did not give birth to Jesus
 Barnabas is an encourager
· Jesus is God
 Barnabas is encouragement itself, if in human form
· Jesus is God Himself, if in human form

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 Therefore, encouragement is literally Barnabas’ dad?
 No, “Son of” has reference then to the same nature as.

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The JW Church

The church claims to be the prophet of God and the only channel of God’s truth. It’s only through membership in the Jehovah’s Witnesses church that salvation can come.

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So their belief that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is “God organization” is central to their worldview. Jehovah’s Witnesses follow all the teachings of this organization, not because of the biblical arguments, but ultimately because the organization says that it’s true. Truth, then, can change depending on how the organization is led.

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They are told not to follow a breakaway group of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves are a breakaway group from the Adventist movement (Advent Christian Church, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.).

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Consequently, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are dedicated and devoted to the organization itself. Salvation is found within the organization and failing to conform to the church’s standards or teachings may result in shunning, and thus the loss of salvation or life forever on Earth.

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They urge people to “come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation.” (The Watchtower, November 15, 1981, page 21) Obedience to the organization must be unquestioning: “Avoid independent thinking … [and] questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization.” (The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, page 22).

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They are told that their lives depend on it: “Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.” (The Watchtower, February 15, 1983, page 12).

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What happened before Russell came along then? What about Luther and the Reformers? Were they saved? Did God only start saving people when Russell came on the scene? Also, Russell himself did not teach this.

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“There is no organization today clothed with such divine authority to imperiously command mankind. Zion’s Watch Tower, September, 1893, page 266

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“Beware of ‘organization.’ It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you will need. Do not seek to bind others’ consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God’s Word … Zion’s Watch Tower, September 15, 1895, page 216

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Of course, these statements are ignored today.

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The Bible

They believe that the Bible is inspired by God and that it is without error and that it is the final authority for believers. The difference is that they teach that the Bible can only be properly understood with in the organizational framework of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church. Unless you understand and interpret the Bible through the church’s teachings, you are shunned. They discourage self-study of the Bible that it not guided by their teachings.

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Salvation

4 Requirements for Living in Paradise on Earth Forever

You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth-But How?

Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1983, page 12-13

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#1 “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) They write, “Knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ includes knowledge of God’s purposes regarding the earth and of Christ’s role as earth’s new King. Will you take in such knowledge by studying the Bible?”

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Question: How have they twisted this?

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John 17:3 (NASB) “This is eternal life, that they may know You[3], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

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Knowledge here is not information but relationship.

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Question: What is the requirement? Bible study with the JW’s is required for salvation.

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Response: Mistranslation of John 17:3. Is Bible study required for salvation? Where else does the Bible teach this? What about those who don’t personally have a Bible? How much Bible study is required? Was the thief on the cross in paradise that day with Jesus (Luke 23:43)? Philippian jailer do a 6 month Bible study? (Acts 10:43-48)

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#2 “Many have found the second requirement more difficult. It is to obey God’s laws, yes, to conform one’s life to the moral requirements set out in the Bible. This includes refraining from a debauched, immoral way of life.-1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 4:3, 4.

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Response: These don’t enter, right. But who does enter? Can you be good enough to enter the kingdom? How does that fit with Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5; 1 John 1:8?

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http://making-bible-truth-plain.org/blog/?p=64

http://gochristianhelps.com/tracts/stl/notworks.htm

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#3 “A third requirement is that we be associated with God’s channel, his organization. God has always used an organization. For example, only those in the ark in Noah’s day survived the Flood, and only those associated with the Christian congregation in the first century had God’s favor. (Acts 4:12) Similarly, Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.”

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Response: Is that leaving it up to me to decide then? Let me guess, that’s the JW’s? Look more closely at Acts 4:12 (NASB) “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

That’s talking about Jesus, not about some organization.

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Response: What does ‘association’ mean? At what point am I associated? How does the Bible measure association? See works passages above.

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They continue…

#4 “The fourth requirement is connected with loyalty. God requires that prospective subjects of his Kingdom support his government by loyally advocating his Kingdom rule to others. Jesus Christ explained: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth.” (Matthew 24:14) Will you meet this requirement by telling others about God’s Kingdom?”

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Response: How does Mt. 24:14 make ‘advocating his Kingdom rule to others’ a requirement for Paradise on earth forever? It’s not in Mt. 24:14; where is this in the Bible then? See works passages above.

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Very works oriented obviously.

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Faith anyone?

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Thus, “taking in knowledge” plus good works…it’s all good works really… are necessary for salvation and only 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses go to heaven. And it’s only these 144,000 that are born again and may take communion. These may also lose their salvation. The other Jehovah’s Witnesses hope to be among the small remnant of a few thousand who will remain alive on earth.

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Thus, many of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are plagued with doubts and fears that they will not be among the ones who will either be joint heirs with Christ of the 144,000 or be among the ones who remain alive on earth.

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This would make two kinds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Those who, because they are self-righteous, assume that God will preserve them for Paradise. There are also those who know they are sinners and don’t deserve eternal life.

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So, it takes work.

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“To get one’s name written in that Book of Life will depend upon one’s works” (The Watchtower, April 1, 1947, page 204). They must work “hard for the reward of eternal life.” (The Watchtower, August 15, 1972, page 491).

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Response: Don’t “come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation” (November 15, 1981, page 21), come to Christ (Matt. 11:28-29).

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Response: 144,000 are mentioned in Revelation 7:1-8; Rev. 14:1-3.

The 144,000 are literal male, virgin Jews; no Gentiles. How can this be applied to married Gentile women JW’s? Figurative”…you say, then why is the number 144,000 literal?

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The Unsaved

For those of us who failed to join their church, our soul ceases to exist after death (annihilationism). They teach that there is no eternal punishment in hell with fire.

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They quote Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 (NASB) For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

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Sheol refers to the abode of the dead, the grave.

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Job 14:13 (NASB) “Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, That You would set a limit for me and remember me!

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Citing verses in Hebrew poetry while ignoring the genre of poetry is hermeneutical error. Ecclesiastes is a book that could be described as a lost person finding the truth in the OT. And he does not until the end of the book.

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Conveniently, they ignore the clear teachings of scripture.

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The lost will spend eternity in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14; 21:8). The torment in the lake of fire continues forever (20:10) and is experienced after the reuniting of the immaterial and material natures of the wicked (Rev. 20:13-15).

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For the wicked, the immaterial, unresurrected nature will be cast into hadēs (Lk. 16:23; Rev. 20:13), a place of real fiery torment after death (Lk. 16:24-25). After wicked human spirits depart from hadēs for resurrection and judgment at the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-13), hadēs (Rev. 20:14) and the resurrected bodies of the wicked (Mt. 5:29; 10:28; Mt. 18:9; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47) are thrown into the lake of fire.

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The JW’s teach annihiliationism, the position that the unsaved will not exist forever or the denial that the punishment will continue forever. But, in Matthew 25:46, Jesus describes both punishment and life as “eternal.” If the believer’s life continues forever, so will the punishment of the wicked.

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The Second Coming

Jesus is now invisibly ruling over the Earth as of 1914. However, those on your doorstep would likely be unaware that originally, the Jehovah’s Witnesses taught that Christ returned in 1874. Finally, after going back and forth with date setting, they discarded 1874 as well as other dates in favor of 1914.

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However, Christ’s return is visible, not invisible.

Matthew 24:26-27 (NASB) 26 “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

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Revelation 1:7 (NASB) BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

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Christ did not and does not return invisibly.

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Standards

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not vote or salute the flag or sing national anthems or celebrate Christmas or birthdays. They are forbidden to serve in the armed forces.

–We shouldn’t address this when talking with them.

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The New World Translation

Translation comparisons

Yahweh is speaking, Zechariah 12:1 (NASB) The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,

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Zechariah 12:10 (NASB) “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

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NWT: “And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only [son]; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn [son]

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Question: Why is there a difference?[4]

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Colossians 1:15-17 (NASB) 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

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NWT: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 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.17Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,

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Scriptural Responses

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (NASB) 20 ~’But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

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The Time is at Hand (pg. 99), “… the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914.”

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Released in 1917, the book The Finished Mystery by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has under the heading “The Churches Cease To Be” the following… “Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of “Christianity.” (pp. 484–485)

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Millions Now Living Will Never Die (pp. 97; year 1920), “1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old” and that “we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old” (pp 89–90).

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Release of the book “Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God” in the summer of 1966 triggered considerable prophetic speculation regarding the year 1975, as this magazine article later that year notes with approval:

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“It did not take the brothers very long to find the chart beginning on page 31, showing that 6,000 years of man’s existence end in 1975. Discussion of 1975 overshadowed about everything else. ‘The new book compels us to realize that Armageddon is, in fact, very close indeed,’ said a conventioner.” The Watchtower, October 15, 1966, pp. 628–629

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In article “Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?” they teach…

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“Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ. If these two periods run parallel with each other as to the calendar year, it will not be by mere chance or accident but will be according to Jehovah’s loving and timely purposes.… It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years.” The Watchtower, August 15, 1968,

pp. 494, 499.

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Response: In light of Deut. 18:20-22, why should I believe you?

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Which is it?

Watchtower 8/1/1965 p 479: The men of Sodom will be resurrected

Watchtower 6/1/1988 p 31: The men of Sodom will not be resurrected

You Can Live Forever in Paradise (1982): The men of Sodom will be resurrected

You Can Live Forever in Paradise (1989): The men of Sodom will not be resurrected

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How to Witness to a JW

With a shepherd’s heart of compassion, ask questions. Open a Bible ask the JW to read the verses out loud. Then ask him, “Who is this talking about? What does the verse say?” Make him tell you.

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 “If God’s battle of Armageddon were to occur tonight, do you know for sure you will survive?” [this uses terms they are familiar with ]
 He will likely say, “Not for certain.” If he says he’s certain, ask why. Press him till he admits it is based on some good works. Ask him “how much or many good works are required?” Now, he’s not certain.
· Well, John says we can know for certain we have eternal life 1 John 5:13 (NASB) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. Paul, too. Romans 10:13 (NASB) for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE Lord WILL BE SAVED.”
· How does this fit?
 How can I live forever?
 They will likely go to their requirements for salvation (above).
· What role does Jesus death and resurrection play? 1 Co. 15:3-8
 Don’t forget about the resurrection verses (above).
· How does the necessity of good works line up with Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5?

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If you’re discussion goes to the person of Jesus…

Using the above info on Jesus, demonstrate that Jesus is not a mere angel.

Question: Have you ever done a Bible study on Michael?

Michael is mentioned 5 times in Scripture (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Rev 12:7).

Which verse teaches that Jesus is an archangel? He might say 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Show them the difference between “with” and “being.” Hammer illustration. Since they are sympathetic with Jehovah verses, give verses that prove Jesus is God. Mt. 3:3 and Isa. 40:3; Jn. 12:41 and Isa. 6:1, 5.

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Stake: John 20:25

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Bodily resurrection: Lk. 24:39; John 20:27-28; Jesus didn’t deceive his followers into thinking it was a real body, did He? Plus, John 2:19-23

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Deity: John 5:18 (NASB) For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

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Question: Why do JW’s teach that the Holy Spirit is not a person and is not God?

If they say “because he’s referred to with a neuter pronoun”

He is also referred to with a masculine pronoun and is designated the “Comforter” (Jn. 15:26; 16:13, 14). Keep in mind; some languages designate words with genders. A masculine pronoun doesn’t necessarily mean that the thing the word refers to is that gender. But it’s important to point out, in light of JW doctrine.

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Part of JW’s argument that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force rests on the gender of the word that refers to him. The word “spirit” in Greek is neuter. But that doesn’t mean that He’s not a person. “Word” is masculine in Greek, but no one ascribes an actual gender to the word “word” because of that fact. So, to counter that, we can also say He’s referred to with a masculine pronoun. So, you can’t base your understanding of the Holy Spirit on the gender of a word.

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John 15:26 (NASB) “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

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John 16:13-14 (NASB) 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 ” He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

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So, we have to go elsewhere, other than to genders of words. That doesn’t help. JWs say He’s referred to with a neuter word, and He is; we counter by saying He is referred to with a masculine pronoun, which He is. Therefore, the gender of the word doesn’t solve the debate. What will?

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What He Does

What He does helps us understand that He is indeed a person. If He does things that only persons can do, then He is a person.

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He teaches

John 14:26 (NASB) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

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He testifies

John 15:26 (NASB) “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

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He Guides

John 16:13 (NASB) “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

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He Convicts

John 16:8 (NASB) “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;

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He Intercedes

Romans 8:26 (NASB) In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

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He speaks and commands

Acts 10:19 (NASB) While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.

Acts 13:2 (NASB) While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

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Only persons can do these things; therefore, He is a person.

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Plus, we noted these verses: compare Jer 31:33 with Heb 10:15; Isa 6:3, 5, 8-9 with Acts 28:25-26

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Go to BibleTrove.com Home Page from Apologetics Lecture 15 Jehovahs Witnesses

Go to Theology Main Page

Go to Apologetics Lectures Main Page

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  1. “If as some claim Christ the Head is to return to His church under the vail of the flesh to complete the education of His church, and that then because He returns, the Spirit is to be withdrawn, would it not prove the Spirit incompetent to do the work to which He was appointed by the Lord Himself, viz: to lead us into all truth and bring us to the birth.”

  2. “We would first call attention to the Divine Three–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–often mentioned in the Bible. This is fundamental, as shown by the commission of Christ, (Matt. 28:19) and is related to our faith in the Creator, Redeemer and Regenerator, and suggests the three steps in bringing men into the Divine image.”

  3. In other words, that they might have that definite point in their life when they can say, “now I know.” This is not progressive; see 1 John 5:20 for commentary.

  4. Remember, Yahweh is speaking: “Me” vs. “the One”

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