Answering the Jehovah's Witnesses

The Jehovah's Witnesses are a ubiquitous fixture of the American landscape, distributing their literature door to door. They started life as Charles Taze Russell's Bible Students, then became regimented under Judge Rutherford into the highly structured, hierarchical organization we know today. Are their views Biblical?:

Holy Spirit: Impersonal Force?

In Christian orthodoxy the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity. The Jehovah's Witnesses protest, that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. What saith the scriptures?:



Ask a Jehovah's Witness, 'Are you born again?' and for the overwhelming majority the truthful answer is 'no.' Is that the right answer? Is it a saving answer? Surviving members of the upper echelon, the 144,000, will, however, answer 'yes.'  It is this latter group that claims the New Testament promises. But, alas, that life raft is no longer boarding. The vast majority must accept a lower status. The Watchtower theocracy is no democracy:



Put out of your mind expectations that this train is bound for glory, as if a placard listing one destination could do the job. The end times speculations of the Jehovah's Witnesses feature different domains for occupants of the different tiers of their hierarchical system:

What manner of man?

Who is the Savior, He who warned we must be born again? Christians know Him as their Lord. Is He a fellow creature? Can we safely ignore His warning? Who is Jesus Christ, according to the Bible? Is He a created being,—or the living God incarnate?


Jesus Christ is God!

Jesus Christ is God!

The Son is God.


Your Throne, O God The Work of Your Hands Let Angels Worship
True God Express Image Visible and Invisible
For Himself Son of God Kiss the Son
A Son is born Honor the Son Only-begotten God
Pantocrator Believe on the Son Only Savior
The Dead were Judged Everlasting to Everlasting

Jesus is Jehovah.


A Voice Crying Temple Visitor Stone of Stumbling
The Rock of Israel The First and the Last Lord of all
The LORD our Righteousness Holy, holy, holy Captivity Captive
House of David Answered prayers With all His saints
Israel's Savior Giver of Life Every Knee Shall Bow
Pastoral Supply I send you prophets Who forgives sin
I am He He is Lord Call upon the Name
Doxology God with Us Lawgiver
Great Shepherd You Only Lawful worship
Builder I AM THAT I AM Moses' Veil
Wine Press Lord Willing Secret Things
Boasting Excluded King of Israel Fount of Living Waters
Searches the Heart Till Death Do us Part Angel of the LORD
Take Refuge Has Reigned On His Forehead
Me Whom they have Pierced Stretched Out My Hands

Jesus Christ is God.


The Eyes of the Blind Thought it not Robbery Eternally Blessed God
Fulness of the Godhead Great God and Savior Faith in Him
Redeemed King of Kings Spirit of Christ
Destroyed by Serpents Lord of Glory Renewed in the Image
New Jerusalem's Lamp Now is Christ risen Upholding all Things
Light to the Gentiles My Companion Miracles
Prosecutors' Indictment Sun of Righteousness Thirty Pieces
Testator's Death Author of Life The Blood of God
My Lord and My God One Mystery of godliness
God was in Christ The Word was God Shared Glory
Omniscience Omnipotence Omnipresence
Change Not Yesterday, Today and Forever Whose Hand?
Not of Man Receive my Spirit Believe in God
Only Holy Sole Proprietor Priests
Walk on the Water


The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, William Holman Hunt
The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, William Holman Hunt

"...and the Word was a god." (John 1:1, NWT)

"A god?" A god plus another God makes two. Isn't that one too many? Just how many gods are known to the Bible, anyway?:

How Many Gods?

How many Gods?

Only One God Henotheism
Pagan Polytheism Finis Dake
Witnesses Origen
Elohim

“Gods such as Zeus and Hermes were worshiped in the days of Jesus' apostles. So the Bible agrees that 'there are many "gods"'...”
(p. 34, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1982).

Does the Bible really agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses on this?

Who are they?

Who are the "other gods"?


Ye are Gods
 "I said, Ye are gods."
Legal Defense A Fortieri
Polytheism Weak Link
Elohim Family Portrait
God's Hands Mighty Ones
Theoi Church Fathers
Magistrates Zeus and Hera

Like Himself

"God's first creations were spirit persons like himself." (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, p. 44).

But is there anything like God? My Bible says, no: "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: Let My people go, that they may serve Me, for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.'" (Exodus 9:13-14).

The reality is, the Bible does not count the "many gods" of the Jehovah's Witnesses. They will need to revise their census:

Only One God

Only One God

Worship One One Jehovah One God


Thrice Holy Radio!


They're getting older...

My 1982 "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth" is still making a plea for 1914 as a significant date: "After drawing attention to the many things that have marked the period from 1914 onward, Jesus said: 'This generation will by no means pass away until all these things [including the end of this system] occur.' (Matthew 24:34, 14) Which generation did Jesus mean? He meant the generation of people who were living in 1914. Those persons yet remaining of that generation are now very old. However, some of them will still be alive to see the end of this wicked system." (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania).

The Lord has long experience with such eager servants: "'I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.'" (Jeremiah 23:21).

1914 started out as the Watchtower Society's prediction for the end of the world:

"The Watchtower Society always has been marked by a degree of eccentricity. They loved sensationally to predict dates for the end of the world. They had originally predicted the end of the world for 1914. But in that year many Bible Students who believed this prediction were left in the lurch when the Kingdom for which they looked failed to appear. This, of course, left a bad taste in the mouth of many. It did not, however, dismay the leaders.

"During the ensuing years, especially in the pamphlet The Fall of Babylon the Great and in the booklet Millions Now Living Shall Never Die, the Watchtower Society merely switched to 1925. They kept that new date prominently before us and all the people, as the year when the Kingdom would come with the reappearance on earth of the Old Testament worthies or the princes amid Bible Students."
(Schnell, William J. (2002-01-01). 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness (p. 32). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

As these successive dates fell by the way-side, they were obliged to improvise, because if 1914 turned out to be a date of no significance, they were shown up as false prophets. As it recedes into the rear-view mirror, it will simply have to be dropped.

"My Father is Greater than I":

In John 14:28, Jesus said, "My Father is greater than I." Does this mean that Jesus is a lesser god, subordinate to 'Jehovah'?

Humbled Himself
The Incarnation

"My Father is greater than I."

"...the seed of Abraham."

The Angel of the LORD

Who is the theophanic Angel of the LORD?  He says that He is God: “Moreover He said, 'I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'” (Exodus 3:6). Is He Who He says He Is?

Theophanic Angel
 Who is the theophanic Angel?

Favorite Verses of the Jehovah's Witnesses

1 John 5:7 1 Corinthians 15:44
Deuteronomy 12:16 Revelation 20:10
Ephesians 1:17 Love Poetry
Beginning of His Way
Favorites

Jesus Christ: Creator or creature?

The Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus is Himself a created being, although He created all [other] things: "Jehovah's first creation answers our question for us, at Revelation 3:14, 21, in these words: 'These are the things the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God...' (NW) Jesus Christ, now glorified in heaven since his return there nineteen centuries ago, is the one who thus identifies himself as God's first creation...Likewise the corresponding expression 'the firstborn of all creation' means he was the first one to be created. He is a creature; he was not coeternal with God. Being heavenly, he was spirit like God." (New Heavens and A New Earth, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., 1953, p. 23-24). What does the Bible teach: Creature or creator?:

Jesus Christ is the Creator!
  Jesus Christ: Creator or creature?

Soul Sleep

  • “And Jesus said to him, “'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'”
  • (Luke 23:43).
Soul Sleep

What happens when we die? Do those of us who love the Lord go to be with Him? The Watchtower thinks not, despite what the Lord told the thief on the cross: "Where is Paradise? Well, where was the paradise God made at the beginning? It was on earth, was it not?...Jesus Christ, of course, will not be right here on earth with the former criminal. No, Jesus will be in heaven ruling as king over the earthly Paradise." ('You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth,' Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1982).

Absent from the Body To Depart is Better
Dead Lion Never Die
God of the Living Abraham's Bosom
Moses and Elijah Thief on the Cross

Psst: Wanna buy some "Miracle Wheat"?

Charles Taze Russell was the visionary who got this movement rolling. The strange tale of Russell's 'Miracle Wheat' begins with the announcement, in Zion's Watch Tower, of a startling new discovery:

ZWT: 03/15/1908 page 86

"MIRACLE WHEAT"

The public press is telling of the origin of "Miracle Wheat" in answer to prayer. The description has the earmarks of truth to it, in that it gives the address of the man whose prayers are said to have been answered -- "K. B. Stoner, a farmer of Fincastle, Botetourt county, Virginia." It would appear from the account that the original stalk of wheat appeared in the midst of a crop of the ordinary kind, but with "142 heads of grain."

We quote:--

"Mr. Stoner was amazed. It seemed incredible. When a Frenchman, in 1842, announced that he had discovered a species of wheat in the Mediterranean country which produced four heads to the plant, people said he was crazy.

"But here was a plant with 142 heads!

"Naturally Mr. Stoner carefully preserved the heads, and the next year sowed the seed, continuing to do this each year, for he realized he had discovered a phenomenal brand of grain. And each year his amazement increased.

"That first year after discovering the plant he got 2000 grains.  In 1906 he got sixteen bushels, and has now raised the crop of wheat, all carefully preserved for seed, to 800 bushels.

"What is most remarkable about the wheat is this: Whereas there is produced in the wheat sections of that country an average at the best of seventeen bushels to an acre, the average yield of the "miracle wheat" during the last three years has been fifty-six bushels to the acre; and whereas from eight to ten pecks of seed are required to plant an acre in Virginia, Mr. Stoner uses only two pecks, and, in comparison to the yield of ordinary wheat in the neighborhood, which is eight bushels for each bushel of seed, Mr. Stoner gets about seventy-five bushels for one. An ordinary stalk of wheat covers about four inches of space. The miracle wheat covers twelve."

-----------------------

This astonishing account in Zion's Watch Tower concludes by asking breathlessly,

"IS IT RESTITUTION WHEAT?"

"If this account be but one-half true it testifies afresh to God's ability to provide things needful for the 'times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.'" -- Acts 3:19-21.

Zion's Watchtower of October 1, 1908, brings further reports of 'Miracle Wheat' with the rapturous hope, "Our thought is that in this natural way God is preparing for the Millennium, when 'the earth shall yield her increase.'" (p. 291).

Religious claims were made on behalf of this humble commodity:

ZWT: 09/01/1910, page 279

"RESTITUTION WORK BEGUN"

"The Divine purpose will not be thwarted by the permission of sin to mar the original. The sacrificial death of Jesus is the complete offset to the penalty pronounced on Adam and his race. Restitution to perfection and Divine favor will result in God's 'due time.' And we believe that time near at hand.

"Do we not see the promised blessing coming? What are our vast irrigation schemes by artesian wells and by aqueducts but fulfillments of the prophecies pertaining to the reign of Messiah and the blessing of the earth? Hark to the message: Streams shall break forth in the desert; and the wilderness shall bloom as the rose. -- Isaiah 35.

"Burbank and others are under Divine guidance working miracles in horticulture, just as Edison and others have been the instruments of Providence to give us electrical devices. What beautiful fruits and flowers are the result! It is difficult to imagine greater perfection either in Eden of old or in the world-wide Eden to be restored!

"Referring to the 'times of restitution' of Messiah's reign the Prophet declares, 'The earth shall yield her increase.' (Ezek. 34:27.) Behold preparations for the fulfillment of this promise: About three years ago a Virginia farmer found one abnormal bunch of 120 stalks of wheat from one root -- the offspring of one grain of wheat. Under the name of 'miracle wheat' it is now being developed slowly in various parts -- the average yield appears to be about 1,200 grains from one kernel..."

No doubt by this time readers of Zion's Watch Tower down on the farm were eager to get their hands on this miraculous seed.  What do you know, the opportunity arose:

ZWT: 06/15/1911 :R4844 : page 178:

"A DONATION OF MIRACLE WHEAT"

"Brother Bohnet writes us that he has gradually accumulated a crop of miracle wheat from the few grains he obtained as a start. He prefers that the first opportunity for obtaining this wheat shall go to THE WATCH TOWER readers. He will sell it for $1 per pound, including postage, and give the entire proceeds to our Society. All orders for this wheat should be addressed, Miracle Wheat Bohnet, 17 Hicks street, Brooklyn, N. Y. This will keep mail on this subject separate from his personal mail and from ours."

At trial, Mr. Russell admitted the seed packets had been mailed from the Watch Tower offices: "For the accommodation of our readers, we allowed this seed-wheat to be put up in pound packages and mailed from THE WATCH TOWER Office, just as the U.S. Government handles such seeds at Washington." (ZWT 02/15/1913).

So did the farmers who sowed this miraculous wheat -- note, the "proceeds" from the sale of which went to "our Society" -- notice streams breaking forth in the desert or the wilderness blooming as the rose? Well, no, the results from this exorbitantly priced strain of wheat were not remarkable. The Watchtower Society was founded by a flim-flam man who made his way in the world by selling 'Miracle Wheat' to the rubes.

Date of Christmas

Why do Christians celebrate Jesus' birthday suspiciously close to the Winter Solstice?

Universal Birthday Clement of Alexandria
Epiphanius of Salamis Speculation vs. Revelation
Bible Evidence The Case Against Christmas
The War On Christmas O Christmas Tree
Why December 25th? Census
Gee Whiz Columbus Day
Easter and the Equinox

Bible Evidence

Is an autumn date for the nativity more likely?

Course of Abijah Sheep
Baptism Feast of Tabernacles
Christmas Day

Early Church History

The Jehovah's Witnesses enlist the early church writers for their cause. Are these ancient authors draftees, or volunteers?:

  • “For we do not say, as the heretics suppose, that...the Son has been generated from the Father from no substance at all, that is, outside His own substance, so that there would be a time when He was not...just as light can never exist without splendor so neither can the Son, who is said to be the 'express stamp of His substance' [Heb. 1:3] and His Word and Wisdom, ever be understood without the Father. Therefore, how can it be said that there was a time when the Son was not?...But what is said about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit must be understood above all time, above all ages, and above all eternity. For that only is the Trinity which surpasses every sense of our understanding, not only temporal but also eternal. It is other things that are outside the Trinity that must be measured in ages and times.”
  • (Origen, On First Principles, Book IV, Chapter 4, 1.).

Were Christian authors like Tertullian and Irenaeus Jehovah's Witnesses? Some early church writers describe a hierarchical trinity. But do any of these authors describe the Son as a created being or deny His eternity?:

Will the real Jehovah's Witnesses please stand up?




Church History

Illustrious Arians of the modern era include physicist Sir Isaac Newton, poet John Milton, and Barton Stone.

A Great Multitude

"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'" (Revelation 7:9-10).

Is there any Biblical evidence for the kind of spiritual apartheid practiced by the Jehovah's Witnesses, with an elite group of 144,000 who only are born again, and a vast herd of also-rans? To the contrary: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6). In the church, there are no differing classes, all hold the same hope.



The Watchtower Trinity




The Doctrine of the Trinity

What is the doctrine? Is it really, like Charles Taze Russell reports, "three Gods in ONE PERSON"?:

“Why is the Trinity so difficult to understand? The Illustrated Bible Dictionary gives one reason. Speaking of the Trinity, this publication admits: 'It is not a biblical doctrine in the sense that any formulation of it can be found in the Bible.'”
(Tract: Is Jesus God? watchtower.org).

In what sense, then, is the Trinity Biblical doctrine? In this sense:

Biblical Proof:

The four propositions proven above: that

a.) There is only One God;
b.) The Father is God;
c.) The Son is God;
d.) The Holy Spirit is God.

— are at the heart of the fifth-century Athanasian Creed: "So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.  And yet they are not three gods: but one God."  The two points which embarrass Jehovah's Witnesses — a.) and c.) — are every bit as solidly scriptural as is their favorite, b.).

"I have seen God face to face"

The church sings, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity!" Is this language Biblical?

God in Three Persons?    
Prosopon

Is Person a Biblical Word?

The First Time Boethius
What does it Mean? Face to Face
The Father and the Son The Holy Spirit
Express Image To Each His Own
Men and Angels Persona
Thrice Holy Who are the 'God-people'?
Separate or Distinct? Bible Terminology
Individuals God-beings

Is the Trinity Pagan?

"Many clergymen follow the pagans in believing in a trinity." (New Heavens and A New Earth, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., 1953, p. 36). Really?

Pagan Trinity?
Pagan Affinities Alexander Hislop
Changing God Masked Gods
Hindu Modalist Trinity Plato
Plotinus Jehovah's Witnesses
Isis, Osiris and Typhon Zeus, Hera and Athena
At Random Jupiter, Mars and Venus
Diana Bus Herds

Raised a Spirit Person

"The flesh of a sacrifice is always disposed of and put out of existence, so not corrupting...Accordingly, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead as a spirit person and not in the fleshly body in which he died as a human sacrifice." ("Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie," Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1965, pp. 354-356). Is this Biblical?:

Resurrection

The Jehovah's Witnesses believe in God; they are not atheists. Their God is Jehovah, the same God as Christians worship, who, they claim, is the Father, not the Son. Are they missing something?:

Is God the 'Father-only'?

Is God the Father-only?








Three-in-One

A common form of proof of God's triunity — His 'Three-in-One'ness — are the many instances where scripture ascribes one divine work indifferently to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Creation, one case in point, is covered above in "The First Page". The principle: "With regard to the divine nature, on the other hand, it is otherwise. We do not learn that the Father does something on his own, in which the Son does not co-operate. Or again, that the Son acts on his own without the Spirit. Rather does every operation which extends from God to creation and is designated according to our differing conceptions of it have its origin in the Father, proceed through the Son, and reach its completion by the Holy Spirit." (Gregory of Nyssa, On Not Three Gods). More cases in point:


Who Raised Jesus from the Dead?
Who Authored Holy Writ?
Who Alone is Holy?
Who Sanctifies Believers?
Who Gives Eternal Life?
Who Supplies Pastors?
Who Draws Believers?
Who Regenerates Believers?
Who is the Comforter?
Tempting in the Wilderness
Who Created the World?

Divide and Conquer

“For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?” (1 Corinthians 3:3-4).

The Jehovah's Witnesses, going back to the beginning, are every bit as alarmed as the rest of us at the shameful proliferation of Christian sects. That is why they started another one. Does the scandalous division of the church into sects prove the claims of one sect over another?

Michael the Great Prince

Some Bible interpreters think that Michael, the great prince of Daniel 12:1, is Jesus Christ, perceiving a resemblance in their appearance at the time of the resurrection. Jesus bears many names: Immanuel, Jehovah our Righteousness, etc. When the Jehovah's Witnesses quote several orthodox Christian authors in support of this view, they sometimes neglect to mention that these authors did not believe that Jesus, Michael as they identify Him, was a created being. While there is a certain synergy visible in Daniel, in that 'Jesus' and 'Michael' turn up for the same great event, what makes the identification doubtful is Jude 1:9, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." The designation 'angel' is not a deal-breaker, because the living God can be called an 'angel:' "And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;. . ." (Genesis 48:15-16). However Jesus brought many railing accusations against the devil, including calling him the father of lies, so if Michael the archangel is the same figure as Michael the prince, then he is not Jesus. A better, fairer approach would be to avoid equivocating on the word 'angel,' which some understand to mean 'created being' by definition, while others do not so understand. Then it will be realized that most of their authorities do not, in fact, agree with them.


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