Paradise Earth?  

Edward Hicks, Peaceable Kingdom
Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks

Concern with the end-times is a very lively topic of interest in the Christian household today. The Jehovah's Witnesses have their own unique end-times philosophy. They envision the life to come as an apartheid regime dividing asunder the eternal destinies of two very different species, the elect 144,000 and the remainder of believers. Only the first class are spirit-filled and born again; the second, the great unwashed masses, are hewers of wood and drawers of water. Despite their common humanity, the former inherit heaven, the latter this same earth, lightly renovated. The Jehovah's Witnesses do not look for any real new heaven or new earth, because they expect this present earth to endure forever. What saith the scriptures?:

"The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly.  The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut. . ." (Isaiah 24:19-20).

"All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree." (Isaiah 34:4).

  • "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
  • (Isaiah 65:17).

"For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many...'For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,' says the LORD, 'So shall your descendants and your name remain.'" (Isaiah 66:15-22).

"'I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land,' says the LORD; 'I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, and the stumbling blocks along with the wicked.  I will cut off man from the face of the land,' says the LORD....Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests...The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and hastens quickly.  The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out.  That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers.  'I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse.'  Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land...'Therefore wait for Me,' says the LORD, 'Until the day I rise up for plunder; my determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy." (Zephaniah 1:2-3:8).

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Mark 13:31).

"And: 'You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.'" (Hebrews 1:10-12, Psalm 102:25-27).

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10).

"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea." (Revelation 21:1).

Charles Taze Russell sat down to read scripture and veered from absolute literalism to vague allegory and back again...all within the space of one sentence. Why those scriptures which describe the utter destruction of the earth and its replacement with an improved version are to be taken in the vague, watered-down sense, 'there will be minor, incremental improvements,' when the same interpreter insists upon the literal meaning in other cases, is far from clear.

Readers not familiar with Charles Taze Russell's eclectic style of scripture reading may enjoy reading,

Charles Taze Russell
The Day of Judgment
  The Divine Scroll
  The Doom of Babylon
  Jehovah's Footstool Made Glorious
  Did Jews Believe in Eternal Torment?
  Battle of Armageddon

The Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only date-setters prone to getting it wrong. 1914 and 1925 didn't pan out, but neither did Harold Camping's widely publicized prediction:

Like LighningDate Setting

A negative evaluation of Christendom is built into the Watchtower Society's religion:

“'Religion Is the Instrument of the Devil'
“Among the many enemies of the Society, the book Enemies lists religion. In fact, the entire third chapter is devoted to a deriding of religion. In order indelibly to establish religion in our minds as an enemy, the Society states without any hesitation, “Let this be remembered and kept in mind henceforth: Religion has ever been the chief instrument employed by the Devil to reproach the name of Almighty God and turn the people away from the Most High” (page 66, paragraph 1). That is a pretty strong statement, is it not? But there is more to come.

“See whether you can follow this one. “The Devil is the great enemy or adversary of God, and his religion therefore is an enemy of the Almighty God. The Devil is man’s worst enemy, and his religion is likewise a deadly enemy to man. The Devil’s Organization is symbolized by an unchaste and impure woman, which is called ‘Babylon.’ Therefore all religions are of Babylon, and particularly the leading religion known in the lands of ‘Christendom’” (page 71, paragraph 1).”
(Schnell, William J., 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness (pp. 183-184). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

Like many today, they dislike the category 'religion' in general: "What conclusions were Jehovah’s Witnesses intended to draw from the above? The end of the chapter furnishes it: “There is no such thing in existence as ‘the Christian Religion,’ because all Religion proceeds from God’s enemy, the Devil. ‘Christian Religion’ is a misnomer, fraudulent and deceptive . . . (page 130, paragraph 1)." (Schnell, William J., 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness (p. 185). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.). In their eyes, Protestantism is as corrupt and evil and Catholicism, indeed everyone except themselves earns their scorn.

The Watchtower's reading of the book of Revelation gives the reader whip-lash, snapping from hyper-literalism to vague allegory and then back again. Certainly religion, in service to Satan, is a negative force. What are some of the parameters in interpreting this perplexing book?:

Return to Answering the Jehovah's Witnesses...

God the Son

The Jehovah's Witnesses freely concede that Jesus Christ is a god. But that He is Jehovah God, they will not allow. They say He's one of the others (no kidding!). Thus I've segregated Bible proofs that Jesus Christ is God from those showing He is Jehovah God.

  • “A Text That Teaches the Trinity?
  • “One example of a Bible verse that is often misused is John 1:1. In the King James Version , that verse reads: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [Greek, ton the·on], and the Word was God [the·os].'...Many Greek scholars and Bible translators acknowledge that John 1:1 highlights, not the identity, but a quality of 'the Word.'...Scholar Jason David BeDuhn likewise says: 'In Greek, if you leave off the article from theos in a sentence like the one in John 1:1c, then your readers will assume you mean “a god.” . . . Its absence makes theos quite different than the definite ho theos, as different as “a god” is from “God” in English.' BeDuhn adds: 'In John 1:1, the Word is not the one-and-only God, but is a god, or divine being.'”
  • (Tract: Is Jesus God?

Jesus Christ is God!

The Jehovah's Witnesses are hard workers; at one time their slogan was, “Advertise, Advertise, Advertise the King and the Kingdom” (Schnell, William J., 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah's Witness (p. 187). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.) Work is good, if directed to a worthwhile object, but it does not save:

  Saved by Faith  

Saved by Faith Righteousness from God
The Just Abraham
The Heart Ashamed
Tower of Babel Merited Favor?
What is Faith? What are Works?
Devils Antinomianism
Surely He has borne our Griefs Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Without One Plea Piece-Work
Everyone What must I Do?
What have you Got? Savior Will?
Altoona Ungodly
Justified by Faith Faith Plus Works
Whosoever Believeth Cannot Sin
Show Me The Work of God
Supernatural Watchmaker God
All our Works Nothing
Leopard's Spots His Mercy

The Jehovah's Witnesses are notorious for their hostility to the government, which has stood them in good stead during times in which the 'little guy' felt as if he had been run over by the 'system,' as in the Great Depression. Does the Bible justify this level of animosity towards the governing authorities?:

  • "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
  • "Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
  • "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
  • "For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
  • "Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
  • "For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
  • "Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor."
  • (Romans 13:1-7).

In the present order of things, without a government, we would be obliged to hunker down in caves: "R. Chanina, the Vice-High-Priest, said, 'Pray for the welfare of the government, since but for the fear thereof men would swallow each other alive.'" (Pirke Avot, Sayings of the Fathers, Chapter III, Section 2). Sometimes it is the government that does the swallowing, as when the Nazis brutally suppressed the Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany. Their hostile however is scattered in all directions, against fairly benign governments as well as the wicked.

When they started out, the Jehovah's Witnesses were self-professed Christians. However, as the 144,000 class filled up, they back-pedaled, looking for some other salvation plan. In the Old Testament, they thought they found an alternative. How are the prophets and patriarchs of old times saved, as surely they are? Is it by some alternative to faith in Christ, or is it through faith in Christ?


The Jehovah's Witnesses have been better American citizens than they ever desired to be, litigating their rights up to the Supreme Court. Just as their opposition to the draft does not necessarily proceed from pacifism, but from animosity toward the government, their resort to the Constitution does not necessarily spring from devotion to that document; nevertheless, they resorted, when other groups outside the mainline Protestant consensus did not. The flag salute cases were theirs, because they think it idolatry to salute the American flag; and we are all the better for it that little children in this country cannot be constrained to subscribe to a loyalty oath.

The Powers that Be

Jehovah's Witnesses do not contribute to the community in the usual ways: they do not vote, serve on juries, nor serve in the military. They have nonetheless been of great service to this country. The United States Constitution includes a solid guarantee of freedom of religion. The Constitution, however, is not self-enforcing; it is left up to minority religions to fight for their rights. This the Jehovah's Witnesses, fearless litigators, have never hesitated to do. Their victories include West Virginia Board of Education versus Barnette, the Supreme Court decision which forbade states from compelling students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This the Jehovah's Witnesses, who consider the pledge to be idolatry, will not do. It is a shame that the 'Religious Right,' arising partly from the rabble-rousing of Catholic broadcasters, have adopted the historic Catholic position on religious liberty.