Notes to accompany: JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
Background and History.
Founded by Charles Russel
Russel was influenced by the Adventist movement (let to the 7th DayAdventistChurch)
The Adventist/Millerite movement began in the 1830?s
William Miller used Daniel 8:14and Daniel 9:25(a very odd connection) to calculate
that the millennial reign would come in October, 1844.
Emphasis on the immanent return of Jesus Christ to the Earth.
Russel founded his own cult-like movement.
a. Strong emphasis that only his followers are saved.
b. Use of language unique to his religious movement (Jehovah, etc.)
Predicted the End of the World in 1914, also using Daniel 8:14
When that did not happen, said we have entered the Investigative Judgement.
Very controversial. Made a lot of money from his movement. Accused of numerous scams.
Sold miracle wheat? through the Watchtower organization. A scam which made him quite a bit
of money. Was sued over this.
Was divorced by his wife for marital unfaithfulness
Later, the JW movement basically disowned Russel and do not acknowledge him
as the founder of their religion?more for theological reasons than because of
Began the Watchtower Society?the publishing arm of the church.
The Watchtower Society became the all-powerful, controlling influence in the
Religion. One Watchtower publication went so far as to say ?We recognize not only Jehovah
God as our father, but his organization (The Watchtower Society) as our mother.?
Succeeded by ?Judge? Rutherford. Hired to keep Russel out of jail.
Continued the policies of Russel, increased organization of the Watchtower
Very strong emphasis on indoctrination into the teachings of the church and
the requirement that all members go door-to-door to go to heaven have caused
the church to grow rapidly ever since it was founded. 2/3 of members are outside the U
Sat this point.
Fundamental beliefs of JW movement:
1. Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael. He definitely is not deity. He is a very powerful
created being. He was not raised from the dead in a physical body.
2. The Holy Spirit is definitely not a person and is definitely not God.
It is a force for good, rather than part of God.
2. The only true and acceptable name for God is Jehovah. Those who do not use the
name Jehovah are not true Christians.
3. Only faithful JW members will be in heaven with Jehovah. (144,000 of
4. There is no such thing as Hell as a place of torment for those who are
not saved. Those who are not saved when they die simply cease to exist. All go to a common
grave called hell when they die. There is no such thing as a soul without a body.
?Man does not have a soul. He is a soul. Therefore there is no consciousness at all
after death without a body. Even Jesus was mortal.
5. Very soon after Jesus ascended to heaven, the true church became completely
apostate. There were no true Christians at all until God?s ?Faithful and Discreet Servant?
Charles Russel came to call people back to the true gospel. (Nowadays, JW?s would
emphasize the Watchtower Society as the Faithful and Discreet Servant, not Russel)
6. As with most Adventist groups, there is a strong emphasis on obeying
selected Old Testament laws (they are totally inconsistent?seemingly arbitrary
a. no eating of blood, no transfusions accepted, even to save a life.
7. Miscelaneous odd doctrines which JW?s use to make themselves different
from everyone else.
a. All celebrations and holidays not specifically mentioned in the Bible
are sinful. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, etc.
b. Complete refusal to serve in the armed forces of whatever country they
live in. This creates huge problems in some countries.
c. Christians cannot wear a cross, because it is a pagan symbol. ?No biblical
evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.? ?Jesus most likely was executed
on an upright stake without any crossbeam.? (John 20:25)
d. Cannot pledge allegiance to the flag.
8. Various Adventist false prophecies.
a. Jesus second coming began back in October, 1874. (now denied by the Watchtower
b. The world would end in 1914 (now described as the beginning of the investigative
judgement?an invisible appearing. Supported by a false reading of Matthew 24:3)
c. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would rise from the grave in 1925.
d. Jesus would come back bodily to begin his 1000 year reign in Jerusa
THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
JW?s call the Watchtower Society the ?faithful and discreet slave? of Matthew
24:45-47 (faithful and wise servant)
Ie WS is the fulfillment of this prophecy (used to apply this to Russel)
?Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication (The Watchtower Society)
that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how
much Bible reading we do? Wow!!!
Not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible
by itself, but we see also that if anyone lays the Scripture Studies aside, even after
he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read
them for ten years?if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the
Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience
shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely
read the Scripture Studies with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible,
as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would
have the light of the Scriptures. (Witness of Jehovah, 1988, p.33)
1969 edition of the Watchtower mag: God?s faithful and discreet slave is God?s
sole ?channel of communication to His people.?
Other quotes from the WS:
?God has not arranged the [His] word to speak independently or to shine forth
life-giving truths by itself. It is through his organization God provides this light?
?Avoid independent thinking? questioning the counsel that is provided by God?s
If we have love for Jehovah and for the organization of his people, we shall
not be suspicious, but shall, as the Bible says, ?believe all things,? all things
that The Watchtower brings out.?
Vs. Acts 17:11 Let us never become like this!
Early JW movement: Charles Russel was the sole interpreter of the Bible
Now: The Watchtower is the sole legitimate interpreter of the Bible.
THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION
JW?s have their own translation which they use so as to avoid some of the obvious
problems and contradictions between their beliefs and the Bible.
Most famous example:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word
was a god. No support for this translation;
Faithful and discreet slave vs faithful and wise servant
Nevertheless: I suggest you let them use their bogus translation and work with
REFUTING FALSE DOCTRINES OF JW?S
I. Jesus is not God. Jesus is the first and highest of created
beings. Jesus is an angel. He is the archangel Michael. (?Michael the great prince is none other
than Jesus Christ Himself? (The Watchtower, Dec, 1984, p 29.) (Daniel 10:1,13, 12:1)
This is the Arian heresy Arius
J. W. proof-texts:
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was
Jn 3:16 ?Jehovah?s first creation was his only begotten Son? (an attempt to preempt
Rev 3:14 the beginning of (The ruler of)the creation of God (a mistranslation)
Coll 1:15-17 The first-born of (NIV over) all creation?. By means of him all other thi
ngs have been created (they insert the word other)
Jn 14:28 The Father is greater than I
Jn 20:17 My God
1 Cor 15:28 the head of Christ is God.
Claim: Jesus is never worshipped in the NT
Jesus is never called Jehovah, so he is not God, because Jehovah is the only
name of God.
Compare Coll 1:16 to Hebrews 2:10
Besides, just look at Coll 1:16 all things were created by Christ?.all things
were created by him and for him.
Heb 1:2 the entire universe
OT: God is the creator
NT: Jesus is the creator Jesus is God.
Jn 8:58 Before Abraham was born, I AM (Exodus 3:14)
?they picked up stones to stone him.
Jn 10:30 I and the Father are one. Clear enough? Read through vs. 33.
Coll 2:9 The fullness of deity lives in bodily form.
(NWT: Because it was in him that all the fullness of the divine quality
Not one single Greek scholar will support the NWT
Jn 20:28 My Lord and my God.
Titus 2:13 Our great God and savior, Jesus Christ
(NWT: the Great God and of the savior of us, Jesus Christ)
Is 43:11 God says that only he saves
God our savior and Jesus Christ our savior used interchangeable in Titus
Phil 2:5,6 Who being in very nature God, ?
Zech 12:10 They will look on me, the one they have pierced?
(NWT look to the one whom they pierced)
(if time? Heb 1:6 angels are commanded to worship (proskuneo) Jesus.)
II. The Holy Spirit is not deity or part of God. It is a force for good.
?The Holy Spirit is not a person, but is a powerful force that God
causes to emanate from himself to accomplish his holy will? (Reasoning from the Scriptures,
1989, p 381)
The HS can be likened to electricity, ?a force that can be adapted
to perform a great variety of operations.? (Should You Believe in the Trinity?, 1989, p.20),
Naturally, if JW?s deny deity to Christ, they have to do so with the
Holy Spirit as well.
HS never given a name.
Mark 1:10, Acts 2 etc. describe the HS coming on people with power?
allowing people to work miracles, filling people up. Can a person fill someone
up? (answer: Eph 3:19filled with God)
Genesis 1:2 NWT ?God?s active force was working to shape the earth?
1 Cor 2:10 The Spirit searches all things.
Eph 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 12:11 The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts to each one individually
just as He wills.
Jn 14:16?another helper, that He may be with you forever?
Jn 16:5,f ? the Counselor? I will send him to you? When he comes, he will convict
Matthew 28:18 ?in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. J
W?s make a big deal out of the HS not having a name?.
Acts 13:2 The HS says Set apart for Me Barnabus and Saul for the work to which
I have called them.
Acts 16:6 The HS forbids Paul to preach
Acts 8:29 The HS told Philip to speak to the Ethiopian.
Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks against (blasphemes) the HS will not be forgiven.
Can you blaspheme a force? (besides, God Rev 13:6 and Jesus Matt 27:39 can be
III. Jehovah is the only legitimate name for God, both in NT and
Ezekiel 39:6 ?People will have to know that I am Jehovah.?
Matthew 6:9 Our Father in heaven, praised be your name.
Exodus 3:15 ?This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered
from generation to generation.
Romans 10:13 ?Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved?
JW?s: Those who do not call God his proper name, Jehovah, are not saved!
(a very familiar cult methodology)
?and by the way, Jesus is never called Jehovah in the OT or the NT, so this
is further proof that he is not God.
a. Response to these passages: to the ancients, the name of a person was taken as a
personification of the person. ?Halt in the name of the king?
b. The word Jehovah is never used in either the OT or the NT
YHWH plus the vowels for ADONAI (Lord) = YAHOWAH
Went into Yiddish, then into German as Jehovah.
c. God has many other names in the OT Elohim, Adonai, etc.
(JW?s claim superstitious Jews selectively took YHWH out
without any evidence at all)
d. God is never called YHWH even once in the NT. (Father, God, Lord, etc. Jesu
s never called his Father Jehovah. (Abba, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit)
e. Get this?. JW?s claim that the early church changed all the references to YHWH
in the New Testament. This one is absolutely ridiculous. We have manuscripts from AD 125
IV. There is no punishment in hell.
JW?s claim that there is no conscious existence after death. There is no soul apart
from the physical body. This even applies to Jesus. God will re-create us at a later
time to live in a new physical body. All go to a common ?Hell? upon death to experience
Some, 144,000 JW?s (the ?anointed class?, the ?little flock? of Luke 12:32)will live
with God as spiritual beings, in heaven (Rev 7:4)
The other (my ?other sheep? of John 10:16) JW?s will live on a physical paradise
Proof-text: Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven NW
T: ?Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.?
Proof-text: Ecclesiastes 9:5 ?the dead know nothing?
Everyone else will simple cease to exist.
Example: NWT Luke 23:43 I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise (v
s. I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise)
Matthew 25:46 NWT ?And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off? vs depart into
Note: eternal life and eternal punishment use the same words.
Rev 14:9-12 smoke of their torment rises forever and ever.
Vs 13 Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Blessing and punishment are laid
alongside one another.
Mark 9:44 What does this mean if hell does not involve punishment.
Daniel 12:2 How can you have one without the other.
Luke 12:46-48 Degrees of punishment. If there is no punishment, how can there be degrees of
Luke 16:19-28 torment = pain.
Salvation impossible apart from total obedience to the Watchtower Society and
participation in the programs of the Society (such as going door-to-door).
?To get one?s name written in the Book of Life will depend on one?s works?
(The Watchtower, 1 April, 1947, p 204)
??working hard for the reward of eternal life.? (The Watchtower, 15 Aug, 1972, p 491)
Only the anointed are born again
Others are recreated and based on their performance during the 1000 year reign
of Christ will earn eternal life in a physical paradise on earth.