Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses

Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses

Approximately 9,000 Jehovah Witnesses needlessly die each year because they refuse blood transfusions.  But much worse is the ultimate fate awaiting them for their acceptance of Jehovah’s Witness’ teaching concerning how to attain eternal life.

Instead of slamming the door in their faces, I plead with you to present to them a few facts that hopefully will begin to open their minds to the truth concerning who Jesus is and what He has accomplished on their behalf.

The Bible says, “These things have I written to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life” (First John 5:13).

This verse says we must believe in the Name of the Son of God.  The Name “Jesus” means “God our Savior.”  So if someone believes Jesus is God and that He did everything necessary to get us to heaven and is therefore trusting Jesus as his Savior, he can know he’s going to heaven.

But Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe it is possible to know you have eternal life since, according to them, gaining eternal life depends on what you do for God rather than what God did for us.

According to their magazine Watchtower, the way to receive eternal life is by faith and works.  It states, “Persons desiring divine approval and eternal life must understand God’s Word, declare it to others and live according to the Bible” (June 15,1977, page 373).

But how did Jesus say we get eternal life?

He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).

If you study Jehovah’s Witness teachings, you’ll find a lot of false doctrine, such as their belief that only 144,000 are going to heaven and everyone else will dwell on earth.  They don’t believe there is any such thing as eternal punishment, but rather people will simply cease to exist.  They believe Jesus was crucified on a torture stake and not a cross.

You will note that none of these things affect one’s eternal salvation, so it is important not get sidetracked from what really matters.

When talking to them, I avoid using the word “cross” and simply say, “Christ died for our sins.”  Since they think only 144,000 are going to heaven, I avoid using the phrase “going to heaven” and instead say,  “get eternal life.”

Unfortunately, Jehovah’s Witnesses put more confidence in their organization (the Watchtower Society), than in the Word of God.  They are taught they are unable to properly understand the Bible apart from that organization.

I have even asked some of them if they would believe the way they do if they read only the Bible.  All have said, “no,” not realizing they are in reality admitting they have been brainwashed.

My goal is to introduce truth to them in such a way that, hopefully, some will start to question the lies they have been taught.

One Bible phrase they all know is “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).  They believe this supports their belief that eternal life is something that must be earned.

I always point out that this verse is not speaking of how to gain eternal life (which is a gift), but how to receive God’s blessings here on earth (which are rewards).

I show them a passage that is speaking of how to gain eternal life and ask them what they think it is saying.

Romans 4:4,5, say, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.  But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

I point out that these verses are saying whenever you work to get something, that “something” must be considered something owed you.  But when it comes to how to get the gift of eternal life, the condition to receive it is to do no work.

How else could you interpret these verses?

Don’t expect them to come around to your way of thinking at this point.  Very rarely does that happen.  Your job is to give them the truth and, prayerfully, at some point in the future they will change their minds.

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus is God.  They believe that before Jesus came to this earth, He existed as Michael the archangel.  One question to ask them is: “If Jesus in His prehuman state was Michael the archangel, then why is Michael called ‘one of the chief princes’ in Daniel 10:13?  Doesn’t this indicate that Michael is one among equals?”

Another question to ask is: “If Jesus isn’t God, then how was He able to raise His own body from the dead?  Jesus said, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’ (John 2:19).“  Verse 21 explains He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Jehovah’s Witnesses also deny the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit.   One question to ask is: “If the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but simply an active force, then why did Jesus refer to Him as “He”?   (John 14:16,17).”

Another question concerning the Deity of the Holy Spirit is: “If the Holy Spirit is a force, as the Watchtower Society claims, then why does He use the personal pronouns ‘Me’ and ‘I’ in reference to Himself?  Acts 13:2, says, ‘As they ministered to the Lord, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ “

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to ask them questions.  They are not used to doing any independent thinking.

And please follow the biblical advice never to argue.  Present your case in a loving and kind manner no matter what their response.  Second Timothy 2:24, says, “But a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all….”.

Remember, these people are putting their faith in an organization.  So in some cases, it might be advisable to point out that hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide left the Watchtower organization between 1976 and 1978 because they were told that 1975 was the year Armageddon would occur and Christ would set up an earthly paradise.  Some Witnesses even sold their homes and dedicated their time to spreading their message of this coming kingdom.

A former Jehovah’s Witness, David Reed, had this to say about the false predictions of the Watchtower Society, “Although condemning others as false prophets, they themselves predicted that the world would end in 1914; later, that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would raise from the grave in 1925; and, more recently, that the world would end and the thousand-year-reign of Christ would begin in 1975.”

This fact alone should give them pause to doubt their belief system.

And lastly, I’d like to bring up their translation of the Bible, The New World Translation. Did you realize that of the few people who are responsible for making that so called translation, only one of them had any training in languages and he only had two years studying classical Greek (which is not the same Greek used in the New Testament)?

If you look up John 1:1, in any Bible translation except theirs, you’ll read a verse that clearly says Jesus is God.  In the New King James Version it reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

According to John 1:14, the Word is Jesus.  John 1:1 couldn’t be clearer.  Jesus was with God and He is God.  How is that possible?  The reason is because God exists in Three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But if you look up John 1:1 in The New World Translation, you’ll read, “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

But they made a big mistake, not only in their translation, but also in how they sought to justify it.  The Witnesses cited the Greek scholar, Julius Mantey, to support their “translation.”  Julius Mantey, upon learning that he had been quoted, wrote an article showing that it is not proper to translate this verse as the Jehovah’s Witnesses had done. He entitled his article A Grossly Misleading Translation.

This article is quoted below.

A GROSSLY MISLEADING TRANSLATION

John 1:1 which reads “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” is shockingly mistranslated, “Originally the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god,” in a New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, published under the auspices of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Since my name is used and our Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament is quoted on page 744 to seek to justify their translation, I am making this statement.

The translation suggested in our Grammar for the disputed passage is, “the Word was deity.” Moffatt’s rendering is “the Word was divine.” Williams’ translation is, “the Word was God himself.” Each translation reflects the dominant idea in the Greek, For, whenever an article does not precede a noun in Greek, that noun can either be considered as emphasizing the character, nature, essence or quality of a person or thing, as theos (God) does in John 1:1, or it can be translated in certain contexts as indefinite, as they have done.

If the Greek article occurred with both Word and God in John 1:1 the implication would be that they are one and the same person, absolutely identical. But John affirmed that “the Word was with (the) God” (the definite article preceding each noun), and in so writing he indicated his belief that they were distinct and separate personalities. Then John next stated that the Word was God, i.e., of the same family or essence that characterizes the Creator. Or, in other words, that both are of the same nature, and that nature is the highest in existence, namely, divine.

Examples where the noun in the predicate does not have an article, as in the above verse, are: John 4:24, “God is spirit” (not a spirit; 1 John 4:16, “God is love” (not a love); and Matthew 13:39, “the reapers are angels,” i.e., they are the type of beings known as angels. In each instance the noun in the predicate was used to describe some quality or characteristic of the subject, whether as to nature or type.

The apostle John in the context of the introduction to his gospel is pulling all the stops out of language to portray not only the deity of Christ but also His equality with the Father. He states that the Word was in the beginning, that He was with God, that He was God and that all creation came into existence through Him and that not even one thing exists which was not created by Christ. What else could be said that John did not say? In John 1:18 he explained that Christ has been so intimate with the Father that He was in His bosom and that He came to earth to exhibit or portray God. But if we had no other statement from John except that which is found in John 14:9, “He that has seen me has seen the Father,” that would be enough to satisfy the seeking soul that Christ and God are the same in essence and that both are divine and equal in nature.

Besides, the whole tenor of New Testament revelation points in this direction. Compare Paul’s declaration in Colossians 1:19 for instance: “That all the divine fullness should dwell in Him,” or the statement in Hebrews 1:3, “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the perfect representation of His being, and continues to uphold the universe by His mighty word” (Williams’ translation). And note the sweeping, cosmic claim recorded in Matthew 28:19, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”

And, if we contrast with that the belittling implication that Christ was only a god, do we not at once detect the discord? Does not such a conception conflict with the New Testament message both in whole and in part? Why, if John, in the midst of the idolatry of his day, had made such a statement would not the first century hearers and readers have gotten a totally inadequate picture of Christ who we believe is the Creator of the universe and the only Redeemer of humanity?

Julius Robert Mantey, A.B., Th.D., Ph.D., D.D.
Professor of Greek and New Testament
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary

Chicago, Illinois

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