James L. Melton - The Plain Truth about the Jehovah's Witnesses
In 1870, at the age of eighteen, an ex- Congregationalist by the name of Charles Taze Russell started a Bible class in Pittsburgh. In 1876, the class elected Russell as their Pastor.
He founded the "Herald of the Morning" in 1879, which eventually developed into what is known today as "The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom." Today this publication has grown to over seventeen million copies per month in over one hundred languages.
In 1884, Russell incorporated the "Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society" at Pittsburgh. Today this organization has branches in over one hundred countries, and it has missionary works in over two hundred and fifty. With over one-half million volunteer workers, the Jehovah's Witnesses have become a serious threat to Bible believers throughout the world.
Russell died in 1916, and Judge J.F. Rutherford took over the Society's leadership. It was under Rutherford's leadership that the group took the name "Jehovah's Witnesses," and Society headquarters moved to Brooklyn. Rutherford died in 1942, and Nathan Knorr took control and boosted the membership to over two million. In 1961, the Society published its own "translation" of the scriptures, called "The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures." Knorr died in 1977. As of 1996, the president of the Watchtower Society was Milton Henschel.
The Trinity Doctrine Denied
According the Bible, God is a Trinity. As all humans are a trinity (soul, body, and spirit--1 Ths. 5:23), God is also a Trinity. In Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man in our image. . ." In Genesis 11:7, God said, ". . . .let us go down, and there confound their language. . ." The terms "us" and "our" obviously refer to the Holy Trinity. So the Trinity is found in the very early chapters of the Bible.
In the New Testament, we can see all three Members of the Trinity at the Baptism of Jesus in Matthew chapter three. God the Father is speaking from Heaven. God the Son is being baptized, and God the Holy Ghost is descending like a dove. When Jesus gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, He said in verse 19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
So one can clearly see that God's word testifies to the fact that He is a Trinity. However, the Jehovah's Witnesses deny this altogether. The book, "Let God Be True", (Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc., 1952) says the following on page 92: "The trinity doctrine was not conceived by Jesus or the early Christians." Then on page 93, this book says: "...the plain truth is that this is another of Satan's attempts to keep the God-fearing person from learning the truth of Jehovah and His Son Jesus Christ."
The JW's cannot UNDERSTAND the Trinity, so they CONDEMN the Trinity. They fail to realize that it is not our job to tell God WHAT HE IS or to even FULLY UNDERSTAND how He can exist. Our responsibility is to BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS, AS HE SAYS IT, WHERE HE SAYS IT, WITHOUT CHANGING A SINGLE WORD!
I John 5:7 says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." Who are we to believe, the Jehovah's Witnesses or God's word?
The Deity of Christ Denied
As the Second Member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ stands co-existent in Eternity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. There are many proofs in the Scriptures for the Deity of Christ. Some are as follows:
(1) In Zechariah 12:10, Jehovah speaks of the future return of Christ and says, ". . . They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourne for him, as one mourneth for his only son . . . ." This is spoken again in Revelation 1:7, which is clearly a reference to Christ Himself, but in Zechariah 12:10 GOD said, ". . . They shall look upon me whom they have pierced . . . ." The One that they pierced was Jesus Christ! So, in Zechariah 12:10, God is saying that He is Jesus Christ.
(2) In John 1:1, John 1:14, 1 John 1:1, and in 1 John 5:7, Jesus is called "the Word," and John 1:1 says that"the Word was God."
(3) Thomas referred to Jesus as "My Lord and my God" in John 20:28, and Jesus did not see the need to correct him.
(4) Isaiah 7:14 gives us the prophecy of the Virgin Birth of Christ and states that His name would be "Immanuel." Matthew 1:23 tells us that this word means "God with us."
(5) In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." The Bible certainly would not say this about anyone less than God.
(6) In John 10:30, Jesus says, "I and my Father are one." Jesus is not a lesser god; He is ONE with the Father.
(7) Micah 5:2 tells us that Jesus is "from everlasting."
(8) In John 8:58, Jesus tells the Pharisees,"Before Abraham was, I am." He claimed to be the "I AM"of Exodus 3:14, which is God Almighty.
(9) Jesus allowed others to worship Him (John 9:38; Matt. 14:33; and Luke 24:52), which was forbidden, unless He was God (Rev. 22:9).
(10) Jesus forgave sins (Mark 2:5), which only God can do (Mark 2:7).
(11) The Lord Jesus Christ is omnipresent (Matt. 18:20; 28:20; II Cor. 13:14; I John 5:7). We know He is God because He is capable of being everywhere at once.
(12) Jesus is omniscient (Mark 11:2-6; Matt. 12:40). He is God because He knows all things.
(13) The Lord Jesus is also omnipotent (Rev. 19:6; Matt. 28:18). He has all power.
(14) According to John 1, 1 John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1, Jesus Christ is the Creator of Genesis 1!
(15) Jesus never sinned! Romans 3:23 says that ALL HAVE SINNED and come short of the glory of God, but Jesus did not sin (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18). So Jesus had to be God.
The Scriptures are clear that Jesus Christ is Deity, yet the Jehovah's Witnesses deny this truth. Here are a few blasphemous remarks made by the JW's over the years concerning the Lord Jesus Christ:
". . . he was the first and direct creation of Jehovah God" (The Kingdom is at Hand, p. 46, 47, 49).
"If Jesus were God, then during Jesus' death, God was dead in the grave" (Let God Be True, p. 91).
". . . the true Scriptures speak of God's Son, the Word, as 'a god'." He is a "mighty god," but not the Almighty God, who is Jehovah" (The Truth Shall Make You Free, p. 47).
Again, who are we to believe, the Jehovah's Witnesses or God's word?
Literal Resurrection Denied
The Bible speaks of a literal and physical resurrection, but the Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus only rose from the grave spiritually. Their literature speaks for itself:
"Therefore the bodies in which Jesus manifested himself to his disciples after his return to life were not the body in which he was nailed to a tree. They were merely materialized for the occasion, resembling on one or two occasions the body in which he died . . . ." (The Kingdom Is At Hand, pg. 259)
"Our Lord's human body . . . did not decay or corrupt . . . whether it was dissolved into gasses or whether it is still preserved somewhere . . . no one knows." (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. 2, pg. 129)
According to the words of Jesus Christ Himself, He is NOT merely a spirit being. He is a literal and physical risen Savior. In Luke chapter twenty-four, beginning at verse thirty-six, the disciples see the risen Christ and they supposed they had seen a spirit (vs. 37). Then Jesus cleared the matter up for everyone when He said, ". . . Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luk. 24:38-39)
When Jesus appeared to Thomas He said, ". . . Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." (Jhn. 20:27) The risen Christ had the crucifixion scars in His body to PROVE that He had been physically resurrected from the dead. If Jesus didn't rise physically then He lied in John 2:18-22 when He said that His "body" would rise in three days. He didn't say His spirit would rise. He said that His BODY would rise. When He arose His disciples actually REMEMBERED this prophecy and believed. The bodily resurrection of Christ is a fundamental Bible doctrine. The salvation of a person's soul rests upon this doctrine, because if Jesus didn't physically rise from the dead AS HE SAID HE WOULD, then we're all lost and going to Hell according to 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (JW's included).
Literal Second Coming Denied
If the Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected literally and physically from the dead, and if He appeared physically to His disciples, then His Second Coming must also be literal and physical.
Acts 1:11 tells us that Jesus will return "in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Jesus ascended into Heaven literally, physically, and visibly, so He will return "in like manner."
The JW's deny this. They insist that the Second Coming of Christ will be SPIRITUAL, rather than literal and physical:
"Christ Jesus comes, not again as a human, but as a glorious spirit person." (Let God Be True, pg. 196)
"Since no earthly men have ever seen or can see the Father, they will be unable to see the glorified Son." (Let God Be True, pg. 197)
"It is a settled Scriptural truth, therefore, that human eyes will not see him at his second coming, neither will he come in a fleshy body." (The Truth Shall Make You Free, pg. 295)
Revelation 1:7 says, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." In Matthew 24:30, Jesus Himself says, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
There's nothing spiritual or invisible about the Second Coming of Christ. The "clouds" will be literal (Rev. 1:7), as will the "fire" (2 Ths. 1:8), the "saints" (1 Ths. 3:13), the "mountains and rocks" (Rev. 6:16), and the thousand- year reign (Rev. 20:1-7). A "spiritual" or "invisible" Second Coming is totally foreign to the written revelation of God.
Literal Burning Hell Denied
The JW's have traditionally believed and taught that there is no eternal punishment for the wicked:
". . . the Bible hell is mankind's common grave..." (Let God Be True, pg. 92. )
"The doctrine of a burning hell where the wicked are tortured eternally after death cannot be true . . . ." (Let God Be True, pg. 99)
We call it to the reader's attention that it was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who first used the term "hell fire" (Mat. 5:22), and it was Jesus Christ who said in Matthew 25:41, ". . . Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
A JW believes that Hell is only the grave that everyone goes to at death. He believes that the saved ones in the graves will be given eternal life on earth after the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, while the unsaved in the graves will be annihilated once and for all in the Lake of Fire. JW's refuse to believe that God will punish the wicked forever in the Lake of Fire. Of course, the Scriptures say something entirely different:
(1) There is no FIRE in the grave, but there certainly is fire in the "hell" of the Bible (Luk. 16:23; Deu. 32:22; Mat. 5:22; 18:9; Jas. 3:6).
(2) No one PRAYS from the grave, but they certainly do in Hell (Luk. 16:24; Jon. 2:2).
(3) Hell was originally made for the Devil and his angels (Mat. 25:41), but the grave was not.
(4) A Christian's SOUL does not go to the grave at death (Phi. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; 1 Ths. 5:10). Only the BODY goes to the grave. An unsaved man's body also goes to the grave at death, but his SOUL goes to a place of TORMENT and FLAMES (Luk. 16:22-23).
(5) The grave cannot possibly be Hell because Jesus said it would be better to enter into life (eternal life) without a hand, a foot, or an eye, than to go to Hell (Mat. 18:8-9). How could it be "better" if Hell is only the grave where there is no suffering at all? According to Jesus Christ, Hell is a lot WORSE than losing a hand, a foot, or an eye forever.
(6) Annihilation cannot be true because the Bible uses such terms as "shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2) and "torment . . . forever" (Rev. 14:11). Shame and torment are sufferings that are experienced by a LIVING BEING, not an annihilated corpse.
God is an ETERNAL Being; therefore, an eternal payment is required for sin (Mar. 9:44-48; Isa. 66:22-23). You can have a FAIR TRIAL, or you can have a FREE PARDON. In a fair trial before God, you will be eternally damned to Hell because you are a sinner against a Holy God. God will have no choice but to sentence you to Hell forever.