A Study on Jehovah Witness
The Culture and Birth of Jehovah Witness
Charles Taze Russell
Their founder. The journey to starting it began around the age of 16. A friend asked him some questions that made him question his faith because he could not answer the questions. So when he was 18 he decided to form a Bible study. A year later he would start the Watchtower Tract Society (which later would become the JWs). He had no type of theological education, just doubt. So he created his own religion. He would go on to write the 6 volumes of the Studies in Scriptures.Also, we will later look at some false prophecies in a little bit.
Read 5th paragraph on page 45 (shows Studies are held equal or more important than the Bible)
Succeeded Russell in leading the Jehovah Witness. Just like Russell, he made many false prophecies. He also brought in many of the policies that JWs are known for today, such as not celebrating birthdays and holidays. Forbid military service, flag saluting, and not saying the pledge. Started the door-to-door program. He would also “fix” one of Russell’s prophecies.
Was the third leader of the Jehovah Witness. He would start the process to swap the leadership to a governing body (1976).
Views on College & Career
They highly encourage against college and holding full time jobs. Why? Primarily because they are a pseudo-Christian cult. What does pseudo mean? False. They claim to be Christian but as we study you will see they are false Christians, they are pretty far off. What is a cult? Oxford defines it as, “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.” Their religion is based around Russell’s writings and the Watchtower publications.
So keeping them from college and not stressing education it keeps the people easier to control. As we see when you logically dissect JWs religion the facts don’t add up. Uneducated is easier to control. You get shunned for going to college. They encourage not having full time jobs so you can spend more time evangelizing. Which I believe deeper down the purpose could be a lack of financial stability makes people again easier to control.
Refers to the 144,000 that will be allowed into heaven to reign with God, while everyone else stays on a paradise earth that is saved.. They get that they are the 144,000 by misapplying Revelation 7 that mentions 144,000. They thought all Witnesses were originally apart of this number, but once church membership passed 144,000 they had to do some reinterpreting.
Door to Door Ministry
All witnesses are required to do this and have to give monthly field reports. They have training on how to do this. Spend time training at church
Sources of Religious Authority
Studies in the Scripture
We mentioned these earlier and see that they are held as the way to understand God. Cannot understand the Bible without them. The Bible is its own commentary and can be understood apart from other writings. Study notes can help us dissect, but are not necessary. If the study notes contradict the Scripture, which one is wrong? The study notes.
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
This is the governing body of the Jehovah Witness today. They publish the Watchtower and Awake magazines. Which set JW doctrine.
New World Translation
This is the Jehovah Witness version of the Bible. They kept the translators anonymous. Over the years their identity has been leaked. Almost all of them had no formal education in Hebrew or Greek. One guy had 2 years of training, which is not much at all. They accuse others of not translating correctly. So all these other translations committees are doing it wrong but this one done it right.
When it comes to good translations, NWT will vary greatly in areas. 400 B.C. to the 1400 A.D. is the time period we have copies of the Old Testament. Have they found major differences? No, periods, commas, etc. have been the differences. There is no proof of tampering. We have copies of the New Testament dating to the 100s. Again no significant changes.
So what does the NWT change?
One it adds Jehovah in the NT over 200 times.
Matthew 10:38 changes cross to torture stake because the JWs say the cross is a pagan symbol.
And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me.
John 1:1 is one of the most well known changes
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
John 8:58 makes a significant change.
Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”
Colossians 1 adds other multiple times.
because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist, 18 and he is the head of the body, the congregation.t He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might become the one who is first in all things; 19 because God was pleased to have all fullness to dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.
Views on Lord’s Supper
They call it the Lord’s Evening Meal since that is when Jesus and the disciples had it. They have it once a year. They do it close to Easter. They do it the evening before Passover according to the lunar calendar. But not everyone in the church is allowed to take part. Only those that believe they are a part of the 144,000 can participate in the Lord’s Supper.
Do the Facts Add Up? / Are They Self-Contradictory?
We already pointed out their translation does not match the literary history we have of the Bible. What does Deuteronomy 18:20-22 say? And NWT actually translates it good. So let us test their prophets to see if the are true teachers.
Russell predicted in 1874 that the world would end in 1914, and Christ would begin his 1,000 year earthly reign. WWI started that year, but an end to world governments did not happen. Christ reign did not begin. Rutherford would later come along and claim that in 1914 Christ’s invisible return to earth came.
Rutherford in 1941 claimed Armageddon was only months away.
Rutherford prophesized that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other OT patriarchs would rise from the dead in 1925 to start a theocratic government. He built a mansion called the Beth Sarim for them to live in San Diego (built in 1929). He also purchased a yellow, sixteen-cylinder Cadillac for their use.
This is just three but there are more.
Beliefs on Creation
They believe the creation story took place over thousand of years. Jehovah Witness formative years happened around the time the gap theory was gaining traction.
They do believe in original sin. Which they give a good description. When adam chose to sin he became a dented cake pan, meaning he was only capable of making dented cakes, not perfect.
Who is God?
They do not believe in the Trinity. Which this ties in with their belief Jesus. Their belief is Jesus was a creation. They believe the Holy Spirit is just used to explain God the Father moving.
Who is Jesus?
He is second to God the Father. God is greater than him. They use John 14:28 to try to justify this belief. They also use Colossians 1:15 to try to point to Jesus being created and having a beginning.
They teach before he came to earth he was Michael the Archangel. Lucifer is his brother. They now belief Jesus no longer has a physical body, just a spiritual.
Salvation has more to do with proving your worth rather than Christ (pg. 57)
What Happens When We Die?
They do not believe in Hell. Instead annihilation. Those who don’t serve the true Jehovah just cease to exist. The people who existed before the JWs will be resurrected on judgment day and will be given an opportunity to choose Jehovah.
They also believe right now all that have died are just asleep until God calls them up in the end times.
144,000 will reign with Christ in heaven and the rest of the saved will live for eternity on paradise earth.
How to be Respectable?
I would suggest not wearing a cross.
Don’t depend on holiday outreaches to be a tool in reaching JWs.
Don’t give birthday gifts.
Don’t slam the door in their face.
How to Share the Gospel?
Take into mind they are well trained in their door-to-door ministry. They put a lot into evangelism. They pretty much have their presentation memorized and the major rebuttals. They can almost become robotic with their presentation and get in a zone. So, when they visit tell them you will listen if they agree to let you pray for them at the end. Ask them how you can pray for them. Pray for those needs, but also present the Gospel in your prayer. This is a time knowing how to share the gospel in 60 seconds comes in handy.
Be a friend and build a relationship. They are in a very controlled world. Ask them for their story (testimony). How did they come to the JW? Then share your testimony on how you came to know Christ. They need a safe place and someone they can trust if they are going to leave the JWs. When you leave you get shunned. They have to remove the wicked. (Refer to Print out). Their family and friends will stop having anything to do with them.
Study literary criticism. If you do this then ask them questions about the NWT and discuss translations with them.