What Jehovah's Witnesses Believe


God will soon wage war against mankind, destroying everyone on

earth except Jehovah's Witnesses. The churches of Christendom,

they say, will be the first to be destroyed.



Celebrating a birthday in any manner is strictly forbidden. Even

sending a birthday card can bring swift action against the offender

by an official "judicial committee." The punishment is



Blood transfusions:

In actual practice, JW's view accepting a blood transfusion as a

sin more serious than theft or adultery. Thieves and adulterers

are more quickly forgiven by Watchtower judicial committees than

individuals found guilty of taking blood. A Witness must refuse

blood in all circumstances, even when this is certain to result in

death. The organization also requires adults to refuse

transfusions for their minor children.



Except for a few scattered individuals who kept the faith, true

Christianity vanished from the face of the earth shortly after the

death of the twelve apostles -- according to Jehovah's Witnesses.

It was not restored until Charles Taze Russell set up the

Watchtower organization in the late 1870s. When Christ returned

invisibly in 1914, he found Russell's group doing the work of the

"faithful and wise servant" (Matt. 24:45) and appointed them over

all his belongings. All other churches and professed Christians

are actually tools of the devil.


Christ's Return:

The Lord returned invisibly in the year 1914 and has been present

ever since, ruling as King on earth through the Watchtower Society.

References to the second "coming" are rendered as "presence" in the

New World Translation. The generation of people who witnessed

Christ's invisible return in 1914 will not pass away before

Armageddon comes (see Matt. 24:34).



Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God has a precise timetable for

all past and future events, tied together by simple mathematical

formulae and revealed to mankind through the Watchtower Society.

The seven "days" of Genesis creation account were each seven

thousand years long, for a total "week" of 49,000 years. God

created Adam in the year 4026 B.C. His creation of Eve a short

time later marked the end of the Sixth Creative Day and the

beginning of the Seventh. Therefore, we are now approximately

6,000 years into the 7,000-year period -- which means that

Armageddon will soon put an end to 6,000 years of human toil,

making way for a Sabbath-like thousand-year reign of Christ. On

the basis of this chronology, the JW organization has promulgated

a number of specific end-times prophecies.



According to Jehovah's Witnesses, the cross is a pagan religious

symbol adopted by the church when Satan, the devil, took control

of ecclesiastical authority. It had nothing to do with Christ's

death, since JW's maintain that he was nailed to a straight upright

pole without a crossbeam. Witnesses abhor the cross, and new

converts are expected to destroy any crosses they may have, rather

than simply dispose of them.



The Father alone is God, and true worshipers must call him by the

name "Jehovah." Witnesses are taught that Jesus Christ was merely

a manifestation of Michael the archangel in human form -- not God,

but a mere created being. The Holy Spirit is presented as neither

God nor a person but, rather, as an "active force."



This is the punishment for any infraction of Watchtower

organizational regulations. It consists of a public decree,

announced to the audience at a Kingdom Hall meeting and prohibiting

all assocaition or fellowship with the offender. Other Witnesses

are forbidden even to say "Hello" if they encounter the offender

on the street. The only exceptions are that family members may

conduct "necessary business" with a disfellowshiped person, and

elders may speak to him if he approaches them repentantly to seek




Only 144,000 individuals go to heaven. This "little flock" began

with the twelve apostles, and the number was filled by the year

1935. Approximately 9,000 elderly JW's are the only remaining ones

on earth today who will go to heaven, with the rest of the

Jehovah's Witnesses hoping to live on earth forever.



Following the lead of its founder, Charles T. Russell, the

Watchtower Society still teaches that hades is merely the grave,

that the fire of Gehenna instantly disintegrates its victims into

nothingness, and that there is no conscious existence for the dead

until the time of their bodily resurrection.



Celebration of any "worldly holiday" is strictly forbidden for

Jehovah's Witnesses. This prohibition applies to U.S. presidents'

birthdays, Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, Christmas, Easter, New

Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Good Friday, and so on -- even Mother's

Day and Father's Day! Even id a "pagan origin" canot be researched

as the basis for banning a particular observance, the simple fact

that "worldly people" celebrate it is sufficient reason for the

JW's not to celebrate it.


Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is neither God nor a person, according to the

Watchtower teaching. "It" is simply an impersonal "active force"

that God uses in doing his will.



JW's believe that God stopped calling Christians to a heavenly hope

back in the year 1935. Since then he has been offering people the

opportunity to live forever in thsi earth. ("Millions now living

will never die!" is a familiar Jehovah's Witness slogan.) God will

destroy everyone else on the planet, leaving only Jehovah's

Witnesses, and he will restore a Garden-of-Eden paradise for them



Jesus Christ:

In Watchtower theology, Jesus Christ is a mere angel -- the first

one that God created when he started creating angels. Witnesses

identify Christ as Michael the archangel, although they call Jesus

"the Son of God" -- because "the first spirit person God made was

like a firstborn son to him" (1982 Watchtower booklet, "Enjoy Life

on Earth Forever!", p. 14). They also call him "a god," and

translate John 1:1 accordingly in their translation of the Bible.



Witnesses believe that God set up the Watchtower organization as

his channel of communication to gather together those of mankind

who will be saved. As the visible agency of the kingdom of God on

earth, this organization exercises full governmental authority over

believers -- it promulgates laws, puts violaters on trial, operates

Kingdom schools, and so on -- parallel to the secular government.

If there is a conflict between the two, the organization is to be

obeyed, rather than the secular rulers. (In the Witnesses' minds,

they are "obeying God rather than men," Acts 5:29.)



Concerning Christ, JW's believe that he became nonexistent when he

died and that he was raised three days later as a "spirit" -- an

angel. They deny his bodily resurrection. Going along with their

teaching that Christ returned invisibly in 1914, Witnesses believe

that he raised dead Christians to spirit life shortly thereafter,

and that the rest of the human dead will be raised bodily during

the thousand-year reign of God's kingdom and given a second chance

to accept the "Truth."



Although giving lip service to salvation through faith in Christ,

Witnesses actually believe that salvation is impossible apart from

full obedience to the Watchtower Society and vigorous participation

in its prescribed works program. Even individual JW's who are not

sufficiently zealous for the organization may not survive

Armageddon, and those who do make their way into the earthly

paradise must maintain good works throughout Christ's thousand-year

reign before they can be sealed for life.

These are but a few of the major doctrines of the Watchtower Bible

and Tract Society as taught to Jehovah's Witnesses in Kingdom Halls

throughout the world. They also accurately represent the doctrines

that I was taught by them during my association with the

organization. I share them here so that born-again Christians

might have a better understanding of the doctrines held by JW's,

and to aid born-again Christians prepare to witness to the JW's who

come knocking on their doors.

Prepared by:

Eugene W. Gross

523 Touchstone Drive

Durham, NC 27713

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