By Jarrod Jacobs
Most all of us are familiar with the cult known as the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Perhaps we have been greeted by them from time to time as they canvas our area where we live. How do we as Christians respond to them? What ought our attitude be toward these people? I have had the opportunity to meet with two “Jehovah’s Witnesses” over the course of the last six weeks and have learned quite a bit about them and their beliefs. Since they terminated the studies with me, I thought it would be profitable for all our dear readers to consider the following that we might be well-equipped and “ready to give an answer” when the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” knock on our door.
What Should My Attitude Be Toward The “Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
First of all, do not be rude to them. If they knock on your door, answer and speak to them politely. This is because a rude comment or slamming the door in their face is interpreted by them to be “persecution,” and this just bolsters their conviction that they must be right because they have been “persecuted” for the Lord’s sake.
Knowing that Christians will treat others as they wish to be treated (Matt. 7:12), the next thing we must remember is that these people are lost. They are not Christians, have not been saved; they teach doctrines contrary to the gospel, therefore, they are lost in their sins (Gal. 1:6-9; Rom. 16:17). My attitude toward them needs to be an attitude that I want them to be saved from their sins. I need to take the time with them to explain what one must do to be saved. This way, their blood will not be on my hands because I missed an opportunity to teach a lost soul the truth (Ezek. 3:17-21; 33:7-9; Acts 18:6; 20:26-27). Does this mean they will listen? No, but when we explain the gospel plan of salvation to someone, it is then their responsibility to accept or reject, not ours (1 Cor. 3:6).
Do Not Let “Jehovah’s Witnesses” Run The Conversation
Once inside, they will generally wish to set up an appointment to come and study from one of their booklets. Once this date has been set, and the study begins, do not let these people run the conversation. They wish for you to read the paragraphs of their booklet, read corresponding passages, and just accept what they say. This must not be done, because much of what they teach is false. John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). To “try the spirits” is to “test, discern, examine” (Strong’s) the principles, or doctrines under consideration. Paul said that elders are to hold “fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince (“tell a fault, rebuke, admonish,” Strong’s) the gainsayers (“those who contradict,” NKJ, NAS)” (Tit. 1:9). Certainly people like the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” contradict many Bible truths in order to spread their doctrine. Therefore, we must not allow them to run the conversation, but we must be ready to ask questions of them, and challenge their doctrines in light of what the Bible says. In so doing, perhaps we can win them to the Lord. (It has happened before, and Lord willing, it will happen again.)
Some Doctrines Taught By the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
In order to better equip ourselves for meeting the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” let us consider some of their doctrines in light of divine truth.
1. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that God’s name has always been “Jehovah” and that men have always called God “Jehovah.” In fact, they seldom refer to God the Father as “Father,” or “God,” but “Jehovah.” They believe God will not hear your prayers unless you use that title.
The truth is that God has not always been known by the name “Jehovah.” God told Moses, “I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them” (Exod. 6:3). As we continue to read the Bible, we learn that God refers to himself by several names: “God Almighty,” “I AM,” “Jehovah,” “Father,” “Holy and Reverend,” etc. All of these names can rightfully be used in addressing God.
2. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that Jesus was a created being, not divine (deity). In my studies with the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” they were quite adamant that Christ is not the Son of God, but the first created, or a son of God. They said he was as high as you could get, but not divine. In fact, they said he was Michael the archangel (Jude 9; Rev. 12:7) while in Heaven, but Jesus on earth. They misused passages like Colossians 1:15 which say Christ is “the firstborn of every creature” and suggested this means that Christ was the first-one-born, hence a created being. In truth, the term “firstborn” means “first in rank, or position.” Two good examples of how “firstborn” is used by God include: (1) In Exodus 12, God said he would “pass over” those who had the blood on the doorposts and lintel (v. 22). However, when he came to the Egyptians, he “smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle” (v. 29). Now, did God simply kill the first child to be born in the house? No! It was the firstborn son (Exod. 4:23). It would not necessarily be the first child born in the family! (2) Jesus is called the “firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). Was Jesus the first one to ever rise from the dead? Of course, not!
Yet, the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” still insist that Jesus is not divine (God). Let us understand that the name given to Christ, “Immanuel,” means “God with us” (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23)! The prophecies of old said that his name would be “the mighty God . . . everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6). Jesus accepted worship (Matt. 8:2; 9:18; 14: 33), and said he and the Father were “one.” The Jews understood that he was declaring himself equal with God (John 10:33). He even took the name “I AM” — a name reserved for the Father (John 8:58; Exod. 3:14).
3. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that at death the body is buried, and that is the end of things until Christ returns. They say man has no soul, but that he is a soul. They base this on a misunderstanding of Genesis 2:7 — “. . . man became a living soul.” They conveniently ignore, or skew such passages as Ecclesiastes 12:7; James 2:26; Matthew 10:28; 2 Corinthians 4:16; and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 which make clear distinctions between the body, soul, and spirit of a man.
4. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach many “mainstream” denominational doctrines as well. They teach that man is born in sin. They also teach that baptism is to show the world your commitment to God. Both doctrines are completely without merit. The Bible teaches that the soul that sins shall die, and that neither the father or the son is responsible for any sins but his own (Ezek. 18:4, 20; Col. 3:25). We also understand that baptism is necessary for the remission of sins (1 Pet. 3:21; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16, 2:38). This, one cannot deny without contradicting God.
5. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that our only hope is on this earth. They teach that this earth will be here forever, and when Jesus returns, he will make this world into a paradise, akin to Eden, in which the righteous will live forever. They teach that only 144,000 will go to Heaven, a misinterpretation of Revelation 14:1. It amazed me to sit and speak to people who had no hope of Heaven and didn’t care! They said they didn’t want to go, and looked forward to being here on this earth when it was “free of wicked people.”
Such foolish talk as this amazes the Bible student. The Bible says that God wants all his children with him, not just part of them (Rev. 22:17; John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Tit. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:3-4)! I showed such passages as these to the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” but they ignored them, and skewed passages such as Matthew 5:5 and Psalm 37:29 in an effort to say that the earth will remain eternally.
6. “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that their name is given by God. They will use Isaiah 43:10, and 44:8 to prove this. They will often cite Acts 1:8 for “proof” of their name in the New Testament. The problem with this is that in Isaiah (56:5; 62:6; 65:15) God promises to call his people by a “new name,” a name he would give them! This name was given in Acts 11:26 — Christian! Acts 1:8 was not speaking to all people in general. Rather, Jesus was speaking to his apostles who were about to go into all the world to preach. Therefore, we need to respect the context of this verse, and see that it was not being spoken as something which would apply to all men everywhere.
7. Besides all this, “Jehovah’s Witnesses” have their own Bible. It is called the “New World Translation” which has mistranslated and misapplied the Bible to teach their various false doctrines. When they come to your door with that particular book (not a Bible) in their hand, be prepared! Their Bible, because it is written by men, has many errors in it, and can be used against them (Ex: Rev. 1:7-8, 17-18; 2:8; 22:6-7). The “NWT” shows Christ to be equal with God, i.e., deity, the very doctrine they reject!. We must be ready for them. In your study with them, point them to the Bible you are using and read from it.
This study is not exhaustive, but I wanted our dear readers to be aware of my experience. Perhaps it will be of help to you the next time a “Jehovah’s Witness” knocks. Please, do not slam the door on them, but remember their souls need to be saved.
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