By Mark White
Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine is a complicated maze of misapplied and wrested Scriptures, amalgamated together for their own religious purposes. For the Watchtower, nothing is straightforward and simple. Their view of the world, the coming judgment, and the resultant “new order” is formulated by their determination to make passages of Scripture fit their preconceptions. They evade the “simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Discontent with plain Bible teaching that Jesus Christ will return to raise the dead, execute judgment on the living and the dead, and usher in the complete destruction of the elements of the heavens and earth (Jn. 5:27-29; 2 Pet. 3:5-13), they offer false hope and deceive the hearts of thousands of souls. And, like building blocks fitted neatly together, their doctrines are co-dependent. If one block crumbles, the entire wall will come tumbling down.
Like many other sectarian religions of our time, the Witnesses are enamored with the Bible word Armageddon (Rev. 16:14,16). Unlike the dispensational premillennialist who sees Armageddon as the beginning of “World War III,” with nation warring against nation, Watchtower devotees believe that Armageddon represents a righteous war fought by God. Their doctrine of the news heavens and near earth hinges on their understanding (or should I say, misunderstanding) of this pivotal point in human history. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that:
This war of God will prepare the way for a righteous new order. Unlike wars of men, which kill both the good and the bad, Armageddon will destroy only the bad (Psa. 92:7). Jehovah God will be the Judge, and he will remove any who willfully refuse to obey his righteous laws. . . After Armageddon, no part of this wicked world will remain. Only persons who serve God will continue to live (1 Jn. 2:17) (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Brooklyn, NY, 1982, p. 155).
Just what do the Witnesses mean by this “new heaven and new earth” anyway? The “new heavens” are not new physical heavens, but:
The “new heavens” refer to a new rulership over the earth. The “heavens” now are made up of man-made governments. At Armageddon these will pass away (2 Pet. 3:7). The “new heavens” that will replace them will be God’s heavenly government. Its king will be Jesus Christ. But ruling with him as part of the “new heavens” will be 144,000 of his faithful followers (Rev. 5:9,10; 14:1,3) (Ibid., p. 160).
This quotation introduces the 144,000 — another integral building block in the Witnesses’ theory. Since they believe that only this exact number of God’s people will be in the heavenly kingdom with Christ, there must be some reward for the obedient who are not in this select group. This is the “new earth,” according to Witnesses doctrine. Again, we notice:
What, then, is the “new earth”? It is not a new planet. God made this planet Earth just right for humans to live on, and it is his will that it remain forever (Psa. 104:5). The “new earth” refers to a new group or society of people. . . The “earth” that will be destroyed are the people that make themselves part of this wicked system of things (2 Pet. 3:7). The “new earth” that replaces them will be made up of true servants of God who have separated themselves from this world of wicked people (Jn. 17:4; 1 Jn. 2:17) (Ibid., p. 160).
Jehovah’s witnesses are looking for a paradise on literal Earth. They contend that the planet Earth as we know it will physically continue to exist eternally, with all wickedness and wicked people removed from it. A veritable “Utopia” will exist for the faithful.
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door will seek to pique your interest in studying with them by setting forth these false hopes of a paradise Earth. And it is an appeal which captures the attention of many people. After all, isn’t everyone interested in the complete eradication of sickness, death, crime, environmental pollution, war, and dishonest politicians?
Wouldn’t we all enjoy living in the perfect year-round climate, in a fine home, with plenty of good food to eat? This is the “new earth” promise of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But how does this Utopia” all come about?
Witnesses believe that the righteous who survive Armageddon will have the job of clearing away the old system and cleaning up the earth. Once this clean-up is accomplished, then:they will have the privilege, under the direction of the Kingdom rule, of cultivating the earth and making it a beautiful place in which to live. What a happy work that will he? God will bless everything that is done. He will provide the fight kind of climate to grow crops and raise livestock, and he will see to it that these are protected from disease and harm. We cannot even imagine how wonderful life will he in paradise on earth (Ibid., p, 159).
We see then, that the Watchtower makes its appeal on the basis of the “new earth.” Living eternally with God in heaven is not even a consideration to them. Rather than appeal to the souls of men on the basis of the eternal , they entice their followers with earthly promise
Surely you want to live on. the paradise earth like the garden in which the first man Adam was created. (Gen. 2:8; Lk. 23:43).. Think of it — no more war, come or violence. You will be able to walk anywhere at any time of the day or night without fear of being harmed. The wicked simply will no longer be (Psa. 37:35-38) (Ibid., p.159).
Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite adept at pulling Scriptures completely out of context, and stretching them to it their definitions of the new paradise on earth. By this means, they develop these characteristics of the new society: (1) God’s kingdom will be the only government ruling on the earth. (2) People of all races and nationalities will live together as one family of brothers and sisters. (3) Peace will exist between people and animals. Now dangerous animals will then be completely at peace with mankind. (4) Beautiful homes and gardens will be enjoyed by every inhabitant of the new earth. 5) There will be no more sickness, aging, or death. Even he old will grow young again! (6) Persons now dead will enjoy the paradise earth, because they will be resurrected and reunited with their loved ones. How wonderful it would he if these things were only true! But these promises are based on wrong premises: The Bible simply does not teach this compendium of Utopian ideals for planet Earth.
Where the Witnesses Make Their Mistake
Assumptions often lead to false conclusions. Witnesses assume that the physical world is eternal. It is not the Creator’s intention that his creation exist forever in either its present physical or moral condition nor in some paradisiacal form. Even as clearly as Genesis 8:22, God stated, “While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. “The phrase “while the earth remaineth” inherently suggests that the earth will not always remain. 2 Peter 3 discusses the: devastation of the antediluvian world, contrasting its destruction by water with the means of the eventual ultimate destruction of the earth by tire. verses 6-7 states, “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the’ he same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and Perdition of ungodly men.’ !Of course, the Witnesses’ argument is based on their view of “earth” and “heavens.
They do not regard this destruction of earth as the global sphere upon which we live, but of the unrighteous people therein. The word for earth in these passages is the Greek word ge and is translated by the English words “ground,” “land,” “earth,” or ‘country” in the King, James Version. Its basic meaning is “soil.” Strong defines ge as “soil, by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application): country, earth (-ly),-round, land, world.” Obviously then, the “earth” that’ -‘ is to be destroyed by fire is the physical globe itself. Jesus himself said that the earth would pass, or perish. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18); Furthermore, Peter continues his description of the dissolution of the heavens (sky or atmosphere) and earth in 2 Peter 3:10-11. Carefully observe what the apostle says will occur: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass .away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, whit manner of persons ought ye to he in all holy conversation and godliness.” Does this sound like a paradise being born? Is this passage just describing the annihilation of the wicked, or the destruction of the very elements from which this earth and its atmosphere is constructed? Simply stated, the heavens and the earth will he dissolved, meaning hat they will lose their form and be returned to the original state from which God created them! It is simply astounding that, the very passages from which they claim to find proof for their “new earth” theory, actually sets forth the very opposite view!
Indeed, the hope of every Christian is embodied in the promise God has given of ‘new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”(2Pet. 3:13). But this is not the present earth or heavens whose elements will be destroyed by fire. We fully anticipate dwelling with our Father eternally, in the celestial city called Heaven, where neither sin nor unrighteousness can exist (Rev. 21:14). This is not some false hope, based on false teaching, but a real and much longed for reward. .
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 8, p. 10-11
April 15, 1993