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Jehovah's Witness

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Jehovah's Witnesses Series

Contributed by Carl Allen on Jul 8, 2008 (message contributor)

based on 7 ratings  (rate this sermon) | 3,044 views
Scripture:
Denomination: Baptist

Summary: A look at the differences between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christianity and how we can witness to them.

  Study Tools
Jehovah’s Witnesses
There Is No Hell….Hard Work Earns “Paradise”
Intro
Knock on any door in the United States, as well as in many countries around the world, and the odds are excellent that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been there ahead of you. They are a serious challenge to Christians for several reasons.
JW’s continue to grow at a rapid pace.
1980’s ½ million members in United States
2.25 million worldwide
1998 1 million members in United States
5.9 million worldwide in 233 countries.
The amount of time JW’s spend “preaching”, either in service, door-to-door, or in other public places is enormous. In 1998, JW’s spent almost 183 million hours preaching in the United States alone. In addition, the JW’s also conducted 4.3 million Bible studies for those who showed interest in their doctrines.
Officially called The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, JW’s arm their members with the printed page in astounding amounts. They have a magazine called the Awake which is over 18 million copies and in 80 different languages. The Watchtower, is another magazine sent out semi monthly to instruct the society’s members in doctrine and practice, reached almost 21 million copies in 126 languages.
All JW witnessing efforts and tools are designed to oppose and contradict the biblical doctrines and teachings and to twist Scriptures to make the Bible fit a preconceived theology it simply does not teach. The JW’s have their version of the Bible, The new World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, which is filled with mistranslations designed to prove JW doctrines. But just like the other cults, to fully understand where they are coming from, we need to start at the beginning.
I. The History
a. The roots of the JW’s start with Charles Taze Russell
i. As a teenager he rejected many of the views taught in his congregational church, particularly the doctrines of hell and the trinity
ii. He was a skeptic and influenced by Adventist teachings that there was no eternal punishment, because the wicked were annihilated.
iii. At age 18, Russell formed his own Bible study and began developing his own system of theology, emphasizing the second coming in Christ.
1. Along with the Adventist he predicted the coming of Christ to be 1874.
2. And after the 1874 passed, he said that Christ returned in a spiritual and invisible way.
iv. In 1879, Russell parted from the Adventist and launched his own magazine, The Watchtower.
1. Russell set 1914 as the year that the battle of Armageddon would be and God would destroy all present governments of the earth, end “Gentile times” and establish His kingdom.
2. In 1896, he founded the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and moved its headquarters to Brooklyn, New York.
3. When World War I started in 1914 Russell claimed that it was the beginning of Armageddon.
v. Russell dies in 1916 as a failed prophet.
b. Joseph F. Rutherford takes the reigns.
i. He was a lawyer who served as the legal advisor to the JW’s.
ii. Rutherford instituted many changes that alienated some of the other leaders of the society.
iii. He set 1925 as the new date for Armageddon.
1. After 1925 passed, he backed away from his prediction, claiming that he had been misunderstood by the JW faithful who had erroneously anticipated the end.
2. In 1925, he pushed through the adoption of a new name for the society, Jehovah’s Witnesses – taken from .
3. Another innovation was the door-to-door visitation program, with the main goal to increase the membership.
a. They would do this by spreading the word that only 144,000 people were doing to make it to heaven.
b. In 1930, a real problem arouse, the ranks were filling fast, and Armageddon still had not happened.
c. So he announced that everyone who had become a JW before 1935 would go to heaven, while everyone who became a JW after 1935 would be among the “great crowd” who would not go to heaven but could look forward to living on Earth in a new paradise after Armageddon and the Millennium.
iv. Rutherford passed away in 1942.
c. The next president of the Society, was Nathan Knorr, who was cut from a different cloth and stayed in the background.
i. In 1943, the Watchtower started a new revelation that taught that Christ had returned in 1914, but invisible.
ii. He also tried to date the beginning of the second coming, but also failed.
d. In 1977, Frederick Franz, succeeded Knorr as president.
i. He was seen as the most knowledgeable Hebrew scholar in the society.
ii. He was taken to court for perjury shortly after.
1. He confessed that he could not translate even the simplest of Bible verses back into Hebrew, even though he claimed to be knowledgeable in Greek, Hebrew, as well as many other languages.
iii. His embarrassment in court over looked by the JW’s/
e. Milton G. Henschel, took over in 1992 after the death of Franz
i. He discarded the entire 1914 generation prophecy by producing more “new light” (a favorite JW term to explain its many changes in doctrine and teachings)
ii. So the position held for 80 years by the society, was totally abolished and replaced by a more flexible point of view
II. Theological Differences
a. Trinity
i. The JW deny the Trinity, calling it as insult to “God given intelligence and reason.”
1. JW love to point out that the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, and this adds to the unbiblical nature of the term.
2. An obvious response is that the word “Bible” is not in the Scripture either, nor the word “theocracy” (a JW term for God’s rulership).
3. The point however is that the concept of the Trinity is definitely in the Bible
ii. JW’s are trained to ask questions when going door-to-door.
1. Who ran the universe for the three days Jesus was dead and in the grave?
2. The biblical response to this rather childish question is, ‘God did.”
a. Though Jesus body died, He continued to exist, and the triune God continued to rule the universe.
iii. Biblical Christianity has always taught that the eternal god exists in three coequal and coeternal persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
1. In the Old Testament, references to the Trinity include:
a.
b.
c.
2. The New Testament states the Trinity clearly as three distinct, divine persons in:
a.
b.
c.
d.
b. Christ’s Deity
i. A natural outgrowth of the denial of the Trinity by JW’s is their denial of Christ deity.
1. JW’s teach a king of polytheism with their doctrine of “two gods.”
2. They say Jehovah is the Almighty God who created Jesus
3. The Jesus, the mighty god, created everything else.
ii. Charles Russell taught that Jesus Christ has been the archangel Michael in heaven before He came to earth.
iii. JW’s will also twist the scriptural phrase “the only begotten Son of God” (), claiming that Jesus was the “first and only being created directly by Jehovah.”
iv. They also twist the reference to Jesus being
the Word” or “Logos” (john 1:1, 14) to mean one who simply “speaks for Jehovah”
1. With this kind of Scripture distortion, the JW’s try to prove that Jesus might be called a “mighty god,” but He was not Almighty God – Jehovah himself.
c. Jesus’ Bodily Resurrection
i. As for Jesus’ resurrection the JW’s insist that Christ did not rise bodily from the dead, but only as a spirit who looked as if He were a body.
1. The form the disciples saw after the Resurrection was Jesus’ re-created body.”
ii. A standard reply to the JW insistence that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead is to cite .
1. Following His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples, and they were frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost.
2. Jesus asked them to touch Him and see that He had flesh and bones.
3. Then, for good measure, He ate a piece of broiled fish.
d. The Holy Spirit as God
i. The JW’s teach that the Holy Spirit is an “invisible act or force” that God uses to inspire His servants (the JW’s) to do His will.
1. According to the Watchtower magazine, the Holy Spirit is like electricity.
ii. Here are a few references that clearly attribute personal traits to the Holy Spirit.
1.
2. ,
3.
4.
5.
e. Christ’s Full Atonement
i. JW’s are working their way to heaven, but what they might not understand is that JW’s readily give Christ credit for giving them the opportunity to do so.
ii. JW’s constantly try to affirm their salvation even though that “salvation” will not include going to heaven.
1. Only the 144,000 JW’s will do that, and those ranks were closed decades ago.
2. What JW’s are working for now is a place in an earthly paradise.
iii. Scripture References to refute this
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
III. How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses
a. We need to be absolutely sure of what the Bible teaches regarding the Trinity, Jesus’ deity, and resurrection, the Holy Spirit and Salvation through grace, not works.
i. This is the only way you can have hope of answering (much less witnessing to) the JW’s when they come to your door.
b. You need these Bible basics to give a reason for the hope that is within you ()
c. Above all, you need to know in you heart – not just according to “reason” – that Christ is, indeed, God, and He died for our sins and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
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