What’s the difference: Jehovah’s Witness

May 27, 2023

What’s the difference: Jehovah’s Witness

there is no hell
hard work earns “paradise”

Kingdom Hall
Jehovah’s Witnesses

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~ Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) are known for their aggressive door-to-door witnessing program
~ in the early 1980’s, the JW’s claimed a half a million members in the US and more than 2.25 million throughout the world
~ in 1998, they claimed just over a million members in the US and just under 5,900,000 members in 233 countries
~ in 1998 they claimed almost 183,000 hours preaching in the US; almost 1.2 billion hours worldwide
~ they are officially called The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, JW members are armed with printed pages in astounding numbers
~ Awake! is one of their semimonthly magazines, designed to attract and intrigue nonmembers
~ The Watchtower is another semimonthly magazine designed to instruct society members in doctrine and practice
~ their witnessing efforts and tools are designed to oppose and contradict biblical doctrines and teachings and to twist scripture to make it fit a preconceived theology
~ the JW’s have their own version of the Bible (they will use the Holy Bible to lore people in, then switch to their bible)
~ JW’s are convinced by The Watchtower that all those who disagree with them – particularly biblical Christians – are not only wrong but are mortal enemies who will eventually be destroyed by Jehovah at the great battle of Armageddon
~ JW’s are highly controlled by The Watchtower and are constantly told they cannot interpret the Bible for themselves
~ must avoid independent thinking, never question the counsel provided by The Watchtower

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Charles Russell
how it all began

~ 1852-1916
~ Charles Taze Russell rejected many of the views taught in his Congregational church, particularly the doctrines of hell and the Trinity
~ he was influenced by Adventist teaching, assuring him that there was no eternal punishment – the wicked are annihilated
~ his faith in scripture was restored, but still remained distrustful of all churches and denominations
~ by the time he was 18, he had formed his own Bible study and began developing his own systems of theology, emphasizing the second coming of Christ (many Adventists had predicted this would happen in 1874)
~ in 1879, Russell parted ways with the Adventists and launched his own magazine, eventually known as The Watchtower
~ financing the magazine and the spread of his movement came mostly from his personal income
~ Russell set 1914 as the new date of the battle of Armageddon, where God would destroy all present governments, end “Gentile times” and establish His Kingdom
~ by 1896 he had founded The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
~ in 1908 he moved the headquarters from Pennsylvania to New York City
~ The Watchtower soon owned entire blocks in Brooklyn – they are still headquartered in Brooklyn today
~ when WW1 started in 1914, Russell claimed that it was the “beginning of Armageddon”, but Armageddon never happened
~ Russell died in 1916, a failed Watchtower prophet, but he wouldn’t be the last

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Charles Russell

Rutherford sets new date for Armageddon

~ in 1917, Rutherford – a lawyer who had served as legal advisor to the WtBTS became the JW’s new president
~ he instituted many changes that alienated some of the other leaders
~ he set 1925 as the new date for Armageddon
~ when 1925 came and went, the leaders backed away from the date, claiming that he had been “misunderstood”
~ in 1931, he [ushed through the adoption of a new name for the society – Jehovah’s Witnesses – which comes from Isaiah 43: 10 (KJV)

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah

~ one of the main motives for adapting the name change was to avoid confusion between the WTBTS and certain splinter groups such as the Dawn Bible Students Association, which had been formed by disenchanted former members
~ another Rutherford innovation was the door-to-door visitation program
~ he proclaimed that only 144,000 people would make it to heaven, which was used to draw people in
~ as the 1930’s arrived, the JW’s had a real problem – Armageddon still had not happened and soon the JW’s membership would surpass the 144,000 mark
~ at this point, Rutherford announced that everyone who had joined the JW’s before 1935 would go to heaven (“the little flock”) while everyone else would be among the “great crowd”, these people would not go to heaven, but would enjoy living on earth in a new paradise
~ in the late 1930’s Rutherford continued to be known for his scathing denouncements of traditional Christians
~ no more dates were set, but the society kept preaching that Armageddon was “coming soon”
~ 1940 was predicted as “the most important year yet”
~ in 1941, the society announced that “there were just a few remaining months before Armageddon”
~ Rutherford died in 1942 and there was still no Armageddon

~ Knott took over after Rutherford, staying mostly in the background, changing policy, making all its publications anonymous
~ The Truth Shall Make You Free, a book published by WTBTS, was the first step in coming up with a new dating system
– previously the JW’s taught that Jesus had returned invisibly in 1874, the book redated his “invisible” return to 1914, and in accordance to Matthew 24: 34 the generation that was alive at the time would not “pass away” before Armageddon
– as the years went by the society did some shuffling of the 6,000 years of history that had been taught by Russell
– the new system being taught set the new date as “absolutely final”, being in 1975
~ in the 1960’s and 70’s leaders strongly encouraged members not to marry or have children
~ Knott died in 1977, with over 2 million active members around the world

The Watchtower
… well circulated Awake! and Watchtower Bible aide Magazines 1970-1973


~ in 1977, Frederick Franz took over
~ he was able to guide the society through stormy waters caused by the failed prophecies
~ he refrained from setting any more specific dates, but still taught that anyone alive in 1914 would see Armageddon
~ Franz died in 1992, and the JW’s were running out of time and people
– they solved this dilemma when Henschel took over
~ in 1995 the whole 1914 generation prophecy was discarded by producing “a new light”, which is a favorite term used to explain the many changes
~ an explanation published in the Watchtower proclaimed that the generation prophecy had nothing to do with individuals alive in 1914, but all people of the earth in any generation who would see the signs of Christ’s coming, but failed to mend their ways
~ in 1943, an article in the Watchtower claimed it is God who interprets the prophecies, and Jesus then proclaims them to the Watchtower leaders

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Russell’s theology still in use today

~ Even though JW’s admit that Russell is the founder of the society, they try to distance themselves from his theology and teachings
~ they still operate today on the foundations laid out by him
~ instead of using the Bible to reason out what the Bible says, he brought his own preconceived notions to the Bible, twisting and rearranging the Word to fit his own theology

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity

~ JW’s deny the doctrine of the Trinity, saying it is an insult to “God-given intelligence and reason”
~ they reason instead that He would never author such a confusing doctrine, instead, they claim that Satan is the author (of the Trinity)
~ love pointing out that the word “trinity is not in the Bible…the word Bible is not in the Bible either, nor is the word “theology”, which is a favorite term for God’s rulership, the point is that the concept of the Trinity is in the Bible
~ “Who ran the universe for the three days Jesus was dead and in the grave?” is a favorite question JW’s ask. JW’s concept of death is annihilation, they reason that if Jesus was/is God, when He died, God died as well. The Biblical response to this question is “God did. Although Jesus’ body died, He continued to exist, and the triune God continued to rule.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny Christ’s deity

~ JW’s teach a kind of polytheism with their doctrine “two gods”
~ Jehovah is the Almighty God who created Jesus, then Jesus, the “mighty god” created everything else
~ following the teachings of Russell, JW’s claim Jesus had been the archangel Michael in heaven before he came to earth
~ while on earth, Jesus was a perfect man, but nothing more, after dying on the cross, his humanity was annihilated and was then raised as an immortal spirit who returned to heaven, becoming the archangel Michael once again
~ they claim that Jesus was the only thing or being directly created by Jehovah, twisting the phrase “only begotten son (John 1: 14, 18; 3: 16, 18)

JW’s deny Jesus’ bodily resurrection

~ JW’s insist that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, but only a spirit who looked as if He were a body
~ their theology does not leave any room for the existence of the spirit apart from the body after death
~ they teach that Jehovah doesn’t resurrect bodies, but recreates them

JW’s deny the Holy Spirit is God

~ they teach that the Holy Spirit is an “invisible act or force”

JW’s deny Christ’s full atonement

~ nowhere in their teaching will you find anything saying that salvation is by faith in Christ alone
~ also teach that Christ was a “ransom to God for Adam’s sin”

“To be a JW means constantly trying to affirm your salvation,
even though that “salvation” will not include going to heaven.
Only 144,000 JW’s will do that, and those ranks were closed decades ago.
What JW’s are working for now is a place in an earthly paradise…”

The Last Days, according to the Watchtower

~ the JW’s have an elaborate doctrine regarding the last days, the Millennium, and the Final Judgement
~ 99.9% of mankind will be wiped out during Armageddon
~ according to the Watchtower, the earth will be repopulated by JW’s who survive Armageddon
~ during the Millenium, those on earth will be taught the truth as JW’s see it and will be constantly evaluated by how faithful they are

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

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summing up major differences

~ JW’s don’t believe in independent thought and must absolutely adhere to the decisions and scriptural understanding of the watchtower/Christians depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they read the Scriptures and learn to obey God, not men
~ JW’s find it difficult to worship “a three-headed God”, calling Jesus a “mighty god” but not the Almighty God – Jehovah; they say that Jesus was raised from the dead a spirit, not a human creature/Christians believe that God is three co-equal, co-eternal persons who exists as one divine being, Christ is divine and equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit, Christ rose bodily from the grave and was touched by his disciples, and ate before them
~ JW’s teach that Christ’s death provides the opportunity for men and women to work for their salvation/ Christians believe that Christ’s death completely paid for all mankind’s sins and that believers are justified freely by God’s grace
~ JW’s believe that Christ returned invisibly in 1914 and now rules from heaven, claim that man does not have an immortal soul and at death man’s spirit goes out and no longer exists/Christians believe that Christ will return to Earth physically, visibly and audibly and that man has an eternal, immortal soul, that at death either goes to be with Christ or awaits judgement

~ JW’s also don’t believe in government, and won’t pledge allegiance to the flag or the government. It is highly unlikely that a JW would enter into politics either.

source: So What’s The Difference by Fritz Ridenour

…I personally don’t believe in religion, not as it has been defined in society. All it is, is a tool to divide us. I grew up a Baptist and went to a Christian school. To this day I have questions, but I still believe – and I keep looking for answers. Having faith that God is in control and believing that He sent His son to die for our sins is all that is needed to be saved. One doesn’t need to pray on the rosary, live a life of celibacy, or not eat certain foods to be saved. Jesus paid it all!

hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!

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