For all those who have had the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society members at your door and wondered what to say, here’s some background information that might help. This is important given that these ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ deny that Jesus Christ is God and therefore undermine the very salvation that is key to our eternal destiny in Heaven. Jehovah’s Witnesses are clearly a cult who actually oppose orthodox biblical teaching endorsed by Christians the world over.
They trace their origins to the teachings of Charles Taze Russell in the 1870s and believe that God is only known by the name Jehovah (yet this word is translated by Christians from the Old Testament as LORD, with the connotation of being a covenant-keeping God of relationship who is Himself a plural being).
Russell’s publication, Zion’s Watchtower, led to the new movement expanding. His successor, Joseph Rutherford, developed stronger central control over the movement and its development of doctrine. It was then under its third leader, Nathan Knorr, that the corrupt New World Translation of the Bible was produced in 1961.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ allegiance is said to be to God’s Kingdom and they avoid political office and voting and remain separated from the world in very specific ways. They avoid acknowledging birthdays and other celebrations such as Christmas and Easter (because of original pagan connections), and they avoid military service. Intermarriage, blood transfusions and close associations with non-members are also shunned due to this ideal of separation.
Famous predictions regarding the second coming of Jesus in 1914 with an ensuing Armageddon (linked to the onset of the First World War) were linked to the punishment of Israel based on Leviticus 26 (where 7 times refers to 7 multiples of 360 days to a year in the Hebrew chronology and where the resulting 2520 days prophesy 2520 years forward to 1914 from the 606 B.C. invasion of Jerusalem by the Babylonians). When this prediction failed to materialise, it was reinterpreted to indicate 1915, on account of the failure to account for the absence of a ‘year zero in transitioning from B.C. to A.D. Thereafter there was a return to 1914 which was spiritualised and new dates for the physical return of Jesus have been proposed and reproposed as each one has failed.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the doctrine of the Trinity to be a fourth century heresy (despite the fact that the Scriptures make claims of deity for each person of the Trinity). Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jehovah to be the only God and deny that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God (despite many verses including John 20:28, Philippians 2:6 and Acts 5:4). They believe the Holy Spirit to be the impersonal active force of God (despite Jesus referring to Him as a ‘He’ in passages such as John 14:26).
Undermining the godhood of Jesus is critical to an understanding of one’s eternal destiny, an issue which will be explored further tomorrow.