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What the Watchtower Society Teaches

What the Watchtower Society Teaches

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What does the Watchtower Society teach? What follows is a list of 24 major teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as found in the publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (see the article “What Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe” for a simple list of these teachings). Under each point are quotations from official Watchtower Society publications. Care has been taken to document these teachings from Watchtower publications that are currently used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thus, every publication cited here is either available on the Watchtower’s official website or (in just a few instances) is cited in its official online index of publications.

1.    The Bible is God’s word but was corrupted by scribes who omitted the divine name Jehovah from the Christian Greek Scriptures (the New Testament) and by translators who distorted the Bible’s doctrines.

From this it is apparent that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the Bible as the Word of God. They consider its 66 books to be inspired and historically accurate. What is commonly called the New Testament they refer to as the Christian Greek Scriptures, and the Old Testament they call the Hebrew Scriptures. They rely on both of these, the Greek and the Hebrew Scriptures, and take them literally except where the expressions or settings obviously indicate that they are figurative or symbolic.1

Some claim that the Torah, Psalms, and Gospel—parts of the Bible—have been corrupted, but such a claim would mean that God could not protect the books he gave. Those asserting this thus accuse God of being weak.2

God’s personal name has been removed from countless Bible translations and replaced with titles, such as “Lord” and “God.” This is one of the saddest and most reprehensible things that has been done in the name of religion.3

After the apostles died, the apostates spread throughout the congregations and created the churches of Christendom. Instead of being a people for Jehovah’s name, these false Christians have removed God’s name from many of their Bible translations.4

Doctrinal bias can easily color a translator’s work…. Quite a number of Bible translators have taken the unjustifiable liberty of omitting God’s name, Jehovah, from modern translations even though that name is found in ancient Bible manuscripts.5

2. No organized, visible community of faithful Christians existed on the earth for many centuries prior to the rise of the Jehovah’s Witness religion in 1919.

Jesus used his parable of the wheat and the weeds to foretell that the apostasy would make it very difficult to identify the true religion…. “The conclusion of the system of things” began in 1914. At that time, there were only a few thousand anointed Christians on earth. During the war that began that year, these anointed “sons of the Kingdom” were still in captivity to Babylon the Great. But in 1919, Jehovah freed them, and the difference between these true Christians and false Christians became very clear. He gathered “the sons of the Kingdom” to be an organized people….6

3. The Bible cannot be understood accurately except through the publications and teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the official organ of the “faithful and discreet slave” class that Jehovah has appointed to disseminate the true doctrine and to direct the work of the true religion worldwide.

Jesus said that he would have on earth a “faithful and discreet slave” (his anointed followers viewed as a group), through which agency he would provide spiritual food to those making up the household of faith. (Matt. 24:45-47) Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that arrangement. As was true of first-century Christians, they look to the governing body of that “slave” class to resolve difficult questions—not on the basis of human wisdom, but by drawing on their knowledge of God’s Word and his dealings with his servants, and with the help of God’s spirit, for which they earnestly pray.7

Who, then, is the faithful and discreet slave? In keeping with Jesus’ pattern of feeding many through the hands of a few, that slave is made up of a small group of anointed brothers who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food during Christ’s presence. Throughout the last days, the anointed brothers who make up the faithful slave have served together at headquarters. In recent decades, that slave has been closely identified with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note, however, that the word “slave” in Jesus’ illustration is singular, indicating that this is a composite slave. The decisions of the Governing Body are thus made collectively.8

4. Loyalty to Jehovah’s organization on earth and acceptance of its teachings is required for salvation.

If we are to have Jehovah’s favor and blessing as individuals, we must support his organization and accept adjustments in our understanding of the Scriptures…. All who remain loyal to Jehovah and his organization will have his continued blessing…. For such Scriptural promises to become realities for us as individuals, we must continue to make spiritual progress, moving ahead with God’s organization, always keeping pace with it.9

5. The name Jehovah is God’s name and is regularly used in Christian prayer and speech by those who genuinely honor him.

In imitation of both Christ and the great “cloud of witnesses” who preceded him, true Christians proudly use God’s name. (Heb. 12:1) In fact, in the year 1931, God’s servants became even more closely identified with Jehovah by accepting the name Jehovah’s Witnesses.10

The true religion honors God’s name, Jehovah. Jesus made God’s name known. He helped people to know God and taught them to pray that God’s name be sanctified. (Matthew 6:9) Where you live, which religion promotes the use of God’s name?11

6. Jehovah God is the Father alone; the doctrine of the Trinity is a pagan, Babylonish dogma contrary to reason and the Bible. The Father is Jehovah the Almighty God, the Son is the first and greatest of God’s creatures, and holy spirit is God’s invisible active force.

The Trinity doctrine, their concept of God himself, is borrowed from pagan sources and was developed in its present form centuries after Bible writing was completed.12

An example of an important Christian belief that they corrupted with a pagan idea is the doctrine, or teaching, about who Jesus Christ is. The Bible calls him the Son of God, but those who loved Greek philosophy taught that he is God. Later, church leaders argued about this doctrine at several church councils. They could easily have found the answer to the question about the identity of Jesus Christ if they had looked in the Scriptures. But most of them did not think that what the Bible said was important enough.13

The religious triad, or trinity, was a prominent feature of worship in Babylon. One Babylonian triad was composed of Sin (a moon-god), Shamash (a sun-god), and Ishtar (a goddess of fertility and war)…. To be baptized as a genuine Christian and one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a person must acknowledge the supremacy of the Father, Jehovah, as well as the position and authority of God’s Son, Jesus. The baptism candidate must also believe that the holy spirit is God’s active force, not part of a Trinity. (Gen. 1:2) An individual who continues to believe in the Trinity cannot be baptized in symbol of a valid dedication to Jehovah God. How grateful we are that our spiritual legacy has protected us from believing this God-dishonoring teaching!14

What, then, is the true nature of holy spirit? A footnote at Genesis 1:2 in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References states: “Besides being translated ‘spirit,’ ru′ach [Hebrew] is also translated ‘wind’ and by other words that denote an invisible active force.” (Compare footnotes at Genesis 3:8; 8:1.) Just as wind is invisible but exerts force, so the immaterial, impersonal holy spirit is unseen but produces effects. This spirit is energy from God projected and exerted on people or things to accomplish his will.15

7. Jesus Christ was the first creature made by Jehovah God and the only creature that he made directly, all other creatures, including humans, being made by Christ using Jehovah’s power.

Jehovah’s Witnesses…believe, not that Jesus Christ is part of a Trinity, but that, as the Bible says, he is the Son of God, the first of God’s creations; that he had a prehuman existence and that his life was transferred from heaven to the womb of a virgin, Mary.16

Jesus Christ…. The only-begotten Son of God, the only Son produced by Jehovah alone. This Son is the firstborn of all creation. By means of him all other things in heaven and on earth were created. He is the second-greatest personage in the universe.17

Jehovah, the Creator of the universe, does things in an organized manner. His first creation was his only-begotten spirit Son, who is called “the Word” because he is God’s principal spokesman. The Word has served Jehovah for ages…. During his prehuman existence, God’s Son served loyally as His “master worker.” (Prov. 8:30) By means of him, Jehovah brought into existence many millions of other spirit creatures in heaven.18

Before anything was created, God existed by himself for countless ages of time. His very first creation was the spirit creature known as “the Word” because he was the Spokesman for Jehovah. The Word is the one through whom all other things came into existence.19

8. Jesus Christ is also known as Michael, the archangel.

At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (RS), the command of Jesus Christ for the resurrection to begin is described as “the archangel’s call,” and Jude 9 says that the archangel is Michael. Would it be appropriate to liken Jesus’ commanding call to that of someone lesser in authority? Reasonably, then, the archangel Michael is Jesus Christ.20

While there is no statement in the Bible that categorically identifies Michael the archangel as Jesus, there is one scripture that links Jesus with the office of archangel. In his letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul prophesied: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) In this scripture Jesus is described as having assumed his power as God’s Messianic King. Yet, he speaks with “an archangel’s voice.” Note, too, that he has the power to raise the dead…. Yes, there are other angelic creatures of high rank, such as seraphs and cherubs. (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:2) Yet, the Scriptures point to the resurrected Jesus Christ as the chief of all angels—Michael the archangel.21

9. As a created being, Jesus Christ is inferior to Jehovah and is not to be the object of Christian prayer or worship.

Jesus never considered himself equal to God. On the contrary, Jesus repeatedly showed that he was subordinate to Jehovah. For example, Jesus referred to Jehovah as “my God” and “the only true God.” (Matthew 27:46; John 17:3) Only a subordinate would use such expressions in referring to another. A worker who refers to his employer as “my boss” or “the one in charge” is clearly assuming an inferior position.22

In contrast, what did Sir Isaac Newton have to say about the Trinity doctrine? He denied the Trinity teaching. His principal reason for rejecting it was that when he sought to verify the statements of the creeds and the church councils, he found no support for the doctrine in the Scriptures. In fact, he believed strongly in the supreme sovereignty of Jehovah God and the Scriptural position of Jesus Christ as inferior to his Father.23

Does the Bible instruct us to pray to Jesus, to Mary, to saints, or to angels? No—only to Jehovah.24

Throughout the centuries, many in Christendom have worshiped Jesus Christ as if he were Almighty God. Jesus himself, however, directed attention and worship only to Jehovah God.25

10. Jesus Christ died on a simple upright stake with no crossbeam, not on a cross, which is a pagan symbol used by apostate Christendom to represent the death of Christ.

An important reason is that Jesus Christ did not die on a cross. The Greek word generally translated “cross” is stau·ros′. It basically means “an upright pale or stake.” … There is no evidence that for the first 300 years after Christ’s death, those claiming to be Christians used the cross in worship. In the fourth century, however, pagan Emperor Constantine became a convert to apostate Christianity and promoted the cross as its symbol. Whatever Constantine’s motives, the cross had nothing to do with Jesus Christ. The cross is, in fact, pagan in origin…. Why, then, was this pagan symbol promoted? Apparently, to make it easier for pagans to accept “Christianity.”26

11. Jesus Christ died as a “corresponding ransom” sacrifice, meaning as an exact equivalent to Adam, and therefore could not be God incarnate. He gave that sacrifice on behalf of obedient people who show by their behavior that they are worthy of eternal life.

Jesus, no more and no less than a perfect human, became a ransom that compensated exactly for what Adam lost—the right to perfect human life on earth…. The prefect human life of Jesus was the “corresponding ransom” required by divine justice—no more, no less. A basic principle even of human justice is that the price paid should fit the wrong committed. If Jesus, however, were part of a Godhead, the ransom price would have been infinitely higher than what God’s own Law required…. Thus, when God sent Jesus to earth as the ransom, he made Jesus to be what would satisfy justice, not an incarnation, not a god-man, but a perfect man, “lower than angels.”27

Jesus’ ransom sacrifice opened the way for obedient mankind to receive God’s mercy and obtain everlasting life.28 

The life that Jesus sacrificed was an exact equivalent of the life that Adam forfeited when he sinned. What was the result of Jesus’ death? Jehovah accepted that sacrifice as “a corresponding ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:6) In effect, God used the value of Jesus’ life to buy back, or redeem, the human race from slavery to sin and death…. God requires that we have faith in Christ’s sacrifice. And there is more. “By this we have the knowledge that we have come to know [Jesus], namely, if we continue observing his commandments.” (1 John 2:3) It is clear, then, that the key to being rescued from sin and death is that we have faith in Christ’s ransom and obey Christ’s commands.29

12. Salvation is a “gift” but is given conditionally to those who must still prove themselves worthy. Only those who use and proclaim the name of Jehovah, accept the direction and teaching of the Jehovah’s Witness leadership, are baptized (as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses), observe the organization’s taboos (against various “pagan” activities), and faithfully engage in the preaching of the Watchtower’s message of the kingdom are true Christians today and have the hope of being saved.

Salvation is a gift from God, but it does not come automatically. (Romans 6:23) There are certain basic conditions that each individual must meet to qualify for that gift. Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” And the apostle John added: “He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; he that disobeys the Son will not see life.” (John 3:16, 36) Clearly, God requires faith and obedience from each individual who hopes to obtain everlasting salvation.30

Consider three important requirements for salvation that are revealed in God’s Word…. Those who love others are demonstrating a quality vital for salvation…. Like Jesus, those seeking salvation need to use God’s name. They also need to teach others about God’s name and qualities…. Few today demonstrate faith in God’s Kingdom, or government, of which Jesus is King. Instead, they place their trust in human institutions. By contrast, those who will be saved loyally support God’s Kingdom and teach others about how it will liberate all faithful mankind…. Jehovah’s Witnesses diligently try to meet these requirements for salvation. They also work hard to help others to be saved.31

Baptism is a requirement for those seeking salvation.32

Jehovah tells us through his organization about his purpose and what he wants from us. We can enter into Jehovah’s rest if we obey him and work with his organization. But we are acting against Jehovah’s purpose if we do not obey the faithful and discreet slave or if we choose to obey only what we think is important.33

Twelve Reasons for Preaching. Why do we preach and teach the good news? …7. It is a requirement for our own salvation.34

This means that gaining the gift of everlasting life is conditional. If we are to “have everlasting life,” we need to believe in Jesus and obey him…. Put another way, what is required of the believer is that he exercise faith in Jesus—that is, he must live in accord with his belief and faith.35

If you belong to a religious organization, you are, in effect, putting your spiritual life in its hands. This includes your prospects for salvation.36

13. Jesus Christ was not raised physically from the grave, but was instead raised as an immortal spirit; his physical body remained dead and was destroyed by God.

If a man pays a debt for a friend but then promptly takes back the payment, obviously the debt continues. Likewise, if, when he was resurrected, Jesus had taken back his human body of flesh and blood, which had been given in sacrifice to pay the ransom price, what effect would that have had on the provision he was making to relieve faithful persons of the debt of sin?

It is true that Jesus appeared in physical form to his disciples after his resurrection…. Jesus evidently materialized bodies on these occasions, as angels had done in the past when appearing to humans. Disposing of Jesus’ physical body at the time of his resurrection presented no problem for God.37

Jehovah God evidently disposed of Jesus’ fleshly body in his own way (possibly disintegrating it into the atoms of which it was constituted). (Lu 24:2, 3, 22, 23; Joh 20:2) Jesus did not take back his fleshly body and thereby cancel out the ransom for which it was given. The apostle Peter testifies that Christ went into heaven, the realm of spirits, not flesh, “he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit.” (1Pe 3:18) Before his ascension to heaven Christ, as a mighty, immortal spirit person, did materialize various fleshly bodies to suit the occasion, for the purpose of giving to his disciples visible, palpable evidence of his resurrection.38

Only God’s action prevented the fleshly body of his Son’s earthly existence from seeing corruption in the grave. (Ac 2:31; 13:35-37) That body, however, was not preserved for the use of the resurrected Jesus, since the apostle Peter states that Jesus was “put to death in the flesh, but . . . made alive in the spirit.” (1Pe 3:18) It thus seems evident that God disposed of that body miraculously, thereby not letting it see ruinous decay.39

Jesus was resurrected with a spirit body that was imperishable.40

14.  Jesus Christ is never returning personally or bodily to the earth. He became invisibly present in a spiritual, figurative sense in 1914, when he began ruling as King in heaven.

What of the “presence” that the apostles asked about? This is the translation of the Greek word pa·rou·si′a. Christ’s pa·rou·si′a, or presence, started with Jesus’ installation as King in heaven in 1914 and continues on to include the “great tribulation,” during which he comes to destroy the wicked…. We know that Jesus is already present and has been reigning invisibly as King in heaven since 1914.41

Christ’s “coming” (Greek, er′kho·mai) is different from his “presence” (pa·rou·si′a). His invisible presence begins before his coming to judge and destroy the wicked.42

15.  The earth has been in the “time of the end” or “last days,” a final period of time preceding the Millennium, since 1914 in fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

 

Not all that was expected to happen in 1914 did happen, but it did mark the end of the Gentile Times and was a year of special significance.43

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses say that God’s Kingdom was established in 1914? Two lines of evidence point to that year: (1) Bible chronology and (2) the events since 1914 in fulfillment of prophecy…. What happened at that time? Jehovah entrusted rulership over mankind to his own Son, Jesus Christ, glorified in the heavens…. Christ as King did not immediately proceed to destroy all who refused to acknowledge Jehovah’s sovereignty and himself as the Messiah. Instead, as he had foretold, a global preaching work was to be done. (Matt. 24:14) …In the meantime, the very difficult conditions foretold for “the last days” would prevail. As shown under the heading “Last Days,” those events have been clearly in evidence since 1914.44

As regards “the time of the end,” Daniel foretold a very positive development. (Read Daniel 12:3, 4, 9, 10.) “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun,” said Jesus. (Matt. 13:43) How did the true knowledge become abundant in the time of the end? Consider some historical developments in the decades prior to 1914, the year when the time of the end began.45

16. Jehovah will eliminate the present system of things—its religions, governments, nations, economic systems, and human institutions—in the battle of Armageddon.

Jehovah’s Witnesses…believe that God’s Kingdom is the only hope for mankind; that it is a real government; that it will soon destroy the present wicked system of things, including all human governments, and that it will produce a new system in which righteousness will prevail.46

Jehovah will cause the governments of Satan’s system, as represented by the United Nations, to attack false religion. The harlot will no longer be able to control these governments, and she will lose all her riches. Twenty or thirty years ago, most people thought religion would always be respected and powerful. Now this is starting to change. But the harlot will not lose her power gradually. She will be destroyed suddenly…. After false religion is destroyed, the wild beast, Satan’s governments on earth, will attack God’s Kingdom. The kings of the earth will not be able to attack God’s Kingdom in heaven, so they will try to fight against those on earth who support it. This results in a final battle with God…. The Anglo-American World Power will be the world power when false religion is destroyed.47

17. Only 144,000 people (consisting of early Christian believers, a few scattered Christians over the centuries, and a select group of Jehovah’s Witnesses) are “born again,” members of the Christian congregation (the church), and members of the new covenant, and only they will live in heaven in the presence of God and Christ. Christ is the Mediator only for the 144,000, since only they are participants in the new covenant. Only these 144,000 are “spirit-anointed,” and they are known as the “anointed class.” The rest of saved humanity, known as the “other sheep,” will live forever on Paradise Earth and will have no direct contact with God, Christ, or their loved ones in heaven. The “other sheep” who constitute the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are called the “great crowd."

Those for Whom Christ Is Mediator. The apostle Paul declares that there is “one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all”—for both Jews and Gentiles. (1Ti 2:5, 6) He mediates the new covenant between God and those taken into the new covenant, the congregation of spiritual Israel. (Heb 8:10-13; 12:24; Eph 5:25-27) Christ became Mediator in order that the ones called “might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance” (Heb 9:15); he assists, not the angels, but “Abraham’s seed.” (Heb 2:16) He assists those who are to be brought into the new covenant to be ‘adopted’ into Jehovah’s household of spiritual sons; these eventually will be in heaven as Christ’s brothers, becoming a part with him of the seed of Abraham. (Ro 8:15-17, 23-25; Ga 3:29) He has transmitted to them the promised holy spirit, with which spirit they are sealed and are given a token of what is to come, their heavenly inheritance. (2Co 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14) The total number of those who are finally and permanently sealed is revealed in Revelation 7:4-8 as 144,000.48

Jehovah’s Witnesses…believe that 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians will share with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom, ruling as kings with him.49

When anointed Christians die, they are not raised in the flesh. (1 Corinthians 15:50-53) A corruptible body of flesh and blood cannot inherit incorruption and the heavenly Kingdom. Some anointed ones would not have to experience a long sleep in death. Finishing their earthly course in faithfulness during Jesus’ presence, they would “be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” They would be raised instantaneously to spirit life in incorruption and glory. Eventually, Christ’s heavenly “bride” will number 144,000.50

Having in mind the limited number of Christians called to make up spiritual Israel, Jesus referred to them as the “little flock.” They are admitted into the “fold” of the new covenant, in contrast with the numberless “other sheep,” whom Jesus said he must also gather. (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Those of the other sheep gathered in the time of the end will make up the “great crowd” destined to survive “the great tribulation,” with the prospect of living forever on a paradise earth.51

Yes, the primary sense of “congregation” in the Christian Greek Scriptures is the composite group of spirit-anointed followers of Christ. These 144,000 anointed ones constitute “the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens.”—Hebrews 12:23.52

What Jesus said in one of his parables tells us that from the first century on, there would always be some true anointed Christians on the earth. He compared them to “wheat” that grew among “weeds.” (Matthew 13:30) Of course, we do not know for sure which men or groups were part of the anointed class.53

The 144,000 anointed ones will have immortal life in heaven, where they will rule as kings with Jesus for the thousand years. (Revelation 20:6) There will be many millions more who will live in Paradise on earth. During the time when Christ rules as King of God’s Kingdom, they will be helped to have perfect health and perfect thinking.54

18. Human beings cease to exist when they die physically, and so in the future will be re-created by Jehovah God who in the meantime remembers them perfectly. To be “re-created” after ceasing to exist is what is meant by resurrection.

Jehovah’s Witnesses…believe that the dead are conscious of absolutely nothing; that they are experiencing neither pain nor pleasure in some spirit realm; that they do not exist except in God’s memory, so hope for their future life lies in a resurrection from the dead.55

[Regarding other religions] Their belief in immortality of the human soul as the basis for continued life is not taken from the Bible; it has roots in ancient Babylon.56

Is it unrealistic to accept the resurrection as a fact? No, for Jesus taught that someday “all those in the memorial tombs” will be resurrected. (John 5:28) Jehovah is the Creator of all life. Should it be hard to believe that he can re-create life? Of course, much would depend on Jehovah’s memory. Can he remember our dead loved ones? Countless trillions of stars fill the universe, yet God gives the name of each one! (Isaiah 40:26) So Jehovah God can remember our dead loved ones in every detail, and he is ready to restore them to life.57

19. Wicked people will not suffer eternal punishment but will simply be destroyed, that is, annihilated, ceasing to exist as the only sentence for their wickedness. Hell is merely the common grave of all mankind and in no sense a place of suffering or punishment.

Clearly, as a God of love, Jehovah will not torture people in hellfire. (1 John 4:8) Nor will he tolerate wickedness indefinitely. Accordingly, Psalm 145:20 assures us that “Jehovah is guarding all those loving him, but all the wicked ones he will annihilate.” Is that not loving and just?58

Hell, in the Biblical sense, is simply the common grave of mankind, where all activity has ceased.59

20.  Christians must neither give nor accept blood transfusions, even to save their lives or the lives of others. Jehovah’s Witnesses who violate this rule are subject to being disfellowshipped.

…since the animal sacrifices offered under the Mosaic Law foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ, disregard for the requirement that Christians ‘abstain from blood’ would be an evidence of gross disrespect for the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Lev. 17:11, 12; Heb. 9:11-14, 22) Consistent with that understanding of matters, beginning in 1961 any who ignored the divine requirement, accepted blood transfusions, and manifested an unrepentant attitude were disfellowshipped from the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.60

Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for taking these Bible commands to heart. They reject all transfusions involving whole blood or the four primary blood components—red cells, plasma, white cells, and platelets. As for the various fractions derived from those components—and products that contain such fractions—the Bible does not comment on these. Therefore, each Witness makes his own personal decision on such matters.61

21.  Christians should not celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, other similar Christian holidays, or secular holidays such as Mother’s Day or Independence Day. All such celebrations are regarded as pagan.

In some places the anniversary of one’s birth, especially that of a child, is celebrated with a party and the giving of gifts. Not a Biblical practice.62

Suppose a crowd come to a gentleman’s home saying they are there to celebrate his birthday. He does not favor the celebration of birthdays. He does not like to see people overeat or get drunk or engage in loose conduct. But some of them do all those things, and they bring presents for everyone there except him! On top of all that, they pick the birthday of one of the man’s enemies as the date for the celebration. How would the man feel? Would you want to be a party to it? This is exactly what is being done by Christmas celebrations.63

The roots of Christmas are found, not in Scripture, but in ancient pagan festivals, such as the Roman Saturnalia, a celebration dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture…. Besides rejecting birthday customs on account of pagan and spiritistic roots, God’s servants of old likely rejected them on principle as well. Why? These were humble, modest men and women who did not view their arrival in the world as so important that it should be celebrated…. Promoted as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, Easter is actually rooted in false religion.64

22.  Christians should not vote in elections, hold political office, become involved in political affairs in any other way, salute a flag, or serve in the military even in noncombatant roles.

Jehovah’s Witnesses…earnestly endeavor to be no part of the world, as Jesus said would be true of his followers. They show genuine Christian love for their neighbors, but they do not share in the politics or the wars of any nation…. The Bible says that Christ’s disciples would be no part of the world, and it warns that whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God; but the churches of Christendom and their members are deeply involved in the political affairs of the nations.65

It is a fact of ancient and modern-day history that in every nation and under all circumstances true Christians have endeavored to maintain complete neutrality as to conflicts between factions of the world. They do not interfere with what others do about sharing in patriotic ceremonies, serving in the armed forces, joining a political party, running for a political office, or voting.66

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that bowing down to a flag or saluting it, often in conjunction with an anthem, is a religious act that ascribes salvation, not to God, but to the State or to its leaders…. True Christians respect the right of others to vote. They do not campaign against elections, and they cooperate with elected authorities. However, they remain resolutely neutral with regard to the political affairs of the nations.67

23. True Christians will be known by their zeal in regularly engaging in public efforts to preach the gospel of the kingdom as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses, particularly by disseminating Watchtower literature and offering to conduct Bible studies in people’s homes using that literature.

People who merely profess to be followers of Christ do not engage in this work—in fact, they cannot…. Christ’s true followers, on the other hand, understand what God’s Kingdom is and what it will accomplish. Moreover, they give the interests of that Kingdom priority in life, proclaiming it worldwide, with the help of Jehovah’s spirit. (Zech. 4:6) Are you having a regular share in this work? Are you trying to improve as a Kingdom proclaimer, perhaps by spending more time in the ministry or by being more effective in it? …Of course, our literature is important and should be offered in the field. The Bible, however, is our primary tool.68

24. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only true religion.

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that their religion is the only right one? The Bible does not agree with the modern view that there are many acceptable ways to worship God…. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses base all of their beliefs, their standards for conduct, and organizational procedures on the Bible, their faith in the Bible itself as God’s Word gives them the conviction that what they have is indeed the truth.69

Millions of people throughout the world have evaluated the facts and have become convinced that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are practicing the true religion. They have reached this conclusion on the basis of what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach and how they conduct themselves, as well as on the basis of the benefits their religion has brought.70

 

NOTES

 


1. Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? (Philadelphia: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 2000, 2006). Publisher hereafter cited simply as Watchtower.

2. Does Fate Rule Our Lives? Or Does God Hold Us Responsible? (Watchtower, 2001), 6.

3. Close to Jehovah (Watchtower, 2014), 8-9.

4. “Now You Are God’s People,” Watchtower (Simplified Edition), Nov. 15, 2014, 29-30. Note that the Watchtower is published in two editions, one of which is called Simplified.

5. “Principles of Bible Translation,” Appendix A1 in New World Translation (Watchtower, 2013), 1720, 1721.

6. “Now You Are God’s People,” Watchtower (Simplified Edition), Nov. 15, 2014, 30.

7. Reasoning from the Scriptures (Watchtower, 1989), 205.

8. “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?” Watchtower, July 15, 2013, 21. As the article explains, this interpretation narrows the “narrow and discreet slave”; whereas they previously used that term to refer to the entirety of the “anointed class,” they now apply it only to the small group of the anointed class that leads the religion (the Governing Body, and perhaps individuals working directly with them).

9. “Are You Moving Ahead with Jehovah’s Organization?” Watchtower, May 15, 2014, 29-30.

10. “Prove to Be a Real Follower of Christ,” Watchtower, Jan. 15, 2010, 14.

11. “How Can You Recognize True Worship?” Watchtower, Aug. 1, 2011, 16.

12. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 204.

13. “True Christians Respect God’s Word,” Watchtower, 15 Jan. 2012, 5-6.

14. “Do You Appreciate Our Special Heritage?” Watchtower, 15 Feb. 2013, 9.

15. “Why Be Guided by God’s Spirit?” Watchtower, Dec. 15, 2011, 13.

16. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 199.

17. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 209.

18. “Jehovah Is a God of Organization,” Watchtower, May 15, 2014, 21.

19. “Men, Do You Submit to Christ’s Headship?” Watchtower, May 15, 2010, 8.

20. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 218.

21. “Who Is Michael the Archangel?” Watchtower, Feb. 8, 2002, 17.

22. “Jesus Christ—Our Questions Answered,” Watchtower, April 1, 2012, 5.

23. “The Man Who Unlocked the Secrets of the Solar System,” Awake!, March 8, 2005, 27.

24. “Prayer, 2: To Whom?” Watchtower, Oct. 1, 2010, 5.

25. “Is It Proper to Worship Jesus?” Awake!, April 8, 2000, 26.

26. “Why True Christians Do Not Use the Cross in Worship,” in What Does the Bible Really Teach? (Watchtower, 2005), 204, 205.

27. Should You Believe in the Trinity? (Watchtower, 1989), 15.

28. “Why Mankind Needs a Helper,” Watchtower, March 15, 2000, 4.

29. “How Jesus’ Death Can Save You,” Watchtower, March 1, 2008, 6-7.

30. “Keep Your ‘Hope of Salvation’ Bright!” Watchtower, June 1, 2000, 12.

31. “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe That They Are the Only Ones Who Will Be Saved?” Watchtower, Nov. 1, 2008, 28.

32. “Highlights From the Letters of James and of Peter,” Watchtower, Nov. 15, 2008, 21.

33. “What Is God’s Rest?” Watchtower (Simplified Edition), July 15, 2011, 21 (emphasis in original).

34. “Twelve Reasons for Preaching,” Kingdom Ministry, June 2012, 1.

35. “What God Has Done for You,” Watchtower, March 1, 2014, 5.

36. “Why Question Religion?” Watchtower, July 1, 2013, 3.

37. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 217.

38. “Flesh,” in Insight on the Scriptures (Watchtower, 1988), 1:841.

39. “Incorruption,” in Insight on the Scriptures, 1:1197.

40. “The Resurrection of Jesus—Its Meaning for Us,” Watchtower, Nov. 15, 2014, 4.

41. “Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You?” Watchtower, Feb. 15, 2008, 21, 25.

42. “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?” Watchtower, July 15, 2013, 25.

43. Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe, 6-7.

44. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 95, 97. The question at the beginning of the quotation is in bold type in the original.

45. “Everlasting Life on Earth—A Hope Rediscovered,” Watchtower, Aug. 15, 2009, 14.

46. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 199-200.

47. “Jehovah Reveals What ‘Must Shortly Take Place,’” Watchtower (Simplified Edition), June 15, 2012, 19.

48. “Mediator,” in Insight on the Scriptures, 2:362.

49. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 200.

50. “The Resurrection Hope Has Power,” Watchtower, July 15, 2000, 19.

51. “Have You Received ‘the Spirit of the Truth’?” Watchtower, Feb. 1, 2002, 21.

52. “Let the Congregation Praise Jehovah,” Watchtower, April 15, 2007, 21.

53. “True Christians Respect God’s Word,” Watchtower (Simplified Edition), Jan. 15, 2012, 7.

54. “Let Your Yes Mean Yes,” Watchtower (Simplified Edition), Oct. 15, 2012, 26.

55. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 200.

56. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 204.

57. “Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died,” chap. 7 in What Does the Bible Really Teach, 71.

58. “Will Bad People Burn in Hell?” Awake! Sept. 9, 2009, 11. Psalm 145:20 says that God will “destroy” the wicked, not that he will “annihilate” them, as in the Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation.

59. “Myth 2: The Wicked Suffer in Hell,” Watchtower, Nov. 1, 2009, 5.

60. Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom (Watchtower, 1993), 183-84.

61. “The Real Value of Blood,” Awake! Aug. 6, 2006, 11-12.

62. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 68.

63. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 179. The book goes on to present quotations (mostly from secular sources) chosen to support the condemnation of Easter, New Year’s celebrations, All Soul’s Day, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and national holidays such as Independence Day (179-82).

64. “Celebrations that Displease God,” in “God’s Love” (2014), 146, 151.

65. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 200, 204.

66. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 269-70.

67. “Flag Salute, Voting, and Civilian Service,” in “God’s Love”, 212, 213.

68. “Prove to Be a Real Follower of Christ,” Watchtower, Jan. 15, 2010, 13.

69. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 203-204 (the opening question is in bold type in the original).

70. “If God Is for Us, Who Will Be Against Us?” Watchtower, June 1, 2001, 16.