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What Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe

The Teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses are, by their own definition, “servants of Jehovah, the Almighty God, and active witnesses to his sovereign supremacy.”1 Claiming to be followers of “Christ their Leader,” they reject any association with the “religious hypocrites of organized Christendom.” Antichrist is defined as “any organization or individual that is against Christ or Christianity.” This includes those who say that “Christ was God incarnate; deny Christ actually came to earth as a Perfect Man of Flesh; the Collective Clergy of Christendom; Pagan Religions; Communistic Red Religion”; and supporters of the United Nations (MS 14–15).

God’s sovereignty, they say, was impugned when Adam and Eve rebelled. Therefore the major issue before all heaven and earth is the vindication of the name and sovereignty of Jehovah. This is more important than the salvation of men and will be completely settled at the coming Battle of Armageddon. In the meantime, the faithful members of this organization are demonstrating that there is “a group of persons dedicated to do God’s will”2 and thus are vindicating “his reproached and misrepresented name” (LG 29).

The publication activity of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is simply amazing. The average printing of each issue of Awake magazine is 10,125,000 (1977), and the average printing of each issue of The Watchtower magazine is 9,200,000 (1978) in eighty-two languages. The production of cloth-bound books is apparently endless, with considerable repetition of contents. All are written in the same authoritative tone, very convincing to uninformed readers. In vehement and caustic language, particular exception is taken to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. The essential deity of Jesus Christ is denied, as is the personality of the Holy Spirit. The efficacy of the atonement is vitiated by the demand for continued faithfulness in witnessing, and any degree of assurance of salvation is virtually impossible. There is unscriptural stress on the 144,000 “followers of Christ” who “only will go to heaven” (MS 196). They compose the “body of Christ,” and for them are reserved the titles which, in orthodox Christianity, are applied to all true believers. The mass of the Jehovah’s Witnesses work incessantly, with the hope of eternity on an earthly paradise. And continuance even there seems contingent upon faithfulness.3 This “faithfulness in witnessing” is indicated in the reported 307,272,262 hours of witnessing during 1978.

The organization known as Jehovah’s Witnesses was legally incorporated in 1884 by Charles Taze Russell. It was then known as The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Russell rejected much of the teaching of orthodox Christianity and built his own system of Bible interpretation. His ideas were widely circulated through a seven-volume Studies in the Scripture (Allegheny, Pa.: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society). “It has been said that 15 million copies of this series have been distributed.”4 The organization was variously known as Russellites, Millennial Dawnists, Rutherfordites (after Joseph Franklin Rutherford, the successor to Russell), and International Bible Students. However, in 1931 the official name became Jehovah’s Witnesses. The name was based on Isaiah 43:10 (see also 44:8) which reads: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord [Jehovah].” Rutherford, president since 1917, was succeeded by Nathan Homer Knorr in 1942. Under his presidency the work expanded into at least “lands and islands of the sea.” Knorr died in June 1977. He has been succeeded by Frederick Franz, a Jehovah’s Witness since 1913.

Sources of Authority

“Let God have the say as to what is the truth that sets men free” (LG 9). “Accept His Word, the Bible, as the truth” (LG 9). By these and similar statements the Jehovah’s Witnesses purport to reveal their devotion to the Bible. It is “Jehovah’s God’s written word to mankind, revealing himself and expressing his purpose” (MS 36).

Actually, the ultimate source of authority is the Word of God as translated and interpreted in voluminous writings of the organization. As stated by Pastor Russell concerning his Studies in the Scripture, “People cannot see the divine plan by studying the Bible itself.”5 The Studies contain this declaration: “Be it known that no other system of theology even claims, or has ever attempted to harmonize in itself every statement of the Bible, yet nothing short of this can we claim.”6 The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures was published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1961. The title page states that the translation is “rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee.” It is a biased translation, made to verify predetermined doctrines. As Anthony A. Hoekema writes, “Many of the peculiar teachings of the Watchtower Society are smuggled into the text of the Bible itself.”7 Unwarranted liberties are taken in the English translation to substantiate teaching that is not in keeping with that of historic Christianity but is dogmatically stated in Jehovah’s Witness writings.

For instance, the book Make Sure of All Things categorically declares that “the Holy Spirit is NOT a person” (MS 389). Therefore, the word spirit, indicating the Holy Spirit, is never capitalized. Again, since the deity of Jesus Christ is denied, John 1:1 is translated, “In the beginning the Word was … and the Word was a god.” It has been pointed out that in Colossians 1:15–17 the word “other” has been inserted, without warrant, four times. That was done in order to put Jesus Christ on a level with “other” created things. Philippians 2:6 is another flagrantly false translation. It reads: “[Christ Jesus] although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal with God.” The obvious meaning is that Christ was not equal with God, and did not choose to be.

These examples are given to indicate that the source of authority for Jehovah’s Witnesses is not the Bible, but the Bible as interpreted by Russell, Rutherford, and their followers. Russell’s “sanctified common sense” rejected the mystery of the Trinity, and with it he eliminated the very person of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin (John 16:8), and denigrated the deity of the Son, without which there can be no atonement. (Further information relative to Jehovah’s Witness teaching about the Holy Spirit and the Son is given below under “The Doctrine of God” and “The Doctrine of Jesus Christ.”)

The Doctrine of God

The name Jehovah means “the Purposer.” He is the only true God, “and is now working out his purpose of vindicating his name and sovereignty and blessing all faithful mankind through his kingdom” (MS 193). He is not a triune god, which “false doctrine would deny his almighty supremacy” (MS 188). The doctrine of the Trinity originated in “ancient Babylonish paganism” (MS 386).

the identity of jehovah

The question, “Who is Jehovah,” asked by Pharaoh of Egypt, epitomizes the attitude of the world today. It began with the rebellion in Eden, which “called into question Jehovah’s position as supreme sovereign.”8 Could Jehovah create a people w
ho would serve Him faithfully in total obedience? That was the primary issue even before creation. That the answer is positive is being demonstrated by His “witnesses” as they are declaring His name throughout the earth.

the person of jehovah

Jehovah is one person. His principal attributes are love, wisdom, justice, and power. At one time all alone in the universal space, He was self-contained and never lonely.9 He is above all; He is supreme sovereign of the universe. He is omniscient, but not omnipresent, although His power extends everywhere (MS 191). The doctrine of the Trinity is brushed aside as being “false, unbiblical.” Proof of that involves, for the most part, denial of the equality of the Son and the Father. The doctrinal handbook Make Sure of All Things (1953 edition, revised in 1957) succinctly states “Jesus is inferior to Jehovah,” “Jehovah is Christ’s God” (MS 387–88). Added to this is the consistent denial of the personality of the Holy Spirit.

the nature of the holy spirit

The Holy Spirit is not a person; rather, He is subject to God (MS 387–88). The Spirit is defined as “Jehovah’s invisible energizing force … that produces visible results … experienced by men” (MS 360). Thus in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Genesis 1:2 reads, in part, “and God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” As indicated above, in the New World Translation references to the Holy Spirit are never capitalized. There is no attempt to explain the Spirit’s activities as helper, guide, advocate, and comforter, nor is it shown how He convicts of sin, speaks to and through believers, may be grieved, and so forth. (See John 14:16–17, 26; 16:7–15; Acts 13:2; Ephesians 4:30; and many other verses.)

The Doctrine of Creation

Jehovah God created all that exists. He, the great First Cause, brought into existence all that is material and spiritual in the universe. In the divine order, there were three stages in creation:

creation of the only-begotten son

The only-begotten Son was the first creation. Jesus Christ is God’s first creation. Having received life directly from God “unassisted,” he was given “priority and preeminence among all God’s creatures.”10 By this creation, Jehovah God became a father. Being endowed with wisdom, the Son became the master workman, the co-worker with Jehovah through whom all else came into existence.

creation of angels

Angels, of different ranks, were created next. Shortly after the “dawn of creation,” Lucifer, son of the morning, was brought into being. He and the only-begotten Son were the princes and were called “morning stars,” who worked together and “sang together.”11 (See Job 38:7.) Then all other spirit sons of God, seraphim, cherubim, and angels (messengers), were brought forth “perfect, glorious, and holy.”12 They are numbered in the hundreds of millions, all organized and placed in positions of service.

creation of the heavens and earth

Finally, the heavens and earth were created. At God’s command, His “mighty son, the Word,” began to adorn the fathomless depths of space with the material creation.13 Billions of milky ways and galaxies of stars! It should be noted that any suggestion of evolution is untenable. However, the “silence” of Genesis 1:1 “may allow” for the estimate of “modern science” that the average age of the Milky Way is 3 to 4 billion years (NH 34–35).

Of interest is the calculation that each of the Creator’s workdays was 7,000 years long. Reckoning that God’s “sabbath rest” began some 6,000 years ago, the Battle of Armageddon is near, “and Christ’s reign of 1,000 years will begin immediately after it.” The Sabbath rest is therefore 7,000 years long. On this basis, man was “put on the earth toward the end of 42,000 years of earth’s preparation” (LG 168).

The Doctrine of Jesus Christ

“Jesus, the Christ, a created individual, is the second greatest Personage of the universe. Jehovah God and Jesus together constitute the Superior Authorities” (MS 207).

The consistent and vehement denial of the deity of Christ is an outstanding feature of this system. In that denial, Jehovah’s Witnesses have revived the ancient heresy known as Arianism. To the Witnesses, Jesus Christ was a Jew whose life and teachings have affected the course of all human history. He was one who had a wonderful past before He appeared on earth. But He was not Jehovah God, nor was He equal with Jehovah God. In fact, He was known as Michael, the archangel! (NH 28).

The following headings are taken from pages 207–10 of Make Sure of All Things (revised April 1, 1957), which sets forth seventy principal themes and gives a “balanced picture” of the belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

First-born Son of God, a Spirit.” Jesus Christ was a spirit person, the most beloved and most favored of all creation. He was the Word, or Logos. “As such, he was a god, but not the Almighty God, who is Jehovah” (LG 33). Note likewise that He did not possess immortality (deathlessness).

Lesser than Jehovah.” That Jesus Christ is lesser than Jehovah is substantiated by an unjustifiable translation of Philippians 2:6. “Christ Jesus … gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” That is, “he did not follow the course of the Devil and plot and scheme to make himself like or equal to the Most High God” (LG 34–35). Reference is also made to the erroneous, indefensible translation of John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was a god.” While seeking to deprive the Word of equality with the Father, it actually makes Jehovah’s Witnesses to be polytheistic.14

Born as a Human Son of God, Oct. 2 B.C.” “At the time that the young woman conceived by the miracle-working power of the Almighty God then the life of the Son of God was transferred from his glorious position with God his Father in heaven to the embryo of a human” (LG 36). To call this an “incarnation of God” is “unscriptural,” for “the Son of God laid aside completely his spirit existence.”15 He was born as a mere human creature, the “full equal of the perfect Adam in Eden, sinless and possessed of the right to perfect human life in Paradise.”16 Jesus forfeited that right in order to become the basis of redemption, as will be noted under “The Doctrine of Salvation,” below.

Became the Messiah Seed in Fall, A.D. 29.” By his water baptism, Jesus indicated His submission to do God’s will. God thereupon consecrated Him by His “holy spirit” and acknowledged Him as His beloved Son. God “begot Jesus to be his spiritual Son once more instead of a human Son” (LG 38). Jesus was anointed to be the long-promised King in God’s Kingdom—and to become the Messiah. Henceforth, He was Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Anointed.

Died on Stake as Ransomer in Spring, A.D. 33.” By definition, the cross is a symbol falsely used to represent Christianity. Jesus was not crucified on a cross; rather, He was impaled on a stake. This stake is depicted as a single upright pole, with no crossbar.

When John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:36), he showed the secondary purpose for wh
ich the Son of God came to earth—that is, to die for sinful men.

Resurrected Immortal on Third Day.” On the third day, Jesus’ immortal Father, Jehovah God, raised Him from the dead, not as a human Son, but as a mighty immortal spirit Son. “For forty days thereafter he materialized, as angels before him had done, to show himself alive to his disciples as witnesses” (LG 40). God raised Him to deathless heavenly life as a glorious spirit creature, exalted to be next highest to Himself, the Most High God.

It is to be observed that the materialization of Jesus’ body after the resurrection was a temporary thing. What became of His physical body? “We know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt.… Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is preserved somewhere as a grand memorial of God’s love … no one knows.”17

Since there is no bodily resurrection, there can be no second coming in the scriptural sense of that term.

The Doctrine of Man

Toward the end of the sixth creative day, nearly 42,000 years after the beginning of creation, God made man in His own image. Man was given dominion over the earth and its forms of life, with the attributes of wisdom, justice, love and power. (See “The Doctrine of Creation,” above.)

man’s soul

Man is a soul. He consists of a “body together with the life principle or life force activating it” (MS 349). This is a fundamental precept of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Man has no soul within him that is separate and distinct from his human body, and that could exist independently, should dissolution of the body occur.”18 Death is simply cessation of existence.

Man is not immortal, any more than are fish, birds, or animals. All are “earthly souls,” having organisms of flesh that are “kept living by means of blood circulating in their systems” (MS 349). That is, man does not possess, in any sense, the quality of deathlessness, or incorruptibility. Such a teaching is held to have been originated by Satan in the Garden. Note, above, that even Jesus Christ was not given immortality until the time of the resurrection. Angels are also mortal and destructible.

It should be underlined that orthodox Christianity maintains the doctrine of the inherent immortality of human souls. Genesis 2:7 states that God formed man of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The body, created from the dust, is mortal and subject to death (separation of soul from body); the soul (the breath of life) is immortal, indestructible, yet subject to spiritual death (separation from God). Man sinned. Lest he eat of the tree of life and thus gain immortality of the body, he was expelled from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22–23).

Immortality is given as a reward for faithfulness to Christ. But it must be noted that only the 144,000 can ever receive immortality. Immortality is inseparably linked with the kingdom of heaven, and flesh and blood creatures cannot enter. Human souls can only dwell forever on the earth. (See “The Doctrine of Salvation,” below, subsection “Heavenly Glory for the 144,000.”)

adam’s sin

Result if Adam had not sinned. Had Adam not sinned, he would have lived on earth forever in his mortal state. So would all his children.

Sentence of death and soul-sleep. By Adam’s disobedience, the sentence of death was passed upon all mankind. Death is called soul-sleep, the “termination of existence, utter cessation of conscious, intellectual or physical activity” of any kind (MS 86). In this connection, note that the resurrection of the body is thus actually re-creation according to the “memory” of God, not restoration of the “original identical body” (MS 311).

Figuring on the basis that one of God’s ways of measuring time reckons “one day … as a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8), it is declared that Adam actually died during the day in which he sinned. He died when he was 930 years old, in the year 309 b.c.e. (Before Our Common Era). He literally ceased to exist, “without hope of resurrection.”19

Satan’s enticement to man challenged God. When Satan induced man to sin, he actually challenged God. Could Jehovah put on earth a man who could not be turned away from Him? God’s sovereignty was impugned, and thus the vindication of His name became an issue before the universe.

The Doctrine of Salvation

“Salvation is the deliverance from the destructive power of sin, a redemption from the ultimate end of sin which is everlasting death, annihilation” (MS 330).

the ransom paid for all

The Fall brought death to all men, and the possibility of perfect human life with all its rights and earthly prospects was lost. But on the cross Christ made atonement for sin. That is, He provided a ransom that canceled death and gave to man the opportunity to receive the gift of life. It must be noted that the ransom price was “his human life poured out in willing sacrifice” (LG 116). He did not deserve to die. But His perfect human life with all its earthly prospects and rights was laid down in death, and “was not taken back by Jesus at His resurrection, for he was raised a divine spirit creature.”20 He willingly forfeited His perfect human life on earth and thus offset the inherited condemnation for Adam’s family. He exchanged “his human existence for the spirit existence, and by relinquishing his right to live, he secured man an opportunity to live” in the paradise that will be located on the earth.21 He made it possible for most men to attain salvation.

the ransom does not avail for all

Salvation is a goal to be attained by those who faithfully carry out their dedication to do God’s will. It is a goal made possible by the atonement of Christ, but it is guaranteed only to the faithful ones who endure to the end. Adam is characteristic of those not included among the ransomed. He deliberately forfeited the perfect life God had given him. Eve did likewise. The people of Noah’s day, those who lived in Sodom, the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day, and those who are killed at Armageddon are beyond redemption. They have received, or will receive, a “destruction that lasts forever”22—eternal annihilation.

heavenly glory for the 144,000

Only the 144,000 will share in heavenly glory with Jesus Christ. All other Jehovah’s Witnesses will enjoy the blessings of life on the earth.

We are told that God had predestined the “requirements and qualifications” of the heavenly class before the foundation of the world. The number was also foreordained but not revealed until John wrote Revelation 7:4 and 14:1–3. This amazing misinterpretation of Scripture gives exclusively to these “chosen ones” all the names and rights given in the Bible to the saints. The 144,000 constitute the bride, the Lamb’s wife. They are the elect, the holy nation, the royal priesthood. They only are annointed with God’s spirit, and are members of the body, the church. Designated requirements are the following:

1. They must exercise faith in God’s provision, the shed blood of Christ. That, of course, includes baptism, symbolizing dedication. “Christ Jesus then acts as an advocate, covering the sins of such dedicated ones by the merit of His sacrifice. The dedicated one is now in position to be justified or declared righteous by God, and thus he has access to God through
Christ Jesus. He has an acceptable body and the right to perfect life on earth, and all this can be presented for sacrifice with Jesus Christ” (LG 298–99; italics added).

2. “God now … causes his active force or holy spirit to act upon them so as to bring them forth as spiritual sons with the hope of life in the heavens, and he acknowledges them as his sons” (LG 300). (See “The Doctrine of Jesus Christ,” above, subhead “Became the Messiah Seed in Fall, A.D. 29.”)

3. They must “demonstrate their dependability by carrying our their dedication faithfully until death” (LG 301). “If they resist Satan and his world and maintain integrity until death, they are assured of the ‘crown of life,’ immortality, divine nature” (LG 302).

The apostles were the first members of this group.

provision for the other sheep

The other sheep are promised everlasting life on earth. These are the unnumbered persons now working as Jehovah’s Witnesses. For them there is no suggestion of justification or regeneration. They must have faith in Jesus Christ, preceded by repentance from sin. Then they must be baptized by immersion. This baptism symbolizes complete dedication and is a declaration of their stand for God’s universal sovereignty. This “baptism into the greater Noah” saves them now, and later will keep them saved through Armageddon, “provided … they abide in him, keeping their good conscience through faith and loyal service” (NH 311).

The Jehovah’s Witness is never given a clear title to salvation. Every suggestion of assurance is qualified by the absolute requirement of continuance in faith, endurance, obedience, and witnessing.

According to Watchtower teaching, one of four possible destinies awaits a person when he dies: (1) he may remain in the condition of non-existence into which death has plunged him (as in the case of Adam, Cain, Judas, and others beyond redemption); (2) he may be “raised” with a “spirit body,” thus receiving immortality, after which he will go directly to heaven to reign there with Christ (as one of the 144,000); (3) he may be raised with a physical body and then, after having passed the millennial tests, receive everlasting life on the renewed earth; or (4) he may, after having been raised with a physical body, still fail to pass the millennial tests, and thus eventually be annihilated.23

The Doctrine of Things to Come

It should be noted that the Kingdom of God is entirely heavenly. It is a Sovereign-empowered theocratic government with Jehovah himself as the great Everlasting King. Christ Jesus is coregent, with the 144,000 as associate kings. “The term also is used to refer to the realm over which the Kingdom government exercises control” (MS 226).

beginning of the kingdom

In 1914 the Kingdom began operation in full with the enthronement of Christ Jesus in the heavens. In that year Christ received his “never-to-be-destroyed” Kingdom. This marked the end of the “appointed times of the nations,”24 and the time of the end of this world began. This is proved by the following amazing compilation of Bible passages:

1. Daniel 4:16—The “appointed times of the nations” is seven times.

2. Revelation 12:6, 14—A time, times, and half a time means three and a half times, or half of seven times. Three and a half times equal 1,260 days (v. 6); therefore seven times would be 2,520 days.

3. Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6—These set God’s rule as a “day for a year.” Therefore, 2,520 days mean 2,520 years!

In 607 b.c. Jerusalem was captured by Babylon, to begin the “times of the nations.” Proceeding 2,520 years from 607 b.c. brings us to a.d. 1914, the year in which Christ’s “second coming” took place. At that time, “the devil and his angels were hurled down to earth and all kinds of trouble ensued for the people of the earth.”25 World War I is proof of this!

cleansing of the spiritual temple and the judgment of nations

In 1918 two major events took place:

1. Jesus entered the “spiritual temple, and began to cleanse it.” This marked the period of judgment and inspection of his spirit-begotten followers—that is, the 144,000 who had died. These were now “raised with spirit-bodies to join him at the spiritual temple” (LG 203). This is the first resurrection. Included within this resurrection are all members of the 144,000 who die subsequent to 1918. They are given spiritual bodies immediately at death—provided, of course, that they have maintained integrity!

2. The judgment of the nations began. The people living in the world are being divided into “the sheep and goats” (Matt. 25:31–46). The resurrected members of the 144,000 are associated with Christ as judges. The basis of judgment is the individual attitude toward Jehovah’s Witnesses and their message.

the battle of armageddon

The Battle of Armageddon is the next great event in history. It is imminent. This is “the battle of Jehovah God Almighty in which his executive officer Christ Jesus leads invisible forces of righteousness to destroy Satan and his demonic and human organization, eliminating wickedness from the universe and vindicating Jehovah’s universal sovereignty” (MS 24). “Organized religion,” the great harlot of Revelation 17:1–3, will lead all nations as part of Satan’s organization in heaven and earth. The beast of Revelation 17:3 is the United Nations. It was (as the League of Nations), is not (during World War II), and has ascended (as the UN) (see Revelation 17:8).

Armageddon does not mean a literal place. Megiddo is symbolic. “Armageddon refers to God’s war by which he destroys the world at the accomplished end.”26 It is said that over “two billion people will die.”27 Satan will be crushed and cast into the abyss for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1–3). This abyss is a “deathlike state of inactivity,” like the state Jesus Himself was in when He died. Thus Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled!

the millennium

Armageddon survivors will enter the Millennium on earth. The new earth (new human society under new social arrangements) will be governed by the New Heavens (Christ Jesus and the 144,000). “There will be no evil, no disease, nor aches nor pains … but lasting peace and unity—one worship of Jehovah” (LG 26). Vigorous, energetic youth will be the lot of every faithful human. And Armageddon survivors will marry and have children. When according to the divine mandate, the earth is full to capacity, “people will stop having children.”28 Every child will have full opportunity for life through Christ the King but “any not desiring to serve Jehovah will be executed” (LG 269).

two resurrections

There will be two resurrections early in the Millennium. The first persons to be raised to life on earth with physical bodies will be Jehovah’s faithful witnesses of pre-Christian times. These are the Old Testament faithful, such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, David, and so forth. They will become direct children of Christ the King and will be princes on the earth. Included with them will be “other sheep” who may have died before Armageddon.

Next will be the resurrection of those who “wanted to do right, but died without opportunity to hear, or learn.… Decent … sincere people.”29 They will be taught the truth and judged according to what they do about it. If they obey God’s commands, they will get life; if not
, they will go to everlasting death, as Adam did. Let God Be True optimistically states that “the greater mass of humankind will find life here on earth amid paradise conditions” (LG 279).

Noteworthy is the teaching that the Millennium is a “1,000-Year Day of Test,” or judgment. “All earth’s inhabitants in the new world of righteousness” will be judged. But they will not be judged on the basis of their past deeds, “but on the basis of what their deeds will be during the judgment day” (LG 293).

the loosing of satan and final judgment

The final test, or judgment, will come when Satan, the devil, is loosed (Revelation 20:7–9). By deceit, he will gain a large following and lead a final rebellion against Jehovah. Christ the King steps aside “for the Supreme Judge, Jehovah God, to make the test (NH 353). All the rebels, with Satan and his demons, will be cast into the lake of fire and sulphur, Gehenna. That is, “they are disintegrated, annihilated, as if they had never existed before” (NH 355).

The issue of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty will have been settled for good, forever.

final disposition of men

The 144,000, having been raised in spirit-bodies, will remain in heaven for eternity. They are “joint-heirs and co-rulers” with Christ, in Jehovah’s theocracy. The “other sheep” will remain on earth, entering “upon an eternity of paradisaic happiness in the ever-abiding new earth” (NH 360). “Absolute and endless destruction” is the doom of all others.

1 Make Sure of All Things (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1953), p. 193 (hereafter cited in text or notes as MS).

2 Let God Be True (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1952), p. 219 (hereafter cited in text or notes as LG).

3 From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1958), p. 226.

4 Bruce M. Metzger, The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ (Princeton, N.J.: Theological Book Agency), p. 65. The booklet is a reprint from Theology Today 10, no. 1 (April 1953): 65–85.

5 Watchtower, September 15, 1910. Quoted by J. Oswald Sanders, Cults and Isms (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962), p. 79.

6 Charles Taze Russell, Studies in the Scriptures (Allegheny, Pa.: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1907) 1:348.

7 Anthony Hoekema, The Four Major Cults (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963), pp. 238–39.

8 Virgilius Ferm, ed., Religion in the Twentieth Century (New York: Philosophical Library, 1948), p. 388.

9 New Heavens and a New Earth (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1953), p. 21 (hereafter cited in text or notes as NH).

10 The New World (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1942), p. 16.

11 Ibid., p. 18.

12 Ibid., p. 24.

13 The Truth Shall Make You Free (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1943), p. 54.

14 See Metzger.

15 The Truth Shall Make You Free, pp. 245–46.

16 Ibid., p. 249.

17 Russell, 2:129.

18 MS 349; see also The Truth Shall Make You Free, p. 75.

19 Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society), pp. 177–78.

20 John H. Gerstner, The Theology of the Major Sects (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960), p. 165.

21 Ibid.

22 From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 202.

23 Hoekema, p. 295.

24 From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 173.

25 Ibid., p. 176.

26 From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 204.

27 You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1955).

28 From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 225.

29 Ibid. p. 229.

Robertson, I. (1991). What the cults believe (61). Chicago IL: Moody Press.

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