QUESTIONS FOR JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
|Question: If the Jehovah's Witnesses are the only true witnesses for God, and if the Jehovah's Witnesses as an organization came into being in the late nineteenth century, does this mean God was without a witness for over eighteen centuries of church history?|
implications of this question are that, if there was not a witness for God
for over eighteen centuries, then God did not care about whether the
people living during these many centuries came to know Him or not.
In the New Testament the clear focus is not on being witnesses of Jehovah but on being witnesses of Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be MY WITNESSES both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Romans 10:9 and 10 makes the doctrine of Christ's resurrection the heart of the gospel and a matter of salvation. Yet the Jehovah's Witnesses deny this doctrine, believing instead in a "spiritual" resurrection.
The disciples were witnesses of CHRIST and His resurrection, not of Jehovah.
Acts 2:32 "This Jesus God raised up again, to which WE ARE ALL WITNESSES."
Acts 3:15 "Jesus was the one "whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which WE ARE WITNESSES."
Acts 4:33 "And with great power THE APOSTLES WERE GIVEN WITNESS to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all."
Acts 13:30, 31 "But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, THE VERY ONES WHO ARE NOW HIS WITNESSES to the people."
|Question: The New World Translation renders Isaiah 43:10, "You are my witnesses, is the utterance of Jehovah, 'even my servant whom I have chosen." How can the Jehovah's Witnesses appropriate this verse for themselves and claim that they alone are chosen by God to be His witness, when this verse is referring to Israel?|
|Discussion: First, Read
Isaiah 43 in context. It's clear that in context this verse is referring
strictly to Israel as a collective witness to God's majesty, authority,
faithfulness, and truth. This is in contrast to pagans who cannot witness
to such attributes in their false gods. Israel as a witness was to
testify that Yahweh is the only true God.
It is a huge leap to take this verse referring to Israel as a witness to pagan nations in Old Testament times, seven centuries before the time of Christ, and claim the verse is fulfilled in a modern-day religious group some nineteen centuries after the time of Christ.
Jehovah's Witnesses use Acts 8:30, 31 as proof that an organization is
needed to interpret the Bible for us in order for us to understand it.
Acts 8:30, 31 "Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. 'Do you understand what you are reading?' Philip asked. 'How can I,' he said, 'unless someone explains it to me?' So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him."
If this verse means we need an organization to interpret the Bible for us, why did Philip disappear after the Eunuch was baptized never to be seen again by the eunuch? Did Philip use writings from an organization to lead the Eunuch to Christ, or scripture?
|Discussion: There is no evidence in this passage of an organization whose infallible views must be accepted by all true followers of God. In this verse, one man preached to an Ethiopian man directly from Scripture, not from literature designed by an organization. The eunuch didn't have to join an organization or submit to an organizations teachings. He never saw his teacher again and "went on his way rejoicing". If Scripture alone was sufficient for Philip and the eunuch, isn't Scripture alone sufficient for us?|
Question: 2 Timothy 3:15-17 "and how from infancy you have known the
holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through
faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for
teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the
man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
In light of this verse, how can the Watchtower teach that a person cannot become equipped by reading the Bible alone, but must read Watchtower literature?
|Discussion: In this
verse Paul tells Timothy that Scripture is able to give him wisdom that
leads to salvation. This clearly indicates that Scriptures alone were
sufficient to provide Timothy with the necessary wisdom to receive
salvation. If the Scriptures alone were sufficient for Timothy, then
aren't the Scriptures alone sufficient for us?
Also, How did people understand the Bible for the nineteen centuries prior to the existence of the Watchtower Society? What kind of God would give His people His Word with no means of understanding it until centuries later?
Scripture is sufficient because it finds it's source in God (verse 16). Watchtower literature finds its source in sinful humanity
Since Jehovah's Witnesses believe 2 Peter 1:20, 21 tells us we are not
to privately interpret scripture, how do you explain Acts 17:11 which
commends the Berean Christians for testing Paul's teachings to make sure
that what he said was in accord with Scriptures?
II Peter 1:20, 21 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit"
Acts 17:11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
|Discussion: First, 2
Peter 1:20, 21 is not instructing us not to read and interpret Scripture.
The Greek word for interpretation here literally means "unloosing". This
verse is telling us that Scripture is is not a result of any prophet's
"unloosing", but is a result of the Holy Spirit "carrying them along".
We're being told the SOURCE of scripture here, not that we shouldn't
Paul tells us that Christians are to test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Bereans were of more noble character for doing exactly this. Even the teaching of the Apostles were compared to Scripture as the test for truth. The teachings of the Watchtower Society must also be compared to Scripture. In order to do as we're instructed here, God obviously expected us to be able to read and understand His Word.
Question: I Corinthians 1:10 "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that
there may be no divisions among you."
The Watchtower Society teaches that this verse proves Jehovah's Witnesses are the only true Christians because they are in complete agreement with the Watchtower and are united in the same mind and thought. How do you explain Paul calling the Corinthians Christians in the same letter where he pointed out they were lacking in unity?
|Discussion: The church
in Corinth was divided into four basic factions, each having its own
leader (Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Christ). Each faction was acting in an
antagonistic way toward the other three. Paul explained to them that we
are all one in Christ. When Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians,
they were already lacking in unity (1 Cor. 6:13; 8:10; 10:25; 11:2-16; 14;
15). However, Paul clearly believed they were Christians. 1 Corinthians
1:2 "To those sanctified in Christ Jesus and those everywhere who call on
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - their Lord and ours." A lack of unity
obviously did not mean that the Corinthians were not Christian.
Also, where in this verse does the apostle Paul suggest that Christians are to render unquestioning obedience to an organization? It does not say anywhere in 1 Corinthians that unity is to be achieved by submission to an organization.
Paul also explains in Romans that diversity among Christian brethren is acceptable. The following verses indicate that it is acceptable for Christians to differ on certain religious issues:
Romans 14:2-5 "One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man regards one day above another; another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind."
Paul was not asking the Christians to do away with all diversity, but rather to get rid of their unbrotherly, divisive attitude.
|Question: The Watchtower Society teaches that a knowledge of the Scriptures is necessary for salvation. They base this belief on John 17:3. According to John 5:39, 40 is knowledge of Scripture sufficient for salvation?|
|Discussion: First, the
New World Translation used by Jehovah's Witnesses mistranslates
John 17:3 as "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of
you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus
Christ." Literally translated from the Greek text this verse reads, "Now
this is eternal life: that they may know you." Jesus is talking about a
personal knowledge of God, not a general knowledge of the Bible. The
Greek word for "know" in this verse is one that specifically indicates
great intimacy with another person.
Jesus actually tells us that general knowledge of the Bible is insufficient in itself to save us. "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39, 40) You can know the Bible, but if you reject what is within it, you will not be saved. In 2 Timothy 3:7, Paul referred to those who were "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth".
Scripture consistently emphasizes that salvation is rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under haven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Salvation is found in knowing Christ, not in taking in knowledge from Watchtower literature. (John 3:16, 4:42; 6:33; I John 4:14; 5:20).
|Question: Since the Jehovah's Witnesses claim that God must always be referred to as Jehovah and the fact that others don't do this proves Jehovah's Witnesses are the only true church, why is God not always identified as Jehovah in the Bible? Why did Jesus not address the Father as Jehovah?|
|Discussion: First, the
word Jehovah came about because the ancient Jews had a superstitious dread
of pronouncing the name YHWH for fear they would violate the commandment
not to take God's name in vain. To avoid the possibility of breaking this
commandment, the Jews substituted the name "Adonai" (Lord) or some other
name in its place when ever they read it in Scripture. Eventually the
scribes inserted the vowels from Adonai within the consonants YHWH and the
result was Yahowah, or Jehovah. Jehovah was a man-made term.
Jehovah is not the only name in the Bible used to refer to God. Many times in Scripture God is referred to as "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". Because God is referred to by other names in the Old Testament, Exodus 3:15 cannot be taken, as the Jehovah's Witnesses do, to mean that Jehovah is the only name by which God can be addressed.
In the New Testament, Jesus NEVER addressed the Father as Jehovah. If the Watchtower Society is correct that God must always be referred to as Jehovah, then Jesus was way out of line. Jesus began many prayers with, Our Father. We are told as Christians to cry out to our God as "Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6). According to the Greek manuscripts the word Jehovah does not occur a single time in the New Testament.
|Question: The Jehovah's Witnesses claim that they are the only true church because they obey Acts 20:20 and go house to house preaching their beliefs. Acts 4:32 also says that members of the early church shared everything they had and kept no possessions for themselves. Does this mean the church today must do the same in order to be the true church?|
|Discussion: First, we
must point out that the word "house" in Acts 20:20 most likely refers to
house-churches. In the early days of Christianity, there was no
centralized church building where believers could congregate. Rather,
there were many small house-churches scattered throughout the each city.
(Acts 2:46, 5:42, 12:12) The use of specific church buildings did not
appear before the end of the second century. So, if we must do everything
like the early church in order to be called the one true church, Jehovah's
Witnesses should be holding church in houses.
In the same way, Jehovah's witnesses, in order to make this claim, would also have to practice community living where all property is shared among believers (Acts 4:32). That something took place in the first century of church history is not grounds for saying that the same thing should be done throughout every century of church history.
|Question: The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the only true name for God is "Jehovah", and that the only way God's name can be sanctified is by calling God by His true name. To call God by any other name is to dishonor Him. Since the Jehovah's Witnesses put an exclusive emphasis on the name "Jehovah", how can they honestly say they are being obedient to Acts 1:8? Keep in mind the insertion of the name Jehovah in the New Testament by Jehovah's Witnesses goes completely against what is found in the early manuscripts of the New Testament.|
|Discussion: Jesus said
to the disciples in Acts 1:8 "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit
comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea
and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth". There is only one name by
which true followers of God should be identified. We are called to be
witnesses of Jesus Christ, not of Jehovah!
The answer to each of these questions is Jesus Christ, not Jehovah. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ, not Jehovah.
|Question: Jehovah's Witnesses argue that the New Testament never specifically says Jesus is Yahweh, so this proves that He isn't. How can Jehovah's Witnesses understand from scripture that God is Jehovah then, when there is no specific verse that proclaims this in the Old Testament? They understand this because Scripture tells us that Yahweh is the only true God. How can they then ignore the Scripture that tells us Jesus is also the only true God, hence, He is also Yahweh?|
clearly indicates in Scripture that He is Yahweh in John 8:58 when he
tells some Jews "Before Abraham was born, I am". The Old Testament
clearly identifies Jesus as Yahweh as well. In Zechariah 12:10 Yahweh is
speaking prophetically: "They will look on me, the one they have
pierced." Yahweh is speaking here, yet this is clearly a reference to
Christ's crucifixion. Yahweh uses the word me when speaking of Jesus.
The Septuagint also identifies Christ as Yahweh. The Septuagint is the Greek text of the Old Testament that dates prior to the birth of Christ. The Greek word ego eimi is used for the Hebrew phrase for "I AM" (God's name). On a number of occasions in the Greek New Testament, Jesus used this term as a way of identifying Himself as God. In John 8:24 Jesus says, "Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins." The original Greek does not have the word "he". The verse is literally, "If you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins", and I AM here is ego eimi - the same words given as God's name in the Old Testament. Ego eimi is also used in verse 28.
It is very revealing that Old Testament passages about Yahweh were directly applied to Jesus in the New Testament. Isaiah 40:3 says: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord [Yahweh]; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God [Elohim]." Mark's Gospel tells us that Isaiah's words were fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus Christ (Mark 1:2-4).
Many of the actions of Yahweh in the Old Testament are performed by Christ in the New Testament. In Psalm 119 we're told about a dozen times that Yahweh gives and preserves life. In the New Testament, Jesus claims this power for Himself: "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it" (John 5:21). There are many more parallels in the the Old and New Testaments that give show Jesus to have the same actions, purpose, and attributes as Yahweh.
What is true of Yahweh is also true of Jesus. They are one and the same.
Question: The Jehovah's Witnesses use Colossians 1:16, 17 as proof
that Jesus was created first and then was used for the rest of creation.
They translate this verse "By means of him all [other] things were created
in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things
invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments
or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for
him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all
[other] things were made to exist". The purpose of inserting the word
other 4 times is that they don't want it to appear that Christ was
uncreated and that He existed before all things.
Since Jehovah's Witnesses conclude that Jesus played a secondary role in making the universe because God created the universe through Christ (John 1:3), then what are we to conclude about Jehovah when Romans 11:36 and Hebrews 2:10 say the universe was created through Jehovah?
inserting the word through in this verse the Jehovah's Witnesses
change the meaning of the verse to an impossible translation. The
Watchtower Society claims that because God created all things through (dia
in Greek) Christ, he was created first and then played a secondary
roll in creation. However, the same word dia is used in Romans
11:36 and Hebrews 2:10 to say that the whole world was created through (dia)
God. If the world was created through Christ and through God, then Christ
did not act as a junior partner in the creation.
Isaiah 44:24 also says, "I, the Lord [Yahweh], am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by myself, and spreading out the earth all alone." Clearly, this verse makes it impossible to argue that Christ was created first by Jehovah and then Jehovah created all other things thorugh Christ. This fact and the fact that Jesus is the creator of all things (John 44:24) proves that Christ is God Almighty, just as the Father is.
|Question: Colossians 2:9 says "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form". This would pose a problem for the Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe Jesus is not God, so they retranslate the verse to say "Because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily". Greek scholars are unanimous that Colossians 2:9 points to the absolute deity of Jesus Christ. Can Jehovah's witnesses name a single Greek scholar on par with J.H. Thayer who agrees with the Watchtower rendering of this verse?|
Thayer, whose Greek lexicon is called "comprehensive" by the Watchtower
Society, says the Greek word in Colossians 2:9 refers to "deity, that is,
the state of being God, Godhead." Greek scholar Richard C. Trench says
that "St. Paul is declaring that in the Son there dwells all the fullness
of absolute Godhead. He was, and is, absolute and perfect God." Greek
scholar John A. Bengel states that the Greek word refers "not merely to
the Divine attributes, but to the Divine nature itself". There are many
more scholars I could site, but these are enough to demonstrate scholarly
Even some Watchtower literature supports the correct view of the Deity of Christ. The Bible in Living English, translated by Steven T. Byington, was published by the Watchtower Society in 1972, and it renders this verse, "In him all the fullness of deity is resident in bodily form." The Watchtower editors must have missed this!
|Question: Zechariah 12:10 reads "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Why does the Watchtower Society go against the most reliable and best Hebrew manuscripts to retranslate this as "And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only [son]; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn [son]"?|
|Discussion: In this
passage it is Yahweh speaking and He says "they will look on ME whom they
have pierced". This obviously means Jesus is Jehovah and this is why the
Watchtower Society must change this verse. We know know this verse is a
reference to Jesus because John's Gospel interprets this reference as a
prophecy of Christ's death on the cross (John 19:37). Jesus is also
explicitly described as the pierced one on Revelation 1:7.
Most importantly, there is no justification in the Hebrew text for translating the disputed portion of Zechariah 12:10 as "they will certanly look to the One whom they pierced through", as apposed to "they will look on ME whom they have pierced". The rendering "they will look on ME" has the support of the large majority of reliable Hebrew manuscripts, the LXX (septuagint), the Old Latin version, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targums, and the Greek versions of Aquilla, Symmachus, and Theodotion. The majority of the best manuscripts contradict the Watchtower rendering of Zechariah 12:10.
Acts 20:28 reads "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock,
among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church
of God which He purchased with His own blood".
Why does the Watchtower Society insert the word Son into Acts 20:28?
|Discussion: The New
World Translation renders this verse "Pay attention to yourselves and to
all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to
shepherd the congregation of God, which is purchased with the blood of
his own [Son]".
The New World Translation reinterprets this to make it appear that the church was purchased not by God's blood but by Jesus'. The reason not a single standard translation renders the text this way is because there is not a single Greek manuscript that contains the word "Son" in this verse. The Watchtower society has absolutely no reason other than deception to insert the word Son in this verse. As for Jesus being God, we also have Romans 9:5, Col. 2:9, and Titus 2:13 that tell us Jesus is God.
|Question: Titus 2:13 in the NASB reads "Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus". Why do the Jehovah's Witnesses mistranslate this to read "While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus"?|
translation used in the New World Translation is once again in
disagreement with all of the original manuscripts. They've changed the
verse to make it look as if two different persons are in view in an
attempt to hide the fact that the Bible clearly teaches Jesus is God.
However, even as they have translated it, it proves Jesus is God. Isaiah
43:11 says "I, even I, am the Lord [Yahweh], and apart from me there is no
savior". A claim to being a savior is, in itself, a claim to
deity, and there is only one Savior - God. Many verses in the New
Testament refer to Jesus as our Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42). Since
Jesus is our Savior, and Isaiah tells us apart from God there is no
savior, we must conclude that Jesus is God.
Greek scholars will also argue that Titus 2:13 refers to 1 person. Greek scholars, based on detailed studies of identical sentence constructions in the Greek New Testament, have a guiding principle or rule for interpreting such constructions: When two nouns in the same case are connected by the Greek word 'and,' and the first noun is preceded by the article 'the,' and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers, and is a further description of it". In Titus 2:13, two nouns - "God" and "Savior" - are joined together with the Greek word for "and," and a definite article ("the") is placed only in front of the first noun ("God"). So, the sentence literally reads: "the great God and Savior of us." A study of Greek sentence structure proves the New World Translation is not justified in their interpretation of this verse.
|Question: Would a Jehovah's Witness trust the translation of their Bible to someone who didn't know Greek or Hebrew and only had a high school education?|
|Discussion: This is an important question to ask a Jehovah's Witness because they do, in fact, do just that. The Watchtower Society has always resisted efforts to identify members of the translation committee for the New World Translation. There is good reason for their secrecy. The translation committee is now known to be a group of five men with no credentials that would in any way make them qualified to translate the Bible from the original texts. Four of the five men in the committee had no Hebrew or Greek training whatsoever and had only a high school education. The fifth member of the translation team claimed to know Hebrew and Greek. However, while being examined under oath in a court of law in Edinburgh Scotland, he was found to fail a simple Hebrew test. The truth is the translation of the New World Translation used by Jehovah's Witnesses was translated without any ability to read the original texts.|
|Question: What does it say about the Watchtower Society when, for over twenty years, it knowingly cited an occultic spiritist in support of its rendering of John 1:1?|
|Discussion: The New World Translation mistranslates John 1:1 to say that Jesus was a god instead of the God. To support the New World Translation, the Watchtower cites Johannes Greber as supporting the translation. Indeed Johannes Greber did support it, but he is also an occult spiritist who authored a book entitled "Communication with the Spirit World of God". Greber claims that spirits helped him in his translation of the New Testament. The Watchtower now claims that they didn't know Greber was a spiritist, however their own magazine refutes this. In 1956 an issue of The Watchtower magazine printed nearly a full page on Greber and his spiritism. Yet, the Society continued to cite him as an authority in support of its translation of John 1:1 after 1980.|