Warning the Witnesses
By T.A. McMahon
One has to admire the zeal of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They put in many hours going door to door trying to convince people they don’t know to believe what they believe. Although the zeal is commendable in one sense, it’s tragic in another. Their incessant labor to attain salvation is worse than fruitless; even more important, it is a rejection of the only way they can be saved.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John:14:6). Jesus is God “manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy:3:16). He declares that He is Jehovah God and that those who do not believe in Him cannot be saved: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John:8:24).
There are many very good ministries and resources that address the errors and deceits of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Even though I am familiar with a number of such ministries and their books, articles, and videos, I have to admit that I am hardly the well-equipped, ready-to-straighten-them-out apologist I should be when JWs come to my door. One of the problems is that they come by at unexpected, even inopportune, times, and too often my flesh would much rather avoid them or send them packing. My wife takes another tack (which doesn’t help matters). She uses the “honey approach,” which is not to be confused with the “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” tactic. After she greets them, she calls out to me, “Honey, it’s for you!” To say that I’ve had a good attitude in the past about engaging them would be as truthful as their New World Translation. So, I’m under much conviction to repent of my former ways and, by God’s grace, be willing to minister to those who are just as lost and in bondage as I was before Christ transformed my life.
To that end, this article is hardly the “be all and end all” for witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but some may find it helpful. Part of the problem is that the JWs have so many false teachings that it can be a dilemma remembering them, not to mention deciding what to address. They have their own error-filled bible, which was fabricated in order to support their unbiblical doctrines. They have false prophecies. They have another gospel. They have an erroneous view of death and eternal punishment. And they have dangerous practices that are based upon their false beliefs. To compound the problem, at least one of the JWs who comes to your door is a veteran and well trained to argue against anyone who would object to his cult’s beliefs.
What I propose, for those who want to minister to the JWs yet who identify with my own shortcomings, is to keep things simple by zeroing in on their chief problem: they do not believe that Jesus is God, but rather a created god. Their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) spells that out quite clearly by corrupting John:1:3: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Jesus, whom JWs believe is “the Word,” is “a god.” The problems with that teaching defy both what the Bible teaches and reason. Exodus:20:1-3 declares, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Jehovah God forbids the manifestation of other gods simply because there is only one God: “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah:44:6,8). Isaiah declares that same truth over and over again (Isaiah:43:10; 45:5-6,18,21-22). Therefore, all other gods are false gods.
The biblical objections to Jehovah God having created Jesus as a god are found throughout Scripture. First of all, no verse in the Bible testifies to that JW teaching, and, as we’ve seen, it clearly contradicts the many verses declaring that there is only one God. Moreover, Jesus, rather than being a “created god,” is the creator and sustainer of all things: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians:1:16-17). The NWT injects the bracketed word “[other]” between “all” and “things” in order to deny the exclusive aspect of Jesus creating “all things,” of which only God is capable. Written to support the false teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the NWT nevertheless elsewhere unwittingly confirms Jesus as the exclusive creator of “all things”: “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence” (John:1:3 NWT).
The false JW teaching that Jesus is inferior to Jehovah God as a “created god” makes His many statements of claiming to be God a lie, and therefore He himself a liar. In Exodus, the Lord declared to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus:3:14). In Isaiah:43:10, as well as many other places, Jehovah announces that He is the only true God by declaring Himself to be the “I am,” that is, the eternal self-existing One. JWs argue that Jesus is not Jehovah, which contradicts the numerous times Jesus identifies himself as Jehovah, the “I am” (John:8:28; 11:25; 13:13; 14:10-11, and many others). In John:8:58-59 Jesus proclaimed, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Although the Watchtower Society doesn’t accept the fact that Jesus was claiming to be Jehovah God by His declaration, the Jewish religious leaders took Him at His word when He said that He and His Father are one: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John:10:30-33). Jesus did not correct their accusation because He indeed is God.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are in serious trouble and they need to be told so. The denial of the biblical teaching that Jesus is Jehovah God is a direct rejection of the only One who can save them. They say that’s not the case because they believe Jehovah is their savior. They are half-right because Jehovah is certainly the Savior. In fact—Jehovah is the only Savior: “I, even I, am the Lord [Jehovah]; and beside me there is no saviour.…There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah:43:11; 45:21-22). Yet their being “half-right” is akin to a bridge that only spans halfway; travelers attempting to cross it will go to their death. Jesus said if they do not believe that He is Jehovah they will die in their sins (John:8:24).
If there is only one Savior, what then of the verses proclaiming “our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”? (2 Peter:1:11; 3:18) Jesus and God can be our Savior only if they are one in the same. That’s exactly what we are told in Titus:2:13, which refers to Jesus as “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The Greek grammar is indisputable in support of this verse that God and our Savior Jesus Christ are the same.
Only the teaching of the Trinity can reconcile those verses declaring that there is only one God and one Savior, yet Jehovah is the Savior and Jesus is the Savior. JWs, however, not only reject the Trinity doctrine, they also distort what biblical Christians actually believe, insinuating the false idea that they worship three Gods. Not true. The God of the Bible, that is, Jehovah God, consists of the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit: one God, three Persons. Although a comprehension of God existing in three persons is beyond the grasp of the human mind, that is the clear teaching throughout the Scriptures. Furthermore, the revealed character of God offers many logical reasons why God cannot be a singular Being as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim. Consider, for example, the truth that God is love (1 John:4:8). God is also eternal and perfectly complete. Yet love demands an object to love. As a singular Being, He would need to create an object of His love in order to love. Such a need, if true, would exhibit His lack of being perfectly complete. But couldn’t He simply love Himself? No. Self-love is unbiblical. Since 1 Corinthians:13:5 teaches us that love isn’t self-seeking, God would be contradicting His own Word. Love, therefore, must always have existed in the Trinity, in which all three Beings of the Godhead love each other.
Are there two Jehovahs? The first part of Isaiah:44:6 declares, “Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah] the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts,” and just so there is no misunderstanding, the Lord Jehovah sets the record straight in the latter part of verse 6: “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Again, only the doctrine of the Trinity makes sense of this verse. Furthermore, the King of Israel and His redeemer the Lord of hosts both signify Jesus, who is the King of Israel and the King of kings and our redeemer (John:18:33,37; 1 Timothy:6:15; Revelation:19:16; Titus:2:14).
Further proofs abound that Jesus must be Jehovah God. Consider for example His acceptance of worship. Jesus himself declared that only God is to be worshiped (Matthew:4:10) yet He accepted worship as a child by the wise men (2:11), by a leper (8:2), by a ruler (9:18), as the Son of God by His disciples (14:33), by the two Marys after His resurrection (28:9), and by many others including Thomas, who declared to Him, “My Lord and my God” (John:20:28). He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians:1:15). By Him all things consist (vs. 17). Jesus is identified as the Son, the mighty God, the everlasting Father(Isaiah:9:6). Jesus is the “Almighty” God, as the Book of Revelation proclaims throughout (Revelation:1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7,14; 19:15-16). He made Himself equal with God (Phil:2:6; John:5:18). In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians:2:9). Only God can forgive sin, yet Jesus forgave sin (Luke:5:20-25).
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been deceived into believing that their zealous works are what Jehovah requires for His forgivness of their sins and their acceptance by Him. Jesus, however, set straight those who had the same belief: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John:6:28-29). Only Jesus, as God and Man, could (and did!) pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. This He fully accomplished as He hung upon the Cross. Tragically, JWs have rejected their only hope of eternal life with Jesus because they are looking to “another Jesus,” a created one of their own fabrication. They need to be warned, however brief one’s encounter with them might be.
I suggest that the first question to ask the Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door is whether or not they believe that Jesus is Jehovah God. You are not looking for their rationale but rather a declarative yes or no! “No” will be their obvious response, and following that, I recommend that you give them the solemn warnings from the Scriptures, beginning with Jesus’ words: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John:8:24). Then, “if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy:2:12), and “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John:12:48). And finally, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John:3:36). Those verses contain the seeds of conviction that I believe need to be planted, followed, of course, by prayer that God’s Word will take root within those lost souls at your door and deliver them from their temporal bondage and eternal separation from Jehovah God. TBC