An Answer To Jehovah's Witness Error
In the past several weeks many members of the church have come to me with questions about the doctrine of the "Jehovah's Witnesses Sect." I feel it advisable to provide some material that will be useful in refuting their false and erroneous claims. Their errors are:
1. Error in founder and foundation. They are founded on the speculations of their father and founder, Charles Taze Russell. This is why they are nicknamed "Russellites." Among the many errors of Russell was his assertion that Jesus was merely a created man with earthly limitations, etc. He, therefore, denied the Deity and Divinity of Jesus. But the Deity or Divinity of Christ is the foundation of the church of Christ, "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). In response to Peter's great confession of the Deity of Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God," our Lord said: "Upon this rock (Christ's deity) I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18). Likewise, Paul said: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). Since the deity of Christ is the foundation that men are to build on, and since the founder of the Jehovah's Witness sect denied this very thing (we shall prove this later) they are wrong in founder and foundation, 2. Error in predicting the time of Christ's second advent. Russell wrote: "On the strength of this inspired statement alone; we have clear evidence of the fact that our Lord's second advent was due... in October A. D. 1874." (Studies in the Scriptures, series 2, page 188). "Let us draw them to a focus, and note how these rays of testimony unitedly and harmoniously blend, clearly revealing the blessed fact, not that the Lord is coming, nor that he will soon come, but that he has come." (ibid, Series 3, page 124). "And now he has come!" (ibid, page 133). Thus, they teach that Christ has already come to earth and that future expectation of his second advent is vain.
But the Scriptures speak to the contrary: "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour our Lord doth come" (Matt. 24:42). "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh" (Matt.24:44). These passages teach us not to set a date for the Lord's return. Take a positive approach to Matt. 24:44 and it reads like this: "for in such an hour as ye think (the Lord will come), the Son of Man cometh (not)." But Russell violated this very thing in setting a date for Christ to return. But you may wonder how they explain the fact that he was not seen and is not now seen. They simply say his return was invisible. Now, then, notice how that attitude violates this scripture: "Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." (Rev. 1:7). The second coming of Christ is a future thing that all will be able to see. Jehovah's Witnesses don't like to discuss Russell's blunder.
3. Error of denying the Deity and Divinity of Christ. On this matter, Russell wrote: "Neither was Jesus a combination of two natures, human and spiritual" (ibid, series 1, page 179). "These thoughts may help us to understand also how the Son, when changed from spiritual to human conditions to human nature and earthly limitations — was a man; and though it was the same bring in both cases, under the first conditions he was spiritual and under the second conditions he was human" (ibid, pps. 202-203).
But contrary to Russell's opinion that Christ was not a combination of humanity and Divinity, and was merely "a man," and merely "human," the word of God says: "for in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily" (Con.2:9). "Who (Christ) being the brightness of his (God's) glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3) During his earthly ministry, he said of himself: "If ye had known me, ye should have known my father also: and henceforth ye know him and have seen him" (Jno.14:7). John says of him: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (Jno. 1:18). His very name refutes this Divinity denying doctrine. "And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. " (Matt. 1:23). Truly, Jesus was God and man combined and was the only begotten Son of God while on this earth.
4. Error in denying the bodily resurrection of Jesus. On this question, Russell again wrote: "Thus far we have found spirit beings truly glorious; yet, except by the opening of men's eyes to see them, or by their appearing in flesh as men, they are invisible to men" (ibid, p.183). Since Russell thought that Christ was raised from the dead in spirit form, he denounced the fact that our Lord was visible. It is stated in these words in another Jehovah's Witness book: "So King Christ Jesus was put to death in the flesh and was resurrected an invisible spirit creature" (Let God Be True, page 138).
Now, will the reader read very carefully 1 Cor. 15:4-8? In this passage you will find the following evidence that Jesus was visible in bodily form after his resurrection; i.e. was seen of:
(1) "Cephas (Peter) and then of the twelve."
(2) After--"he was seen of about five hundred brethren."
(3) Of James and "all the apostles."
(4) Finally by Paul himself.
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Christ was raised invisible and the Bible teaches that he was raised in visible bodily form. A final Bible proof of this false claim is found in the experience of Thomas the doubter. He doubted that what he saw was Jesus whom he knew to be dead. He touched the Lord's raised body and believed (Jno. 20:25,28). What did he touch? the body of Christ or his invisible spirit? The answer is evident.
5. Error in denying eternal punishment of the wicked. Listen again to Russell: "The proper recognition of the meaning of the terms moral and immortal, and of their use in the Scripture, destroys the very foundation of the doctrine of eternal torment... But God's Word assures us that he has provided against such a perpetuation of sin and sinners: that 'man is mortal, and that the full penalty of willful sin against full light and knowledge will not be a life in torment, but a second death" op. cit. page 187.
Russell teaches here that the "full penalty" of willful sinners is "not a life in torment." But what of Bible teaching? When the Lord Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of air Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thess. 1:7-10). In this passage, the word "everlasting" is from the Greek, aionos, It is elsewhere translated, "eternal, " "everlasting, " and "for ever. "We find it in the following passages: "And these shall go away into everlasting (aionios) punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (aionios). (Matt. 25:46). "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt.13:42). "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting (aionois) fire." (Matt. 24:41).
(1) Eternal or everlasting life and punishment are of the same duration, i. e. never ending.
(2) Punishment and torment is evident in the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.
(3) It is compared to torment in fire.
(4) The fire is everlasting or eternal.
It is summed up in the words of John: "And they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev. 20:10).
6. Error in denying that man has an immortal soul. In the words of Russell, man is "wholly mortal." They conclude that if man is wholly mortal, that he will die and never exist beyond the grave. Here are their own words again: "So we see that the claim of religionists that man has an immortal soul and therefore differs from the beast is not scriptural" (Let God Be True, page 68).
Jesus replied to this materialistic concept of man in answering the Sadducees in the following words: "Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto him." (Luke 20:37-39). But how can God be the God of the living and also be God of dead men, viz. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who were dead at the time Moses said this? By the fact that men do exist beyond the grave and the dead are raised. God has given man an immortal soul. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive for they had immortal souls as do all God's human creation. In this man differs from the beast.
If the reader will carefully study Luke 16:19-21, he will find the story of the rich man and beggar Lazarus. In the story are the following facts:
(1) Both died (vs. 22).
(2) The rich man existed in hell and Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. (vs. 24).
(3) The rich man was tormented. (vs. 24).
(4) The emotions of the rich men were strained for his five brethren, still alive, who might be sent where he was, (vs. 28).
Hence, here we find the very opposite of Jehovah's Witness doctrine. But many times they say that is not a reality but a parable. However, although I deny that it is a parable, let's for a moment grant that it is a parable. A parable is a comparison of some experience of life familiar to people that teaches some vital truth. Now, what was Christ comparing the incident to? Absolutely nothing! He was teaching the existence of life beyond the grave both in bliss and torment.
I hope and pray that this bit of material will aid those of you who have to meet the representatives of the Jehovah's Witness Sect. Therefore, it is sent forth with a prayer for the exaltation of Bible truth and the glory of the kingdom of God.