Not long ago Sandy went to bring in the mail and found a flyer stuck in the door entitled Would You Like to Know the Truth? It was a 7×9” full-color bi-fold pamphlet published by The Watch Tower Society (Jehovah’s Witness-cult). The pamphlet included the following questions with a brief explanation of “What the Bible teaches”: (1) Does God really care about us? (2) Will war and suffering ever end? (3) What happens to us when we die? (4) Is there any hope for the dead? (5) How can I pray and be heard by God? (6) How can I find happiness in life?
All the above are legitimate questions that many people the world over are seeking answers to. Of course, the answers are not to be found under the guidance of a cult like the Jehovah’s Witness nor from their perverted “Bible.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that their teachings are the only real truth about the Bible. Would you like to know the truth about these ardent doorbell ringers who come armed with literature and “scripture” verses?
Charles Russell is the official founder of this cult. He was born in 1852 in Pennsylvania. As a youth, he developed a terrible fear of hell but later became convinced that it did not exist. After hearing a sermon on the Second Coming of Christ, he studied the subject and published his findings in a lengthy and complicated pamphlet that incorrectly interpreted many unrelated scriptures. The end result of his labor was the statement that Jesus Christ would return in 1874. He later changed the date to 1914. In 1912, Russell sued a Baptist pastor who had denounced Russell in a pamphlet. On the witness stand, Russell was caught in at least one lie; he said he knew Greek, the original language of the New Testament, but when asked to read some Greek letters he could not. Also, Russell had claimed to be an ordained minister, but under oath he admitted that he had never been ordained. Such willful perjury reflects badly on a man who claimed to have the one and only interpretation of God’s word.
When Russell died in 1916, “Judge” Rutherford was elected leader of the cult. In addition to the heresies taught by Russell, Rutherford taught that all human government is of the devil. The third president of the cult, Nathan Homer Knorr, emphasized training programs for Witnesses and it was during this time that they published a translation of the Bible that conformed to their false doctrines, The New World Translation.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for their witnessing door-to-door. Why do they witness so much? They witness because they are working hard to earn salvation. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in hell they have no fear of eternal punishment, but they do fear that they will not meet Jehovah’s standards for salvation. Russell denied the existence of hell and substituted in its place the death of the soul as well as the body – the doctrine of annihilation. He taught that a person could escape this fate only by accepting and preaching the doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In their typical freewheeling interpretation, the Witnesses claim that Armageddon will be worldwide, thermonuclear devastation. On one side will be all the nations of the world, Christians (who they say are of the devil), and all the heathen. On the other side will be the 144,000 (Witness leaders) and “other sheep” (rank-and-file door-knocking Witnesses). The result of the battle will be the destruction of all the nations and Christianity. Not one person who was against Jehovah and His Witnesses will remain alive. Only faithful Witnesses will survive Armageddon.
In addition to all of this heresy, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus Christ is not equal to God but that He was created by God. They claim Christ was known as the angel Michael in heaven and when Christ came to earth, He was stripped of His angelic nature and became only a man. So it was only as a man that Jesus died on the cross and a man’s death is not enough to atone for the sins of the world. The Witnesses also teach that Jesus was not bodily resurrected, but only as a spirit.
The Jehovah’s Witness cult is the third largest religious group in Italy with over 228,000 members. (The Roman Catholic Church has 90% of the Italian population and there are over 1.3 million Muslims in Italy.) When we were in Italy last September we ate dinner one evening off the beaten path at a restaurant called Filetti di Baccalà. There was an Italian man sitting alone at a table near us. Recognizing we “weren’t from around these parts,” he asked if we wanted our picture taken as a family. (He did not speak English but rather motioned towards my camera). After he took our picture, I asked to take his. I thanked him and gave him an Italian gospel tract and said, “Spiega la salvezza in Gesù Cristo” (This explains salvation in Jesus Christ). He responded, “Testimoni di Geova?” (Are you Jehovah’s Witness?) His name is Pablo. I believe Pablo probably asked if I was Jehovah’s Witness because they were likely the only ones in Rome to have ever handed him anything with scripture on it; there are very few Baptist missionaries in Italy.
I wonder if Pablo had been searching for truth and how many run-ins he may have had with a Jehovah’s Witness falsely professing to know the truth from the Bible. How many Italians are reached by a Jehovah’s Witness for every one that is reached by a Baptist missionary, or an evangelical for that matter? The need for the gospel in Italy is great. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ pamphlet asks, “How would you like to know the truth?” How will Pablo know the truth? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit reveals truth because He is “the Spirit of truth,” and “he will guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). In a prayer to His Father, the Lord Jesus said, “thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17) and that the scriptures testify of Him (Jn. 5:39). The Holy Spirit guides into all truth as we read the truth of the word of God about Truth incarnate, Jesus Christ.
I wonder if Pablo has ever read scripture other than what was written on that tract. It is in the pages of that old Book (the Diodati in Italian) that Pablo could discover the real truth, that Truth is not just a concept to be studied but is a Person to be received (Jn. 14:6).
[The information about the Jehovah’s Witnesses was taken from the book So What’s the Difference? by Fritz Ridenour]
“…and how shall they hear without a preacher?” – Romans 10:14