December 5, 2012

Counterfeit Religions XIV: Jehovah's Witnesses

What’s In a Name?

[This is a partial re-post of an earlier post on SoulJournaler]

Jehovah's Witnesses (also known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Societydraw their name from the Hebrew name of God YHWH also known as the the tetragrammaton. Amusingly, what they’ve drawn out is an incorrect pronunciation. In the Old Testament God went by and was addressed by many designated names. God and LORD (capital letters) are two of them. God is how we translate "Elohim". LORD with all capitals/uncials is a translation of YHWH. YHWH was the Old Testament name of God without the consonants. The truth is YHWH is akin to the phrase "I AM that I AM"/ אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה. Names were taken with deadly earnest back then, especially God's. By saying God was "I AM that I AM" was to make a statement about is condition, nature or attribute. He is in the "eternal now or eternal present". He is very much alive and eternally present as the Self-existing One.

Having no vowels only consonants, Hebrew scholars eventually went back to sacred writings to clarify and add vowel points since there was the potential of loosing the proper translation. Unfortunately, because of the sacredness of God's name and the fear of accidentally enunciating it improperly or at an improper time, they did not put vowel points on YHWH. They just didn't want to tamper with God's name out of fear.

Whatever YHWH actually means it does not mean LORD but LORD has been used for centuries, perhaps a millennium. When the Hebrew was translated into Greek in the Septuagint there was no attempt to find a translation of the tetragrammaton so the Greek word κύριος/Kurios was used which meant Lord. This in turn caused problems with the Hebrew word Adonai/ אֲדֹנָי which guessed it: Lord. So what happened is there are places where the words/names Adonai and YHWH are adjacent one another and you end up with lord LORD or LORD Lord. A little redundant, eh? In the following verse the words LORD and Lord are right next to one another.

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10

So...centuries ago the Jews began to feel the name YHWH was too holy to enunciate so it fell out of favor and ceased being used. Yes, the actual name revealed to them by God Himself (minus the consonants). They began to replace YHWH with Adonai. The name Jehovah is a rather clumsy translation of YHWH or Yahweh. If we go back to the Middle Ages and the use of middle English we see that the letter "J" had a "Y" sound and the "V" had the sound of a "W". So in Medieval Europe Jehovah would've sounded more like Yehowah. Yehowah isn't that far removed from Yahweh. If you consider that we're not even sure how it was supposed to be pronounced, it was close enough, right? In the 14th century though, many Bibles began to use Jehovah in the Old Testament. It is a name and pronunciation that is a butchering of the original real name. The only Bible version that now contains this name which is a butchering of the name Yahweh which we are not even sure is the correct translation/enunciation is the New World Version. It is the version used by none other than...the Jehovah's Witnesses.

So sorry, no consolation prize. They didn't even get the butchering of a possible mispronunciation right. They did not get God's name wrong just little, they got it totally wrong. Oops.


Jehovah's Witnesses grew out of Christian Protestantism but members do not consider themselves to be Protestants. Charles Taze Russell appears to have been the founder of the cult/movement. It also appears Charles had not issues with going against Christian doctrine either. He shared these divergences from proper Christian doctrine with his “bible” study.

For a while he and his group met and shared divergent beliefs and shared with others in the same way that Witnesses do today. They drove people nuts going door-to-door. A magazine called the Watchtower espousing their beliefs began publishing in 1879.

Upon Russell's death in 1916 the problem of finding a successor became an issue. Joseph Franklin Rutherford stepped to the fore. In 1931 he  changed the name of the church to Jehovah's Witnesses. After Rutherford’s death in 1942, Nathan Knorr became the new leader. It is Knorr who commissioned the New World Translation (NWT) of the Bible, which is the translation used by all Jehovah's Witnesses today. Sadly, from my own experience perusing their version it becomes clear they are very clever with strategic misuse or purposeful mis-translation of words in critical places to change meanings and intents of the original languages. These deliberate obfuscations and twisting of original Hebrew and Greek obviously suits their needs and aligns flawed Scripture in the NWT with their flawed doctrine and un-orthodoxy. They refer to the Old and New Testaments as the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures respectively.

Regardless, wherever the Jehovah’s Witness could avoid deviating from standard Christian orthodoxy they did. The closer this counterfeit looks to the real deal, the more appealing and consistent their religion becomes. At times JW are hard to tell apart from normal orthodox Christianity.


Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their focus on evangelism. If you do not tell them specifically to stop coming to your door or tell them that you are trying to evangelize them…they just keep coming to your door until you get to the point where you refuse to answer the door. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an imminent eschatology. In other words, they believe the end is near, hence the urgency to pester the living daylights out of you coming to your door constantly. Since they believe the end is nigh, they also believe God will reclaim the world to establish God's kingdom (a la Revelation). It also has a lot to do with why they call their centers of worship “Kingdom Halls”. J.F. Rutherford had suggested the term in the 40’s and his reasoning was that these buildings would be used for preaching the "good news of the Kingdom. Sadly, not the Kingdom of the Bible.

Like I said earlier, JW’s are a relatively close knock-off of orthodox Christianity. It isn’t until they come under closer scrutiny that their cult status becomes evident. JW’s believe that God is the sole creator of the world, but currently the world is under the direct rule of Satan. This is pretty much what the Bible says. God allows Satan current dominion over the world. The system of the world or κόσμος / cosmos is Satan’s. What we see in the Bible about creation is that it is the work of the Trinity, the Trinity which the JW's deny. The fact is the Trinity that are the Creators of Creation and this is evident by reading a handful of Scriptures. 

We see God the Father and the Holy Spirit in Creation here:

Genesis 1:1-3 ~ "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light."

If we allow for the Word to be Christ it becomes clear that when God speaks things into existence ex-nihilo, it is in reality Jesus Christ, the Son.

John 1:1 ~ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 ~ "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There are an enormous amount of additional Scripture citations that can be used to validate the plurality of the Godhead (Trinity). To name a few I list them here to review at your leisure: Genesis 1:26, 3:22, Isaiah 48:16, Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 3:21-22, John 14:26, 16:13-15, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 2:18, 4:4-6, 5:18-20, 1 Peter 1:2, 1 John 5:7

Of course the JW's contort the John 1:1 passage to read: "...and the word as a god"...thereby negating the divinity and trivializing Jesus' role in all of this. This is the standard practice of any false religion, to minimize or totally negate Christ's role thereby removing people's chance at salvation.

Going Off the Rails On A Crazy Train

Then their doctrine goes off the deep end. JW’s don’t believe that a physical Jesus Christ will return, but instead that the spirit of Jesus will return. This is totally against the premise of Christ being in the soma pneumatikon / σῶμα πνευματικόν or a resurrection body, just as we will have when we are all transformed into or raised to in a twinkling of and eye (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Why would we need to be this way if our Savior hadn’t been originally? Christ ascended to Heaven bodily and will return the same way (spirits don’t eat food or convince people they are alive the way Jesus did in Acts 1).

Another flaming ridiculously obvious error in their doctrine is they deny the Trinity just like the Mormons, Modalists, etc . The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was the subordinate son of God not just functionally but literally, therefore not a divine incarnation. According, in their flawed theology, Jesus was created / ktisantos / κτίσαντος  not the only begotten / monogenes / μονογενὴς . Therefore He wasn’t nor could He be divine. The JW's actually believe Christ to be the Archangel Michael. According to JW's, Jesus was only a sacrifice for humankind but was assassinated on a stake rather than a cross. Because Jesus was created and not divine, He couldn’t have possibly have died for all of humanity’s sins. I find this abhorrent and how anyone could get this miscreant interpretation from the Bible (especially from the Greek) is beyond comprehension. It looks more like willful ignorance than an honest attempt at interpretation. They also believe the Holy Spirit is a person-less "force" (a la Star Wars), not the third person of the Trinity.

The more we dig into their beliefs the darker and weirder it gets. JW’s believe that the immortality of the human soul is conditional. The condition is similar to normal Christianity in that believers must accept the gift God gave. The problem lies in the fact that the JW’s never explain how a non-divine Christ who couldn’t have lived a sinless life is capable of abrogating the demands of the Law and acting as a sacrifice to wipe away the sin that the Law so clearly points out.  Also similar to normal Christianity, JW’s believe that at the end of time, all souls will be resurrected. At that point, those who accept God will have their souls returned to their physical bodies to live in paradise here on earth. Those who do not accept Jesus will cease to exist (annihilated/Annihilationism) because Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in hell or eternal punishment (a la Rob Bell). The problem is this. The Bible and Jesus clearly speak of Hell. It exists. Just because you don’t believe it exists and deny it's existence doesn’t mean you won’t go to it if you do not accept a DIVINE JESUS CHRIST. Additionally, although it’s not entirely clear, the JW’s appear to allow you to make a choice of whether you wish to accept the un-divine Jesus or reject him after you are resurrected. This too is flawed. That choice is made while you are here alive in this life. The Bible is clear about this.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment Hebrews 9:27

It does not say die, be resurrected, make a decision then and then get judged. It says we die and we then face judgment. There is no intervening step. The way you are saved to eternal life is through the decisions you make here while you’re alive.  These decision to accept a divine Christ in this life dictates where you go. That decision is not made by you after you die and become resurrected.

A further massacre of the Bible by the JW’s states that only 144,000 will be accepted into heaven to help God rule this earthly paradise because of an atrocious mistranslation/interpretation of Revelation 7 and the fact the JW’s believe they are being sealed for God’s special purpose(s). Being the quintessential religion of works that it is, Witnesses reject all celebrations including Christmas, Easter, and birthdays because of their historical connections with paganism. They believe they can work to remove themselves from these evils of the world to assure or solidify their salvation (considering only 144000 are allowed in heaven, they better start working harder). Considering that they do not believe Jesus was divine and that it wasn’t specifically his work that grants them salvation (but rather the Father only), it is not surprising to see this. Like the good little religion of works that it is the JW’s also avoid serving in the military, pledging allegiance to the flag, and receiving blood transfusions (they fear the soul of an unbeliever may migrate into them since the life of a person is in the blood [Leviticus 17:11] ), stating that there are direct biblical scriptures forbidding these practices. By avoiding these practices it appears they put themselves in a better position with God due to their obedience. The Bible tells us clearly that is it through no works of our own (Ephesians 2:8). They have a ton of other works based stipulations in their religion too numerous to mention. 

What's even more amusing is that they have foretold (prophesied) the Apocalypse or the end of the world as we know it at least 9 times in the 20th century alone. We should also mention that the JW's have already met their 144000 quota so they changed the rules about that too to allow more people into I won't say anything else about that :P. Frankly, their religion is so flawed…I’m bored with writing about them.

That's All Folks!

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