"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Gal. 4:16
Don't Worry About Hell
Jehovah's Witnesses -- What Do They Believe?
Issue Date: May/June 1985
They offer a cunning mixture of Scripture verses and "almost" Christian doctrines. Their approach, like that of the Mormons, is to stress elements of their doctrine which avoid controversy. The rest comes later.
But they are an "organization" of slaves, working desperately to "earn" eternal life. They seek salvation, not by grace, but by becoming "Kingdom Publishers."
They don't have a personal relationship with Christ (who they say is not God), but rather they observe a system of law and works.
They devote their attention to an all-encompassing fascination with prophecy, and the "vindication of God's sovereignty." They believe:
Jehovah God existed from the beginning. His first creations were two angels, Michael (who later becomes Jesus) and Lucifer. Jehovah God created all else through his firstborn, Jesus (Michael).
Jehovah appointed Lucifer to watch over earth, but the angel became jealous of Jehovah. He seduced Adam and Eve, and became Satan. He dared challenge Jehovah's right to rule! Jehovah gave Satan 6,000 years to try to win over all humanity. When he fails, Jehovah God will re-establish his kingdom and destroy Satan and all his rebellious followers, thus vindicating Jehovah's name (an obsession with Witnesses).
After thousands of years of this struggle, Jehovah God arranged for Michael to cease to exist and be recreated as Jesus, a human. He was killed as a ransom on a torture stake (not a cross) for all mankind. This released men from Adam's sinful legacy, and gave them a chance to be worthy of eternal life, if they were faithful Witnesses.
When the human Jesus died, he stayed dead. He was recreated as a spirit (no bodily resurrection) and lives in heaven.
Jesus Christ (now Michael) returned to earth invisibly in 1914 (the date has been changed repeatedly) and is working through his "Organization" to re-establish Jehovah's kingdom over the earth.
The final battle between Jehovah and Satan, the Battle of Armageddon, is to start shortly, settling the question, "Who will rule earth?" A very special 144,000 Witnesses, the only ones considered "born again," will rule with Jesus in heaven at the end of this battle. All other Witnesses (numbering millions) will survive Armageddon, and live forever on earth, in the kingdom of the "New World."
After 1,000 years of this utopian Kingdom comes the final test. Satan will be loosed for a while and deceive many. He and those who rebel with him will be destroyed by fire from heaven (no eternal hell, just quick annihilation). Jehovah's sovereignty over all creation will have been vindicated once and for all.
While many Christians disagree on the order of final events, there can be no disagreement on the work of Christ, or one is not really Christian. J.W.'s bear the indelible mark of a cult: they claim Christ's death on the cross is not sufficient for full salvation. One must believe that Jesus is God, and also in His bodily resurrection. Both are denied by the Witnesses.
In fact, Jehovah's Witnesses deny most of the basic doctrines of Christianity. Former Witnesses point out several basic denials:
Jesus Christ is not God. Rather, he is Michael the archangel.
The Holy Spirit is not a person, but an "active force." J.W.'s are unitarians, denying the Trinity.
When you're dead, you're dead. Man has no eternal soul, any more than animals.
Jesus Christ was not raised bodily from the grave, but was recreated as a new "spirit body."
Jesus returned invisibly in 1914. There is no "visible coming" planned in the future.
There is no hell. Just like animals, when we die, it is over.
Only 144,000 people achieve heaven. The rest, faithful Witnesses who have died, will be recreated on earth during the kingdom of the "New World."
Focusing on the Old Testament, their system is a legalistic one. They forbid blood transfusions (they say that is eating blood). They also consider any salute to a flag as worship of that flag, and therefore prohibited. They don't vote, hold public office or serve in the military.
Consumed with preparing for a "New World," they know nothing of "New Life" in Jesus Christ.